On borrowed time

Melissa Agius family

Melissa and Simon said goodbye to their daughter Alexis at only 8 months and 26 days old after she was born with severe complications. This is Melissa’s story.

In June 2015 our beautiful 3rd babe Alexis was born. She came quickly and was born with complications we were unaware of during my pregnancy.

She was soon transferred to the NICU where they could look after her complex needs. She required tube feeding and regular suctioning due to having no suck, swallow or gag reflex.

On day four, our Lexie took a turn for the worse and we were told we would need to make the decision to turn off her life support.

Miraculously, during her routine care the nurse had taken off the CPAP mask and Lexie started to hold her own - we knew then that she was a fighter.

Lexie was here for only 8 months and 26 days before leaving this world and we savoured every single moment we had with her, both good and bad.

We never had to turn that machine off and we had time to get to know our baby. We are so lucky.

About four weeks after Lexie died, I started seeing a Red Nose grief counsellor after being referred by a friend.

I still remember my first session with Jocelyn, I think I said three words and then cried for an hour non-stop. She simply passed tissues, showed empathy and made me feel what I was feeling was ok.

After about six months my eldest son Pat, who was six years old at the time, started to see Jocelyn weekly too.

She helped him work through how he was feeling and he attended school holiday programs with other children who had lost their siblings.

In turn, our second son Joe also joined the sessions when he turned five a couple of years later.

Jocelyn helped us to make traditions to follow on birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas and Easter, to help us all set the scene and know what to expect.

She also helped me though my next pregnancy. Whilst everything about Loralei’s pregnancy was perfectly routine, for me it was hell.

These sessions were invaluable for all of us. They helped every one of us validate our feelings and reassure the family that we were ok.

When Lexie was with us we knew we were on borrowed time, so we made as many memories as we could.

We made sure to take thousands of photos and we display them everywhere.

Now, every year we raise money for a charity in her honour through photo mini sessions. To date we have raised over $30,000 for the charity.

My work also order Red Nose Day boxes every year and sell the merchandise to all the staff in the building to raise money for Red Nose.

On Lexie’s 2nd Red Nose Day we did an article for the local paper. One of the biggest things a lot of people don’t realise is Red Nose supports ALL bereaved parents through counselling and support services.

I love all that Red Nose do to help honour our daughter. It has always been our family’s pleasure to tell the story of this wonderful charity.

I thank Jocelyn for all her help in my hours of need. She helped me to learn to live with the crippling pain and make life worthwhile again.

I can never repay the support I was given, but from the bottom of my heart I want Jocelyn to know that she saved me.

She taught me it’s ok to not be ok and how to live a meaningful life surrounded by trauma.

She taught me to honour my beautiful daughter and to be true to myself and my family.

To other parents I’d like to say that it’s ok to have an off day, but remember you never know what is around the corner.

Take all the photos with your kids and get in the photos yourself. Always tell your loved ones they are loved, because you honestly never know how long you have with them.

Last reviewed: 6/8/21