Shannon Skinner had an abortion when she was eight weeks pregnant, or so she thought. She already had a four-month-old baby and she and partner Anthony were “having problems” so they decided abortion was the best answer as opposed to a second baby.
But after the abortion, Skinner continued to have morning sickness and to feel the unborn baby’s movements. After consulting a physician, she received word that the movements were just an after-effect of the abortion.
Eventually, a pregnancy test came back positive and she was told she was five months pregnant. Thankfully, the couple decided to keep the baby, who does not appear to have been harmed by the powerful abortion drugs Skinner took.
Now, Skinner is worried about the harmful effects of the abortion on her newborn baby, Amelia, who they are showing to the world for the first time. Born by Caesarean section on May 1 weighing 7lb, she comfortably nestles into her mother Shannon Skinner’s arms for a bottle followed by a snooze.
‘I can’t stop cuddling her — I never want to put her down,’ says Shannon, 20, gently handing Amelia to her partner, head chef Anthony Hunt, 24, while older daughter Lacie, 14 months, plants kisses on her sister’s forehead. ‘Every time I look at her I think: “She really shouldn’t be here. But now that she is, I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
‘We call her our miracle baby because we just don’t know how she survived. She must have really wanted to be here.
‘Watching her sleep, I can’t bear to think of her not existing. For a long time I felt guilty, but now I just feel relief.’
One can barely imagine that not so long ago they did not want this baby at all. The couple’s story caused a media storm earlier this year when it was revealed that their unborn child had miraculously survived an abortion.
And today, for the first time, Shannon and Anthony are showing Amelia off to the world and sharing their feelings about how her birth has impacted on their lives.
Nor are their anxieties over. Amelia may look perfect, but it could be four years before doctors will be able to say if the abortion drugs Shannon was given to end her pregnancy have caused any long-term developmental damage.
‘I want to believe that she is perfect, and my gut feeling is that she’s fine, which would be another miracle,’ says Shannon, ‘but even if there are problems we don’t yet know about, it won’t change our love for her.’
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Amelia may be a much-wanted and loved baby now, but it causes her parents visible discomfort to admit it was a different story when Shannon accidentally fell pregnant nine months ago.‘If there are problems we don’t yet know about [with Amelia], it won’t change our love for her’
How, as they marvel at her new-born perfection surrounded by dancing pink “It’s A Girl!” helium balloons, will they ever be able to tell their daughter the truth?
‘I really don’t know what we’ll say,’ admits Anthony, tenderly straightening Amelia’s tiny denim dress.
‘It’s such a rare thing to have happened, but we hope when she is old enough she’ll understand.