Trigger warning: this is a story about SUDI (Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy) and infant loss.
“Let me start by introducing myself. My name is Kylie and my husband is Mark. We have six kids aged 6.5, 5, 3, 3 × 2-year-olds. Our younger three are triplets.
When we found out we were expecting triplets our world was turned upside down. Could we handle another baby let alone three at once? Our children were so young, our baby was only six months old. I was 8 weeks along when we found out.
The pregnancy progressed smoothly, everything was great the babies were healthy, I was healthy. I had elected to have a caesarean as I was still traumatised from my last son’s birth. We had them at 34 +5 weeks—two girls and a boy.
April needed the least assistance and was a real firecracker (that is what the NICU nurses nicknamed her). Our boy needed some breathing help and was jaundiced; they came home on day 10. At our three-month paediatrician appointment they were all healthy as could be excepted, April had reflux and Connor needed to see a physiotherapist.
A couple of weeks later we woke up and I heard the babies crying, so I got their bottles heated up then went in to start bringing them out. I saw April on her tummy and didn’t think anything of it at first. I then gave her a nudge to wake her up. She didn’t move, she wasn’t breathing. I touched her skin she was like ice! I picked her up and patted her back told her to wake up. I put her back down and started calling for Mark. My brain couldn’t process it. I called the ambulance and Mark worked fiercely to bring her back. I fed the others while Mark worked on her and waited for the ambulance, which didn’t take long.
By this time the kids had woken up and our eldest was asking questions. The ambulance officers told us it was too late.
How could it be too late?
How could she be dead?
She was healthy?
The police then showed up and it is the worst feeling in the world having them at your home. After they did their investigation the coroner took April, they let us have one last hold before she left but I just couldn’t do it she was so cold, so lifeless.
We went to my mum’s to stay because I just couldn’t go in the room or be home at all. I just kept having flashbacks. We stayed at my mum’s for almost a month, I was numb. I just walked around in a daze. I didn’t want to be near anyone, my healthy baby was dead? My other two were grieving for their sister whom they shared the womb with. It felt like they cried all the time. My eldest two kept asking where’s April? How do you explain to a five-year-old and a three-year-old that their little sister is never coming back.
Children at that age shouldn’t have to experience the death of a sibling. No one should!
I remember having to plan the funeral. I refused to do anything. Maybe if I didn’t think about her being dead she wouldn’t be. I remember being numb through her funeral and for the days and weeks after.
My nan and pop had also lost a child to SUDI more than 40 years ago, she was a twin. My pop kept pushing my kids on me, I didn’t understand at the time, but I do now. I should have been holding them closer than ever, they are precious I know they won’t bring April back but they are the rainbow after a storm.
Coming home was horrible, I would wake numerous times just to check the other two, even now I can’t sleep without making sure they are breathing and I feel anxious if they over sleep.
The worst part is when people ask how many kids I have, I say 6. When I explain that April died from SUDI most people look uncomfortable. They give you that ‘I wish I hadn’t have asked’ look. Or is it contagious look. It is still such a taboo subject. Most parents who have lost an infant or child just want to talk about our babies. It doesn’t make us sad. It makes us happy to know people want to know about our angels.
If you see a tear well up in our eyes it is because we are just happy that someone has taken the time to remember.
We got to Coroner’s report almost a year later and, well, she just stopped breathing. We take comfort in the fact that it was nothing we did or didn’t do.
It will be two years this October and the pain hasn’t lessened – you find a way of dealing with the hurt. Our kids know about their sister as we talk about her all the time. We celebrate her birthday every year. I make her a cake and we go and see her. Some days are harder than others. But knowing there are friends out there that I can talk to about it make them a little better. Some people think there’s a certain time to grieve and you should just push all the hurt and pain away and get on with your life. It doesn’t work like that.
In this day and age our society should be more open and understanding. SUDI isn’t talked about enough for fear of making someone uncomfortable. It could have happened to anyone, your next door neighbour, someone you work with.
Please, when you find out a parent has lost a child, don’t say everything happens for a reason, don’t say at least you have others.
Some days we just want to be held and told it’s OK to cry.”