Faith & Rose

Guest Post by Emily Osborne

It’s another sleepless night. My body is heavy and tired but I always fight the urge to close my eyes for fear of the nightmares. Waking up to the realisation I have to face it again, live it again, and paint on that brave face again.

It has been almost two years since I lost my baby girl born at 22 weeks, due to severe conditions that left her incompatible with life. Just over 12 months since I lost my rainbow baby girl also born at 22 weeks, due to a infection in my uterus which caused me to go into early labour and deliver our healthy little girl too soon.

Our Amelia Faith and Everly Rose forever a part of me.



It’s impossible to talk about, and difficult to write the words to describe the pain. The loneliness, the anger, the hurt, the why’s, the fear, the constant crushing pain in my chest. How do I explain it all? How can I possibly tell you what it’s like to be told your baby will not survive this. Not once, but twice. Not years and years apart, but within months apart.

How do I tell you the immense pain of what it’s like to give birth to your babies knowing the room will be silent when they arrive, even though I can hear screaming babies in the next room. How do I put into words the time I had to wait for my doctor to keep checking if my baby’s heart was still beating as I held her in my arms, and finally with a shake of his head he confirmed what I already knew was coming.

It is impossible. The first time was so utterly soul destroying I didn’t know if I would be strong enough to walk another day. To leave that hospital without my baby girl was the hardest thing of all. Knowing she was alone in a hospital freezer somewhere and I couldn’t protect her or keep her warm. Can you imagine me, as I slowly took the journey down the maternity ward corridor fighting to breathe through the tears, my hand firmly clasped on my now empty womb. Willing for my legs to walk out of that hospital. Never, ever did I imagine I would have to live this again, especially so soon.

When I started having concerns with our Rainbow baby, they told me over and over there was nothing to worry about. It wasn’t until it was too late that they found the cause and now were telling me again, there was nothing they could do to save her. I have never screamed such a primal painful scream before. I begged them to save her and I didn’t care if my life was a concern.

The most scary thing of all was, I knew what I was going to endure, and I wasn’t able to face that again. I wanted my baby to stay inside me until she was able to be saved, I fought every doctor and midwife until in the end my body failed me again and she was coming. The physical and emotional pain was torture, but somehow I had to do it all over again, and give birth to another perfect baby girl.

I had to will myself to leave my baby and that hospital all over again. It was a bad nightmare, it was cruel, it was unfair. My husband wheeled me out of the hospital. I physically and mentally couldn’t walk. With empty arms we took that exact same journey out of the maternity ward. As we reached the front of the hospital there stood a heavily pregnant lady smoking. My heart sank, my husband’s face was full of fury. Life was impossible to live.


Living was the only option for me. I have two beautiful children at home who were waiting for me. Devastated they lost another baby sister, and yet so young and capable of so much compassion, love and respect. They would come lay by my side in bed where I remained for weeks at a time. They would stroke my hair and face and tell me they loved me. Their beautiful little souls and faces brought me back to life a little piece at a time. Without my amazing husband and children, I don’t think I would have survived this, I don’t think I would be here writing this.

They were my lifelines, they showed me I could love and laugh again.

The immense pain never goes away, it slightly shifts and comes in waves, but it’s all still so raw for me that I really need to push myself every day. I know I can’t do anything to change my past, or bring my girls back, but I can live for them, remember them and honour them. This is my life, my truth. I’m 32 years old, married to my best friend and we have four beautiful babies, two in our arms and two in our hearts.


Emily makes beautiful custom laser cut items from her home in Newcastle, Australia. Her store ‘Faith & Rose’ can be found on Facebook and Instagram.

Sands supports anyone affected by the death of a baby.

Our 24 hour support line is open 13000 72637





A Life Promised

Guest post by Leisa Andersen

I used to feel that my grief and how I dealt with it wasn’t validated, was too ‘over the top’. I mean we were only 15 weeks. He wasn’t a ‘real’ baby, a legal baby. Small enough to hold him in the palm of a hand, but we could still count 10 little fingers and 10 little toes. I’ve since come to realise it doesn’t matter. 15 weeks or 40 weeks, the outcome is the same…they’re gone.

From the start you love them. You plan, you make changes, you stop eating the wrong foods and start taking the right vitamins. I learned it’s OK to grieve and it’s OK to do what you need to do to keep going. There is no right or wrong, just what’s right for you.

Physically he may have been small, bit what we lost was so much bigger than that: the life promised by those two blue lines; the child that was going to complete our family; the brother that our son had been longing for. A lifetime lost in a moment.

The 7th of February was 1 year since we met and held Baby James. I’ve wanted to share a photo for a long time but have always been worried about how it may affect others (friends and family) so have held back. Today I share this photo proudly as one of my most cherished photos.

2018-02-06 11.26.07


If you, or someone you know needs support through pregnancy and infant loss, Sands has an extensive list of resources and support services freely available, please visit

If you would like to share your story with us here at the Sands Queensland blog, we would love to hear from you. Visit us at SandsQ Blog Submissions for details.

Update on the Sands Queensland Merger

Sands Queensland Committee President, Tina Thurtel, updates on the Sands Queensland merger, 14th January 2018

Reflecting on the reasons for merging:

Sands Australia, Sands Queensland and the other states have been working in partnership for some time now. Many years of relationship building and negotiation around service delivery has taken place and in essence, the values and objectives of all of these organisations are the same, yet we have all been operating separately. During my time as President, over the past year and a half, these negotiations have focused on increasing the intensity of the cooperation by exploring a merger between all the states.

In recent times, funding bodies have also indicated the preference for providing funding to fewer, but larger service providers. Sands in some states receive funding, but not in others, which makes it unfair for bereaved parents across the country, because of this, some have access to support, resources and events and others do not. I’m sure that you would all agree that all bereaved families across Australia should have equal opportunity to access support in their darkest hours, regardless of where they live.


Increasing the scale of Sands, to one strong organisation, working consistently across the country, will help Sands become a stronger brand, and more likely to be successful with future funding submissions and corporate donors as well as achieving greater grassroots. The whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts, improving our long term financial sustainability and helping us to focus on meeting our objectives in reaching out to bereaved families who might be feeling alone.

Merging will also bring the opportunity for delivering more comprehensive services to bereaved parents across the country by streamlining processes and communication channels, increasing collaboration across the states, pooling the talents and skills of all the staff and volunteers, and sharing information in a more effective and efficient manner across all the states.

Where are we now?

After the majority of members of Sands Queensland agreed to pursue the merger last October (at the AGM) a few milestones have been reached. The new national Sands – Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Newborn Death Support Limited has finalised its constitution and been registered and some of the Directors on the Board have been appointed. Steve Maycock, a corporate lawyer, who was previously on the Sands Queensland Management Committee and the Sands Australia National Council has been appointed as the Director on the Board representing Queensland.


Negotiations to retain our current workforce have been successful. Staff have been communicated with regarding their employment security. The management committee are now seeking consultation with paid staff regarding proposed changes to the staff/volunteer structure and roles for feedback. If any members are keen to contribute to this process, please let us know.

The Management Committee recently discussed the possibility of Sands Queensland merging with the other states at a meeting with our major funding body, Qld Health, reassuring them that funds provided for Queensland will only be used for Queensland, and the response was positive.

The Management Committee have also received legal advice on the first draft of the deed of merger and are preparing to send the feedback to Sands Australia. The deed of Merger is expected to be finalised within the next few months.

What are the next steps?

Position Descriptions, employment contracts and employee information packs will be developed for the staff to consider over the next three months. Offers of employment for our staff will be provided in April 2018.

Current members will be invited to vote on the winding up of Sands Queensland in June 2018.

Nicole 4

Nicole and State Manager Kate Cowmeadow (right) and parent volunteer Erin (left) at the Sands Walk to Remember

What does this mean for me?

Our expectation is that business will go on as usual during and after the merger. Support groups (face to face and online), events and activities in Queensland will continue to run with no interruption. Sands House, our paid staff and volunteers will still be available as usual.

Members that are current will have their membership transferred to the new entity.

If you have any questions or concerns please let us know.

Tina Thurtel

President Sands Queensland and National Council Member.


In Memory of Chloe and Olivia

As many grieving parents know, the journey after our losses is full of milestones such as anniversaries that are painful and emotional to live through. We all have our own ways to cope with these days but many of us have the same thought – we want to honour and remember our babies in a meaningful way.

That was parents Andrea and Jonathon’s thought as well whose precious twin girls Chloe and Olivia died almost a year ago.


As the first anniversary of their passing approaches, they wanted to do something special to commemorate the day. The idea for a high tea fundraiser was born. ‘We wanted something where people come together socially, can enjoy themselves and we can raise funds for Sands at the same time’, mum Andrea explains. Organising the event has helped her to keep a positive focus and to keep her grief a little at bay as the emotional anniversary approaches. Andrea and Jonathon describe the last year as their hardest ever and are very grateful for the support they received from Sands. ‘They were there, connected me to support groups that I can’t live without and other services’, Andrea says. For the help they received, they would like to give something back with their fundraiser.


The High Tea Fundraiser will take place on Sunday, July 9, at 12pm at the RACV Royal Pines Resort. The event is not to be missed. Besides a scrumptious high tea, there also will be a lucky door prize and a raffle to be won. A lot of small businesses have contributed generously to the raffle and lots of great prizes are up for grabs. If you can’t attend or live interstate but still would like to contribute, you can buy raffle tickets and might be the lucky winner of one of the prizes. To buy tickets, people are encouraged to pay cash where possible to the organizer or to transfer money to account 183991, BSB 812170, account name Michelle Shields. Raffle is $2 each or 3 for $5.

Post written by Sands Queensland volunteer, Karin Holmes

How to give love and support on International Bereaved Mother’s Day


May 7th is International Bereaved Mother’s Day.

It is a day for those in the Pregnancy and Infant Loss community to come together to show their support and recognition for those mothering children no longer here with them.

On this day we encourage you to reach out and let a bereaved mother know that you remember their baby and you see their motherhood.

Our volunteers have created and gifted to you a beautiful card that you can down load and print to give to a special Mum on this day as a simple gesture of understanding and love.


Click on link to download card

One card on A4

Our volunteers have also been creating matching personalised profile pictures via our Facebook page. Images are free to request at this link HERE


5 posts on how to support a bereaved mother this Sunday

  1. Why We Need Bereaved Mother’s Day, Women’s Weekly

Sands Parent Supporter Anne shares why she believes we need Bereaved Mother’s Day and how you can reach out to a bereaved mother.

2. On Mother’s Day: Remembering Mothers Without Living Children, Anxiety House Brisbane

Tara Schafer shares what loving family and friends can consider doing to help support mothers without living children coping with loss.

3. Dear Non-bereaved Parent, 

A heartfelt letter to a friend explaining the feelings around loss.

4. Mother’s Day Perspective From a Bereaved Father, Still Standing Magazine

Insight from a father on Facing Mother’s Day.

5. Carly Marie, Project Heal, International Bereaved Mother’s Day

Tips on how to how to help a bereaved mother and if you are a bereaved mother, how to survive the day.

Sands Queensland wishes all mothers a gentle and loving Bereaved Mother’s Day and Mother’s Day. Please know you are not alone.

For full Sands support information, please visit our Sands Queensland Website and Facebook page.

Our online support groups are open to all Australian residents who have experienced the loss of a child during pregnancy or shortly after. To request to join, please email

2017 Sands Queensland Management Committee

The Sands Queensland Management Committee is comprised of volunteers who dedicate their time and skills to help steer Sands in it’s mission to promote and facilitate quality support and care systems for the parents and families of babies who have died during pregnancy, at birth or soon after.

We welcome and thank the new Committee for 2017 and look forward to a productive year.

Tina Thurtel – President


Tina and the family at the 2016 Walk to Remember

Our daughter, Willow, was stillborn at full term in October 2015. For the past four years I have been an Educator and Assessor for various Registered Training Organisation’s delivering Youth Work, Counselling, Community Services and Mental Health. Previously, I had fifteen years experience working in non- government charity organisations and Management Committee’s across Qld and NSW. I have a degree in Psychology, a Post Graduate Diploma of Counselling, Diploma of Community Services Coordination, and Cert IV Training and Assessment. I was raised in a small country town in Northern NSW and moved to Brisbane twenty years ago.





Nicky Lynch – Secretary

Nicky 1

Nicky Lynch

After a long career in banking and finance I was drawn to a gentler career in the non-profit sector. Voluntary work in several organisations sparked a passion for community work and led me to Sands Queensland in 2005. My passion for grass roots community work developed as Sands struggled to overcome the many obstacles facing volunteer organisations including a lack of funding and the pressure to become more professional or businesslike in their activities. I completed a Bachelor of Human Services and Graduate Certificate in Business (Philanthropy and Not for Profit Studies) which allowed me to better understand the voluntary sector and provide useful skills as the Organisation navigated the changing environment.

As Office Manager until 2015 I was lucky enough to witness Sands’ transition to the leading provider of bereavement services and its never wavering commitment to its mission.

For the past eighteen months I have lived in Abu Dhabi (where my husband
is currently based) and taken the opportunity to travel. Now back in Brisbane,
I have joined the Sands Queensland Management Committee as Secretary and hope to continue my contribution to this wonderful organisation. The stint in the Middle East has once again led me to re-evaluate life with my hope for a less complicated existence. A couple of chickens, a dog and well-tended herb and vegetable gardens are now my focus.

My daughter is a lawyer in Perth and my son works in property development in Brisbane. My husband hopes to be home in early 2017.

Amanda Rohan – Secretary


General Committee Members

WTR 2011 Ribbon banner

Fra Left: Marie Deuble

Marie Deuble
For almost 30 years, Marie and her late husband Bob Deuble have supported parents and their families in the Townsville region. Their commitment to Sands Queensland and its mission has been unwavering. Sands Townsville is now recognised by health care professionals and the wider community as a leader in the support of bereaved parents through all stages of pregnancy loss and new born death.

Marie continues to provide invaluable support to Sands Queensland.




Nell Hakfoort


Nell Hakfoort (right) at the 2016 Sands Luncheon

I received invaluable support from Sands Qld in 2014 when my baby Jasper was born at 16 weeks gestation. Since then I have been involved with the organisation as a volunteer, which has given me many opportunities to honour Jasper in positive and meaningful ways, and to connect with other people who understand and empathise with my experience. I have been inspired by many of the amazing people I have gotten to know through Sands Qld.
Most of my working life so far has been spent as a qualified picture framer and retail business manager, until I re-trained in graphic design. I live in Brisbane with my husband and three sons, and am a full-time mother and occasional graphic designer.
I recently joined the management committee because I believe Sands Qld has a very important role in supporting and advocating for bereaved parents, and I want to help continue that crucial work.


Sands Australia Delegate


Nicole and her daughter at the Sands Queensland Walk to Remember

Nicole Ireland

Having joined Sands Queensland as a member following the death of our son Nicholas 11 years ago, I found the support services incredibly helpful for my family and our broader network. As time passed, I wanted to play a part in making sure that Sands Queensland would be able to provide support to newly bereaved parents across the State – support like we received.

I served on the Committee for four years and was President from September 2013 until the AGM in September 2016. I learnt a lot during that time and feel proud of my contribution in honour of our son. My current role at Sands Queensland is a delegate to Sands Australia.

I have a professional background in journalism, communications, stakeholder engagement and Government relations and have worked in the mining sector for much of my career. I live in Brisbane with my husband and our two young daughters.


Each year in September, a new Management Committee is selected from volunteers who are prepared to give of their time. If you are interested in learning more or perhaps becoming a Sands Queensland Committee member, please contact us on (07) 3254 3422 or email


To read more about the Committee and the positions available visit

President’s Report 2015/16

In time, I expect 2015/16 will be recognised as a pivotal year in the history of Sands Queensland. It was a year where we were forced to look hard at our mission and our services and our future. The potential cessation of the long-term Queensland Government funding meant that we had to look at ways to survive and keep the doors open.

As challenging as it was, one thing did shine through – the value of our organisation and the importance members and now, the broader community, place on what we do. As President the long-term struggle to retain the Government funding was often overwhelming but it was the ongoing support of members and their commitment that provided the drive to push on.

Through the Save Sands campaign we were able to position the organisation very strongly for the future. The money raised, along with renewed funding for 3.5 years means Sands is well-placed for the future. Of course there is more we could do – the aspiration to reach more hospital and health professionals all over the State remains a goal, along with building and supporting strong regional volunteer networks – all of which will help bereaved parents and those who will sadly join our ranks in the future.

It has been an enormous year but one which we should all be proud of.

Nicole and volunteers at the 2016 Walk to Remember

Nicole and volunteers at the 2016 Walk to Remember

I want to thank my fellow Committee members for their ongoing contribution; our staff for going above and beyond; and our members for continuing to volunteer, fundraise and support parents. I would particularly like to acknowledge the long-term involvement of Nerissa Healey and Penny ten Brinke who both leave the Committee this year – thank you for all that you have done in so many roles. Don’t be strangers!

In an organisation like Sands Queensland, everyone has a role to play and it is truly about helping one another.

It has been an honour and a privilege to serve as President and I thank the organisation and our members for allowing me to honour our Nicholas and help other bereaved parents.

~ Nicole Ireland, Sands Queensland Committee President 2013-16

For a review of the 2015/16 achievements, the Sands Queensland Annual Report for 2015/16 is available to download HERE