Three times Rebecca Shephard refused to abort her unborn son after conceiving him while using the IUD contraceptive coil.
The Daily Mail reports the Essex, England mother even refused an abortion when her health took a turn for the worse, because she wanted her son to have a chance at life.
“My pregnancy was incredibly high-risk and we are so lucky that our son, Charlie, survived against the odds,” she said. “I lost so much blood I had to have blood transfusions and we were told time and time again that I would probably miscarry.”
Though unplanned, baby Charlie is loved and valued by his parents and two older sisters. He was born prematurely on Dec. 17 weighing 1 pound 4 ounces, but today he is home and growing stronger every day.
Shephard said she had the long-lasting contraceptive device implanted after giving birth to her 8-year-old daughter. The copper IUD is supposed to last 10 years and be 99-percent effective, according to the report.
But in 2017, Shephard said she began noticing signs that she may be pregnant to her partner, Jack Luckings.
“I started to feel sick in the morning and I just knew I was pregnant. I did a test and although it was a surprise, we were really happy,” she said.
“I went to my doctor and mentioned the coil. I didn’t know anyone who’d had a coil pregnancy and wanted to know if there were any risks to the baby,” she continued.
An ultrasound scan indicated she was about seven weeks pregnant. Two weeks later, when she began bleeding heavily, she went to the hospital and fainted in the waiting room, according to the report. She said the hospital staff did another scan and found that her baby boy was alive but the coil was “dangerously close” to him.
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Doctors said the likelihood of miscarriage was 50 percent, and they suggested an abortion.
“At that stage, I was offered a termination, but I wanted to give the baby a chance. I wasn’t going to give up hope,” Shephard said.
Over the next few months, she made several trips to the hospital because of heavy bleeding, and eventually she was admitted at 20 weeks for observation, the report states. At that point, she was told her unborn son probably would die.
But two weeks went by, and Charlie was still alive.
Here’s more from the report:
[A]fter a day of light bleeding, Rebecca was allowed a temporary discharge to attend [her daughter] Bonnie’s dance show.
But, as the performance ended, she began to bleed heavily again and this time it was mixed with some amniotic fluid.
Rushed back to hospital, she was told her waters were leaking, but she was not in active labour.
With such serious complications, Rebecca was offered a termination again – but she refused.
Five days later, after more blood loss, she was given another blood transfusion and told the pregnancy was making her ill.
Still, she refused to abort her baby unless her life was at serious risk.
At 23 weeks, Shephard went into labor and gave birth to Charlie. He spent more than 100 days in the hospital, fighting infections and other problems common with very premature infants, the report states.
“He battled his way through all the twists and turns of his neonatal journey and is now slowly coming off oxygen,” his mother said. “Charlie weighs 9lb 4oz and is full of fun.”
Shephard warned other women about the copper IUD, saying she will never use it again. She also gave women who get pregnant on the IUD words of encouragement for themselves and their babies.
“If you have found out you are pregnant whilst on the coil, I would recommend a consultant led pregnancy and regular scans. I think more research needs to be done on IUD pregnancies,” she said. “I was told though that not every IUD pregnancy was as complicated as mine – a lot of the time the coil can be removed or it can be positioned in a place that doesn’t have any problems.”