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Tuesday 17 September 2019

Eighth debate: Two mums share their heartbreaking stories of pregnancy

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TWO mothers have shared their heartbreaking pregnancy stories ahead of the upcoming abortion referendum.

Speaking on the Ray D'Arcy show on RTÉ Radio One, Liz McDermot told listeners why she's voting 'No', while Sinead McCarthy revealed why she's voting 'Yes'.

In 2002, Liz said that she and her husband Brian were expecting their second baby when their world was turned upside down.

"We were expecting baby number two and everything was fine and healthy.

"I had a scan at 24 weeks and that revealed that something was wrong.

"We were shellshocked. We said we wouldn't jump the gun and we came back the next day and we had an in-depth scan."

At the scan, Liz told Ray D'Arcy that nothing could have prepared them for what they were told. The doctor said that their baby would be born without any limbs and that he would never do anything but lie in a bed.

"The doctor turned to us and said: 'I'm very sorry, it's a very serious abnormality, basically the limbs haven't grown... I've got two measurements for two short arm buds and I can't even get a measurement on the legs'.

"He said everything else looked ok. I looked at the screen ... and I could see the shape of my baby's eyes. That was the thing that really registered with me, his face. I got to see the part of him that was entirely formed and that stayed with me."

Liz said that the doctor said to her: "I have to inform you that if you want to go to England, that'd be no problem, even at this late stage".

She added that she instinctively thought 'no' when she heard the word termination.

"He's there and I don't have right to interfere with his life ... He's only got me, I'm his first line of defence".

Liz gave birth to John two days after her due date.

"I remember when he was born, he was roaring, a fine big pair of lungs and lots of black hair and his apgar score was 9 so all his responses were strong."

John was born with no other genetic problems and is now 15-years'-old and is doing well in secondary school."

"John has this disability, but he makes light of it and it's so compensated for by his tremendous personality."

Also speaking on the Ray D'Arcy show today, mum Sinead McCarthy revealed why she's voting 'Yes' in the upcoming referendum.

Sinead told Ray D'Arcy that she and her husband Pat were delighted when they found out they were having a third child.

At 37-weeks pregnant, Sinead went for a scan last December, where she was given devastating news.

"I knew instantly there was something wrong," Sinead said when she saw the doctor's face at the scan.

She was told that her baby "is incompatible with life, there is no chance of survival in this case".

"I asked when he would bring me in to have the baby and he said it wouldn't be before 36 weeks and that his hands were tied.

"I knew it was because of the Eighth Amendment."

Having been referred to the Rotunda, Sinead and Pat were told that "there's no sugar coating it, there's no ifs, buts or maybes, the baby has a diagnosis that is 100pc fatal".

A midwife in the Rotunda sent Sinead's details to Liverpool and she was offered an appointment the following week.

In the case of a fatal foetal abnormality, Sinead told Ray that it is called a "compassionate induction".

"We found the whole process of having to leave your country very hard. It was important that our baby Grace was buried with my father. We didn't want her ashes to be delivered by a courier weeks later. It's just terrible.

"Basically you have to smuggle your baby on to the flight or sail home with your baby in the boot of a car or in many cases, leave them behind and I couldn't bear to do that."

Together, Sinead and Pat decided to continue with the pregnancy to term with the knowledge that their baby won't survive. 

Baby Grace was born yesterday, sleeping and will be buried alongside Sinead's father.

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