2023 Tax Appeal

The arrival of a new baby is one of life’s most exciting moments. From the time a woman is pregnant, she dreams of not only her baby to come but also of a healthy child, a vibrant adolescent and an independent adult she will leave safely behind. Yet, for many women, like Kate, the anticipation of holding a healthy baby in their arms can sadly slip out of reach.

Annually, around 2,000 families experience the tragedy of stillbirth in Australia, and worldwide three million pregnancies are lost to stillbirth.

Evie Michelle’s cot card

Tragically, when Kate was 20 weeks pregnant, she lost her baby girl, Evie Michelle. “It was a gut-wrenching time. But the staff at Mercy Hospital for Women treated me with such care,” Kate says.

The Mercy Perinatal team is conducting research that aims to reduce the rates of stillbirth so mothers like Kate don’t have to experience this heartbreak.

Kate, along with her husband Jeremy, have four children, 15-year-old Olivia, 11-year-old Leo, 8-year-old Elliott and 7-month-old Evelyn, who were all born at Mercy Hospital for Women in Heidelberg.

“The support and care I received at Mercy Hospital for Women was nothing but fabulous. I’ve had the best midwives and the best obstetricians. I’ve been treated with kindness the whole time I’ve been there, and I’ve had some obviously devastating experiences,” Kate says.

On Christmas Eve 2021, just over a year after enduring their devastating stillbirth experience, Kate and Jeremy discovered that Kate was pregnant again.

“It was the best thing to find out that we had another chance to have a baby, but it was also a very scary time and the whole nine months were anxiety-ridden,” Kate says.

Kate was referred to Mercy Perinatal’s STAR (Stillbirth and Reproductive Loss) Clinic which cares for women who have suffered a mid-trimester or later pregnancy loss or repeated early pregnancy losses.

“I was quite surprised to learn that there was a clinic solely dedicated to women like me who had a stillbirth or recurrent miscarriage,” Kate says.

At 10.43am on Friday 26 August 2022, Kate, Jeremy, and their family welcomed their daughter into the world.

“We called her Evelyn. The name was my daughter’s idea and she thought it would be lovely because it was in honour of Evie, and that’s how we wanted to pay tribute to her. We want her in our lives every day,” Kate says.

Kate Jones with Evelyn, now 7-months-old

“We were so happy – I still am – I still look at her and just pinch myself that she’s here. After everything we’ve been through.”

At the heart of Mercy Perinatal’s latest research are stories like Kate’s and that every mother deserves to experience the joy that comes with giving birth to a healthy baby and going home together.

Led by co-directors Professor Sue Walker AO and Professor Stephen Tong, the team at Mercy Perinatal is working tirelessly to develop a world-first blood test to help reduce stillbirth.

The test aims to measure ‘danger signals’ that leak out of the stressed placenta in pregnancies at high risk of stillbirth. Such at-risk babies could be safely delivered, taken out of harm’s way, and provided with the medical attention they need.

With your help, Mercy Perinatal’s challenge of a world-first blood test to help reduce stillbirth makes the impossible, possible.

“These screening tests could substantially decrease the global burden of stillbirth. It could flag babies at risk, and we could simply watch them very closely and deliver them before stillbirth strikes,” Prof Tong says.

With your support, Mercy Perinatal can continue this groundbreaking research and provide specialist care to women and families who need it most.

“I think it’s amazing that the Mercy Perinatal team is working so hard to prevent stillbirth. It’s something that you absolutely wouldn’t wish on anyone,” Kate says.

Together, we can make a real difference to the lives of thousands of people in Australia each year.

Please help us to bring more mothers and babies, like Kate and Evelyn, safely home.

Last reviewed May 2, 2023.