Sarah Crane was 38 weeks pregnant with her second child when she noticed the baby was no longer moving.
She and her husband, Jon, rushed to The Wesley Hospital where their worst fears were confirmed - their unborn baby girl, already named Ella Grace, had died.
Ella was delivered stillborn via caesarean-section the following night on July 28 last year.
Sarah and Jon will forever cherish the photos of their little girl taken by volunteer professional photographers from the Heartfelt Photography charity.
However, Sarah said she was initially reluctant about having her daughter photographed.
“I felt particularly protective of Ella and didn't know how comfortable I would be with a stranger photographing my family at such an intimate and emotional time,” Sarah said.
“Thankfully, I changed my mind - a decision I would not regret. The photographer was respectful and compassionate, capturing Ella's innocence and perfection as if she were in an eternal sleep.
“Ella was perfect in every way, weighing 2865 grams and measuring 50cm in length. She looked almost identical to her older sister, Sophie, at birth, with a mass of jet black hair and long limbs.
“We have beautiful photographic memories of Ella to treasure and share with friends and family thanks to Heartfelt.”
It is not known what caused Ella's death and Sarah's pregnancy was considered low risk.
In fact, only five days before the stillbirth, Sarah had received positive results from a routine 38-week pregnancy check-up.
Sarah said it was not until an ultrasound confirmed that Ella’s heart had stopped beating that the reality of the tragedy set in.
“We were so shocked and could not believe our baby girl had died,” she said.
“I want others to be aware that a stillbirth can happen to anyone.”
To help other families in similar situations, the Sherwood couple have donated a special camera kit from the charity to the Wesley’s maternity ward.
“With this camera gift, it’s our way to thank and give back to Heartfelt and the Wesley so they can continue to help grieving families like ours cope better with the loss of their babies.”
The Wesley Hospital Pastor Julie Mackay-Rankin said photos were an important part in helping grieving parents come to terms with the sudden loss of their baby’s life, regardless of how brief that life may have been..
“At the Wesley, we focus on holistic healthcare ensuring families like the Cranes receive quality emotional and spiritual support in addition to excellent clinical care,” Pastor Mackay said.
Thanks to the Crane’s Heartfelt camera kit gift, the Wesley staff will have access to a quality compact camera for low-light shooting, a compact printer for immediate photo printing for families, paper and ink supplies, camera case and a USB of Heartfelt video tutorials.
As a private not-for-profit hospital the Wesley receives no government funding and relies on donations from the community to continue providing vital community services. Your gift will make a difference.
Find out how you can support the Wesley at wesley.com.au/donate