It was a beautiful, sunny Sunday, the 20th of October 2013. I was feeling fabulous! I was 33 weeks pregnant with our second child. I recall doing things around the house- making beds, hanging out the washing and tidying up and feeling pretty darn excited to meet our little babe.
It was my father in laws birthday that day and we were out celebrating at lunch. As I finished lunch, I had my hands on my big round tummy and suddenly I noticed that I couldn’t feel my baby move. I thought back to the last movement and I couldn't remember! I didn’t say anything to anyone. I sat in silence trying not to panic myself even further so I waited until lunch was over and we got home. I lay on the lounge drinking cold water but still no movements were felt. I told my husband and calmly he suggested I call the hospital. The midwife on the phone asked me to come straight in.
As we waited in the delivery suite, I tried to remain calm telling myself that everything was going to be fine. The midwife who examined me, couldn’t find a heartbeat but kept trying to reassure me that the baby could just be in an awkward position. We then waited anxiously for an obstetrician to come to perform an ultrasound. I remember the deafening silence in the room. The doctor turned the screen to face him..... I was petrified. Then he said the words that will never leave me for the rest of my life...."I'm so sorry, there's no heartbeat- your baby is dead!" I screamed! “Check again, please check again” I kept asking. I kept telling myself this can't be happening, this is just a dream. It was certainly no dream, our worst nightmare had just become a reality.
A few hours later, I was wheeled into theatre to deliver our baby. A beautiful baby girl we named Ilaria.
We were introduced to an incredible social worker, Deb, who cared for us the entire way through. She stayed right by my side as I gave birth to our beautiful baby girl that evening. Over the next few days, we spent time with our little girl. We took countless photos with her, bathed her, got her baptised and slept beside her tiny, lifeless body and spent hours holding our precious girl. We did things that took unimaginable strength….We had to explain Ilaria’s death to our daughter Olivia who was only two and a half at the time and who was so looking forward to becoming a big sister. We had to organise a funeral, select a spot for her to be buried at a cemetery and had to place her tiny body in a coffin. We did things no parent should ever have to do. With Deb’s help, we got through those difficult days and I'm so grateful for the memories she helped us create with our little girl.
There were so many other midwives that helped take care of me and supported us through our journey and I will never forget all they did for us.
My husband and I still aren't healed but I've now realised we never will be. Yes, life has become sweeter and we have learnt to feel happy again but the pain never goes- I think we've just learnt to live with it. We speak about Ilaria all the time, we have photos of her around our home and celebrate her birthday every year. She is my second born and always will be and despite the pain of knowing she will never be here, not for one moment do ever want to forget that.
After a long journey of trying to conceive again, followed by another another loss- a miscarriage at 9 weeks, we were finally blessed with our rainbow- Sienna. She helped bring so much joy back into our lives and she played a huge role in helping us heal again. In 2019, we were again bless with another baby girl, our beautiful Milana who has now completed our family.
Everyone deals with grief differently. After Ilaria’s death, my husband buried himself in his work and fought in his own way where as I was faced with ample time on my hands to think and face the grief head on. I started to paint pictures then took to sewing as a creative outlet. I started to sew cushions and made decorative dolls for Olivia. It was a release from reality and a therapy for me. After some time I started to get requests to make cushions and dolls for family and friends. My husband then encouraged me to set up an Instagram page to sell my work and donate part of the sales to the Stillbirth Foundation. This is how Miss Angel Ilaria was born.
Miss Angel Ilaria allows me to continue my passion and love for sewing and design, something I've always loved to do. In a strange way it gives me joy to be able to share this love with others and it gives me so much pride for my precious little girl’s name to be remembered and never forgotten.
I see this site as an opportunity to raise awareness for Stillbirth. It is surprising how prevalent stillbirths are, with 6 stillborn babies a day born in Australia and this figure has not changed in more than 2 decades!
Stillbirth can be very taboo for some people and for how prevalent it is, it shouldn't be. These babies are still our children and although they didn't take a breath, they still existed. Ilaria was my second born. She lived in my womb for 33 weeks and played a huge part in our lives and I'm so proud to be her mummy.
5% of sales from all Miss Angel Ilaria products is donated to the Stillbirth foundation, to help fund all of the great work they do to help raise awareness and pioneer research to discover ways to decrease the incidence of babies leaving us way too soon.