Sunday 22 October 2017

'The hospital holds nothing but bad memories of neglect for her' - Long fight for truth about the baby my wife never saw

In the wake of the Tuam scandal, Anthony J Jordan recounts the tragic tale of his first-born Antonia Marie and his quest to prove that she was baptised

At the site of Z 303: Anthony J Jordan in Glasnevin Cemetery Photo: Damien Eagers
At the site of Z 303: Anthony J Jordan in Glasnevin Cemetery Photo: Damien Eagers

Anthony J Jordan

The publicity over the Tuam babies has sent my thoughts straying towards the forthcoming anniversaries of the birth and death of our first-born daughter. Her life had lasted for 40 hours in 1970, but successive events have served to continuously remind me of what was and what might have been.

We have no material object to link us to Antonia Marie; no photograph, no piece of hair, no touch, no blessing, no funeral, no grave. My wife had no sight of her when she informed an enquiring nurse: "My baby is dead, nurse."

The hospital holds nothing but bad memories of neglect for her. I saw Antonia thrice in an incubator. I wrote her a series of contemporary letters while she lived and after her death. The hospital made us an urgent offer to bury her, which in our vulnerable circumstances and without any advice, we accepted. It was a disastrous decision. The letter read:

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