Couple mourns loss of their baby girl Amethyst

By Liz Mellino

Amy Dunn and Bobby Jackson should be enjoying the first few months of life with their baby girl Amethyst.

Instead the Shepparton couple is mourning the loss of their newborn, left wondering what life could have been like.

At 37 weeks pregnant Ms Dunn had a placenta abruption, which caused bleeding between the uterus and the placenta, resulting in an emergency caesarian.

As a result Amethyst lost a significant amount of blood and oxygen and died two days later in the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne.

Ms Dunn and Mr Jackson are struggling to come to terms with how and why it all happened.

‘‘It was a frightening time for us all,’’ Ms Dunn said.

‘‘I started bleeding and the doctor couldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat, so I had to have an emergency c-section.’’

Amethyst was born not breathing on May 25 and was intubated, then taken to Melbourne from Goulburn Valley Health.

She received round-the-clock care from a doctor and nursing staff.

Despite best efforts, Amethyst died on May 27, leaving behind grieving parents and three older brothers.

‘‘When Amethyst was intubated we were still holding out some hope because they had managed to revive her at GV Health,’’ Mr Jackson said.

‘‘When she was taken down to Melbourne they kept their great work going and we thought they would be able to do something but unfortunately it was too late.

‘‘She wasn’t getting enough oxygen to the brain, she had fits and seizures... she had brain damage.’’

Ms Dunn only has photographs and the memory of the daughter she had dreamt of having for years.

With three boys, Ms Dunn was excited to welcome a girl into the family, giving the boys a sister to admire.

‘‘It was a shock when we found out I was pregnant, I had always hoped to have a girl,’’ she said.

‘‘The boys kept wanting to know when she was coming and how she was getting here.’’

While the boys awaited the arrival, the family never expected the outcome.

Divisional clinical director of women’s and children’s health at GV Health Michael McEvoy said placenta abruptions were common.

‘‘Placenta abruptions are quite common, they occur in about two per cent of all pregnancies,’’ Mr McEvoy said.

‘‘They can happen at any stage between 28 and 40 weeks, it’s usually spontaneous and unpredictable.’’

While Ms Dunn’s case is not unusual, Mr McEvoy said commonly the baby survived, the abruption causing other symptoms.

‘‘If more than 50 per cent of the placenta is destroyed, that’s when the baby can be lacking oxygen and may result in death,’’ he said.

‘‘The mother can have very major blood loss because of the bleeding behind the placenta and that can cause anaemia or clotting disorders.’’

Almost a month on, Ms Dunn and Mr Jackson are coming to terms with their loss and dealing with effects associated with such trauma.

Mr Jackson said the hardest part was the unknown they were left wondering about and the guilt they carry of a life being taken to soon.

‘‘For Amy to carry the baby the whole way through the pregnancy and then to not get to take it home is devastating,’’ Mr Jackson said.

‘‘We didn’t get to know anything about her or what colour her eyes were, we only got to know her alive by a machine.

‘‘I don’t think you ever get closure in losing a child.’’

Ms Dunn and Mr Jackson hoped by sharing their story they may find closure and give others going through something similar the strength to push through.

While placenta abruptions can happen suddenly and without notice, Mr McEvoy encouraged anyone thinking they may be experiencing something similar to seek urgent medical advice.

‘‘I think its important for people to seek care early if they have any bleeding during pregnancy,’’ he said.

‘‘Our health service can properly mange this and quite often if it’s early and will result in good outcomes for the mother and the baby.’’