Helena’s story – in loving memory of Valentina

22 Mar 2022

“Every day that you wake up and think that your baby isn’t with you, just remember that they’ll always be with you as they’ll be in your heart forever.”

Helena – Valentina’s mum

Valentina Juric was stillborn on 13 November 2021

I was 29+1 weeks gestation and noticed a lack of movements on the evening of 12 November 2021. I called the birthing suite to let them know that I was coming in to check my baby.

At the birthing suite they couldn’t find a heartbeat and confirmed this via ultrasound.

My waters did not break.

Nor did I have any pain. 

If I hadn’t kept track of movements, I would have found out our little girl had no heartbeat at our next scan.

As it was early morning, the hospital said to stay and that my obstetrician would advise us of our options for the type of birth we wanted and whether we wanted to proceed with an induction today or go home, rest up and return to the hospital on Sunday.

We agreed that we would stay at hospital and I would get induced and attempt a VBAC as I had previously had an elective c section with my son.

I got induced at 10:30am with labour pains commencing at 3pm. It was quick and painful and with the assistance of morphine and gas for pain relief I gave birth to Valentina at 10:00pm.

When Valentina was born, we didn’t hear her cry for the first time. With the sadness, I felt love. The midwife asked if I wanted to hold her and I said yes please. She was beautiful and warm and I savoured the cuddles because I was dreading the thought of leaving her behind at the hospital.

My husband Anthony has been my rock. We know that we are both grieving Valentina in different ways and are understanding of one another.

We also have a two-year-old boy who we love so much. He makes us smile and laugh even when we have been filled with sadness that we couldn’t bring his baby sister home for him to love and play with. We have gotten out and about with him alot quicker than we would have if we didn’t have him. The initial outings were challenging, but we got through it by seeing his smiling face and how much fun he was having at the park or beach.

Grief following baby loss has many waves. Just when you think you’re going OK, another giant wave hits. You just need to accept that it’s OK that you aren’t feeling OK all the time.

We have received results to know why Valentina was stillborn and hope that anyone suffering baby loss knows that you shouldn’t blame yourself for any baby loss as you did nothing wrong - sometimes life is just unfair, and cruel things happen.

Every day that you wake up and think that your baby isn’t with you, just remember that they’ll always be with you as they’ll be in your heart forever.

The day my stillbirth happened, the person I was, died.  As I ride the waves, a new and different version of me evolves.

We love Valentina’s name and want her to be remembered as we don’t have the opportunity to use Valentina’s name in cards, messages and invitations throughout our lifetime.

I have joined the Red Nose (including Sands) support group, which has helped me connect with other mums going through the same grief journey.

Images taken by volunteers at Heartfelt 

Say their name day is held annually on the 25 March. It is a day for bereaved parents to share their little one, but more importantly for their friends and family to celebrate the little one forever in their parent’s hearts but no longer by their side.