A WOMAN has told how she feared she would die after being refused an abortion when her waters broke prematurely while on holiday.
Andrea Prudente, 38, was in Malta with her partner Jay Weeldreyer to celebrate the future arrival of their baby daughter when she was forced to fly to Majorca for a life-saving operation.
The pair, from Seattle, US, were enjoying a luxury "babymoon" when Andrea's waters suddenly broke at just 16-weeks.
Andrea was faced with the grim prospect of death as doctors said there was a chance she could die from infection if the pregnancy wasn't terminated.
But medics in Malta refused her an abortion because of the country's pro-life position on terminations.
The south Mediterranean island has one of the strictest anti-abortion laws in the world – outlawing the procedure in all cases.
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After days of wrangling with tough Maltese authorities and insurance companies, Andrea and Jay, 45, were allowed to fly to Majorca for her to have a 36-hour long medically-induced miscarriage.
Jay told The Sun Online: "There were times when I was holding Andrea's hands and I looked her in the eyes and started sobbing and told her ‘I don’t know what to do. I’m going to try my best but baby, I love you.
"At one point, I put my face down onto her belly and pleaded with our baby girl, I told her: ‘Baby girl, I want you and I love you and want to hold you but I really need you to let go.
"'You can’t survive. We’ll see you in heaven but please save your mum. Please go, please, please, please'."
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Andrea realised something was wrong when she awoke in a pool of blood on June 12, while in Gozo.
She said: "I thought this must be a miscarriage. The amount of blood was really alarming and I was about 15 weeks pregnant at that point."
At a hospital, Andrea was given drugs to help fortify her pregnancy before being sent back to the hotel and told to "lay low" for next 48 hours – despite being told she had a large haemorrhage and blood clot in her system.
Two days later, the couple returned to the hospital and doctors said the baby would not survive and that Andrea could not have an abortion – despite the harrowing risk of a fatal infection.
Andrea added: "We were told there was still a heartbeat but that the baby will die and that we could not get on an airplane."
"At first we were in a kind of a haze trying to come to grips with it all, that this baby we had wanted so badly, that we weren’t going to have her.
"The communication wasn’t super clear from doctors at Mater Dei other than ‘this baby will die. We cannot intervene as long as there is a heartbeat. You are at risk of infection'."
Andrea said medics warned her she could potentially die, with the pair completely unaware of Malta's strict abortion laws when they booked the trip.
'HEARTBREAKING & GUT-WRENCHING'
She added: "In the very beginning when the doctor said there was no water and that the baby was going to die, all the doctor said was that because of the laws in Malta, that he couldn’t do anything.
"I would go to jail, he would go to jail and that he couldn’t do anything as long as there was a heartbeat."
After days of panic and heartache, the couple were tipped off about an organisation that could help them get out of Malta for a termination.
On June 16, they flew to Majorca, and Andrea was given medicine to induce labour.
Andrea said: "About 24 hours later they started inducing me and I laboured for about eight hours and then I delivered in the morning on Saturday. We got to hold her. It was heartbreaking and beautiful and gut-wrenching.
"But the midwives and the doctors here in Majorca were angels. I’m so grateful. They guided us through this with gentleness and patience and honoured our loss and it was really intense."
After a hellish holiday, the couple are now trying to sort out flights back to Seattle from Majorca as they try to come to terms with their ordeal.
Jay said: "It (the abortion ban) is 100 per cent sentencing women to death, full stop.
"That’s what Malta did to Andrea and others like her.
"Miscarriages are a natural part of pregnancy, it happens.
"If the medical profession is not going to avail these women, who are suffering a medical problem, like a heart attack or cancer, then they’re withholding care and sentencing them to death because some people have a belief that that’s ok and that’s the right thing to do – and that’s obscene."
The couple decided to name their baby Claire after being kept in the dark about the tot's gender during Andrea's pregnancy.
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Andrea said: "We actually didn’t know she was a girl and were actually going to wait for it to be a surprise but then in phone calls with our midwives at home, they knew and they were keeping it a secret from us.
"But our midwife at home said: ‘I think you should know that she’s a girl and that you should name her as that’s part of the grieving process’. We named her Claire."
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