Amber Casey from Hertfordshire in England was told to have an abortion after her son was diagnosed prenatally with a heart defect. Casey refused to abort, and after her son was born, his heart defect disappeared days later. Now he’s a happy, healthy toddler.
In 2019, Casey learned the left chamber of her son’s heart was smaller than the right. “Scott and I were so excited when we found out I was expecting again and I couldn’t wait to give our little boy Sebastian, now three-years-old, a brother — who we’d named Orton,” she told the Irish Sun. “But when I went for my 20-week scan in September, the sonographer said she couldn’t get a good view so I had to dance around and drink a fizzy drink to encourage movement. She then tried again, but didn’t say anything for ages. I felt sick when she said she couldn’t see the left side of Orton’s heart. Then she said we needed to be sent to London for an appointment at the Fetal Medicine Hospital.”
After a 20-minute ultrasound, the doctor sat Casey and her partner down, explaining how the heart was the right length, but not the right width. “She said the left side of Orton’s heart might not grow which would mean at least three open heart surgeries to make the right side take on the work of what the left should have been doing,” Casey said. “She told us some children don’t make it past five years old and many are in hospital for most of their childhoods due to surgery and recovery.”
She and her partner, Scott, were then offered an abortion. But Casey, with the help and encouragement of other congenital heart defect (CHD) parents, refused.
“They told us their stories and about life with a child with congenital heart disease after birth,” she said. “I’d walked into the CHD world scared and frightened. I’d lost hope but these people gave me hope that I could fight this for my son, alongside him and with support from the NHS.”
At 25 weeks, Orton was diagnosed as also having coarctation of the aorta, meaning the left main artery was too narrow to let blood flow to his other organs. At 36 weeks, Orton wasn’t moving as much, so doctors agreed to move forward with an induction at 37 weeks. But during an ultrasound before delivery, things were already beginning to turn around.
“As the doctor scanned me just after 36 weeks, she said she didn’t feel that the baby had the defect anymore,” Casey said. “I thought I was hearing things when she calmly explained that the blood flow through Orton’s artery was normal and she didn’t see any narrowing.”
On January 10, 2020, Orton was born, breathing well and with a healthy color. He had no narrowing of his arteries, although his heart was still a little small on the left side. But five days after birth, a miracle happened: the left side of his heart grew to a normal size, and it was working perfectly.
“I couldn’t believe it when doctors said the left side of his heart had randomly expanded,” Casey said. “They said it was miraculously the same size as the right side and worked perfectly! He was struggling to breastfeed due to having a serious tongue tie, but two days after the hospital cut it, we were able to go home. I was so excited to finally enjoy being a new family-of-four.”
A month later, another scan found that Orton had no heart defect, and by October, he was completely cleared by cardiology. “Our hospital and neonatal cardiac doctor couldn’t explain to us why this happened and no one had ever seen this before — it was a real miracle,” Casey said, adding, “I’m so grateful to have my son with me. He is now a happy, bubbly, cheeky one-year-old. Sebastian and Orton love playing together and I feel so lucky and grateful to have them both!”
Doctors often misdiagnose children in the womb and pressure parents to abort even without an official diagnosis. Some parents have chosen abortion only to later learn their baby had been completely healthy. Even if Orton had a heart defect, his parents were willing to care for their son in whatever capacity he needed and refused to allow him to be killed in a eugenic abortion.
Every child, regardless of health status, deserves to be given a chance at life. By seeking out advice from other parents who had already walked the road of a difficult diagnosis, Casey was able to find the hope she needed that doctors did not provide.
“Like” Live Action News on Facebook for more pro-life news and commentary!