Irish woman describes how lack of care in Ireland after her abortion almost led to her death

Warren and Laura stated there were was no support for her on her return

In the latest of a series of interviews on Newstalk Lunchtime concerning the 8th Amendment, Jonathan Healy spoke to a couple who decided to have a termination after they discovered their baby had a birth defect.

It's estimated that 4,000 women leave Ireland each year for a termination.  

Laura McGlynn and her partner Warren Beatty joined Jonathan Healy on Monday to discuss their experience.

February two years ago, Laura was pregnant, and she told Jonathan when she first discovered there was something wrong with the pregnancy: "I was 14 weeks, when you're going for your first scan and you're dying to see your baby on the screen and they alerted us to there was a bit of fluid on the scan [sic].

"From there, that doctor referred us straight upstairs to the better scanners where we were greeted by three people waiting to bring us in.

"At this stage, I didn't know what was going on. They said they could see extra fluid on the back of the baby's head which basically meant something to them.

"So I was lying there, they were scanning, I could see their faces and they just turned to me and said, 'we're so sorry'".

Her partner Warren told Jonathan Healy: "It's your worst nightmare come true basically, standing in a room and they're saying that basically your baby isn't viable".

Laura said that her baby was suffering from cystic hygroma, a birth defect which results in abnormal growths that usually appear on a baby's neck or head. They consist of one or more cysts and tend to grow larger over time.

She continued: "In a normal baby, it's not good and if he had any syndromes... that would add complication. They told me that I should go and get a test."

Laura decided not to go ahead with the test that day so that she could sleep on the information she had been given. She was also told there was a chance of miscarriage.

She learned from a later test that her baby had Down Syndrome. Along with the condition her baby was suffering from, the results weren't good and Laura was told that a lot could go wrong.

Warren stated: "It was the hardest decision we've ever had to make. He was a wanted baby.

"As Laura says, even if it was just Down Syndrome, that would have been perfect. He was a baby, that's all that mattered. It was everything else, the complications with everything else, that he wasn't going to survive and we weren't going to put him through that pain."

The pair then stated that the emotional and financial toll was particularly painful for them. They got to spend some time with their son after the procedure took place with Warren telling Jonathan he needed this time for closure.

Laura said: "I did not want to travel. Everything they tell you not to do, I did to miscarry before I had to get on that plane. I even went to the extent of trying to crash my car because a car drove out in front of me and I was raging, I hit that brake because I thought it might induce him, because he was a sick baby. The only thing keeping him alive was, I was his life support."

"As my mother said to me, 'Would you look at your dog in that pain, in that state, would you put it through it?' And the answer is, no."

Laura and Warren couldn't bring their son's body back with them, as it's illegal to do so. They decided to have him cremated, and the remains were later delivered by courier.

When she returned home, Laura was bleeding for eight weeks, in and out of hospital and had haemorrhaged. She puts her experience down to the break in care following the procedure. 

When she attended the hospital, they discovered that a tiny piece of product, possibly sack, had remained. She had to be washed inside and out with antibiotics. 

If Laura had been able to remain in hospital in the UK following the procedure, she would have been entitled to a scan and they may have picked up any difficulties.

They finished by saying: "In between, I had actually had a miscarriage as well. It's not as if we didn't want our baby, we clearly want a baby but we would have accepted if it was a sick child.

"You're never going to replace our lost baby, no matter what and he'll always be our baby but I'd like to think by telling my story, I'm helping another girl out there".

Warren and Laura are expecting another baby and the first scan is next week.

You can listen to Warren and Laura's full interview here: