Friday 13 December 2019

‘I basically had to go over and deliver my dead baby’ - Irish woman on turmoil of travelling to UK for termination

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Geraldine Gittens and Patricia Murphy

An Irish woman has said the lack of care and support in hospitals here following her termination in the UK placed her health in extreme danger upon return to the country.

Laura McGlynn and her partner Warren Beatty made the difficult decision to terminate her pregnancy in the UK after they discovered their son would not survive past birth.

The decision to terminate was a result of a fatal foetal abnormality, Cystic Hygroma.

But the couple believe a break in her care following the procedure placed her life at huge risk.

“When I came home I was bleeding for eight weeks. I haemorrhaged.  The doctors here aren’t trained enough to pick up on things,” Laura said, speaking to Newstalk Lunchtime.

“Only because I have a fantastic GP, she was the best in the world, she had to get on to the master of my hospital. Then he listened. We got brought in.

“They found a tiny piece of product which could have been a piece of the sack. It had calcified at this stage. They had to wash me inside and out with antibiotics. I was very sick.”

“In my case, I put it down to my break in care. In the UK you’re entitled to a scan two weeks after the procedure,” she said.

Laura revealed that the heartbreaking decision to end her pregnancy was made more stressful because she could not undergo the procedure in Ireland.

"I was 14 weeks, when you're going for your first scan and you're dying to see your baby on the screen and they alerted us to there was a bit of fluid on the scan.

"From there, that doctor referred us straight upstairs to the better scanners where we were greeted by three people waiting to bring us in.

"At this stage, I didn't know what was going on. They said they could see extra fluid on the back of the baby's head which basically meant something to them.

"So I was lying there, they were scanning. I could see their faces and they just turned to me and said, 'we're so sorry'".

Laura and her partner Warren decided to terminate their pregnancy to spare their unborn son Darragh any unnecessary pain.

The couple later discovered that their baby had Down Syndrome, complicated by a large cystic hygroma and some other malformations.

Laura said: “The way my mother said it to me one day was ‘Would you put your dog through this pain’ and the answer would be no.”

Warren said: "It was the hardest decision we've ever had to make. He was a wanted baby. He wasn’t going to live, and we weren’t going to put him through that pain.”

Laura revealed that she felt very alone as she had to get the money together to travel to the UK to deliver her baby at 19 weeks.

“You’re not meant to talk about it. Anyone I talked to couldn’t believe that I was forced to leave the country with the support of my family and friends and try to get the money together. Luckily my family were very good and everyone contributed money. It was £1,500. I basically had to go over and deliver my dead baby but they tell you it could be one or two nights.

“Women are being forced to wait up to four weeks which is just not good enough because they can only take one Irish girl a week.

Warren said: “We were able to take photographs, to hold him. They cleaned him and dressed him and put him into a little shawl. We were able to go into the room and it was the kind of thing I needed to do for a bit of closure.”

Laura, who is currently pregnant, revealed that she decided to share her story to help other Irish women in the same position.

“Women are suffering. It’s just not right that we should be forced out of our country. The reality of it is girls are now going to have to go as far as France and Italy to get access to this.”

“Until you’ve walked in someone’s shoes I don’t think you can judge them. You always think it’s never going to concern you but next week it could be your sister, your aunt or your daughter who is coming to you. It’s not simple and clear cut and I think something has to be done for women in my situation,” she said.

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