Clinton and Anastasia Taylor with baby Grayson before they lay him to rest. Picture: Shae Beplate.
Clinton and Anastasia Taylor with baby Grayson before they lay him to rest. Picture: Shae Beplate.

Family tells of love and loss after stillbirth

AT 21 weeks pregnant, Townsville mother Anastasia Taylor and her husband Clinton were told their unborn child would not survive.

Baby Grayson was diagnosed with the rare genetic condition Edwards' Syndrome (Trisomy 18), which causes severe birth defects and health problems involving nearly every organ system in the body.

He was also diagnosed with catastrophic heart defects but still Anastasia and her husband Clinton made the decision to progress with the pregnancy.

"What the doctors told us was that Trisomy 18 was, without beating around the bush, it was a death sentence," Clinton said.

"That was going to be the end of him one way or the other.

"One thing that they did say was that most Trisomy babies, they don't make it to the 20 weeks.

"So they tried to really warm us into the fact that we may very well lose him in the weeks to come.

"I guess for us, that wasn't something we wanted to embrace and we just said, 'well, we'll do what we can for him'."

Grayson lasted full term but was born on Tuesday without a heartbeat.

The birth

The couple never really knew 100 per cent whether they were going to have a baby without a heartbeat, but certainly prepared for it.

Grayson was kicking right until they went to hospital.

They described the birth as "peaceful" and chose to have it without monitors and machines.

"We didn't want to have a machine in the corner beeping and all of a sudden not beeping," Clinton said. "We didn't want to have that as our last memory of him."

Tragically, when delivered, Anastasia's first words were: 'He's not breathing'

Anastasia said they wanted to give him as much life that they possibly could and in the end he lived for 258 days, even though he never actually entered the world.

"It was difficult times," she said. "(But) you just get this strength about you, that you no longer really dwell on the negatives.

"Even now, we've just lost our baby. We had 258 days with him. We had 37 weeks with him when potentially (we) couldn't have had any of them.

"He had that many weeks of hearing his siblings scream and laugh and being a part of our family."

The couple said they were open with their children Ruby, 5, Scarlette, 3, and Cooper, 1, and told them they now had an "angel brother".

Taboo topic

In Australia, up to one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage and every day six babies will die in their mother's womb and be stillborn.

Anastasia believes the topic has become taboo and often swept under the carpet and said a change of attitude was needed. In her life it was going to come up a lot, and by dealing with it she plans on being open.

"It's a forever minding grief," she said. "You are constantly reminded, whether you look at your children and you are reminded of the one you lost, or you've been asked how many kids you've got, or do you want another one. This isn't a topic I am going to hide myself a way from.

"I've lost a child, I'm proud that I carried him for 37 weeks. Not many women are even able to fall pregnant so to carry a child is a big blessing in my eyes."

The funeral

Grayson, who was named before the devastating prognosis, was farewelled by family and friends he never met on Thursday. On top of his tiny coffin was a football and a teddy bear and inside he was wrapped up in a Cowboys onesie and a Gucci blanket.

They decided to have a funeral to celebrate his short but special life.

As soon as Grayson was diagnosed, the couple knew they would be planning a funeral.

"We went all out, it will be the only present we ever buy him," Anastasia said. "We put as much effort into his funeral as we would for his first birthday party."

At Belgian Gardens where he was buried, balloons and doves were released and he is now at rest near his grandparents.

Clinton said he grew up next to the cemetery which was fitting.

"It's nice to know that he's down there next to his grandma and grandad and next to the family home," he said.