independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Mother tells of 'heartbreaking' journey across sea for termination

A MOTHER recalled her difficult journey over the waters to Liverpool for a medical abortion after discovering her baby boy would not survive outside the womb.

In January 2010, Siobhan told how she learned her second child, whom she named Ben, had a chromosome abnormality, Patau syndrome, and would not survive beyond birth after she went to her local hospital for a scan at 22 weeks.

"We were looking forward to seeing the little scan picture and bringing it home and we brought our little son with us, he was 20 months," the mother recalled.

The consultant then told them the baby's brain had not developed properly, mostly likely due to a chromosome abnormality, and would most likely die in the womb, close to birth or very shortly after.

"She said in another jurisdiction we would be offered a termination but not in this country," Siobhan, who only provided her first name, told RTE's Joe Duffy on 'Liveline'. "'Because of our laws', that was all she really said."

She added: "In this country we would continue the pregnancy as normal, attend antenatal appointments and wait for nature to happen. Until the baby died in the womb or until I went into labour myself."

Siobhan said there may have been no risk to her life in the physical health sense but that did not mean there wasn't a risk to her mental health.

"I was saying I could see myself having to lock myself into the house for the remainder of the pregnancy, however long that was going to last," she said.

"I couldn't see myself going out and doing my weekly grocery shopping, going out and going to work and things like that and having to face people who would be asking you how the pregnancy was going, when you were due. It was unthinkable to me to have to cope with that. How could I have been a fit mother to my other son continuing with this?"

At her second follow-up appointment at another hospital, she was handed the report and told it was in case she "wanted to travel". After inquiring further, Siobhan was informed there were good reports about facilities in Liverpool Women's Hospital.

The mother told how they made the "heartbreaking" decision to travel to the UK but there was no support on her return.

She told how she received her son's ashes in the post.

"On the day of his cremation we had our own little ceremony at home. We knew he was getting cremated at 9.30am, two weeks later," she said, adding they were listening to the radio and that the Waterboys song 'Saints and Angels' came on as they marked his cremation.

"We still have his ashes at home in a little urn with a plaque on it."

Irish Independent

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