Kiro's and RJ’s Story
I’m Ashleigh, a film photographer and my boyfriend, TJ, is a basketball coach.
Our son RJ Apollo Burnett was born in January 2023 at 27 weeks + 6 days but his due date was not until the 20th of April. He weighed just 1 kilo when he was born.
His twin brother Kiro Theodore Burnett sadly passed away at birth.
As parents, you cannot plan a loss.
You do not think that you would be the one in that position until it happens. Everything changed from that moment in time: from telling people at my baby shower to no longer buy matching twin sets which was truly and utterly heartbreaking, to sitting at the dinner table with my boyfriend and my son, in the back of my mind thinking, there should be two little boys sat here.
From thinking about every birthday, Halloween or graduation to just being curious and wondering what kind of person Kiro would grow up to be, his loss is always felt.
As my twins are my first children, I always say: “I’m a mother of two”. I will always tell my family and friends that Kiro is always here, he is just locked in time.
“Not all twins walk side by side. Sometimes one has wings to fly."
We struggled for a while due to us having to plan a funeral for Baby Kiro at the same time as trying to be happy that RJ was doing well and going to be home soon. Me and my boyfriend never really had the time to mourn our loss. I don’t think we will ever have time to. We have to let our baby rest in peace now and in the words of Nekia-Brooke Thomson and her poem “When Tomorrow Starts Without Me” which I always quote:
“I promise no tomorrow,
but today will always last,
and since each day is the same way
there's no longing for the past
and someday I shall see you again”
For Kiro’s funeral, I wrote this poem:
“As I often lay awake at night, while the world is asleep,
and take a walk down memory lane, with tears upon my cheeks.
Remembering you is easy, I do it every day,
but missing you is heartache, that never goes away.”
No one can understand how stressful, upsetting and anxious it makes you feel when you see your baby in the NICU
When you see your baby in an ICU (Intensive Care Unit) box covered in tubes and cables, it is quite shocking and traumatising. No one prepares you for that. As a mum who already lost a child at birth, you can become very protective. I had all these constant thoughts running through my head: “What are all these tubes? Is he going to make it? Am I doing enough? Am I pumping enough milk? Am l spending enough time in the NICU?”
But you realise eventually that it is completely out of your control. Time is growth.
RJ is my amazing sunrise baby. He has thrived and is doing really well. He came home in late March and came off his oxygen in April. He was weaned off it gradually week by week until he no longer needed it (he even attempted to pull the tube out multiple times in the night.
RJ is now 8 months old and he now weighs 8kg. You would never know he was a premature baby. He loves to laugh, smile and play with rattle toys. He adores it when you dance and sing to him and he just loves the word “swooosh”.