British schoolgirl Ivy Jean Moore, 16, was bubbling over with excitement on her way to her 20-week pregnancy scan.
Dressed in party attire for her post-date gender reveal, the young mum-to-be couldn’t wait to find out if she was having a boy or girl.
Instead, she learned that her unborn baby, the unexpected but long-awaited result of a birth control accident with a teenage friend, was terminally ill.
If he survived the birth, it would only take a few minutes.
“Over the next few weeks, I went into total denial,” said Ivy Jean, now 17, with permission from her mother, Kelly. “I frantically sought advice on how he could survive and scoured the internet desperately for treatment options. But there was no way he could.”
Unfortunately, Ivy Jean’s baby had the same condition she was born with, branchiootorenal (BOR) syndrome, a disease that disrupts the development of tissues in the neck and causes deformities in the ears and kidneys.
But while she had it to a lesser degree, his kidneys hadn’t developed at all.
“Doctors at Coventry and Warwickshire University Hospital were friendly but said there was no way he would live after birth and would likely be stillborn,” she continued.
“I was offered the option of a medical abortion or a full-term delivery, even though they recommended abortion.”
In a bind, Ivy Jean initially vowed to keep her long-awaited baby. But after 25 weeks, she made the heartbreaking decision to heed the doctors’ advice and undergo a medical abortion.
At the same hospital where she had her scans in January 2021, she received a pessary to induce labor. After about three hours of active labor, with her mother by her side, her son arrived.
“He was perfect but small,” she said. “He had a tiny tuft of auburn hair, weighed 1lb 11oz and after he was born the staff cleaned him up and put him in my arms. I loved him instantly.”
Ivy Jean had intended to name him Phoenix, but when he saw him he decided to call him Milo-Paul – which means little soldier. “It just suited him,” she said.
He was perfect but small. He had a tiny tuft of auburn hair, weighed 1lb 11oz and after he was born the staff cleaned him up and wrapped him in my arms.
Not long after she turned 16 and while she was completing her GCSEs, Ivy Jean, who is currently studying for an entrance course in college, was initially pregnant and “incredibly nervous.”
“Contraception had failed and I had missed my period,” she said. “I took a pregnancy test and it was positive.
“But I had no doubts — I knew I was going to have my baby.”
Her mother was supportive and she continued to attend school while battling morning sickness, which was “pretty bad”.
At 10 weeks, she saw her baby for the first time during a routine kidney exam.
“I had an ultrasound to see if they were okay and the sonographer asked if I wanted to see my baby,” she said. “I said yes, of course, and it was incredible. He looked like a little jelly bean.”
Her pregnancy was risky because of her illness, but she hoped everything would be fine.
“So I was so sad they weren’t,” she said. “But after Milo arrived, I was given a CuddleCot – a cooling bed – where he could lie next to me.
What is branchiootorenal syndrome?
Branchio-torenal spectrum disorders are hereditary – but symptoms can vary greatly from person to person.
Branchiootorenal syndrome is characterized by dimples or ear tags in front of the outer ear and abnormal passages from the pharynx to the outer surface of the neck.
It can also cause deformities of the outer, middle, and inner ear, which can lead to hearing loss.
Kidney abnormalities associated with BOR syndrome range from mild to very severe. In milder cases, the kidney may be unusually shaped. In more severe cases, there may be duplication of the collecting system of the kidneys and/or absence or absence of one or both kidney formations.
“For three days he lay there and I spent time with him.
“I could chat with him, cuddle with him and just be his mom.”
He was laid to rest a month after his arrival and Ivy Jean, still grieving, decided to share her heartbreaking story on social media.
She wanted people to know what she was going through — and how difficult the decision to abort her baby was.
And sadly, she’s since had a second lost pregnancy, a miscarriage at six weeks.
For three days he lay there and I spent time with him. I could chat with him, cuddle with him and just be his mother.
Doctors now believe she may have a viable pregnancy in the future, but IVF intervention to avoid having a child with the same condition as hers may be the prudent way forward.
And she shared her story on social media.
She wrote on Instagram: “I gave birth and held him, dressed him and named him and buried him, even legally registered him with a certificate of stillbirth.
“My decision to save a few painful minutes of my son’s life was the same decision that caused his death.
“Do you know how hard it is to live with that? Knowing that you have made the decision to abort the child you so desperately wanted and loved?”
Unfortunately, she was trolled for it.
“I’m labeled immature, a murderer, vile, selfish, shameful, shameful and disgusting,” she said. “I get these every day in my TikTok comments from middle-aged men and women bereft of my loss because I chose to have an abortion, an abortion I chose to be selfless and not selfish.
“Why does that make me a murderer? Women like me who had to have an abortion because their life depended on it? Women who chose to have an abortion because their baby had birth defects/abnormalities? We’re called killers.
“I loved my boy so much I wouldn’t have chosen that…especially at 16.”
https://www.the-sun.com/lifestyle/5581831/teen-mum-baby-born-terminally-ill-trolled-abortion/ My baby was terminally ill and I had a late abortion at 16, I loved him so much but trolls said it was murder