Prince refused genetic testing on his unborn son because of the risks of miscarriage, according to his ex-wife Mayte Garcia.
The former dancer, who was the inspiration for Prince’s hit The Most Beautiful Girl in the World, married the late Purple Rain icon in 1996 and welcomed their son Amiir Gregory Nelson into the world later that year. But the baby was born with rare genetic disorder Pfeiffer syndrome and lived for less than a week.
Mayte first learned of complications with her pregnancy when she began bleeding and a doctor recommended an amniocentesis test to check for genetic abnormalities, but her husband refused after they were informed it could cause a miscarriage.
“Sometimes the body is trying to release the fetus for a reason,” Mayte writes in her memoir, entitled The Most Beautiful: My Life with Prince. “My husband said, ‘No, we’re not doing that’.”
After hearing the scary news, Prince and Mayte went home to pray for their son’s health, and she recalls her husband saying, “Please bless this child. We know you won’t allow this child to be harmed.”
Further tests showed the couple’s son could suffer a form of dwarfism if he survived the birth – something else the couple had to deal with.
“My husband and I looked at each other and shrugged…,” Garcia adds. “I laughed. Of all the possible outcomes that had been offered to us, this was the first one that didn’t terrify me.”
Prince and Mayte’s doctor again recommended a genetic test, but the singer was still against it. Their son was born on 16 October, 1996 and Prince was initially elated at the first sight of his baby.
“I don’t know how to describe the look on my husband’s face,” she writes. “Pure joy.”
But after seeing the severe genetic abnormalities caused by the baby’s deadly condition, Prince was shocked.
“And then they held the baby up to those harsh lights,” she continues. “The elation on my husband’s face turned to pure terror.
“Pfeiffer syndrome type 2 is a genetic disorder that causes skeletal and systematic abnormalities,” she adds. “The premature fusing of the bones in the skull, sometimes resulting in cloverleaf skull, in which the eyes are outside the sockets. The fusion of bones in the hands and feet causing a webbed or paw-like appearance… I learned all of this later.”
Following Amiir’s birth, medical professionals worked to save the infant.
“They brought the baby over to us,” she writes. “He was curled on his side, gasping shallow little gulps of air. Because there were no lids to blink, his eyes looked startled and dry. I caught hold of his tiny hand, saying over and over, ‘Mama loves you, Mama’s here’.
“After six days he was struggling to breathe,” she continues. “And I said to the doctor, ‘He’s not leaving here, is he?'”
Mayte is convinced the superstar never recovered from the tragic loss.
“I don’t think he ever got over it,” she tells People magazine. “I don’t know how anybody can get over it. I know I haven’t.”
Prince died last year (Apr16) after an accidental drug overdose at his Paisley Park home in Minnesota.