NewsHub 24 October 2018
Family First Comment: A beautiful yet sad story.
“Ms Gilkison made the brave decision to continue the pregnancy and enjoy her time with her son, even travelling to Tonga at 35 weeks to swim with whales and their calves. “I began thinking I’d like to have a bit of time with my baby, rather than no time at all.””
Life is valuable – no matter how long or short.
Emma Gilkison had to make a choice no mother should have to: whether to continue her pregnancy knowing her child would die.
During a routine 12-week scan in 2014, she and her partner Roy discovered their unborn baby had a deadly heart defect.
After seeing her baby’s heart “looking like a twinkling star” on the ultrasound screen, she jumped onto Google where she discovered the condition ‘ectopia cordis’, in which the heart develops outside of the chest.
It’s so rare it affects just eight in every million babies born.
Doctors confirmed the diagnosis and Ms Gilkinson immediately looked into treatment options. A handful of babies with ectopia cordis have been operated on, but tragically that option was ruled out 20 weeks into the pregnancy.
“It was revealed in another scan that not only was our little boy’s heart in the wrong place, it also had other defects, so there were just too many problems for a surgeon to try to fix,” she told The AM Show.
She was faced with the earth-shattering decision of whether to abort or continue with the pregnancy, knowing her son wouldn’t live long outside her womb.
“That was a really heartbreaking moment. I held onto a little bit of hope that our baby might have been one of those miracle wonder kids that survives when nobody thinks they’re going to.
“I realised that whilst there was hope for our baby to live, I would have been willing to do anything for him to give him a chance at life.”
Ms Gilkison made the brave decision to continue the pregnancy and enjoy her time with her son, even travelling to Tonga at 35 weeks to swim with whales and their calves.
“I began thinking I’d like to have a bit of time with my baby, rather than no time at all.”
Knowing her son would never have a first birthday, she and her family threw him a birth month party before he was born, complete with cake, balloons and a puppet show.
Jesús Valentino was born on October 26 and lived for 15 and a half days.
“I know that sounds like nothing, but actually it was far more time than we’d dreamed of,” Ms Gilkison says. “They were really days of miracle and wonder, they were incredible.”
READ MORE: https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/lifestyle/2018/10/why-a-mother-continued-her-pregnancy-knowing-her-baby-would-die.html