LONDON, England, August 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – An East London couple had to battle doctors and medical challenges to give their unborn baby a chance at life, but they are happy they did.
Denzil Amoah and Elle Brant fought for the second half of Brant’s pregnancy to get doctors at London's St. Thomas Hospital to agree to resuscitate their daughter Amelia, who was diagnosed in utero with Trisomy 18, should she have the need, and not without reason, as a newborn.
But now Amelia, whom doctors advised her parents to abort, is two months old, home with her family and thriving, the Essex Chronicle reports.
“She would have died if we hadn't fought for her,” Brant said. “They said they would put her in a cot and leave us to have some time with her (before Amelia would die).”
“But now she is doing amazingly,” Brant continued. “She has got determination all over her face.”
Amelia was diagnosed with Trisomy 18, or Edwards Syndrome, at Brant’s 20-week prenatal scan.
The condition caused by an error in cell division resulting in an extra copy of chromosome 18 disrupts the baby’s normal development and can result in miscarriage, stillbirth or serious birth defects. Most Trisomy 18 children who survive birth die within their first year of life.
And while recent studies have indicated the condition is not as lethal as previously thought, doctors often suggest or even pressure parents to abort upon receiving a Trisomy diagnosis.
Doctors encouraged Brant and Denzil to abort, Brant said, and when she refused, they indicated they would not treat Amelia, including resuscitation. Instead of acting to keep Amelia alive, the couple was told, doctors would simply put her in a cot for them to say goodbye.
Brant recalled how after Amelia’s diagnosis doctors even skipped giving her full pre-natal care.
“They were pushing for me to terminate and when I decided against it, they said they weren't going to offer her oxygen or treatment,” said Brant, 21. “They weren't offering me monitoring during the pregnancy to check the baby's heartbeat because she had Edwards Syndrome.”
“They were discriminating against her before they even gave her a chance.”
Amoah, 32, agreed.
“For someone to turn around and say that they don't want to help your child because of their condition isn't fair,” he said. “Before we even had the baby, they tried to persuade us not to go through with the birth at all.”
“It just seems to us that they wrote her off before she was even here without giving it a second thought,” Amoah continued. “It is such a shame that women are convinced to give up their children before they are even born.”
The couple wrestled with neonatal consultants for nearly five months through weekly meetings and dozens of heated email conversations with hospital staff. But with the help of another couple who had experienced this same situation, they were able to talk the hospital into treating Amelia.
“They were being very arrogant with us,” Brant recalled. “They were saying, 'She won't survive, we won't treat her.’”
“But to see her on the growth scans and feel her kick and hiccup was so overwhelming,” she continued. “Maybe I was a little bit naive, thinking that they had got it all wrong, but I wanted her to be treated like any baby.”
Amelia was born four days past due on May 10 via C-section, weighing 4 pounds, 8 ounces. She was immediately put in intensive care and later stopped breathing, but she was resuscitated by doctors. After 16 days in the ICU, Amelia was allowed to go home.
Brant accepts that Amelia, who is thought to be deaf, might not live to adulthood, but she believes that babies with genetic conditions deserve the same chance as any other child.
“I didn't want her to be discriminated against because she had Edwards Syndrome,” she said.
Amoah concurred that a health condition does not mean a life not worth living.
“Every baby is an individual and even though it has a genetic problem, it isn't the end of the world,” he said. “Our little baby is here and she is just fine.”
“Imagine if we hadn't gone through with it,” he pondered. “We would be so gutted if we did get rid of her and we had a crystal ball to see her now.”
“A life is a life,” Amoah said. “If she had been born without us knowing the circumstances beforehand, they would have pulled out all the stops without questions.”
Brant spoke of how Amelia has defied the odds.
“Doctors told us she would never come off oxygen, but she has,” she said. “She is just on a feeding tube because she is so tiny. She breathes a lot harder than we do so she can't take bottle and breathe at the same time.”
Brant also expressed how fighting to save her daughter’s life was well worth it, despite what Amelia’s condition might bring.
“She does keep me up most of the night, but she is a little joy,” Brant said. “She is my daughter and I love her so much. She is so beautiful.”
“At the moment we aren't too sure what will happen in the future. She will only live to her thirties if she is lucky,” she said. ‘But at the end of the day she is a human being, and she is our child.”