Warning: Distressing content
Brooke Campbell knew something was very wrong when she couldn’t feel her precious baby boy moving in her womb.
She was 36 weeks pregnant and in the early hours of August 28, had suddenly started haemorrhaging blood.
It wasn’t until she arrived at hospital however, that the 27-year-old Brisbane mum was given the most devastating news; her darling boy Darcy didn’t have a heartbeat.
"Everything was perfect at the last scan 6 days prior and I had no pains or anything," Brooke told Be. "I went to bed normally that night and only woke up to minor cramps which turned out to be early labour then it all started very quickly."
Then, Brooke felt a rush of fluid which she at first thought was her waters breaking.
"I was in shock at first – I thought it was my waters breaking but it was just blood gushing out everywhere," she said.
"I knew something was very, very wrong. I couldn't feel him moving or anything so I had a feeling he was gone. I was more in shock and just trying to stay calm because I knew the amount of blood i was losing wasn't a good sign for myself either, and I went very pale and weak so just sat on the floor covered in blood-soaked towels until the ambulance arrived."
Brooke was also acutely conscious of the fact that her two-year-old son Noah was sleeping nearby.
"I was quiet because Noah was asleep in the room down the hallway and I didn't want to wake him up," she said.
After Brooke and her husband Elliott arrived at hospital they were devastated by what they learned.
“I looked at the ultrasound screen and could see Darcy's lifeless body just hanging there inside me,” Brooke told Nine Honey.
“There are no words, just that gut-wrenching and vivid picture in my mind that I will never forget.”
Brooke’s obstetrician started crying as she told her that she’d lost her perfectly healthy boy. Brooke’s husband collapsed when he later came into the room and was told. He had been fetching a bag full of things for Brooke and the baby from the ambulance.
“He just dropped to the floor hysterically crying,” Brooke recounted, “He took it really badly. Three nurses helped him back to his feet.”
Neither of them could believe it, or could even begin to process what had just happened. They were unaware of it at the time, but Brooke has a common genetic disorder called Factor V Leiden.
It’s a condition that occurs in around four percent of Australians and can cause miscarriage and infertility. In Brooke’s case, it caused a placental abruption that saw her lose over 1.7 litres of blood. It starved Darcy of oxygen in the womb, and very nearly cost Brooke her life.
Although the condition can be screened for via a blood test, Brooke didn’t know what it was before she was confronted with the horror of losing her son, and she doesn’t want other mothers and babies to have the same fate.
“The pain and suffering we endured through the past six weeks are just horrendous and no parent should ever have to ever bury their healthy child,” Brooke told the Daily Mail.
“I don't want people to risk their own lives or the lives of their unborn children so I just want to get the message across this disorder does exist.”
Knowing that she’d already lost him, Brooke still had to go through labour and birth Darcy. The hospital gave her, Elliot, and Noah a couple of days to say goodbye and they were able to take some precious family photos with their boy.
Brooke said she and Elliott have talked to Noah about the loss of his brother, and plan to continue.
"We have spoken about the whole thing to Noah but obviously, he is still so young so doesn't understand much," she told Be.
"We will continue to let him know as he grows up that he had a younger brother Darcy and that he loved him very much
Brooke’s sister Cara has since started a fundraising effort to help other families who have to leave hospital without their babies.
In her post on Hugs for Hope she wrote, “On Monday 28 August, Angel ~Darcy Chase~ was born sleeping.”
“My sister Brooke & her husband Elliot’s beautiful Angel was the most perfect healthy little boy and he has filled our hearts with so much love.
“Brooke & Elliot received a Bear Of Hope donated by another bereaved family, in memory of their dearly loved baby ~Sophie Cleo~.
“Brooke & Elliot would like to raise funds in memory of ~Darcy~, so he can donate Bears of Hope to other families in his honour.”
Cara adds that remaining funds will go towards support packages, counselling, fundraising, psychologists, support groups, hospital in-services and community events. You can donate here.
For support on miscarriage, stillbirth and newborn death you can visit Bears of Hope.