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Nova radio host Ryan ‘Fitzy’ Fitzgerald and wife, Belinda ‘BJ’ Irons have opened up about the heartbreak of losing their first daughter, Cayley-Jay.
Speaking to the Cameron and Ali Daddo on their podcast Separate Bathrooms, the couple recalled the tragic moment that they were able to say goodbye to their daughter after ending the pregnancy.
Fitzy and BJ have recalled the tragic moment of saying goodbye to their first child.
When a routine scan identified that the pair’s unborn daughter had a “really bad case of spina bifida”, the first time were advised that Cayley-Jay would not have survived very long after birth.
The first-time parents had to make a heartbreaking decision.
“It was a really tough one as well. And the one thing that I do remember is that I thought, ‘Oh, this could break us like this is pretty full on’,” Fitzy recalled.
Fitzy also recalled that the doctor suggested the bereaved parents spend time with Cayley-Jay after the birth, but at first he was reluctant.
“The doctor said, ‘my advice is that you give birth and I think you should have the child and spend some time with the child’ and I instantly went, ‘No, no way. I’m not letting BJ this will really affect her. I’m not letting you do that.”
BJ recalled the time as the “worst, best day possible” and said that despite the “horrible situation” the pair received tremendous support.
Fitzy added that rather than break them, the day actually brought them closer together as a couple.
“We got to spend time with Cayley-Jay… I thought that was going to haunt both of us. But it was a moment to say thank you. We spent a bit of time with her … And we said our goodbye. And it was really emotional.”
The pair share sons 12yo Hewston and 9yo Lennox.
At just 15 weeks old, Cayley-Jay was so small that BJ remembers her fitting into her hand.
“I remember when she came out, and she was just like a little doll like she was perfect… she had fingernails, and little lips,” she said.
“I remember touching her little lips. And I was like, Oh my gosh, there’s a little tongue in there as well.”
In an emotional moment, the new mum turned over her sweet baby to ensure that the diagnosis has been correct.
“(Cayley-Jay) had this new really big open wound up her back. And I remember that, to me, I was thinking that that’s a sign that we’ve done the right thing. It was tough,” she said.
Fitzy says the experience brought them closer together as a couple.
The couple decided against telling their family and friends that they’d had a miscarriage, BJ choosing to share their experience as it actually happened, to help normalise it.
“I woke up I was like, I can’t. I don’t want to be sitting here today talking about a miscarriage, when she was here for a reason,” BJ said.
“And this does happen. It happens. One in three women you know, and it’s okay. It was our decision. And we made that together.”
It’s not the first time the Nova host has opened up about the experience. Speaking to Sunday Style magazine in 2015 the 45-year-old opened up about the traumatic experience and the impact it had on him and BJ.
“My wife and I lost a child [during pregnancy], so there was a moment where that was the end of the world,” he told the publication.
Before going on to explain that when they finally welcomed their first son, it put everything into perspective.
“But when we had our first child, Hewston we had to think how lucky we were to have one,” the radio presenter mused.
In 2013 the former Big Brother star told website Show And Tell: “We lost our first child Cayley-Jay and unfortunately BJ still had to give birth. It was a very traumatic experience but also brought us so much closer and we produced a beautiful boy, Hewston.”