A pregnant mum has been waiting for an abortion for TWO MONTHS – due to a botched procedure, staff illness and cancelled terminations.
Heidi Buckman, 43, tried to book an abortion when she was seven weeks pregnant but will now be 17 weeks along before she gets her termination later this month.
She waited two weeks to get her first one – but the medical abortion failed – and the next two didn’t go ahead due to a lack of staff.
The mum-of-two’s last booked procedure was cancelled just hours before it was due – and now she has to wait two more weeks for an appointment TWO HOURS drive from her home.
Businesswoman Heidi, who has two older kids and is currently 15 weeks pregnant, has hit out at Marie Stopes, who carry out abortions for the NHS.
Most abortions in England, Wales and Scotland are carried out before 24 weeks of pregnancy.
They can be carried out after 24 weeks in certain circumstances – for example, if the mother’s life is at risk or the child would be born with a severe disability.
Distraught Heidi, from Kent, said: “I can’t believe the way they treat people. I’m so upset. I can’t think about anything else at the moment.
“I did not come to the conclusion of doing this lightly, but I had psyched myself up and I feel totally let down.
“Now it will be another two weeks – if indeed it actually happens, as I have totally lost faith.
“I’m very small and I am getting bigger and bigger. My kids have started to ask ‘why have you got a tummy?’ and the stress I am under is really putting a strain on my relationship.
“I feel like I have to speak out. I can’t believe they treat people like this.
“I feel like they don’t care. I’m just a number to them.”
Heidi has two daughters, ten and 13, with her ex-husband, and has been with her partner, 38, for seven years.
They accidentally fell pregnant and they decided to abort the baby because she doesn’t want any more children and “it just wasn’t right for her and her family”.
She said: “It was mixed emotion. I did feel guilty about it, but the GP said it should do what was right for us.
“I had just started to see light at the end of the tunnel in terms of getting my life back and I realised that would be gone and I would be back to nappies.”
Her GP gave her the phone number for Marie Stopes, who said the soonest appointment was at their South Norwood branch in two weeks time.
At the appointment an ultrasound placed the pregnancy at nine weeks, and she was given a medical abortion – using medicine.
But despite passing clots and enduring horrific cramps she still felt poorly – and her stomach was growing – and a test a week later said she was pregnant.
She called the clinic who said it could “just be hormones” but a further week later she produced another positive test.
By the time she was able to get another appointment a scan at Marie Stopes revealed she was still pregnant – 13 weeks along.
But now she would need a surgical abortion under sedation – and there were no doctors available to carry out the procedure for another two weeks.
“It was so stressful,” said Heidi, who runs her own cleaning business.
“I just couldn’t believe it when they said it would be another two weeks.
“it was just left there hanging over me and I was worried sick.”
To make matters worse she contracted an infection which landed her in A&E and then at her local hospital’s early pregnancy diagnostic unit – surrounded by pregnant women.
“It was all happy couples,” she said.
“They turned the monitor to face me in the scan and said ‘ah look how lively your little baby is’.
“I felt so guilty. I got really upset.”
She was booked in for a surgical abortion in Brixton at 15 weeks but that was cancelled the night before because the surgeon scheduled to work that day was on sick leave.
She said she is now booked in for a termination in two weeks time at a clinic in west London – two hours drive from her home.
Devastated Heidi, who has the full support of her partner, said: “I’m in total limbo.
“I’m going to be even bigger then.
“What about women who are right at the cut off point for an abortion? What about women who are victims of abuse?
“I’m so upset. I can’t believe they would treat anyone like this.”
A spokesperson for Marie Stopes UK said: “We understand that ending a pregnancy can be a difficult decision and we exist to support women at every stage of the process – from having highly-trained counsellors at the end of the phone 24/7 to having expert medical professionals in our clinics.
“While medical abortion is highly effective, around 2% of women will require further treatment to end the pregnancy. We make sure this is explained to every woman as part of her comprehensive consultation before an abortion.
“We also know any delay to treatment can be worrying. Occasionally, staff sickness means that we need to reschedule appointments, and in these cases we work closely with women to ensure they can receive treatment at the earliest opportunity. If this involves travelling to a different centre, we offer to arrange transport or reimburse travel costs.”