Essex couple devastated after covid rules prevent them from going through termination together


A couple from Essex have spoken of their devastation after coronavirus restrictions meant they weren't allowed to go through a termination together.

Emma Kemsley, from Saffron Walden, received the heartbreaking news at a scan that her baby had developed serious complications and was very unlikely to survive. News she was given whilst her husband James sat in their car in the carpark outside.

"You could feel that panic rising inside, like 'Oh my God this isn't going to be ok', and I am by myself," Emma told ITV News Anglia as part of baby loss awareness week.

"The doctor went off to speak to the head of department just to double check, and I had to call James while he sat in the car park."

Following the appointment, Emma and James, made the incredibly difficult decision to terminate the pregnancy.

Emma has endometriosis which affects her ability to have a baby.

Emma and James, plus dog Fletcher, were looking forward to becoming a family of four. Credit: ITV News Anglia

However, after six rounds of IVF, she was ecstatic to find out she was pregnant, and her and James were looking forward to being parents.

As they had struggled to get pregnant, the couple went for a scan at 18 weeks to make sure everything was as it should be.

That scan revealed the baby boy's bladder was blocked, and doctors warned his lungs wouldn't develop and his heart was under pressure.

Emma was told their baby would have to spend a minimum of a year in hospital, but even then, the chances of him surviving were remote.

Following their decision to have a termination for medical reasons, James still wasn't able to be by Emma's side for either the pre-operation assessments or the termination itself. He believes couples shouldn't have to go through such a traumatic experience alone.

James Kemsley works in a barber shop. Credit: ITV News Anglia

To be the husband not being there for his wife, I think emotionally you don't know how to feel - you feel numb.'

James Kemsley

"I should be down with her, but you know you can't because of Covid," said James.

"I understand why, but in this sort of situation, I should have been there for my wife and equally she should've been there for me."

'Men are left on the sidelines'

James has been a barber for 20 years in Essex and Hertfordshire. He says in that time the conversations he has with his clients have become deeper and darker.

He and Emma believe there is not enough support for men when it comes to going through fertility issues and baby loss, even before Covid-19.

It's something he is working to change, using his conversational skills and life experience, to become a personal development coach.

"It's always a man who is on the sidelines, and we're made to be on the sidelines through no choice of our own," he said.

"Somehow we've been made to be this pillar, this rock, but as life is getting harder, more and more people are starting to crumble.

"We're hard, we're rocks, but the truth is we all still want to talk."

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