Doctors gave Claire Holliday three options when they told her that her unborn son had a potentially fatal heart condition.
One was abortion.
Her son Vinnie’s chances were not good. Doctors diagnosed him with hypoplastic left heart syndrome when she was 20 weeks pregnant, and they were not sure if he would survive until birth, the Daily Mail reports. If he was born alive, the doctors said Vinnie would only have half a heart and would need a risky open-heart surgery.
Abortion was not an option for the Birmingham, England couple. Claire and her husband, Ben, said they wanted to give their son a chance at life.
“For me, it was an instant decision,” Claire said. “I’d carried him from 20 months, and I was already showing.”
On Nov. 7, Claire gave birth to Vinnie, weighing 7 pounds, 2 ounces, according to the report. Just 48 hours later, Vinnie underwent open heart surgery. According to the report, surgeons spent five hours rewiring Vinnie’s heart to allow the right side of the organ to work for both sides. They called the surgical procedure a “handmade heart,” his mother said.
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The surgery was very risky, but Vinnie would have died without it, the report states. Doctors remain uncertain how long the little boy will live, but his parents said he is doing well and he is home.
“I take pictures every day and am focusing on building memories – we don’t think about tomorrow,” his mother said. “I’m getting no sleep but I just don’t care because I never thought we’d have him.”
In situations like Vinnie’s, doctors often suggest abortion. Late-term babies in the womb who are diagnosed with genetic problems, whether fatal or not, often are targeted for death when they have health problems. Recently in Canada, a woman gained international attention when she chose to abort her unborn baby son at 35 weeks after doctors said he had skeletal abnormalities and might never walk.
Claire Holliday, however, decided that her unborn son deserved to live as long as his condition allowed. She did not want to cut his life short.
“I thought, if I just have the chance to hold him, I can carry on better than if I have a termination,” she said. “It’s been absolutely amazing. We’ve loved every second and you would never know there was anything wrong with him unless you saw the scar down his chest.”