'They left my baby to die'

Rachel Sorensen is haunted by pictures of her premmie baby daughter, Poppi, who was left to die late last year.
Rachel Sorensen is haunted by pictures of her premmie baby daughter, Poppi, who was left to die late last year. Sue Harris

WHEN Poppi Gardner was born, she cried, moved and breathed – but two hours later, she was dead.

And no one tried to save her.

Rachel Sorensen knew something was wrong when she went into labour when she was 22-and-a-half weeks pregnant with Poppi.

Ms Sorensen, from Gayndah, was taken to Bundaberg Hospital, where she was told she would have to have the baby early and that it was policy not to fight to keep alive babies born before 24 weeks.

Ms Sorensen said the staff prepared her to expect Poppi to be born and take a few breaths before dying.

“You can imagine the shock I got when she was born and let out a big cry and just started breathing,” Ms Sorensen said.

“And then more breathing – she kept going, she was wriggling her little arms and legs. She was holding my finger with her tiny little hand.”

The fourth-time mum lost a lot of blood and went into shock after spending just 10 minutes with her little girl.

“As I was coming to, (partner) Anthony said, ‘I think she's gone', and that was it,” Ms Sorensen said.

“She was perfect.”

Almost four months after Poppi was born, Ms Sorensen and her partner Anthony Gardner are struggling to come to terms with their loss.

And now they are on a mission to make sure no parent has to go through the same thing.

An online petition has been started on Facebook and, just one week after it was created, almost 200,000 people have signed it.

Ms Sorensen is campaigning for hospitals to change their policy to enable babies born under 24 weeks to have a chance at life.

“If you have a baby after 20 weeks that passes away, you need a birth certificate and a funeral – so they are people,” the grieving mum said.

Ms Sorensen said she would have made the decision to let her child go if her quality of life was expected to be poor.

“I think if I had the chance, I would have kept Poppi alive just to see how she would go. But if she had too many complications, we would let her go,” Ms Sorensen said.

“I still cry over Poppi every single day. If I had the chance to do it over, I would stomp my feet until they did what I wanted them to do. I would have given my little girl a chance at life.”

Mr Gardner said he held Poppi for the two hours that she lived.

“Poppi came out crying – she had her own voice,” he said.

“They should have fought for her.”

Ms Sorensen's friend, Donna Crabb, began the petition and will take it to her next Labor Party branch meeting.

To sign the petition, search Facebook for "Poppi's Rule".

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