Tiny hands, big loss: How community helped bring baby home
*WARNING* This article contains distressing content. If you have suffered pregnancy or infant loss this story might not be right for you.
FOR one hour and five minutes, the rest of the world didn't matter.
Maryborough's Amanda Wust gazed into the eyes of her tiny newborn daughter Aubrey, knowing she wouldn't live long.
But after Aubrey's heart stopped beating, it wasn't long before reality came crashing in.
Amanda was told she would need to pay $650 to bring her daughter, who despite making it to 32 weeks had failed to grow properly in the womb, back home to the Fraser Coast.
With her three other girls to care for, money was already tight and she hadn't even thought about planning the funeral.
But that is where the generous spirit of the Fraser Coast community kicked in.
A social worker at Hervey Bay Hospital said arrangements would be made to return Aubrey's body at no cost to the family.
Amanda, her husband Norman and their daughters are members of Tinana Christian Church.
They were contacted by Pastor Kerry Shipp and told the church would assist with the cost of the funeral.
Amanda was left speechless by the generosity of the gesture, which finally allowed the family to grieve.
Assistant Pastor David Shipp said the church had a community relief fund and often helped families in need.
He said Amanda's children were part of the kids club at the church.
"We help out in whatever way we can," he said.
"When someone's lost a child, they shouldn't also have to think about how they are going to pay for it."
Amanda was told at 12 weeks that Aubrey wasn't growing properly.
But she refused to give up on her baby girl.
She tried to give her daughter every chance to survive but when she was delivered by caesarean on October 4, the doctors told her there was nothing they could do for her.
Despite the length of her gestation, Aubrey was just 294 grams.
Her feet were smaller than the tip of an adult's index finger.
Aubrey was placed on the chest of her mum who was allowed to hold her for whatever time she had.
"It was emotional. Very emotional," Amanda said.
"I'm so proud of her. She fought hard.
"All the doctors were surprised she was born alive, she was not meant to make it."
Seeing her baby for the first time was a moment Amanda will never forget.
"It was lovely to meet her because she was so special.
"I just said 'I love you' and they came in and took some photos."
Amanda'a sister, Megan Guyer, travelled 16 hours to be by her side.
The sisters were together as Aubrey had her first bath and was dressed in her first outfit.
"I've got a lot of memories," Amanda said.
"I read books to her, sang her songs. We have a tree to plant for her and a candle to light on her birthday.
"She'll never be forgotten."
Aubrey's funeral will be held at Tinana Christian Church on October 21.
October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.
For support, contact:
- SANDS: 1300 072 637
- Pregnancy, Birth and Baby: 1800 882 436
- Bears of Hope: 1300 11 4673
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