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Interview 26

Age at interview: 34
Brief Outline: She had 2 normal pregnancies, despite endometriosis, before 3rd pregnancy. 3rd pregnancy' 12-week scan detected problems with baby's heart and kidneys. Specialist scans - cardiac scan confirmed baby's heart undeveloped. CVS found no genetic cause. Pregnancy ended surgically at 14 weeks. She experienced gynaecological complications after termination.
Background: Pregnancy ended in 2000. No. of children at time of interview' 2 + [1]. Ages of other children' 8, 6. Occupations' Mother - nurse, Father - policeman. Marital status' married. Ethnic background' White British.

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Her mother has all the scan photos of her grandchildren up on her bedroom wall and her other...

Her mother has all the scan photos of her grandchildren up on her bedroom wall and her other...

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When you go it's mainly sort of like, your first scan, when you go for your scan, they ask you if you want a picture now. It just looked like something that's been done so that's all I've ever known. So I had a picture and I'm very close to my Mum, very close. Without my Mum I don't think I would be here today. So we got one for my Mum [laughs] and one for [husband's] Mum because she lives in [place] and it was just like, it was such a big event because it was like the first grandchild, everything like that.  

So it just seemed to be, to carry on - the second child you do the same. You get one at 12 weeks and one at 22 weeks. So it was just sort of like a run of the mill thing that we did. We've got pictures of, at the scans. She's got all of them, all of the scan pictures up in her bedroom. They've all got a special frame and it's just like, you say to the little ones like when you go over there 'That's you and that's you' [laughs]. And they are like wow... 

So I think it's nice. They can look back and see the technology that we've had and when they get older the technology is going to be so different. They'll probably have proper pictures and videos or something [laughs]. 

 

She didn't really read the consent form before she signed it because she was too preoccupied with...

She didn't really read the consent form before she signed it because she was too preoccupied with...

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So they come down on the same day and you have to sign this massive consent form. They ask you to read it and you don't actually read it, you just browse over it because I couldn't tell you one word that was on that consent form - I signed it but I don't know what actually was going on. And he was really nice. He explained all what was happening but it just wasn't, it never sinks in. It doesn't sink in what's going to actually happen. And I went down for my surgery and [pause] it was just. I was going down there and I didn't want to be going down there. I didn't want to go down because I had mine done under general anaesthetic, my termination. I didn't want to be there, and I had a tissue in my hand, and when I woke up I still had that tissue clenched in my hand. 

 

She made the nurses add the phrase 'for fetal abnormality' to the word 'termination' on her...

She made the nurses add the phrase 'for fetal abnormality' to the word 'termination' on her...

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And I made the arrangements to go into the ward where I knew all the nurses because I worked with them, and all the theatre staff. And I had this thing in my head. They wasn't just going to write 'termination' on the consent form. It had to be 'termination for a fetal abnormality' because I was paranoid that I don't want anybody thinking I'm just having a termination, you know, when I agree with them but it's just like. It was, oh I've got to make sure that anybody who knows me knows what's doing you know. 

I think if they'd had offered him a form to sign I would have hit the roof, because that's my body. I'm the one who has actually got to go through this. I am the one who, at the end of the day, If I'd carried on with this pregnancy because he wouldn't sign the form and this baby died inside me I'd have to give birth to him, not him, you know. 

They should be there. They should be spoken to, and you should talk, but ultimately at the end of the day a woman's got to go through it.  And no I would, this sounds really horrible but no man has the right, I feel, to sign a form for you. I really, that may be his baby, but he's not carrying it, and I don't feel that they have any right to sign a form. That would just really, I think that would have tipped me over the edge before I'd even done anything, because that's like going back years when men used to sign for women to have operations you know. I really don't feel that that would have helped. 

Speak to them by all means which I can honestly say they did. The care that we got before was fantastic especially up at [hospital]. They spoke to you as a couple. You could speak to them individually if you wanted to - like I could have spoken to them, then [husband] could have asked them questions. You were given every option up there to not only be a couple but to be you as well. And I really don't think that they could have offered anymore.

 

Because she was just under 14 weeks pregnant she chose to end her pregnancy surgically and does...

Because she was just under 14 weeks pregnant she chose to end her pregnancy surgically and does...

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So they said, 'Right we'll book you an appointment back at your local hospital to see like your consultant there and they said you need to make a decision,' because I was coming up for 14 weeks then. And because I said I couldn't go through with the birth - I just couldn't do it. I'd had two live births and the thought of actually giving birth to a baby that I was never going to hold, I was never going to have just, I think I would have ended up in a mental asylum. I really do.

I had a choice. I could have gone, I went to sleep or I could have given birth as such - I had a choice. I still had at that time of when I was able to make an informed choice of doing it. And I thought the easiest way for me would be to go to sleep. All what goes on - I think it was just such an extreme like unfortunate lot of things that happened after - it doesn't always happen like that. You can have your operation and then it all falls into place after. You've still got the psychological trauma of actually losing the baby but... I don't know, it's the same as any death. You have to grieve. You have to go through all those things and all the anger, all the tears, all the why's, the what if's, and then eventually you reach a point where you do get on and you do live again.

 

Described how upset she felt to be treated in a matter-of-fact way when she returned to hospital...

Described how upset she felt to be treated in a matter-of-fact way when she returned to hospital...

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I'll never accept that two more times after having a termination, I had to go back in because they found again to take away what needed to be taken away. And like they, they say things like, 'Oh it could have been clots or it could have been this,' and I am standing there looking and I'm going, 'I'm no fool, I know what you're saying. You're just trying to make me feel better but it's not working. You've left behind things that you shouldn't have'. 

And some of the doctors attitudes are very blas' towards you. They are very matter-of-fact when they should be that little bit more caring. Because one doctor did say, 'Well as many times as it takes, that's as many times as you will go down'. And, it's not the attitude if you're a gynaecologist or obstetrics you need to have a little bit of compassion, even if, you'll never know what that person's feeling - you'll never in a month of Sundays know what that person's feeling - but to be nice costs nothing. And we don't ask them to feel what we are feeling because you don't want no one to feel that, you just want them to be nice and to say, 'We will help you. We will do what we've got to do, and things can go wrong but we will sort that out if it did.' 

It's not rocket science to be nice. It is not... it is not asking anything of anyone apart from to just show a little bit of compassion and treat you as a human being, not as just another person coming in, getting done and going home, you know. Treat you as if you have got feelings. This is your baby at the end of the day. 
 

Says that as terrible as it feels at the time the sadness does get better and you can cope with it.

Says that as terrible as it feels at the time the sadness does get better and you can cope with it.

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And as hard as it is, and as terrible as it is, it does get better and you do live. And you do laugh and you do enjoy your life again. And you don't think you will but you do. And [pause] it is really funny, I always feel there is a reason why something has happened to you. You might not know it now but further down the line you may. 

And I feel from what happened to me, my baby's heart might stop somebody else's baby having to be terminated, and that to me gives me strength, it gives me courage and doing things like this. It's good. It's good because I don't know. 

They can see me down the line - they may think I'm a scatty [laughs] you know, 'scatty woman' but I am okay now. I am alright. I can talk about it without having to bursts into tears or you know things like that. You won't ever forget and anniversaries will still come into your head just the same as your family's do and your children's, if you've got other children, will do. But you live with it and you cope with it and that, that thing in here that feels like it's been ripped out starts to come back, and you become a person again, not just the woman that this terrible thing has happened to. 

You focus on you, and not just on what's happened, and, yeah it's terrible but if you can help someone out of it then I feel that you've achieved something anyway even though it's awful. 

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