A Sunshine Coast mum has revealed the anguish and heartache of losing her first baby girl – Ava – but is determined her daughter’s legacy will live on.
Amanda Pooley was 26, dreaming of a career and a family when she was diagnosed with a chronic form of leukemia.
After aggressive treatment, Amanda beat cancer, but was told she was unlikely to have kids due to the medication she needed to remain on.
The Caloundra woman and her husband tried to adopt a child but were rejected due to Amanda’s post-cancer ongoing medical problems.
She then consulted her doctors and made the tough decision to come off her medication in 2018.
Amazingly, she found herself pregnant quite quickly.
“We were on top of the world and thought life could not get much better,” Amanda says.
“We got to the three-month mark of the pregnancy and thought, ‘great, relax it’s all smooth sailing now.”
Eight months pregnant, Amanda went to a routine appointment and told the doctor she hadn’t felt Ava move that morning.
“I think I knew then, even though she (doctor) kept looking, checking the position , I could tell she was nervous,” Amanda says.
A scan revealed that Ava’s heart had stopped, and she was stillborn soon after.
When a baby dies, there is a short window of time for a family to create memories, say hello and goodbye to their child and the lifetime they had dreamed for them.
“She was born on the Monday morning after a pretty long labour,” Amanda says
“She was absolutely beautiful, she had beautiful dark brown hair, rosy, red cheeks.
“She had the beautiful newborn smell, she was soft, we were able to hold her and cuddle her.”
Amanda had been waiting so long to have her first child and now had to adjust to life without Ava.
“The words haven’t been invented yet to describe what that feels like,” she says.
Amanda accessed Red Nose’s free counselling services for parents who lose a baby to help deal with her grief.
“I wanted something that I could call, stuck in my garage or in a cupboard in the dark, crying my eyes out by myself in private, in secret, that I could just be 100 per cent open,” she says.
Amanda recently went to a child’s third birthday party and suffered a panic attack as she imagined Ava being there with them.
“They were a little bit older than what Ava would have been and I didn’t expect to have a panic attack reaction to it,” she says.
“We left the party and the first person I called was Red Nose just to talk me through what that felt like.”
An avid runner, Amanda and her husband now have a beautiful daughter Isabelle who is almost two, and Amanda takes Isabelle running often.
Amanda will be running the full Sunshine Coast marathon on Sunday, August 14 in memory of Ava – and is using the event to raise money for Red Nose Day with her tally so far ticking over $4000.
“For me running the marathon and putting her name next to Red Nose means that her name gets to live on,” she says.
Red Nose Day is on Friday, August 12 and aims to raise $800,000 for Red Nose to fund critical research, education and initiatives that go towards a goal of zero babies dying unexpectedly in Australia.
Every day, nine babies and young children die suddenly and unexpectedly in Australia – that’s a heartbreaking 3,000 little lives lost every year.