A Conservative MP has told of the “most traumatic weekend of my life” during an emotional parliamentary debate on baby loss.
Cherilyn Mackrory said she felt “content and reassured” in December 2018 after feeling the kicking of her baby and wondered what the following year would bring.
But on January 3 2019 Ms Mackrory, then aged 42, was given the “terrible news” that her baby girl was found to have an “extremely severe form” of spina bifida at the routine 20-week scan.
She told a Westminster Hall debate: “I lay on the couch and I grabbed my husband’s hand tightly and tears stung my eyes – not unlike now.
“When I glanced at him, his eyes were watering too.
“We didn’t dare believe what had just happened.
“Just over an hour later we were sitting in the office at our main hospital, the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro, with a wonderful consultant and an incredibly kind bereavement midwife.”
Ms Mackrory (Truro and Falmouth) said she was checked again, adding: “But any hope we had was extinguished by a slow and silent shake of the head.
“But my baby was still kicking.
“And so started the most traumatic weekend of my life to date.
“We had no idea what would happen next.
“Our world had started to swim and spiral away, and neither of us knew what questions we should ask.”
DUP MP Jim Shannon (Strangford) intervened to give Ms Mackrory time to compose herself but he too fought back tears, telling her: “I understand her grief, we all do.”
Ms Mackrory praised the “extreme kindness” of staff at the hospital, before describing the termination of her “much-wanted” baby’s life.
She said she “endured” the procedure and has “never felt so helpless”, explaining: “I was voluntarily allowing somebody to interject a long needle through my skin, into my womb and into my baby’s heart so they could inject some potassium to end this little life.
“Our baby was very strong and it took longer than it usually does.
“I just hung on to my husband and I let him be strong for me, not that he felt that he was.
“I felt my baby kicking until the very end.”
Ms Mackrory said they returned to the hospital two days later, and was “induced and endured an eight and a half hour labour”.
She said: “Finally I delivered.
“I hadn’t planned to look at my baby.
“To be honest, I was scared of what I might see.
“The midwife said to me: ‘You have the most beautiful baby girl’.
“And there she was. A perfect, beautiful sleeping girl. She was tiny.
“She looked just like her big sister.
“I held her, I kissed her, I told her how much she was loved and then I let her go.”