Kym Marsh has thanked viewers of Coronation Street for their support over the soap’s harrowing miscarriage storyline.
Fans were moved to tears as they watched Michelle and Steve lose their baby during last night’s episode.
The barmaid gave birth to their still-born son at 23 weeks pregnant.
Viewers were particularly touched by the devastating plot as it echoed tragic loss experienced by both Kym and co-star Simon Gregson, who plays husband Steve.
Many were already aware that the actress lost a son at almost 24 weeks in 2009.
Simon this week opened up about he and his wife Emma suffering 11 miscarriages – one at just under 22 weeks.
The heartbreaking plot began to unfold on Monday.
The mum-to-be realised something was wrong with her unborn child as she celebrated his imminent arrival at a joint baby shower in the Rovers with Leanne.
As she was rushed to hospital, Michelle shared her worst fears her fellow pregnant friend.
“What if something has happened to him, I don’t think I’ve felt him move,” she told her.
Worried dad-to-be Steve then arrived.
At first it appeared everything was okay, as the couple was told their baby had a strong heartbeat.
But during last night’s tear-jerking episode they faced the terrible news they would lose their unborn son.
As Michelle went into labour, the doctor warned her: “I’m afraid that prior to 24 weeks it’s the hospital’s policy not to intervene if he doesn’t breathe.”
Michelle was just a few days shy of that 24 weeks.
“He’s just an innocent baby, we must have done something wrong,” she cried. “I’m a rubbish mum, I was meant to take care of him.”
Steve was frantic that his wife was forced to deliver their baby with the sound of newborns crying around her.
Read more: Guilty Steve confesses
As she gave birth to her lifeless child, devastated Michelle and Steve decided to name the baby boy, Ruairi.
Viewers were moved to share their sadness on Twitter.
Kym addressed viewers’ reactions to the story with a single, heart-felt message:
Fans were full of praise for Kym’s performance in particular, already knowing the real-life suffering she had endured.
She and then-partner, fellow soap actor Jamie Lomas, lost their baby son, Archie, at almost 22 weeks in 2009.
Kym explained that she “thought long and hard” before agreeing to this devastating plot.
“It is obviously a cause very close to my heart having lost my beautiful Archie at 21 weeks and five days,” she revealed.
“I discussed it with my family and friends, all of whom were very supportive.
“In the end I felt it was an important story to tell in order to raise awareness of something which affects thousands of women every year.
“Losing a child is something that never leaves you so to revisit those feelings as Michelle has been challenging.
“Coronation Street ensured that I had a counsellor on set at all times to go to after filming the scenes but for me the best tonic after a hugely emotional day was to go home to my kids and be reminded of how lucky I am to have them.”
Kym has three children: David, 20, Emilie, 18, and five-year-old Polly.
What Corrie fans have only just discovered is that the storyline also echoed Simon Gregson’s own personal experience.
Coronation Street star Simon Gregson has revealed he and his wife, Emma Gleave, have suffered 11 miscarriages, including a heartbreaking loss at 21 weeks and four days into the pregnancy.
Normally intensely private about his personal life, he took to Twitter to respond to a nasty comment that had been made.
“To the £&)(; who tweeted my wife,” he wrote. “We’ve lost 11 baby’s 1st being 21 weeks 4 days. Maybe think or do your research before tweeting someone.”
Simon and Emma, who married in 2010, are happily parents to three boys: Alfie, nine, Harry, seven, and one-year-old Teddy.
Soap boss Kate Oates said of the hard-hitting story: “The subject of miscarriage will always be sensitive.
“But telling this story with Simon and Kym at the centre would always have an extra poignancy.”