Ivan and Nicole Cross with the bear that holds Kolby's ashes, the cuddle cot they are donating an and empty crib
Ivan and Nicole Cross with the bear that holds Kolby's ashes, the cuddle cot they are donating an and empty crib Madura McCormack

Six weeks from giving birth, when his heart stopped

NICOLE Cross was six weeks away from giving birth to her first born son when his heart stopped beating.

She knew something was wrong when she didn't feel him kicking in the womb, as he usually does, when she had a cold drink at lunch.

"I felt a bit funny, and I had a midwife appointment that afternoon and that's where we found out we had lost him... they found that his heart had stopped beating," Ms Cross said.

Doctors induced her and Kolby was born without breath on March 10 last year weighing about 5 pounds.

Ms Cross and her husband Ivan made the choice to take their son home with them to say their last goodbyes.

The Mackay couple are speaking out about their experience to inform parents who may experience stillbirth that they too can bring their baby home with the use of a cooling cot or "cuddle cot".

A cuddle cot is a device that keeps the baby's body at a cool 8C to slow the decomposing process.

They began fund raising shortly after their experience. Local businesses, family and friends pitched in and now the couple will be donating a cuddle cot to local undertakers Newhaven Funerals.

"We just want to put it out there to the community that this is available if you would like," Ms Cross said.

"We wouldn't wish this upon anyone, to happen to, but it is available."

 

Ivan and Nicole Cross, with the bear that holds Kolby's ashes, raised funds to donate a cuddle cot to help other grieving parents.
Ivan and Nicole Cross, with the bear that holds Kolby's ashes, raised funds to donate a cuddle cot to help other grieving parents. Madura McCormack

At 22-weeks into the pregnancy Ms Cross found out Kolby had a hole in his heart.

She said taking him home helped her heal from his sudden passing.

"It was quite a shock, there was no real lead up apart from the hole in the heart, which the surgeons down in Brisbane said he would need one operation after he was born and everything should be fine," she said.

"We were pretty shattered."

The Cross' spent about 24 hours with their stillborn son.

"I think it's good for the grieving process, we got to hold him, we got to do things with him, have him there at home with us and have time to say goodbye," Ms Cross, 30, said.

"We just agreed that that is what we would do, we would take him home. He will come home to the home that he was supposed to.

Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society Queensland branch president Tina Thurtle said almost 600 families in the state will experience stillbirth in an average year. Nationally, one baby is born still every four hours on average.

"The most important thing for people who have experienced stillbirth, is that you need to have time to help create memories, even though your baby is not alive," she said.

"[Parents] need time to consider their options and make decisions [the cuddle cot is] a really great opportunity to spend that time with their baby."

The SANDS support group meets every fourth Tuesday of the month at the Women's Centre on Shakespeare St.

Ms Cross said Kolby will always be a part of their lives.

"I think it gave me a lot of strength in itself to have him there at home in our own time," she said.

"Kolby's room is still set up and there's nothing that I would give away.

"Hopefully in the near future we will have another one that can use his or her brother's stuff."

Any parent who has experienced stillbirth and requires counselling can call SANDS on 1300 072 637.



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