Lupe, originally from Spain, moved to Ireland in 2011 with her husband. About a year later, she found out she was pregnant. Eleven weeks into her pregnancy, she experienced some bleeding and became concerned.
When she went to the hospital they told her everything seemed fine and booked her for a scan in two weeks. Worried that something more serious was wrong, a week later Lupe paid €100 for a scan at a private facility, which revealed that there was no heartbeat. Lupe was devastated. The doctor referred her for follow-up care at the University Hospital Galway, where another week later they did a detailed scan and determined that the embryo, only 3mm in size, had likely died four to five weeks into Lupe’s pregnancy. At this point, she had been carrying the foetus for 14 weeks – “it had been dead for two months inside my womb,” says Lupe. “This is the saddest thing in my whole life… After two months with a dead embryo in my womb – you can have an infection or something and only three months before this, this was the hospital where Savita had died. You know Savita Halappanavar – they just let her die with septicaemia – she was having a miscarriage.
You know Savita Halappanavar – they just let her die with septicaemia – she was having a miscarriage
So I was worried and afraid and wanted to put an end to this. So when the doctor asked me what I would like to do I told her that I wanted to put an end to the pregnancy, obviously. She told me they couldn’t help me, that the only thing they could do for me was to book another scan in a week… It was absolutely clear – they had the private scan with no heartbeat and the vaginal scan, from a week later, with no heartbeat and I was 14 weeks pregnant with a 3mm embryo. There was no doubt [that the foetus had died]. The doctor herself told me she was sorry for my loss. She told me they only could book me for another scan in a week just to make sure the embryo was not growing. How could it be growing if it was dead?” Lupe and her husband waited to speak to another doctor. She remembers, “During that time I was feeling really scared since it had became clear to me that, if any complication raised, these people would let me die, just as they did with Savita . . .” Two more doctors came to talk to her and they all said the “same stupid thing.” That they couldn’t do anything for her other than book another scan. “At this moment, I understood what happened to Savita.” Lupe went home and called her private doctor in Spain, who had taken care of her during her first pregnancy. She explained the situation and the doctor told her to come immediately and they would do a surgical abortion, as it was obvious she was having a retained miscarriage. Lupe booked tickets home. She started bleeding heavily before she left but didn’t want to stay in Ireland. “I didn’t feel safe at all,” she said. After 16 hours of travel, bleeding the whole way, she arrived home and went directly to the emergency room. “They took care of me,” says Lupe.