Mum of two, Imogen Petrak, was 36 weeks pregnant when she suffered an ear infection that caused catastrophic brain swelling and sadly took her life after the birth of her second baby last month.

Mrs Petrak, 35, had an emergency caesarean-section and gave birth to daughter Eleanor, four weeks premature, but didn’t survive herself, reports Daily Mail.

Mrs Petrak’s toddler, 17-months-old, was also unwell in the days leading up to her death, and blood tests have confirmed she died of pneumococcal meningitis, the Daily Telegraph reports.

Husband and widower John Petrak took baby Eleanor home from Gold Coast University Hospital last week.

The courageous father-of-two has opened up on his battle to come to terms with his crushing loss.

‘Imogen’s biggest dream was to see our daughter and she didn’t get to do that. We knew we were having a girl and she was just aching to see her. She had all her dresses picked out,’ he told the Gold Coast Bulletin.

Mr Petrak shed light on the bittersweet emotions that came when he welcomed his daughter into the world, hours before farewelling his wife.


‘The only way I can explain it was feeling every emotion at the same time. Worry, sadness, happiness, joy – everything all at once,’ he said.

Mr Petrak said he was grateful his eldest, 17-month-old JB, was too young to fully grasp the loss of his mother.

‘He actually pointed at a photo of his mum with a happy smile yesterday but he doesn’t know she’s gone … our first night home together it was just me and him and we just chased each other around the lounge (having fun). We’ve still got to live.’

Mr Petrak thanked his friends and family who have helped him through the shattering period.


A GoFundMe page set up by family friend Renee King to support the family has raised $119,000

Ms King paid a touching tribute to Ms Petrak on the page, telling of how she was loved by all who crossed her path.

‘She had the biggest heart and sweetest loving spirit, an incredible selfless mother and cherished wife,’ she said.

You can donate to the family here.

We wish John and his family lots of strength at this difficult time.

Please note: While many news sites are reporting that Mr & Mrs Petrak’s toddler is believed to be unvaccinated we feel this is not a necessary detail to report on, they don’t need fingers pointed – the family are going through enough without such allegations being repeatedly made.

Share your comments below

Images via gofundme

  • An ear infection! Oh my god! My daughter has regular ear infections, she’s suffered them since she was a toddler. One mire thing to add to the mum worry list


  • What a terrible thing to happen.


  • i hope that this family are doing ok in respect to what they have been dealt. especially hope that the kids are holding up alright.


  • Even after vaccination, some with a low immune system can still catch infections, diseases etc. I know one person who definitely all available vaccinations but still caught a potentially fatal disease and needed special treatment for some weeks.
    I hope this Dad and his children get all the emotional support they need, not just money.


  • Donated. What a terrible tragedy for this young family.


  • A lot of mixed emotions, I’m sure.


  • Deeply sorry for his loss. I’m sure his wife will be looking down on him and their children feeling so proud of them.


  • Sounds like he will cope very well – but such a tragedy that the little ones will never know their mother.


  • Such a sad story. I’m sure Imogen’s husband will be a great dad.


  • Sounds like he has a lot of support around him. He can honour his wife by being the best father to their children.


  • So so sad, what should be such a happy time welcoming a baby has become so hard as they farewell the mother.


  • How horrible! I feel for anyone to go through this, raising a child with 2 parents is hard enough and to have to keep up with the demands of a newborn after just saying goodbye to your beloved wife, it’s crushing.


  • How blessed are we that don’t have to endure this sort of thing. We really must count our blessings.


  • Oh gosh, so incredibly sad and awful. My thoughts are with the family.


  • My heart breaks for this family. Very tragic, very sad. A little tear shed.


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