WARNING: Some of the following pictures might be disturbing to some viewers
A heartbroken mother has shared pictures of her lifeless infant born at 16 weeks after being forced to terminate her when her brain stopped growing and she could not survive to full term.
In August, Justine Zampogna, 28, from Perth, Australia, learned that her unborn baby’s brain had stopped growing.
When doctors gave her the option to either terminate at 16 weeks or deliver her daughter, who would survive only a matter of hours at full term, she had to terminate her.
The mother has now shared her family’s story on her blog and Instagram to share her experience and to ask mothers to speak about their experiences.
Justine and her husband Ty had their first child, Chase, in January 2016.
When Justine learned that she was pregnant again, she was so excited and decided to call her daughter Gia or ‘Gigi’.
But the couple came to know that Gigi’s brain stopped working as she had anencephaly, a fatal neural tube defect.
‘When we found out we were pregnant a second time, I was just so excited and felt so unbelievably grateful to be a mum again,’ said Justine.
‘I was so sick for the initial 12 weeks, so much sicker than with my son. But I was starting to feel so excited because we had just got our harmony test back and found out that it was all perfect and we were having a baby girl.’
‘I remember thinking to myself that it all seemed way too good to be true, but we were on cloud nine.’
‘My husband and I loved the name and meaning of Gia. It means “gift from God”. Chase just always referred to my belly as Gigi though, so it felt natural to call her that.’
‘We had our 12-week scan at 14 weeks as we were away, and then I got a call to say that Ty and I needed to go straight to the doctors. I knew at this moment that it wasn’t good.’
‘So, at the end of my 14th week, we were confronted with having to terminate our baby girl. Anencephaly is a fatal neural tube defect and the baby can only stay alive for a few hours post birth, and that’s if they make it to full term.’
‘We were sent to two major women’s pregnancy and birth hospitals here in Perth and we were given two options, either to birth her at the hospital or be referred to a clinic to have a dilation and curettage (D&C).’
‘There’s no right or wrong way, but for me personally, I knew I had to stay authentic to myself and birth her to get the closure I truly needed.’
‘Two days before being induced, I had to take a pill called Mifepristone which basically stops the placenta from working.’
‘That moment when I took the pill had to be the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my entire life, but as part of the process of birthing her, I had to do it. It was so tough to swallow that pill when I knew what it was going to do.’
‘Preparing for Gigi’s birth involved an incredible amount of strength. In only five days I had to accept that she was no longer ever going to be mine Earthside.’
‘During my preparation, I couldn’t find any information that was real or relatable, it was only scientific.’
‘The more I heal, the more I realize that what happened to us could only ever be beautiful,’
‘I cried throughout the entire delivery, but my tears weren’t from saying goodbye, they were from accepting she was gone. It was so heartbreakingly beautiful and the closure that we needed. I felt like after everything we had been through, we deserved to have our very own birth story too.’
‘Her sweet little soul hadn’t spent more than a day on Earth, but she touched my heart so deeply. That is love in its most traumatic yet pure form.’
‘We only had a brief moment together, but at that moment, we were bonded together for life. My son didn’t meet Gigi, we had already told him that she was in the stars.’
‘It wasn’t until I lived my new normal for a couple of months that I understood why pregnancy loss is given the term “lonely loss”.’
‘It’s not like a loss where everyone around you had a connection with that person and you can all feel the emotions and support each other.’
‘The biggest thing that shocked me was how many women and men suffer in silence. After I shared my first blog post, so many reached out to me telling me they thought they couldn’t speak about their baby because they never made it Earthside.’
‘We as mums are the only ones who have ever had that connection with our unborn babies and visualized our entire life with them.’
‘At the end of the day, at some stage we had something and then all of a sudden it’s gone. We’re entitled to feel sad and mourn their loss for as long as we need.’
‘Women should do whatever they feel they need to do to heal – name your baby, speak about your baby and make a big deal out of the day you birthed them. We should speak about them forever and always.’
‘I want women to know they aren’t alone and to see the beauty in the heartbreak. Their angel babies are important no matter how far along they were in their journey, so never be silenced.’ said Justine.