Mother, 27, who aborted her baby at 18 weeks due to a rare condition reveals he was born alive when the procedure failed and says it was ‘torture’ watching him die for 10 hours
- Loran Denison, 27, from Blackburn, devastated after baby son Kiyo Bleu Watson born alive after abortion at 18 weeks
- Test at 15 weeks revealed had Edwards’ syndrome and unlikely to be born alive
- Said she now thinks done the ‘wrong thing’ because he ‘just looked so normal’
A mum has told of her devastation after her tiny baby was born alive after an abortion at 18 weeks – and lived for ten hours.
Loran Denison, 27, a stay-at-home mum from Blackburn, Lancashire, was pregnant with her fourth child, when a test at 15 weeks revealed he had Edwards’ syndrome.
It’s a rare but very serious condition and most babies with Edwards’ syndrome will die before or shortly after being born, or at a young age.
Loran and partner Scott Watson, 35, made the agonising decision to have a medical abortion after being told he was unlikely to be born alive, she said.
She took a tablet and returned to hospital to be induced at 18 weeks and four days – but was astonished when her son Kiyo Bleu Watson was born breathing and alive.
And while the mum doesn’t want to deter anyone from making the right choice for them, she said watching him die was ‘torture’.
Loran Denison (pictured), 27, has told of her devastation after her tiny baby was born alive after an abortion at 18 weeks – and lived for ten hours. Pictured, with daughter Bunni Rose
Loran Denison and Scott learned at 15 weeks that their son had Edwards’ syndrome – a rare but very serious condition and most babies with Edwards’ syndrome will die before or shortly after being born> Pictured, Scott holding Kiyo Bleu Watson in hospital
Loran and Scott Watson made the agonising decision to have a medical abortion after being told their baby (pictured) was unlikely to be born alive
‘I’m glad I had that bit of time with him but it also made the situation much harder,’ explained Loran.
‘They told me he had typical Edwards Syndrome so would pass away before or just after birth. My boy had a lion heart.’
‘I thought I had done the hard bit when I made the difficult decision to have an abortion, but now it feels ten times worse.
‘I just want other mums to know in case this happens to them. I had to watch his heartbeat getting slower and watch his life draining out of him.
‘You just want to keep your children alive. It was like torture. None of the doctors thought he would be born alive.
‘When my partner picked him up after he was born he said ‘his heart is beating’, and they said ‘no way’.
The couple had their son blessed and christened in hospital while he was alive. Pictured, Kiyo Bleu Watson’s hand
While Loran doesn’t want to deter anyone from making the right choice for them, she said watching her son die was ‘torture.’ Pictured, Loran with daughters Bunni Rose, three, and Romee Beau, two
‘When I took the first tablet on the sixth they said it would stop the pregnancy, heartbeat and everything, so we expected he wouldn’t be alive when he was born.
WHAT IS EDWARDS’ SYNDROME?
Edwards’ syndrome, also known as trisomy 18, is a rare but serious genetic condition.
More than 95 per cent of babies with the disorder die before they are born, statistics show. Those that are delivered tend to pass away within minutes.
Some infants with a less severe form of the disease live beyond a year, but it is very rare to survive into adulthood.
Edwards’ syndrome occurs when a baby has three copies of chromosome number 18, rather than the usual two. This severely disrupts their development.
The condition is thought to affect between one in every 6,000 to 8,000 births worldwide.
It is rarely inherited and usually comes about at a random time during the formation of the sperm or egg.
If a baby survives, symptoms include:
Edwards’ syndrome is looked for in the scan pregnant women are offered on the NHS at 10-to-14 weeks.
Some women choose to terminate their pregnancy if Edwards’ syndrome is diagnosed.
There is no cure. Treatment focuses on addressing life-threatening issues, such as infections and heart defects.
If a child survives, they may need phsyio or occupational therapy to help with their movement.
‘They didn’t check for a heartbeat before inducing labour, and I wish they had. I don’t have words for how awful it was.’
Edwards Syndrome is a rare condition and most babies with it don’t live to full-term, or die a couple of hours after being born, because they have an extra chromosome, number 18, according to the NHS website.
It says around 13 in 100 babies with Edwards Syndrome who are born alive go on to have their first birthday.
Edwards Syndrome can cause a mixture of symptoms, varying in different people, including learning difficulties, heart, respiratory, kidney or gastrointestinal problems, the website says.
The level of illness can depend on how much of the extra chromosome patients have, and how many cells carry the copy, so there is full, mosaic or partial Edwards Syndrome.
Loran said she was told Kiyo Bleu had ‘typical Edwards Syndrome’. After taking a tablet to stop the pregnancy developing on April 6, Loran returned to the
Women and Newborn Unit at Burnley General Hospital, on April 8 to induce the birth.
‘I went in for a medical abortion because he was carrying Edwards Syndrome,’ said Loran. ‘We had already said our goodbyes when we went in on the 8th, because I’d taken the termination tablet on the sixth.’
But little Kiyo Bleu Watson was born alive on April 9 at 3.50pm, weighing 150g, to the shock of his parents, Loran and Scott Watson, 35, and doctors.
They had him blessed and christened in hospital while he was alive.
Though glad to have met him, Loran said it was agonising to wait ten hours watching their newborn son fade until he died on April 10 at 2.30am.
After he died little Kiyo bleu went home to be with Loran, Scott, who works as a labourer, and their other three children for four days.
The family spent time with him in a special cot with a cold mattress until he needed to go to a funeral parlour on April 14 to wait for his funeral.
The family spent time with Kiyo in a special cot with a cold mattress until he needed to go to a funeral parlour on April 14 to wait for his funeral. Pictured, Rocco Watson, six, and sisters Bunni Rose, three, and Romee Beau, two
Though glad to have met him, Loran said it was agonising to wait ten hours watching their newborn son fade until he died on April 10 at 2.30am. Pictured, Loran with daughter Bunni Rose
He spent time with his big brother Rocco Watson, six, and sisters Bunni Rose, three, and Romee Beau, two.
‘It was awful,’ she said. ‘I can’t get my head around how he survived. ‘I don’t even have a word for how horrible it feels. There is a person I’ve read about who has survived with Edwards Syndrome to 40.
‘Kiyo Bleu was so strong now I wonder if he would have survived. His heartbeat was so strong you could feel it.
‘If I had known he would be born alive I probably would have made a different decision.
‘I thought I was doing the right thing but now I think I have done the wrong thing. He just looked so normal.’
East Lancashire hospitals NHS Trust declined to comment.
66 babies in a year left to die after NHS abortions that go wrong
Botched abortions mean that scores of babies are being born alive and left to die, an official report revealed in 2005.
A total of 66 infants survived NHS termination attempts in one year alone, it emerged.
Rather than dying at birth as was intended, they were able to breathe unaided. About half were alive for an hour, while one survived ten hours.
The figures are the first to give a national picture of the number of babies who survive abortion but are left to die.
Experts previously believed the phenomenon was limited to a handful of cases a year.
The babies were aborted using a drug to soften the cervix and induce labour. Once born no medical help is offered.
The statistics are contained in the small print of an official report by the Confidential Enquiry into Maternal and Child Health, commissioned by the Government.
No data exists on aborted babies who survive into childhood and beyond but in rare cases this is known to have happened.
Experts revealed that the sheer number of abortion survivors means new guidance for doctors will be drawn up, telling them how to cope.
The findings also renewed calls for a lowering of the 24-week limit for “social” abortions, which end healthy pregnancies.
The report said the terminations were “predominantly on account of congenital anomalies”, which may be life-threatening but which can also include problems such as cleft palate and club feet.
Obstetricians say this raises the possibility that at least some cases were social terminations, legal under the Abortion Act up to 24 weeks.
Doctors can also legally terminate a pregnancy up to birth if the baby is suffering serious deformities or the mother’s life is at risk.
Guidance from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists recommends babies over 22 weeks which survive abortion should have their hearts stopped by lethal injection but this can be a difficult procedure for doctors.
Professor Stuart Campbell, an eminent obstetrician whose 3D scan images of babies “walking in the womb” have fuelled the debate over late abortions, said: “It is a distressing situation when these babies are being born alive.
“Medical advances make it increasingly possible for even those born after just 22 weeks in the womb to survive.
“There is also concern that babies with problems such as cleft palate or club feet are being terminated because they are not “perfect”.
“These deformities may be corrected during childhood.”
The findings follow evidence to MPs that foetuses feel pain before 24 weeks.
The figures for the CEMACH 2007 Perinatal Mortality report, gathered from hospitals in England and Wales during 2005, reveal 16 babies who survived abortion were born after 22 weeks in the womb or later in the pregnancy.
The remaining 50 were under 22 weeks’ gestation.
CEMACH chief executive Richard Congdon said lethal injection had not been given in the 16 abortions over 22 weeks’ gestation because death was “inevitable”.
The 16 survived between one minute and four-and-a-half hours – half lived for just over an hour.
The remaining 50 were under 22 weeks’ gestation and half survived for longer than 55 minutes, with one breathing unaided for ten hours.
Latest Department of Health figures show that abortion is rising, with 193,700 terminations in 2006, and 2,948 carried out over 20 weeks.
The majority of these – 2,036 – were for major abnormalities.
The British Association of Perinatal Medicine said new guidelines were being drawn up to cover babies born alive after abortion.
Neonatologist Professor Neil Marlow, president of the association, said: “Parents may be told that the baby will not be viable but may still want to hold it until it dies, and this is probably what we are seeing in these statistics.”
Julia Millington, of the Pro-Life Alliance, said: “The fact that babies are being aborted so late in pregnancy that they are capable of survival will make many support the notion that the upper time limit should be reduced.”
Couple’s despair after daughter survives abortion at five months
A baby born alive after a botched abortion at 21 weeks is among the worst cases reported in the UK.
The little girl, who had Down’s Syndrome, lived for three hours after being delivered.
Her parents claim they were “coerced” into a termination by staff at Macclesfield District General Hospital.
They were later told that their baby had not “really” been alive, even though she was clearly breathing.
The couple, who do not wish to be named, already had a toddler, a teenager and a 12-year-old with learning difficulties and felt unable to cope with another special needs child.
The 44-year-old mother said: “If I had been given any idea that the baby would be born alive after an abortion I would never have gone through with it. They coerced me.
“I have seen how society treats children with disabilities and it frightened me to bring another special needs child into the world, but somehow we would have coped with it.”
Two days before the abortion in March 2004, the woman was given tablets which she was told would kill the baby in the womb.
But to their distress the baby was still clearly moving.
They went back to hospital and were assured that the baby would die during labour.
Soon after birth, however, both parents saw it gasping for air.
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