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‘I never felt so alone’: Hospital coronavirus rules kept couple apart during miscarriage

Written by on 13 September 2020

A young woman has told how she was forced to suffer a miscarriage without the comfort of her partner, due to strict coronavirus rules in hospitals.

Lucy King was told at her 12-week scan that she had suffered a miscarriage and was given a choice between being admitted to hospital or returning home to wait for the process to be completed naturally.

After being told that her partner Jordan would not be allowed to stay with her if she opted for hospital, the couple chose to return home.

Mr King said they relied on Google for an idea of what to expect and, despite their fear, they gained some comfort in the expectation that they could at least go through it together.

Just over a week later, she spent the night awake in pain and a worried Jordan called the hospital.

He was told to bring her in, although he would not be allowed to stay with her inside.

Lucy told Sky News: “He’s my rock. I was in the room by myself…it was just awful.

“I never felt so alone and I needed you there,” she added, looking at him.

Jordan said: “I went home, sat in our bedroom for quite a while…the only thing that had given me any sense of direction or purpose was I just wanted to be there with you.

“I didn’t want you to be there on your own. As soon as I realised you were going through that alone and I couldn’t do anything about it, it just kind of hit me very hard.”

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The couple, who have been together since secondary school, had promised to do everything together after finding out in April that they were expecting their first child.

But even in the early stages of what should have been the most exciting time of their lives, strict coronavirus lockdown rules meant Jordan missed out.

He was not allowed to meet Lucy’s midwife, he was not allowed to be in the room with her for scans. He never got the chance to hear his baby’s heartbeat.

Even after they were told that Lucy’s 12-week scan had shown a miscarriage, Jordan was only allowed to be in the room with her for a few minutes – and that was only because the nurse was willing to bend the rules, he said.

“We said from day one we were doing everything together. We’d promised ourselves we’d do that,” he added.

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“Both of us are dealing with the fact that we didn’t get the opportunity to go through this together. We’re going through the same grief but we were on the other side of the wall to each other when it happened.”

Lucy said they were still “a bit traumatised” from the experience and Jordan said being kept apart “when we needed each other the most” had left him with “an anger as well as a sadness”.

Neither of them blame the hospital, however, with Lucy saying: “They were doing the best they could in the situation,” adding they hope a change in the rules will mean no one else has to go through what they did.

The rules at hospitals have varied across the country – some banned partners from antenatal appointments, others allowed them in only for the later stages of labour.

Trusts have now been advised to find ways to “reintroduce” partners, visitors and other supporters to maternity services in England.

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In guidance that comes into effect this week, the NHS said: “Reintroducing visits is challenging during a pandemic and the priority must be the safety of all service users (including pregnant women), staff and visitors.”

Hospitals will be able to decide whether to follow the guidance.

Dr Edward Morris, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: “This is an important step for the health and wellbeing of pregnant women and their partners, who have understandably found it difficult not to share the experience of a pregnancy scan, attend important appointments, support women in early labour or spend time with their newborn babies on the postnatal ward.”

Gill Walton, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, added: “Visiting restrictions during the pandemic have been challenging for everybody, particularly for pregnant women and their families at an incredibly important and transformative time in their lives.”