Six years ago Stacey and Ryan Skrysak received the shock of their lives.
After struggling for years with infertility, Stacey discovered that not only was she pregnant, she was pregnant with triplets.
At just over 22 weeks into the pregnancy, Stacey delivered her triplets. The couple named them Abby, Parker, and Peyton.
Abby, Parker and Peyton
The survival rate of an infant born before 24 weeks is between 10-25%. Unfortunately, Abby did not make it. At just two hours old, Stacey and Ryan were forced to say goodbye to her.
The heartbreak of losing Abby was painful to say the least. Through the sadness, the couple found strength in their surviving pair of babies – Parker and Peyton. They spent their days in the NICU with them, waiting to be able to bring them both home.
Tragically, the couple was once again left heartbroken when Parker died in their arms. He was just two months old.
116 days after welcoming their three babies, Stacey and Ryan left the hospital with just one – Peyton. The couple decided against having any more children. After such a heartbreaking journey, Peyton was more than enough.
As Stacey tells Today,
For so many years, Ryan and I didn’t know if we would ever try for more children. The fear of losing another child was too big to ever consider adding a sibling to the family.”
History Repeats Itself with Rainbow Baby Piper Avery
However, as we all know, our best-laid plans often go astray. Six years later Stacey and Ryan find themselves right back in the same maternity wing, cradling their special rainbow baby (a baby born after a loss) – a little girl named Piper Avery. Piper to honour the P in Parker and Avery to honour the A in Abby.
In the same hospital, just one floor above, we sat six years ago cradling our son, Parker, as he passed away in our arms. The same doctor and nurses helped us welcome Piper six years later and I don’t know if there was a dry eye among us.”
Piper arrived almost exactly six years after her brother Parker’s death. She weighed in at nearly eight pounds — the size of baby Peyton at six months old.
It’s hard to put into words what it’s like welcoming a baby into this world after losing a child — or in our case, two children.
The sheer joy we feel, but also the heartache I feel because I’m experiencing a beautiful and healthy newborn, with so many ‘firsts’ I never had the chance to experience with two of my children.”
Pregnancy After Tragedy
Stacey admits that when she discovered she was pregnant again, she found it very hard to connect to the pregnancy or her unborn baby, simply because she wouldn’t allow herself to.
“I was forced to face my fears. As parents of child loss, we know the absolute worst thing that could happen and I couldn’t open my heart up to that heartache all over again.”
But slowly, as the weeks progressed, I found myself getting excited and I found hope seeping in. The fear is still there — even now a few days after delivery, but having this sweet girl in my arms makes it all worth it.”
Peyton and Piper
Since Piper’s birth, Stacey is basking in those newborn days with Piper and enjoying watching Peyton step into the role of a proud big sister. Stacey admits her parenting journey hasn’t been easy and describes it as “so much heartbreak mixed with happiness and hope.”
Watching our surviving triplet, Peyton, hold her new sister fills my heart with so much joy. I truly believe she was meant to be here.
I know she was handpicked by her brother and sister in heaven. Our family of six is now complete.”
Awareness of Infant Loss
No parent should have to go through what Stacey and Ryan have endured. But infant loss does happen. For every 300,000 babies born in Australia each year, nearly 3,000 do not survive to their first birthday.
If you have lost a baby, please understand you’re not alone. Visit the Red Nose Day website for more information on stillbirth and infant loss.