A Heart-Warming Story to Start the Week

By Dave Andrusko

Charley-Marie with her parents Heather and Andy

It always put a spring in my step when I read about a life-affirming decision not to abort. But there is an extra hop when a couple chooses not to abort even when the “experts” tell them their unborn baby will not survive the entire nine months.

Such is the case of the parents of Charley-Marie Skinner, now 19-months ago, whose story is told in yesterday’s Daily Mail.

When Heather went for an ultrasound at 21 weeks, she and Andy were told that scans showed that entire left chamber of the baby’s heart was covered with a massive tumor that was restricting blood flow. “Specialists” at St Mary’s Hospital were convinced that Charley-Marie would die in the womb and that “termination” was the appropriate option.

‘When the doctor said there was nothing they could do and that I needed a termination, I just said: ‘no way,’” Heather told the Daily Mail. “I didn’t want an abortion. I wanted nature to take its course.”

But, of course, “The thought of losing my baby was awful,” she said. “I didn’t know how to deal with it. We were left in a room and just cried.’”

According to the Daily Mail, Heather added. “We bought a moulding kit to make prints of her hands and feet. We also got two identical blankets – one to wrap her in when she was born that we would keep and the other to bury her in.”

Every day they wondered if that would be the day baby died inside of her. But against all odds, Charley-Marie was born in January 2010 by C-Section.

“’All I wanted was to see her eyes. The doctors still said that she would die as the tumour was so big it would stop the blood flow around her heart. But she cried, she was breathing and doing everything that a newborn does.

“’Straight away they took her down to the neonatal intensive care unit and scanned her heart. The tumour was inside the entire left chamber but somehow her little heart was still finding a way to pump blood around.’

“The first 48 hours were critical and her parents were left not knowing if their daughter would make it.

“However, scans showed that Charley-Marie’s heart had actually grown to make room for the tumour.”

Even had Charley-Marie died in utero or immediately after birth, the family would have had a chance to hold her. As it is, she is alive– a remarkable testimony to Heather and Andy and to the illusiveness of medical predictions.

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