Bundle of joy eases the pain

Written By miftah nugraha on Minggu, 07 April 2013 | 19.55

LIZ Sheppard is rejoicing at holding a baby in her arms, six months after losing her son Andreas.

Her daughter Adalyn was born at Calvary Hospital in Hobart on Thursday night.

"We didn't plan it. She was an absolute shock but a nice one," Mrs Sheppard said.

"I'm always going to have a huge hole left from Andy but Adalyn puts a little patch on it."

Andreas died on October 6, at just 15 months, from an extremely rare heart condition.

His brave struggle for life inspired thousands of people, some of whom formed "Andy's Army" to support the boy known as "little monkey" and his mum, dad Nathan, sisters Maykayla and Sinead and brother Soren.

The family, from the Hobart suburb of Mornington, planned to set up a charity in Andy's name.

"We want to help others by improving palliative care for children in Tasmania," Mrs Sheppard, a student nurse, said.

The many visits to Melbourne for treatment for Andreas had shown them that Tasmania lacked specialised services for dying children.

"There is a lot of stigma about these things here, as if we shouldn't talk about things," she said.

"Tasmania has a high rate of stillbirths. I think people need more choices. They should have the option to take their child home and have photographs taken."

The Sheppards decided to keep this pregnancy quiet to avoid a fuss.

As it turned out, Adalyn was born without complications.

The whole process took 1 1/2 hours and she was the biggest baby Mrs Sheppard has had, weighing just over 4kg (9lb 3oz).

"It was very important for me to have a calm, peaceful environment and the staff at Calvary were so lovely and understanding," she said.

"I also want to thank Andy's Army for being continuously supportive. We still get daily messages."

Mrs Sheppard said her other children were excited about having a new sister.

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