Anna-Claire Rodgers looks at her son Seb, born at 24 weeks, (pictured above) and is thankful that her own heart problem went undiagnosed during her mother’s pregnancy.
The miracle mum told 200 guests at the Emily’s Voice Glorious Life dinner on Saturday in Perth: “My parents were missionaries in Papua New Guinea and as such she never had any ultrasounds. And for this they are forever grateful; you see I was born with a severe congenital heart condition – one that would have been diagnosed in the womb as “incompatible with life” and abortion would most definitely have been recommended.
She endured several surgeries in childhood to treat her serious heart problems and told pregnancy would pose a serious risk to her life and her unborn children.
Anna-Claire, 31, and husband Dan started the long process of adoption, unsure if her heart condition would disqualify them from becoming adoptive parents.
They were well down the adoption path when the couple moved from Sydney to Perth and had to restart the entire adoption process.
She unexpectedly fell pregnant and was surprised at how the doctors rallied to support her despite the risks.
She had two miscarriages before Seb, who is almost three, was conceived.
“I was a little surprised at the doctor’s question “how risky is too risky?”
“I remember just going, ‘huh what do you mean?’ to which the doctor responded: ‘Well at what point would you terminate the pregnancy?’ to which both Daniel and I said, ‘no point’.
“We both truly believed that this was a precious life already! And if I’m completely honest I have to admit I was a little bit naive – sure I had been warned of the risks but deep down I didn’t really believe that anything would happen to me –I figured if anything did happen it would be another miscarriage, that my health and my life were ultimately fine.
However, Anna-Claire almost died giving birth due to haemorrhaging and had to undergo transfusions as doctors delivered Seb.
“Sebastian is now a completely healthy, happy, loud, stubborn child,’’ she said.
“He attends day-care one day a week and has even travelled to India with us on a mission trip (pictured below). There is no way to tell that he was born premmie except for some slightly dodgy lungs, the tiny scars on his heel and wrists from all the blood tests and the memories that Dan and I will forever carry in our hearts.”
Keynote speaker, Katrina Urry, from Bundaberg, told how she survived her desperate mother’s two abortion attempts to emerge into a hostile world where she suffered constant abuse.
Katrina, who is a mother of nine sons, said she was thankful for her life, and the opportunity to give back to others who have not had the easiest life.
Guests raised $27,000 for Emily’s Voice life media campaigns.
Our thanks to sponsors of the event held at the Novotel Langley, Inglewood Farms organic chicken, Burgess Electrics and Steenhof Brothers Barristers and Solicitors.