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Mother tells of her heartbreak after she predicted her one-year-old was going to die

A heartbroken mother has told how she predicted her son was going to die – when he wouldn’t take his dummy.

Danielle O’Shaughnessy chose against aborting one of her twins when doctors found he had severe heart defects that risked the survival of the other.

She and her husband Kevin, from Wallsend near Newcastle, wanted to meet Danyl, whose twin brother is called Dylan.

Doctors warned the couple Danyl would only live for three days – but he outlived all expectations and even celebrated his first birthday.

But, ten days after being ‘absolutely fine’ at the party he shared with his brother, Danyl suddenly took a turn for the worse.

Danielle O’Shaughnessy chose against aborting one of her twins when doctors found he had severe heart defects that risked the survival of the other (pictured from left to right with Danyl, Dylan and her husband Kevin)

Recalling that afternoon, Mrs O’Shaugnessy said: ‘After lunch he wouldn’t take his dummy and I just knew. I said to my mum “he’s going to die”.   

‘Five minutes later his breathing completely changed. I held him and rocked him and he just fell asleep and didn’t wake up. 

‘He was peaceful and completely surrounded by love. 

‘It was very sudden and nothing happened the way they said it would – we were expecting that we’d have to administer all these drugs.

‘In a way I’m pleased because I didn’t have to see him decline. It was all natural and on his own terms. He did it his own way and I quite like that, I’m at peace with that.’

Mrs O’Shaugnessy became pregnant with Danyl and Dylan in 2017. Doctors found Danyl had severe and incurable heart defects during a scan.

Doctors warned the couple Danyl would only live for three days - but he outlived all expectations and even celebrated his first birthday. But, ten days after being 'absolutely fine' at the party he shared with his brother, Danyl suddenly took a turn for the worse

Doctors warned the couple Danyl would only live for three days – but he outlived all expectations and even celebrated his first birthday. But, ten days after being ‘absolutely fine’ at the party he shared with his brother, Danyl suddenly took a turn for the worse

Mrs O'Shaugnessy became pregnant with Danyl and Dylan in 2017. Doctors found Danyl had severe and incurable heart defects during a scan (the three are pictured together)

Mrs O’Shaugnessy became pregnant with Danyl and Dylan in 2017. Doctors found Danyl had severe and incurable heart defects during a scan (the three are pictured together)

WHAT IS THE ABORTION TIME LIMIT IN THE UK?

Most abortions in England, Wales and Scotland are carried out by the end of the 24th week of pregnancy.

They can be carried out after 24 weeks in certain circumstances, for example, if the mother’s life is at risk or the child would be born with a severe disability.

Campaigners urge for the time-limit to be reduced due to figures revealing one-third of babies born at 23 weeks survive.

Some argue that at 23 weeks, babies can detect their mothers’ movements, as well as having a decent sense of hearing.

They can also make facial expressions and produce urine at just 14 weeks, and hiccup at 11 weeks.

They offered Mrs O’Shaughnessy, 32, the option to abort Danyl, warning that he could have an impact of Dylan. 

But, in the end the couple decided, even though they may not have him for long, they ‘really wanted to meet Danyl’.

The couple, who are also parents to three-year-old Oliver, then faced an agonising few months ahead of the birth.

Mrs O’Shaughnessy said: ‘There were times when I was told both babies were in danger and we honestly didn’t know who was going to come out of the pregnancy.’ 

Initially, doctors believed that even if Danyl did survive the birth he would be unlikely to survive longer than three days.

The twins were born at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary in October 2017. Danyl was slightly smaller than his brother.

Against all odds, he didn’t need to go into hospice care and the family were told they ‘could go home for a few weeks’.

Mrs O'Shaugnessy revealed the family were provided with a cuddle cot after Danyl died, so they could keep him in the house for four days (pictured as a family, with their other son Olive in the middle)

Mrs O’Shaugnessy revealed the family were provided with a cuddle cot after Danyl died, so they could keep him in the house for four days (pictured as a family, with their other son Olive in the middle)

Mrs O’Shaugnessy said: ‘Danyl had different ideas to any professional. He outlived any timeline we were given.

‘He wasn’t supposed to survive pregnancy and he did, he wasn’t supposed to live past 72 hours and he did.

‘As a family we celebrated Christmas, birthdays, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and we celebrated every milestone he allowed us to be part of.’ 

Mrs O’Shaugnessy revealed the family were provided with a cuddle cot after Danyl died, so they could keep him in the house for four days. 

She said: ‘It made a huge difference – it just gave us time to process everything and family and friends could come and have one last cuddle.’

Mrs O’Shaugnessy and her husband are now fundraising for 4Louis and St Oswald’s Hospice in Gosforth, which have helped them through their ordeal. 

She said: ‘That time was full of mixed emotions but I’m pleased we had a year with Danyl. He was just part of us.’

The fundraising pages can be found here. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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