A grieving mother in England says her premature daughter, who was delivered at the 24-week abortion limit, was not a fetus but a fully-formed human being.
Emily Caines, 25, of Somerset, and her husband, Alastair Caines, 29, shared a photograph of their baby Adelaide, who died shortly after birth, the Daily Mirror reported. They released the picture in hopes to open up the debate about abortion.
Current law allows for babies to be terminated up to 24 weeks into pregnancy. Emily believes that shouldn’t be the case.
“Our picture shows Adelaide was not a (fetus) she was a fully formed human being and to think that a baby like her could be legally terminated on grounds of a lifestyle choice is to me is horrifying,” Emily said. “Medical grounds is a different matter.
“Our hospital was amazing and did all they could but Adelaide suffered complications which made it impossible for her to survive but many babies born at 24 weeks do live.
“That makes a mockery of the 24 week legal limit.”
Emily had also lost her first baby girl Isabelle at 23 weeks after going into premature labor in September 2011. The child died during delivery.
While grieving the loss of her baby Isabelle, Emily became close with Alastair. She recalled the day they got married, a year after Isabelle’s death.
“I was grieving and dreading the first anniversary of losing Isabelle so when Alastair suggested we get married on that day at first I was surprised but then I agreed it was a lovely idea,” Emily said. “I took some time to reflect and think of Izzy in the morning and what she would have been doing had things been different.
“Then I put on a bracelet with her name on it and pulled on my dress to marry the man I love.
“It turned what was going to be one of the worst days of my life into one of the happiest and that’s how I want to feel when I think about my daughter.”
The couple tried having a baby together, but doctors found that Emily had scar tissue blocking her fallopian tubes. They were told their only chance was In Vitro Fertilization (IFV), and Emily became pregnant after the first round.
Emily and Alastair learned they were having a baby girl at 20 weeks. They then passed the 24 week stage, when medics are legally obliged to help save the life of a premature baby.
“Only then did I buy her a baby grow and Alistair bought her a pink cuddly bunny,” Emily recalled.
But three days later, Emily began to bleed. She was rushed to Southmead Hospital in Bristol on Dec. 27, 2013.
Adelaide was born and let out a cry. A doctor captured the moment with the couple’s camera.
“That cry filled us with so much hope,” Emily said. “Her little fists were waving and I could see the doctors working on her.”
But an hour later, doctors determined it was impossible to get a line into baby Adelaide’s lungs to help her breathe. They agreed it was in the child’s best interest to let her go.
“Thinking of my daughters together was the only thing that got me through arranging another funeral,” said Emily. “We were utterly heartbroken again.”
Still, Emily and Alastair did not stop trying. After five months, they started another round of IVF, and Emily became pregnant with what she calls her “rainbow baby.”
“The theory of the rainbow baby is that something beautiful will follow the devastation caused by the storm,” she said. “I hope sharing our story gives hope to others and helps other parents who have suffered a loss.”
Emily said she doesn’t feel uncomfortable talking about the deaths of her babies and that she wants to help get rid of taboos surrounding baby loss and neonatal death.
“Our daughter may not have lived long but she was still our daughter and we love to talk about her and celebrate her life,” Emily said. “Sadly in this day and age some people still find that offensive or uncomfortable. I find it particularly hurtful when people use the term late miscarriage to describe our daughter because she was born so early into my pregnancy.
“But I think this picture of her crying out shows that clearly that is not the case. I went through (labor) and delivery with both of my premature babies. Adelaide lived for more than an hour and will always be very much part of our lives."
“One of the hardest thing has been feeling I shouldn’t talk about our baby because she is no longer here," Emily continued. “I think there is still a big taboo around premature baby loss because people don’t understand it. It’s easier to brush the issue under the carpet by using the term late miscarriage.
“ ... I hope this beautiful picture of my daughter being born helps change people’s perspectives.”