Mums Tells Why She Carried Baby Full Term Even After Discovering She Had A Terminal Illness

Abbey Ahern, a 34 year old mother of 3, shared this touching story of the birth of her baby. Abbey revealed that she was devastated after discovering her child had a terminal illness ‘anencephaly’ which meant she would not live beyond a few hours.

She found this out during her 19-week pregnancy scan, however she decided to carry the baby full term, despite knowing that she would only have hours to spend with her child after birth.

After discovering the condition of her child, she immediately asked the for the gender and upon finding out it was a girl, she named her Annie, which means ‘grace.’

Abbey and her husband Robert, 34, made the decision to birth their child just to spend time with her and also donate her organs. The family spent 14 hours and 58 minutes with Annie, after which she passed on.

According to the National Institutes of Health, ‘anencephaly’ affects around one in 1,000 pregnancies, with most resulting in miscarriage. The condition means the baby has an underdeveloped brain and only a partial skull.
Abbey disclosed to MailOnline, that:

“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. 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.”

Recalling the final moments with her daughter, Abbey said:

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

As a result of Annie’s oxygen level being too low, a transplant of her organs could not be carried out, however,  they were able to donate her heart valves, also some of her organs could be used for research purposes.

“Annie’s story is one of hope. I think it shows people that in the midst of tragedy, there can be beauty. Annie was not ours to keep, her story was meant to be shared, and I intend to do so until the day I die. We knew she had a purpose, even though she was not made for this world, ” Abbey said.

Photo Credit: ABBEY AHERN/SARAH LIBBY Photography

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“Mums Tells Why She Carried Baby Full Term Even After Discovering She Had A Terminal Illness”

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