A Labour MP has told of how she went through a “very difficult” miscarriage during the pandemic in an emotional parliamentary debate on baby loss.
Olivia Blake (Sheffield Hallam) said she was forced to tell her partner that she had lost their baby in a hospital car park due to coronavirus restrictions which meant she had to enter the hospital alone.
Calling for the Government to “do more” to ensure that no woman has to go through a similar experience, Ms Blake added that “no one should have to hear news on their own”.
Ms Blake told MPs her story for the first time during the emotional Westminster Hall debate, saying she had been prompted to do so after hearing other MPs’ “brave” contributions.
“As we know, as many as one in four pregnancies will end in miscarriage and there are 14 stillbirths happening every day,” she said.
“I first raised the issues of maternity services back in June because I heard from my constituents concerns about these issues.
“Little did I know that I would be experiencing a miscarriage in August and having to go through some of the issues that my constituents had raised with me – going to A&E, my partner having to wait in the car park, getting confused and muddled about my dates, being unable to have a hug, someone to hold my hand or support to hear the news that I was having a miscarriage.
An emotional Ms Blake added: “It was a very difficult, difficult situation and one that I want no one else to have to go through.
“No one should have to hear news on their own.”
After a brief pause to wipe her tears and collect herself, Ms Blake continued: “Receiving bad news on your own is not only incredibly traumatic and challenging, but then having to go and repeat that news to your partner in a car park is another level of difficult.
“At a point when you are struggling to process the information being given to you, it is impossible to take in everything that has been raised with you or answer any of your partners’ questions when you get into the car.
“No one should be put in that position but too many people have been.”
She added: “Whilst I welcome the Government’s change in advice and guidance on allowing partners to scans and appointments, it is currently not enough to improve access.
“I urge the minister to do more and not assume that the job is done on this.”
Earlier during the sombre debate Conservative MP Cherilyn Mackrory told of the “most traumatic weekend of my life”.
Ms Mackrory said on January 3 2019, then aged 42, she was given the “terrible news” that her baby girl was found to have an “extremely severe form” of spina bifida at the routine 20-week scan.
The Truro and Falmouth MP said she “endured” the procedure and has “never felt so helpless”.
She said: “I was voluntarily allowing somebody to interject a long needle through my skin, into my womb and into my baby’s heart so they could inject some potassium to end this little life.
“Our baby was very strong and it took longer than it usually does.
“I just hung on to my husband and I let him be strong for me, not that he felt that he was.
“I felt my baby kicking until the very end.”
Ms Mackrory said they returned to the hospital two days later, and was “induced and endured an eight-and-a-half-hour labour”.
She said: “Finally I delivered.
“I hadn’t planned to look at my baby.
“To be honest, I was scared of what I might see.
“The midwife said to me: ‘You have the most beautiful baby girl’.
“And there she was. A perfect, beautiful sleeping girl. She was tiny.
“She looked just like her big sister.
“I held her, I kissed her, I told her how much she was loved and then I let her go.”