[CONTENT WARNING: BABY LOSS]
When Vongayi found out she was expecting twins, she never could have anticipated the difficult journey that would unfold. She explains, “My pregnancy was very difficult. I separated from my partner when I was 17 weeks pregnant. At 20 weeks, I found out that one of my twins had a heart condition.”
Amanda, Vongayi’s birth companion, says, “I met Vongayi when she was in the third trimester. We knew it was very likely that her son would have to stay in the neonatal unit, so we did a lot of preparation for that. We talked a lot about the practicalities of what to expect following the birth.”
Following the birth, Kim joined Amanda in supporting Vongayi as a postnatal companion. The pair provided intensive practical and emotional support for several weeks while Vongayi and the twins were still in hospital.
As Rylan was in a different ward, Vongayi needed assistance to get there. She says, “I needed help taking Adrian with me [to the neonatal unit]. Amanda would come in to take me and help me push Adrian [in his cot] to the ward. Amanda would hold Adrian and I would get the chance to hold my baby. It was quite a relief and it really made things easy for me.”
Sadly, Rylan passed away at just 19 days old. Vongayi says, “I remember the first phone call that I made was to Amanda when Rylan passed, because she had always been there throughout the whole journey. I called her and she came right away to hold me and support me.”
Amanda says, “There was always that hope that Rylan would have the surgery needed to repair his heart condition and that he would eventually go home and be healthy. It came as a real shock to all of us when he didn’t make it.”#