Josh and Danielle Courtney’s hearts are breaking after their son Lucas Alexander was stillborn last month, but they are finding a path through grief with a determination to help others.
The couple were out for dinner on July 17, their fifth wedding anniversary, when Ms Courtney, who was almost 37 weeks pregnant, began to suffer pain and began bleeding. The couple raced to Ballarat Base Hospital but emergency surgery could not save tiny Lucas.
What made their unbearable loss a little easier was the ability to have Lucas with them for as long as they needed to make some memories and say their goodbyes.
Ballarat Health has one cuddle cot, a cooling system fitted in to a small cot which allows babies who have passed away to stay with their family.
It meant Lucas’ siblings Xavier, 4, and Charlotte, 2, could spend time with him and allowed the couple’s families, many of whom live interstate, to meet the much-loved little boy.
“We got to make some memories and do it in our own time. The kids got to meet him – Charlotte and Xavier read him books. Not being able to keep him with us would … traumatised us even more,” Mr Courtney said.
In memory of Lucas the family is raising $6000 to buy a second cuddle cot for BHS.
“The cuddle cot allowed us to have him with us for five days or so, but BHS only has one so what happens if there are two families in there at the same time who need it?” he said.
The couple praised the “absolutely amazing” BHS staff who “made the worst week of our lives a little bit easier”.
“This is about us trying to do something in Lucas’ honour, to help someone else, and turn our misery in to a bit of a positive,” Mr Courtney said. “We want to try and do something to give us something positive to focus on to try and get through this.”
In recognition of the six babies stillborn in Australia every day, Mr Courtney has also started Legging it for Lucas and aims to run 2200km before Lucas’ birthday on July 17.
“There are six stillbirths a day, which works out to 2200 a year and I’m going to try to run 1km for each and have people sponsor me. I’d like to get $2 for every kilometre.”
Donate to the In Memory of Lucas Alexander account on gofundme.com or look up Legging it for Lucas on Facebook.