October is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month.
January 2020 started quietly and calmly for Andrea Duncan and her husband, Gary.
"We rang in the New year waiting for the arrival of our son Kaius. He was due on December 30," said Andrea. "He was comfortable in there, and I was fine with him taking his time. I figured he would make his appearance in the world soon enough."
On January 6, 2020, Andrea went to her 41-week appointment with her obstetrician.
"He was fine," said Duncan. "The doctor felt him and checked on everything, and then she sent us to the Women's Hospital for a non-stress test because she knew I had anxiety. So she sent us there to check on him and me, and my husband sat while I was hooked up for an hour, and he was perfectly fine. His heart was beating."
The next day, Andrea returned to the hospital for a fetal assessment. Something that had been scheduled due to how far past due she was.
"When the tech was done with the ultrasound, we could tell she seemed worried," Andrea explained. "She couldn't find the heartbeat."
After a short wait, a doctor came into the room and confirmed that their son Kaius was gone.
"He was gone just like that. He was there one day and then completely gone the next day."
Andrea says their world instantly shattered.
"I just felt sick to my stomach. My husband and I both just started crying. We just couldn't believe it."
Andrea searched for comfort and found hope in a support group on Facebook. It was also there that she learned about cuddle cots.
A cuddle cot is a cooling unit that preserves a stillborn baby’s body so that parents can spend a few more hours with their lost newborn.
To keep their son's memory alive, the Duncans started a fundraiser and were able to raise enough to purchase one cuddle cot for the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg.
"We're so proud of our son for starting this, for making this possible for other families at the Women's Hospital to be able to have their babies with them through the whole process from when they check into the hospital to when they are discharged. They're never alone."
The Duncans have since given birth to their rainbow child, Kinsley.
"Although we will never forget about Kaius, and it'll still hurt us probably every day for the rest of our lives, she has brought so much joy, energy and life into our home and hearts."
Today on Connections, Andrea shares her heartbreaking story and how they are using this experience to help others.