‘My baby’s ashes had to be delivered home by DHL’ - Woman breaks down live on Newstalk discussing fatal foetal abnormality
A YOUNG mother broke down on radio this afternoon as she discussed the death of her baby daughter after she was diagnosed with a fatal foetal abnormality.
Amy Walsh and Yousef Hazimee joined Jonathan Healy on Newstalk lunchtime today to discuss the death of their daughter Rose.
“We’d been married for two years, and on the 1st of September we found out we were pregnant, and at the time I thought we were the luckiest couple in the world.
“We arranged an early scan at eight weeks, and found out the pregnancy was good and there was a heartbeat.
However at second scan at 12 weeks there were the first indications of a problem.
“(The midwife) thought it indicated a problem. She said results indicated the placenta wasn’t working properly and the baby wasn’t moving the way a baby should be moving.”
The couple were told the baby was only the size she should have been at 11 weeks.
By the time they had their 14 week scan, Rose was only developed to the size of a 12 week baby.
“She told us that our baby had lost more growth. Her chest and her lungs were much smaller than the rest of her body and they weren’t developing and she’d never be born alive, and she thought she had Triploidy.
Triploidy is a rare chromosomal abnormality in foetuses.
Until the condition was diagnosed, the couple had held out hope the Rose would survive and go full term.
“It wasn’t confirmed definitely until I was 18 weeks pregnant.
“I was told I was carrying a baby that would not live, and medically my only option in Ireland was to continue with the pregnancy.
“It took me a long time to accept the diagnosis, to accept our daughter wasn’t going to live.
“I knew everyone was telling me the truth, but it took me a long time to come to terms with that truth. As a parent I see my job as looking after my daughter, I didn’t want to be put in the position I was put in. It was the last thing I wanted in the whole world.”
Yousef explained the couple spent a lot of time coming to the realisation that their daughter would not live.
However he said after a period of time they began to discuss their options, as consultants told them at 16 weeks the baby did not have long to survive in the womb.
He explained that the couple thought a miscarriage would occur in Ireland, surrounded by the support of family and friend.
“Initially they thought it would miscarry imminently, but then they said the odd time with chromosomal problems don’t behave the way normal babies do.”
Medical staff continued to measure the growth of baby Rose, however her growth remained remained static.
Various issues arose during the time –at one stage Rose’s bowl obstructed and they were preparing for the miscarriage.
“We’d go into hospital thinking ‘hopefully there’ll be no heartbeat this week’, and you’d get upset at yourself for thinking that, it was complete torture”, Amy said.
However baby Rose was still alive at 24 weeks – and Amy said it became increasingly difficult going to hospital for scans when she’s have to walk by parents taking their newborns home in car seats.
“I just couldn’t do it anymore. I knew we weren’t going to get to bring our baby home like that. I knew she was going to leave the hospital in a coffin, not a car seat."
The couple decided to travel to Liverpool to end the pregnancy.
Yousef described the moment Rose’s life ebbed away.
“It was one of the most soul destroying things I’ve ever had to go through, to look at a monitor and watch your baby’s heartbeat stop.
Meanwhile in Ireland, TD Clare Daly’s bill on the issue of fatal foetal abnormalities had come before the Dail.
“The day I was in labour was the day they were voting on Clare Daly’s bill on fatal foetal abnormalities, and it was defeated.
“When I was going over I hoped the bill would pass, and other people would not have to face the journey we were facing.”
She said after its failure she felt Ireland did not care about her, or her daughter.
“We felt we were making the best decision for our family and our daughter. I really wanted to bring our daughter home to meet her grandparents, to meet our friends. But she was very tiny and very small and delicate.
“But I was told if we were to bring her home it would be in a coffin on the ferry in the boot of our car. And I couldn’t do that, I felt it would be so disrespectful to her.
“She got cremated in Liverpool. We left her with the midwives who looked after her..."
Presenter Jonathan Healy then had to step in, as Amy broke down in tears
“I’m sorry, I’m really sorry you have to tell this. Em, we’ll take a wee break for a second and you can grab your thoughts.”
After a pause, he asked how Rose’s ashes were returned home.
“They were delivered by DHL”, Yousef responded.
Amy called for repeal of the eighth amendment, so no other parents would have to face what she did.
“Some of the senator’s are saying they don’t believe there’s any such thing as a fatal foetal abnormality. As a parent you wish there wasn’t any such thing as a fatal foetal abnormality.
“I never felt so trapped and so alone. And I think it’s a really inhumane way to treat women and to treat families and the baby’s they’re carrying.
“If you have a loved one on a life support machine and they will never wakeup and never breath independently, you and your doctor can decide to take them off life support (and it’s the same thing).
Despite the couple’s ordeal, they revealed they are expecting another baby in February of next year.