'I knew my baby would die but I could never have a termination'
A MOTHER yesterday told how she decided to go full term with her baby after learning her unborn son had a fatal complication.
Just after a 12-week scan, Aideen Kelly (40), from Kinnegad, Co Westmeath, and her fiance Gerry Dunne, learnt the baby they would go on to name Finian had Edwards syndrome and would not survive.
"Initially when I was told it was incompatible with life, I'd never even heard of Edwards' syndrome, we didn't know where to turn or who to talk to," Aideen said. "A termination wasn't going to be an option -- I wanted to let nature take its course."
Already Aideen -- whose husband had died eight years ago and who has two older children, and Gerry, who has two children in their 20s -- had coped with two miscarriages.
Earlier this year four women who travelled to the UK for medical terminations told their stories to TDs and helped spark a public debate on the issue of the strict legal ban on abortion.
Edwards syndrome -- a chromosome defect -- occurs in around one in 3,000 foetuses, with some 95pc dying in the womb. Of those born alive less than 10pc see their first birthday.
Aideen -- who highlighted the upcoming Baby Loss Awareness Day on October 15 -- recalled the surreal feeling of "happiness" in a delivery room at the Coombe Hospital, in Dublin, on August 2 as Finian was delivered stillborn some five-months after she learnt of the problems.
"I cradled him in my arms, he was perfect in every way, we didn't see the imperfections at all," Aideen said of the baby who was due this Friday. "I'd carried this little boy for eight-and-a-half months and he was here, I got to hold him and treasure him."
She told the Irish Independent that no tears were shed as all their family felt privileged to crowd into the delivery room to see him after she gave birth. Aideen explained she didn't want to hide away his death but celebrate him. They invited friends and family to call to their house as they brought him home that weekend, before he was buried in a small white coffin with a gold name plate adorned with teddy bears.
Aideen's recounting of their bittersweet journey yesterday sparked a flood of responses from listeners to the 'Ray D'Arcy Show' on Today FM.
Jacinta Murphy, a bereaved parent, who helped set up Feileacain, the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Association of Ireland, said: "We get a lot of calls from long ago bereaved parents. The loss is as raw today."