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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