Couple defy midwife advice to abort baby after scan

MONICA TISCHLER
Last updated 05:00 10/04/2014
Marinda Brits and Liam
MIRACLE BABY: Marinda Brits, 28, holds her healthy son Liam, 4 weeks, after initially being told she needed an abortion.

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Marinda Brits and Norman Holleman would not have their miracle baby if they'd followed a midwife's advice to have an abortion.

The Auckland residents got devastating news  in November when Brits was 21 weeks pregnant.

A scan showed low amniotic fluid levels surrounding the baby boy and they were told he was dying and they'd have to arrange an abortion.

But the expectant parents refused to give up hope.

''We knew our baby was fighting for his life and we were going to fight with him,'' Holleman says.

Their healthy son Liam was born on March 1, the same birth date as their two-year-old son Jayden, and they now want to make sure other parents are aware of the options for babies with low amniotic fluid.

The couple visited Auckland Hospital's woman's assessment unit for a second opinion the day after getting the initial news and Brit says she could feel her son kicking inside her the whole time.

They were told children can still be born with little fluid however there's a high risk of deformation and the brain, lungs and kidneys may not develop properly.

''We were willing to take that chance though,'' Brits says.

The weeks that followed were made up of more scans and at 23 weeks, Brits had an amnioinfusion where 600 millilitres of saline was injected into her womb.

It was not meant to be a permanent solution but would indicate whether she had any leakage or further complications.

Another scan the following week revealed Brits was retaining about one-third of the fluid but Liam's kidneys weren't forming properly and it was likely he'd die shortly after birth.

But on New Years Eve, doctor's discovered Liam's kidneys were functioning properly and Brits and Holleman could prepare for a healthy baby and younger brother to their four other children.

Liam's birth bought tears to Holleman's eyes.

''I was looking at him thinking, 'mate you almost weren't going to be here'.

''I just couldn't believe it,'' he says.

''Everyone says their baby is a miracle but Liam really is ours.''

Media spokeswoman for the Royal Australian New Zealand College of Gynaecology Emma Parry says amnioinfusion isn't generally a cure for low-fluid pregnancies.

''It's a procedure which we rarely perform in the fetal medicine unit in Auckland as there are only a very few indications for it.

''It's been used in later pregnancy to stop the umbilical cord being pressed during labour.

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''And in this case very early in pregnancy to allow a better picture of the baby by ultrasound,'' she says.

- Western Leader

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