Little life remains with us
Family reveal heartbreak, but are determined to help others
TO OUTSIDERS, the Fultons might look like a family of three, but in their hearts they will always be a family of four.
Not a day goes by where Emily Fulton, her husband Scott and daughter Evie don’t miss their son and brother Xander Nathaniel.
Xander was born on June 9, 2016 at 23.3 weeks gestation. His arrival into the world was very sudden and unexpected.
“We had IVF pregnancies, because I had a lot of trouble getting pregnant. Our daughter Evie was IVF so this was our third IVF,” Mrs Fulton said.
“My pregnancy was trouble free. There was nothing wrong, the scans were great and we didn’t notice any signs of anything wrong.
“The day before Xander was
born I had some stomach pain, but in a pregnancy that is pretty normal.
“The next day, June 9, I woke up with a stomach ache. The morning went on and I thought ‘this was getting a bit worse, it’s just not feeling right’ so we went up to the Ipswich Hospital about 7am.
“The pain started to intensify. Doctors came in and checked me over. When they discovered I was dilating, they were talking about getting me up to the Mater.
“Then the pain just increased and I was rushed into a birthing suite and 40 minutes later he was born.
“They tried to work on him for a couple of minutes. They then came over to me and said ‘he only lived for a couple of minutes’.
“They did lots of tests on me but to this day, they still don’t know what happened.”
What followed for the Fulton family was a lot of tears and heartache over the little boy they thought they would have a lifetime to get to know.
“He was a small bump I carried up until 23 weeks and three days. We saw him wriggling around on the ultrasound several times. I felt his kicks from 19 weeks,” Mrs Fulton said.
“Our eldest was so excited to be a big sister.
“A future with our second child just seemed like such a certainty until that fateful day when I woke up with contractions.
“Our loss is with us every single day. To the outside world we look like any other family of three, but to ourselves, we always feel his absence. We should be a family of four.
“We never got a chance to bring him home or get to know him.
“My son missed out on all his days on this earth. No first birthday, no first day of Prep or first day of high school, no wedding day.
“A lifetime of days just wiped out in an instant when he was born too early and didn’t survive.
“I’ll never know who my son would have been or what he would have done, or the impact he would have had on our lives and the lives of those around him.
“It’s the not knowing of this
WE NEVER GOT A CHANCE TO BRING HIM HOME OR GET TO KNOW HIM. EMILY FULTON
that hurts so much sometimes.
“I was supposed to love and cherish him forever. I was not supposed to miss him forever.”
Following on from Xander’s passing, Mrs Fulton reached out to Sands, a not-for-profit organisation providing support, information and education to anyone affected by the death of a baby before, during or shortly after birth.
“I called the support phone line and I went to the support groups in person,” she said.
“Reaching out was both an easy and difficult thing to do. Easy because being among others who understand my pain and loss provided me with comfort and a sense of not feeling so alone, but also difficult because speaking about my experience and my loss and reliving it brought up a lot of buried trauma.
“I don’t regret doing so
though as I quickly learnt that every single person involved with Sands just want to help in any way they can.
“No one’s grief is worse than another’s. No matter how long ago or at what stage the child was lost.”
Sands host a Walk to Remember event every year in all major capital cities around this country, and this year, the Fultons will once again attend the Brisbane event.
Then, on Monday, October 15, which is International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, the family will light a candle in honour of their little man gone too soon, but never forgotten.
“This is such an important day for me. October 15 is the one day where he can be remembered by the community every single year, even if he was here and gone so swiftly,” Mrs Fulton said.
“At 7pm on Monday, October 15, we are all encouraged to light a candle and leave it burning for one whole hour to remember the babies who could not stay, and the heartbroken parents, siblings and loved ones they leave behind.
“If everyone does this in all time zones globally there will be a continuous wave of light across the world for 24 hours.
“It is an amazing sight to imagine and a beautiful tribute to our precious babies who are never forgotten.”
REMEMBERED: Evie, Scott and Emily Fulton from Redbank Plains miss their son and brother, Xander Nathaniel.
Emily Fulton with her daughter Evie three days before Xander was born.