When Mark and Jade Dodson, from Wakefield, West Yorkshire, first discovered that they were going to have a baby, both were overjoyed.
They had been trying to conceive for two-and-a-half years and had undergone several rounds of fertility treatments and now it seemed all that effort was paying off.
However, their joy was shattered after a routine 20-week-scan revealed that the baby, who they named Amalie Maya, had spina bifida, which is a severe birth defect. Although there was an option to operate on the baby while in the womb, there were no guarantees that it would help Amalie or that Jade herself wouldn’t be in danger.
Roughly 1 in 1,000 babies in the UK suffer from spina bifida, a neural tube defect. Amalie had the most severe form of the disease, Myelomeningocele. What this would have meant for Mark and Jade’s daughter is that she would have suffered brain damage with possible bowel dysfunction and paralysis.
In order to “free” Amalie from a life of suffering, the couple, who wed in October 2015, made the painful decision to terminate the pregnancy. The pregnancy was terminated at 22 weeks, which is two weeks shy of the legal abortion limit in the UK.
Speaking to the Mirror Online, Jade said: “Ahead of the 20-week scan everything was perfect, we felt like the luckiest people in the world and we’d already found out she was going to be a girl.”
They were advised of the abortion option after a follow-up scan confirmed their worst fears.
Jade continued: “We were told I could have a procedure with a local anesthetic to stop Amalie’s heartbeat before giving birth and this is what we decided to do at 22 weeks.
“We felt this was the best thing ethically for Amalie. Our decision was made entirely for her.”
The abortion was performed on December 22, 2018, but the funeral was only held on January 4th after Jade had recovered from an infection.
In honor of Amalie’s memory, the couple put up a fundraising page to raise more money into the research of Spina Bifida.
The couple also revealed the emotional toll that losing Amalie has taken on them.
Jade said: “This has by far been the most difficult thing we have ever faced. We’d like to help prevent the future suffering endured by couples, families and their babies.”
They will also complete the Three Peaks Challenge on the day Amalie would have been born, April 27th.
They added: “We will be joined on the day by lots of our family and friends, who are doing the challenge with us to help us achieve the ambitious £5,000 we are aiming for.
“Together we can raise more and the further our story reaches the better, therefore please feel free to share this page with your own family and friends.”