Mum makes agonizing decision to proceed with her pregnancy – despite being told her daughter was ‘incompatible with life’.

Abbey Ahern, 34, who lives in Oklahoma, was devastated when she was told at her 19-week scan that her daughter had the terminal illness anencephaly which meant she would not live beyond a few hours, shares Daily Mail.

Abbey said that carrying her daughter to term was the ‘most difficult thing I have ever done’.

The family spent just 14 hours and 58 minutes with Annie before she passed away.

According to the National Institutes of Health, the defect – which means the baby has an underdeveloped brain and incomplete skull – affects around one in 1,000 pregnancies, most of which result in miscarriage.

Abbey and her husband Robert, also 34, decided to have a live birth so that they could spend time with their daughter and donate her organs – making Annie the first infant newborn donor in the state.

Abbey told Daily Mail Online: ‘Carrying a terminally-ill baby to term was by far the most difficult thing I have ever done…

‘For us, even in the midst of our terrible heartbreak we were able to see so much beauty.

‘The process of donating Annie’s organs has been incredibly healing to me, knowing that my baby has saved lives.’

At times she said she felt overwhelmed by the situation but she drew comfort from the support of her husband.

She added: ‘The entire thing felt impossible. If it wasn’t for my husband and our strong support system I believe Annie’s story would have been completely different. Probably much darker.’

‘I remember holding her hands and pressing my face on hers and smelling her. I couldn’t kiss her enough.’

They read her the book which Abbey said was ‘one of the best moments of my life’.

At around 11pm she heard Annie ‘gasp’ and knew that she was reaching the end of her life.

She said: ‘Annie got to be with us all day, and she was ready…If she had to die, I’m so glad it was in my arms.

‘She lived a beautiful and incredible 14 hours and 58 minutes. She spent her entire life surrounded by love, joy, and peace. There was no sorrow, even when she passed away.’

Her organs were not viable for transplant because her oxygen levels were too low – which Abbey said was ‘disappointing’ – but they were able to donate her heart valves and some of her organs could be used for research.

Such a touching story. Love to them all.

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  • A very touching story. What a wonderful, courageous, unselfish lady.


  • That would have been a heartbreaking yet generous decision to make. It wasn’t totally in vain as they got to hold their baby for as long as she lived. Being able to dontate her heart valves would have been beneficial to another baby. Being able to use some of her organs for research may lead to treatment that can save babies in the future.


  • Such a tough decision but so kind of them to think of another baby’s happiness in their sadness.


  • What an amazingly unselfish thing to do. What a wonderful woman she is. Such a shame the organs weren’t viable after going through all that


  • Terribly hard decision to make and one that didn’t work out for the best as far as the transplants were concerned. Perhaps the doctors should have warned the parents of the possibility that the organs would not be viable before they made that heart wrenching decision to carry on with the pregnancy. At least their child died in their arms knowing love.


  • What wonderful parents. Can’t imagine how hard a decision that would have been to make.


  • What a hard decision they had to make. I am glad they got to meet and spend time with their beautiful little girl.


  • Aw bless you Abbey and Robert !! Such hard decision, but I think it was the right one !


  • Abbey and Robert, you are amazing. My children are 20, 25 and 27 and even after all these years I have tears running down my cheeks and my heart reaches out to you. You are remarkable for sharing your story and other parents will find comfort in this. Your little darling Annie is special. I am not religious at all but I do feel we all have something special to give and you and Annie show just what love is. Not just for you, you got to feel her for a short special time, but for you wanting to help others. Take care and enjoy your rainbow baby ????


  • This shows how strong some women are. I worked with a lady about 15 years ago who let her baby go full term even though she knew the baby wouldn’t live. She felt she was doing the right thing.


  • what a horrible position to be in, all my love to you and your family


  • Wow what an amazing thing to do for other families with sick children. I hope the parents are comforted by the idea that they have helped so many others.


  • What a hard decision they took. And sweet and caring at the same time. This action shows so much love and compassion. It must have been so sad to let Annie go. :-(


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