Woman describes experience of "leaving Ireland pregnant, but coming home without your baby"

Amy Walsh from the Terminations for Medical Reasons group has told the story of her own abortion in Liverpool

Woman describes experience of "leaving Ireland pregnant, but coming home without your baby"

Picture by: Niall Carson/PA Wire/PA Images

A woman has described the experience of having to leave her stillborn baby in England as "the worst experience of my life".

Amy Walsh from the Terminations for Medical Reasons group earlier told the story of her own abortion, which she didn't want to have.

She took the ferry to Liverpool after learning of a fatal foetal abnormality.

She spoke to our Political Correspondent Sean Defoe earlier, at an event organised by Amnesty Ireland in support of repealing the Eighth Amendment.

For Amy, the hardest part of the experience was being unable to bring daughter Rose home.

She recalled: "We couldn't bring her home - she was very tiny and fragile. We traveled by ferry because we'd wanted to bring her home and have a funeral and wake in the house. But we were told that she wouldn't really survive the journey home.

"We left her in Liverpool, and that made everything so much worse. That was one of the hardest, saddest points of the worst experience of my life - leaving Ireland pregnant, but coming home without your baby."

Describing the experience of traveling for an abortion, Amy explained: "I could not wait to become a mother - and yet it was through a barrage of tears that I packed my maternity bag for hospital, asking questions I never thought that I would need to ask. I packed all the usual items, such as teddy bears, baby blankets, an outfit for my daughter. I also packed night dresses and maternity pads.

"However, among all these items, there were other items that you wouldn't typically expect to find in a maternity bag of an Irish woman going to her maternity hospital. They were our medical files, out passports, accommodation information, correspondence with our doctors, and directions to a hospital in a city where I had never been."

"My daughter was dying inside me"

Amy said that while she had waited with "such excitement" to become a mother, when the day came all she felt was "grief, trauma, isolation and fear."

Amy added: "My daughter was dying inside me. I could not save her, and it was killing me."

Doctors said the unborn child - who her parents named Rose Sophia - would not survive labour due to her restricted growth, as the stress would cause her heart to stop beating. 

After learning that they would lose her, Amy carried her daughter for another 14 weeks - hoping they'd be able to bring her home for a wake and funeral service.

However, Amy said: "As my pregnancy progressed, and her condition continued to deteriorate in utero, I began to question if it was right for me to stand back and just let her pass away.

"The one act of mothering that I could do as her parent was ensure that she did not suffer, and this is how we ended up in the care of the foetal medicine team at Liverpool Women's Hospital."

Amy now has a two-year-old daughter named Alice, but she says she struggles to answer when asked if Alice is her first child.

She explained: "I can either lie and say that yes she is my first, or I can answer truthfully and say that my first daughter Rose was stillborn in Liverpool. I try not to cry, but the weight of my truth hangs heavy."

Reporting by Sean Defoe and Stephen McNeice