“Every prediction has been wrong”: Girl with rare conditions defies odds after mother refuses abortion

By SPUC—the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

Editor’s note. My family will be gone on vacation through August 24. During that span we’ll run prior posts from the past year that remain timely and/or were particularly well-received. We will also add a new story or two as events dictate.

A proud mother who refused to comply with doctor’s advice to abort her unborn child has described how every medical prediction made for her daughter has been wrong. 

Doctors warned mother, Gemma-Sarah McCusker from County Down, that her unborn baby would be stillborn after being diagnosed with a rare brain defect called Holoprosencephaly. Doctors informed Gemma that her daughter had no chance of survival and told her to consider abortion.

However mum Gemma refused to give up on her unborn child and rejected abortion.

 “Brave mothers such as Gemma chose life for their child and now cannot imagine life without them,” said Michael Robinson, SPUC Director of Communications. “As a parent, I would urge others to remember that abortion is not the only option.  Whatever the diagnosis, every unborn baby deserves a chance to live. There is always hope. And for those parents whose baby only lives for a very short time, they will have peace for the rest of their lives that they gave their baby a chance.”

Baby Karlie was born at 36 weeks with part of her brain protruding through a hole in her skull. Doctors warned that she had only minutes to live.

Despite the grim predictions, Karlie defied the odds and is now three years old.

“Absolutely not. There was no way I was giving up on her”

Mum Gemma described how at a 20-week scan, when she was looking forward to finding out the sex of her baby, doctors advised her to abort after finding a large mass on the front of the unborn baby’s face.

Gemma said: “We were advised to think about a termination. Our baby had no chance of survival.

“Tears were pouring down my face and I was shaking my head. No way. No. Absolutely not.

“I couldn’t get words out so I just carried on shaking my head. There was no way I was giving up on her.”

Karlie refused to let go of life

Gemma went into labour at 36 weeks pregnant. She said: “We were warned that if she was alive, she’d only live for 10-15 minutes – just long enough for a quick cuddle…But she was gorgeous, with her pretty wee eyelashes, rosy cheeks and ten tiny fingers.

“There was no mistaking her problem though. Part of her brain was literally sticking out of her forehead, between her eyes.”

Karlie was placed in an incubator by Gemma-Sarah’s bed and the family were told to say their goodbyes. But Karlie refused to let go of life

Kalie later underwent an operation which removed the protruding section of her brain. The baby girl battled through the surgery and has since been diagnosed with other health conditions including, including cerebral palsy, microcephaly, and 22q deletion syndrome.

Doctors warned Gemma that her daughter would be unlikely to ever walk and talk. Karlie has continued to defy all of these expectations.

“Karlie is our sunny wee miracle and she’s not done yet”

Karlie is now three years old. She is learning to speak and her mum Gemma has said that she is a fast learner and as bright as a button.

Gemma said: “She still has a wee red scar on her face from the operation, but we think she’s absolutely gorgeous, with her blonde ringlets and smile that lights up the room. Karlie has defied every expectation so far.

“Every prediction for her has been wrong. If my daughter won’t give up, then I’ll never stop fighting for her.

“Karlie’s our sunny wee miracle and she’s not done yet!”