Tuesday, 26 November 2013
The baby saved by her mother's instincts
‘It was a terrible decision to have to come to. We agonised over what we should do right up until the last minute.’Mrs Stooke, and her husband Iain, 38, were delighted when they discovered they had conceived their third child.But their joy turned to despair when an MRI scan revealed a shadow on their unborn daughter's brain.
Mrs Stooke said: ‘We were so happy that our two sons would have a little brother or sister.‘It felt awful to see the doctors looking so worried. They immediately ordered another urgent scan.’The repeat scan at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol apparently confirmed Mr and Mrs Stooke's worst fears - their daughter was diagnosed with a condition called holoprosencephaly, meaning she was probably severely brain damaged.
‘The doctors said she might never walk, talk, or recognise our faces,’ said Mrs Stooke, a bank administrator. ‘It was also possible she'd be physically and facially deformed. There were a lot of unknowns.’Although Mrs Stooke was, at 30 weeks pregnant, beyond the normal limit for abortion, doctors advised termination as an option because holoprosencephaly would prevent the child from enjoying a meaningful quality of life.Holoprosencephaly is a condition in which the front part of the brain of an embryo fails to form two hemispheres.The condition varies in severity but about 80 per cent of children with holoprosencephaly have facial abnormalities.
Almost all children with the condition experience developmental delays and many have seizures.Most babies with the condition do not survive infancy.The condition affe
cts about one in 10,000 live-born babies.‘The doctor said it wasn't too late if we wanted to abort the baby - he made it sound almost as if there was no other option,’ said Mrs Stooke.