A grieving mum has released this heartbreaking photograph of her premature daughter who was delivered at the 24-week abortion limit.
Born just 24 weeks into her mother’s pregnancy tiny Adelaide was too small to survive.
This treasured image of the tot reaching up as she let out a cry is the only picture her parents have of her alive.
Service Advisor Emily Caines, 25 from Yeovil, Somerset and husband security guard Alastair Caines, 29, released the photograph in a bid to open up the debate about abortion.
The current law allows babies to be terminated up to 24 weeks gestation, the same as Adelaide when she was born.
She said: “Our picture shows Adelaide was not a feotus she was a fully formed human being and to think that a baby like her could be legally terminated on grounds of a lifestyle choice is to me is horrifying. Medical grounds is a different matter.
“Our hospital was amazing and did all they could but Adelaide suffered complications which made it impossible for her to survive but many babies born at 24 weeks do live.
“That makes a mockery of the 24 week legal limit.”
Tragically Mrs Caines had already lost her first baby daughter Isabelle at 23 weeks after going into premature labour in September 2011. She died during delivery.
It was in the agonising weeks after her loss that she fell in love with close friend Alastair who helped her through her grief.
He later proposed and suggested that they marry on the first anniversary of Isabelle’s birth and death to help turn the saddest of days into a happy one.
Mrs Caines explains: “I was grieving and dreading the first anniversary of losing Isabelle so when Alistair suggested we get married on that day at first I was surprised but then I agreed it was a lovely idea.”
The couple married on September 8 2012 at her parent’s villa in Portugal.
Mrs Caines said: “I took some time to reflect and think of Izzy in the morning and what she would have been doing had things been different.
“Then I put on a bracelet with her name on it and pulled on my dress to marry the man I love.
“It turned what was going to be one of the worst days of my life into one of the happiest and that’s how I want to feel when I think about my daughter.”
Soon after marrying the couple began trying a baby together but after struggling to conceive doctors found scar tissue blocking Mrs Caine’s fallopian tubes.
They were told their only chance was IVF and fell pregnant after their first round.
At 20 weeks they learned they were expecting a girl and were relieved to pass the 24 week stage, when medics are legally obliged to help save the life of a premature baby.
Mrs Caines said: “Only then did I buy her a baby grow and Alistair bought her a pink cuddly bunny.”
But just three days later she started to bleed and was rushed to Southmead Hospital in Bristol which has a specialist premature baby unit.
Mrs Caines was rushed into theatre for an emergency section on December 27 2013 and her husband was at her side when their tiny daughter was lifted out by medics and let out a cry.
That’s when a doctor took the only picture of their daughter alive at the birth on the couple’s camera.
Mrs Caines said: “That cry filled us with so much hope. Her little fists were waving and I could see the doctors working on her.”
But after an hour they told the couple that it was proving impossible to get a line into their daughter’s lungs to help her breathe.
Cross-posted from ProLifeNZ
They agreed the kindest ting was to let her go.
Mrs Caines said: “Thinking of my daughters together was the only thing that got me through arranging another funeral.
“We were utterly heartbroken again.”
Five months later they started another round of IVF and Mrs Caines is now 20 weeks pregnant with what she calls her ‘rainbow baby.’
She hopes that following a stitch in her cervix the pregnancy will progress normally. Her son is due in January 2015.
She said: “The theory of the rainbow baby is that something beautiful will follow the devastation caused by the storm.
“I hope sharing our story gives hope to others and helps other parents who have suffered a loss.”
The couple are now keen to break down the taboos surrounding baby loss and neonatal death.
Emily said: “Our daughter may not have lived long but she was still our daughter and we love to talk about her and celebrate her life.
“Sadly in this day and age some people still find that offensive or uncomfortable. I find it particularly hurtful when people use the term late miscarriage to describe our daughter because she was born so early into my pregnancy.
“But I think this picture of her crying out shows that clearly that is not the case. I went through labour and delivery with both of my premature babies. Adelaide lived for more than an hour and will always be very much part of our lives.”
Mrs Caines and her family and friends have raised more than £4,000 for the stillbirth and neonatal death charity Sands since her daughter died in December last year and says she hopes the picture of Adelaide’s delivery will help encourage people to talk about baby loss.
She says: “One of the hardest thing has been feeling I shouldn’t talk about our baby because she is no longer here.
“I think there is still a big taboo around premature baby loss because people don’t understand it. It’s easier to brush the issue under the carpet by using the term late miscarriage.
“My first daughter was born at 23 weeks and classed as a late miscarriage, Isabelle was born at 24 weeks and classed as neo natal death but they looked exactly the same. Neither were a miscarriage but I think it’s easier for people to use that term.
“But that doesn’t acknowledge the fact that a mother has been through labour, delivery and seen and held their baby.
“I hope this beautiful picture of my daughter being born helps change people’s perspectives.”
To support her fundraising visit https://www.justgiving.com/alwayslovedneverforgotten/