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TARA, REICE, CALEECI AND NOAH

THE ROBINSON FAMILY

“The next day I woke up and I remember thinking of the quote, ‘This is the day the Lord has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it’, and I think from that point on it just gave me the courage to deliver him. I thought ‘He is here for a purpose, I am going to enjoy him no matter what, I am going to push through, I am going to have a natural birth and just enjoy every moment of it’.” Tara gave birth to Allachi Gabriel Robinson on 14 January. He was nine pounds. The couple spent three days with Allachi; taking photos, weighing him, sleeping with him, and giving him a bath. A week later a cremation was organised and his ashes was transferred to the Sunshine Coast, where Tara and Reice held a ceremony at Mooloolaba Beach: the same spot they were married and shared their first kiss. The emotional rollercoaster had left the couple exhausted, but Tara was determined to stay strong and went back to work just three weeks later. She says her motivation to get back to reality may have been the reason for falling pregnant again just three months later. Unfortunately, the doctors’ prediction did not come true and once again Tara and Reice were sent through a spiral of turmoil, when at 20-weeks they were told their growing son also had Pulmonary Atresia, although this time there was a silver lining. “The difference was that Sasha’s valve grew to the right width, which meant he would have a greater chance of survival outside the womb,” Tara says. “We were sent for testing in Brisbane and we were monitored closely throughout the pregnancy. Once he got bigger and the valve kept growing, the doctor’s gave us more hope.” At 38 weeks pregnant, the couple moved into the Ronald McDonald Charity House ready for Tara to be induced. “Labour came on and I gave birth standing up to Sasha Josiah. He was 7.5 pounds … I got a few cuddles, they cut the cord, and that’s when all the fun began.” Reice and Sasha were whisked off with the cardiac surgeons, who began attaching wires and pumping pregnancy hormones into the tiny baby to keep his valve open and heart pumping. Meanwhile, a team of 10 were working on keeping Tara alive. Her placenta had broken off in the womb and she was hemorrhaging. “I ended up losing about one litre of blood. They didn’t have time to get me down to surgery so they did everything without anesthetic … it was horrendous,” she says. “So far the whole perfect birth plan ended up being really hectic. Between the two of us we had about 20 people working to keep us alive.” Tara’s recovery took about a week before she could refocus on her newborn son, who was battling an infection from an ink-line that had been put into his june 2014

So far the whole perfect birth plan ended up being really hectic. Between the two of us we had about 20 people working to keep us alive.” vein to see the opening of his heart valves. However, at five-weeks-old Sasha was strong enough to have the surgery, and at nine weeks, they took him home. “He was doing really well, feeding well, he had his first check at home with the nurses and they weighed him and he was healthy, he had a doctors appointment and they were happy with how he was going too,” Tara says, sighing at the next devastating point in their story. “A couple of days later I was trying to breastfeed Sasha, but there was something wrong. He wouldn’t drink properly and then he started to go downhill. Within five minutes everything was a panic, with Reice doing CPR and me calling the ambulance.” After almost two hours of trying to pump Sasha’s tiny heart back to life, doctors declared he had died. “It turned out that the infection had scarred some tissue, which broke off in a large particle and somehow had blocked the shunt. Without us knowing, every time CPR was being done, it kept lodging it into the shunt even further. We didn’t know. There was nothing we could have done.” Through these ups and downs, Tara discovered she had a passion for helping others and enrolled at Tafe to study her certificate in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care, while Reice enrolled at university to study a Bachelor of Communications, Information Technology. Tara finished the course as a finalist in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year Award, a massive accomplishment after everything they had endured. The good news didn’t stop there either; in 2011 the couple discovered they were expecting another child, this time a healthy baby girl, Caleeci – with no sign of Pulmonary Atresia. She is now the light in their life, along with Tara’s first-born son Noah. Tara is now working with youth and in women’s business, helping other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women cope with the emotional ups and downs life throws their way. By telling their story, Tara and Reice hope more parents will join them in supporting families on the Sunshine Coast, who like them, are dealing with the pain and loss of a child behind closed doors. profilemagazine

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June Profile Magazine 2014  
June Profile Magazine 2014  

Sunshine Coast Magazine featuring Corporate Lifestyle, Business, Local Profile Stories, Fashion & Life Advice.