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your stories

'I didn't want to do this alone': Your stories about pandemic maternity restrictions

Here’s what the maternity restrictions meant for readers.

EARLIER THIS WEEK, we asked people to share stories about how maternity restrictions had an impact on them during the pandemic. 

Thousands of people have given birth over the course of the past 15 months, when restrictions were in place at maternity units for patient and staff safety.

These restrictions resulted in pregnant women going through parts of labour and certain scans alone.

The guidance changed over time depending on the Covid-19 situation, but we wanted to share a wide-ranging perspective on the impact of different situations through the stories of pregnant people, partners, loved ones and others.

More than 120 people got in contact with The Journal and 67 of their stories are included in today’s piece. Some said they felt safer with fewer people in hospitals, others discussed the difficulties of finding out devastating news while alone in a doctor’s office.

Many people said they felt isolated, abandoned, and neglected. People were disappointed to have nobody to console them straight after being told of a miscarriage.

Some women also felt they didn’t have a voice during labour without a partner to ‘advocate’ for them.

Many people said they delayed going to hospital when in labour, because they wanted to stay with their partners.

Others who shared their stories felt the implications of the restrictions long after their pregnancies ended. 

Here is what you told us about your experiences.

My entire pregnancy was spent in lockdown so I knew the birth would be the same, but even though I knew this I wasn't prepared for the isolation. (3)

Aine: “I had my third child on 4 January, a healthy little boy named Luke. He was delivered by planned caesarean section.  

The morning I was admitted to the Coombe, the country was firmly in the grips of the third wave. My entire pregnancy was spent in lockdown, so I knew the birth would be the same, but even though I knew this, I wasn’t prepared for the isolation.  

“The visiting restrictions changed the morning of my section, so as I walked down the corridor to the theatre in my gown and slippers, the midwife said my husband would have to leave after I was finished in recovery. He was only let in about three minutes before Luke was born. Then he was asked to leave again. 

“I was in recovery for about an hour, and honestly even writing this I’m welling up because I can still see my husband standing there as I was wheeled down to the ward. 

“Looking back I feel a lot of things: sad, angry, hard done by. And also lucky that I had a happy healthy baby to bring home and I was okay too.”

Michael: ‘I was only allowed to wait in the car’

“My wife was due with our first in mid-June 2020. When the pandemic hit, everything was cancelled. 

“My wife had an emergency C-section (which was a possibility from around February so it was not a shock) on a Sunday afternoon at around 4pm and was discharged with no input from herself on the Wednesday morning. 

All of this, from March onwards, was completed by my wife, alone. Sometimes she was talked down to, emotional and with no room to ask questions, because I was only allowed to wait in the car.  

“Hearing that the government are saying ‘let them in’ but the hospitals are not listening is a standard I am used to in this country, but it still angers me that others are still going through this.” 

My entire pregnancy was spent in lockdown so I knew the birth would be the same, but even though I knew this I wasn't prepared for the isolation. (4)

Jessica: “I remember my first check up with my GP and him telling me that one in four pregnancies end in a miscarriage. You always think that it will never happen to you.  

I first saw some bleeding in my underwear but had no pain… I had to walk into admissions and casualty by myself, while my husband waited outside. There are few lonelier places than sitting in A&E by yourself, waiting to hear if your precious baby is going to live or die.  

“The doctors were able to find a heartbeat and explained that some women just experience bleeding and for me to keep an eye on it. We went home then, cautiously optimistic. It wasn’t to be though, and the bleeding and pain intensified over the next few days. 

“I was home alone on the Thursday when the pregnancy sac came out: my little baby. I remember the absolute terror and panic as I held this tiny thing in my hands.  

“We went back up to Holles Street the following day and they confirmed my pregnancy was over. I lay on the bed and the midwife was asking me if I had any questions. I just stood up and walked out of the room. I couldn’t even speak I was so upset.  

I went out to my husband in the car then and had to explain it was all over and that, no, they didn’t know why this had happened. This is why you need people at appointments: to remember the instructions you’re given; to ask the questions you’re not able to.  

“I was lucky enough to become pregnant again a few months later… thankfully I gave birth to a healthy baby girl, but the events of the last year have scarred me and it would have been much easier if I had my husband by my side to hold my hand for all those trips to casualty.”

‘I isolated myself from most people for fear of getting Covid’

“The restrictions were very frustrating but I did appreciate them for certain visits. The less people I come into contact with, the less chance I have of getting Covid. 

In a way, I was relieved that we couldn’t bring partners, as there was no way we could have socially distanced if they were allowed. We were allowed partners for the 20-week scan, which I was very grateful for.

“I do wish partners would have worn masks properly during these appointments. They also limited the seats for people to allow social distancing, and you would have to stand a lot of the time. 

“I had a difficult pregnancy and had to go to A&E quite a few times, and although it would have been good to have my husband as support, I felt more comfortable with less people in A&E. When NPHET released the information on Covid Placentitis, it added to my worry of getting Covid.

“There was so much fear that I isolated myself from most people for fear of getting Covid.”

‘I don’t think they can afford to lose any more staff’

“The maternity hospitals are under severe pressure due to all pregnant staff (midwives, doctors, etc) being signed off work at the beginning of their pregnancy on top of maternity leave.

“This doesn’t include regular sick leave. Junior staff are having to fill gaps and to take charge on high risk maternity wards caring for 13 or more patients each. And considering how much busier the hospitals have been lately, this is extremely dangerous. I don’t think they can afford to lose any more staff if they become close contacts or contract Covid with higher footfall through the doors.” 

My entire pregnancy was spent in lockdown so I knew the birth would be the same, but even though I knew this I wasn't prepared for the isolation. (5)

Amy: “I am currently pregnant with my second child. I had my first in May last year, during the restrictions. The treatment, or lack of treatment, I received while pregnant and in labour has scarred me for life. 

“I laboured alone, was only checked on twice and only when I called for help after being alone in pain for over 24 hours. Thank God I did, because my [baby’s] heart rate had dropped and no one knew until I rang the buzzer asking how far I am and could my partner come in. I needed him, I needed that support.

I’m four months pregnant with my second. I cried tears of fear when I found out, as I knew I have to be alone again. I’ve already been in alone for a bleed, while my partner sat waiting in the car for text updates. I have a scan tomorrow, which I have to attend alone. My anxiety is at an all-time high. This has ruined me forever. I’m broken.”

Damien: ‘There is a lot of negative press around this issue’

“Myself and my wife had a baby boy last Wednesday and I have to say the hospital staff couldn’t have been more helpful and accommodating. This is a hospital in the northwest. I know it’s not the same everywhere, but I do feel there is a lot of negative press around this issue.” 

My entire pregnancy was spent in lockdown so I knew the birth would be the same, but even though I knew this I wasn't prepared for the isolation. (6)

Peter: “As a partner, I must admit the anxiety waiting in the car outside the Rotunda for every single scan and appointment was unbearable. 

There were many men/partners in the same situation parked up waiting in their cars and a few I began to recognise.  

“A truly wonderful experience for us has been marred by unnecessary restrictions.”

Jackie: ‘I am one of the lucky ones’

On the night I went into labour, we arrived at the hospital at 3am. My husband was not allowed enter the hospital with me. I had to go to the reception by myself, then wait in the waiting room and then go into the emergency room to be assessed whilst I was having very painful contractions and my husband waited in the car outside.

“After a trace and examination I was told I was 1cm dilated but that they were admitting me to the prenatal ward as my contractions were getting more intense and I had a fast labour on my previous birth. The nurse told me to tell my husband to not go home as when it kicks off it will be quick.

“All of the staff could not have been nicer, and overall it was a pleasant birth experience and I am one of the lucky ones, but I wish my husband could’ve been with me for the whole labour.”

Ronan: ‘I sat on the concrete blocks outside the hospital totally alone’

“My wife and I had an IVF transfer done in March. I was excluded from all the procedures in the fertility clinic, from all the scans there and from all the scans in the Lourdes Hospital up to week 14. She was getting scanned every two weeks as it was considered a high risk pregnancy.

“Due to her age and previous miscarriages, my wife arranged a private scan at week 16. I attended this scan.

“Sadly a neural tube defect was uncovered. We were told to contact a fetal medicine specialist.

“My wife contacted the brilliant people in the Lourdes and they arranged an emergency appointment in the Rotunda the next morning. So we made our way there and upon arrival, I was told by the security guard that I couldn’t come in, that only the women were being allowed in.  

I sat on the concrete blocks outside the hospital totally alone, feeling totally helpless with the situation, while on the block beside me, a woman was feeding her young baby. Needless to say that was a surreal moment for me.   

“[Later] a very nice, helpful security guard came out and brought me right up to the department to be with my wife. 

“The baby had occipital encephalocele, a portion of its brain was growing into a sac at the back of its head. There’s a 1 in 10,500 chance of it happening and it happens twice a year in Ireland, we were told.

“The baby would have massive difficulties if it was born, including brain seizures, fluid on the brain, strokes, total paralysis, massively enlarged head and perhaps heart difficulties. We were told the quality of life would be negligible. 

“Broken-hearted, we asked what options were available to us. The fetal medicine specialist agreed with our decision not to continue with the pregnancy.

“She called us back a few days later to tell us consensus on a termination could not be reached and that they wanted us to do more tests and scans on the baby.  

“Aware of the fact we were approaching 20 weeks and that the cut off time was 24 weeks, we refused to do any more tests and we headed to the UK to sadly terminate a very-much wanted baby.” 

My entire pregnancy was spent in lockdown so I knew the birth would be the same, but even though I knew this I wasn't prepared for the isolation. (7)

Jenny: “At 13 weeks I was clearly trying to do too much, and had not quite gotten the ‘I’m pregnant, should take it easy’ mindset. I was packing, carrying, and unpacking a lifetime of belongings [to move house with my partner].  

After an evening of moving boxes… I suddenly felt a strange sensation and thought I had peed myself so jumped up I ran to the bathroom. 

“Immediately I saw red blood, what seemed like massive clots, and my head was spinning. My mind was already convincing itself of my stupidity for carrying too much and that I had caused the loss of the baby.  

“I called out to my partner. I said I needed to go to the hospital. He was in shock but thankfully was very proactive in ringing an ambulance. They arrived and we went to Holles Street together  

“When we reached the hospital he had to stand outside, I went in alone and was taken straight to be scanned.  

I was tended to so quickly, I was asked questions as to what happened and the details of the event. I wished my partner was there with me with all my being.  

“When they showed me the baby was okay I was almost in disbelief, how I could have lost so much blood and the baby still be alive and well? I rang my partner immediately tears streaming down my face luckily in relief. I couldn’t hold or be held in that fragile moment where we almost lost our baby.” 

‘I think the measures in place were simply to protect women, babies and healthcare staff’

“At about ten weeks, I had a very large bleed and went straight to the emergency room. It was difficult to be on my own waiting for the scan with my husband pacing the car park outside. I felt I was the one trying to comfort him as he felt so helpless. 

“Thankfully and miraculously, there was a strong heart beat. I can only imagine how difficult it would have been to be on my own had the news been different. 

“I was induced as my baby’s growth had stalled at 38 weeks. It was bizarre waving my husband goodbye that morning, knowing (hopefully) that I would be close to giving birth when I saw him next.

The midwives and doctors were clearly under pressure and very busy… thankfully, the majority of staff were now vaccinated, as was I, and I felt much safer being in a room with other people.  

“For me, I think the measures in place were simply to protect women, babies and healthcare staff. It’s only right that this has changed as vaccines have rolled out. I’m at home now with my baby. We’re both well, safe and healthy – I felt protected by the system and I’m grateful for that.” 

‘My husband had to wait in the car park’

“Last week at 30 weeks pregnant, I had a bleed. We did not know if we were losing our daughter, we were so scared and frightened. 

“The new policy states that if you are in your third trimester and have to attend emergency department your partner can attend.

My husband had to wait in the car park. There were a number of partners in the car park that night – some had partners in labour but are not allowed in until ‘established labour’.

“Others had partners at the emergency department. It was a traumatic scary experience to be on my own and so hard for my partner left outside.”

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“I feel I need to share my story as it has had a deep, traumatic effect on my life. 

“I had a missed miscarriage in April 2021, no heart beat picked up on a private scan. I had to attend the EPU in the Rotunda for confirmation of no heartbeat and my partner was not allowed to attend. 

Getting confirmation in the Rotunda that there was no heartbeat, while being alone was honestly horrible. 

“I was then left in the waiting room crying alone with other pregnant woman around me getting good news. Having to text my partner to confirm there was no heartbeat is truly inhumane; he should have been allowed to be told himself in person and provide emotional support to me. 

“It was a heartbreaking, distressing situation, made 100 times worse not having my partner at my side.”

‘I knew my pregnancy was ending and it felt like nobody cared’

“I found out I was pregnant with my first baby in December 2020, I can’t describe the joy and excitement my husband and I felt at the prospect of becoming parents. With all the doom and gloom of lockdown and restrictions there was something wonderful to look forward to. 

“I was 11 weeks when I started bleeding. They say it’s common in early pregnancy but deep down I knew something was wrong.  

I was referred by my GP to the local early pregnancy unit at the start of February. I attended the appointment on my own and found it to be a very difficult experience.  

“During my appointment I had to have an internal scan, there were three staff members in the room but no one was there for me. I think that’s the most difficult part for any woman getting bad news during maternity restrictions: you’re on your own.  

“I was told that my dates might be wrong as the pregnancy only appeared to be six weeks along and to come back next week. I really did my best to keep it together and not burst into tears, I knew my pregnancy was ending and it felt like nobody cared.”

‘The restrictions took my partner away from my side’

“As a first time mum, I was anxious and scared of giving birth. I was 12 days overdue and ended up having to be induced. 

I cried most of the night before my admission due to the anxiety of being on my own during my induction and of the unknown. 

“The following morning my partner dropped me to the hospital door. It was a long lonely walk to the antenatal ward, carrying my own bags while being 41 weeks pregnant. I actually stopped in the toilets on the way to have another little cry about the unfairness of the situation.

“I went through the induction all day alone, my partner was allowed visit for one hour that evening, which got me through the day. I didn’t go into early labour until about 1am that night, when I was on a ward by myself, no other patients. It was extremely lonely and I felt so vulnerable and scared. 

“My partner was on standby, he just wanted to be with me as much as I needed him. But I was forced to labour alone until the following morning, when the staff changed over, I was then allowed to tell my partner to come in. 

The restrictions took my partner away from my side, when I needed him most.

‘I had to send this news to my husband by text who was waiting in the car outside’

“In the past eight months I have experienced two miscarriages, each at an early stage of my pregnancy (within the first trimester) and was cared for in the National Maternity Hospital. 

“The first occasion happened in November 2020, when as a result of my previous history of miscarriage, I attended an appointment in the early fetal assessment unit of NMH by myself when I was about eight weeks pregnant.  

“I had no reason to suspect anything was wrong but during the scan, I discovered that the pregnancy had not progressed and there was no heartbeat. I had to send this news to my husband by text who was waiting in the car outside.

Needless to say, I was devastated. And this feeling was only worsened by having to go through it by myself.  

“I was lucky to become pregnant again in February 2021. On that occasion, at about eight weeks (April 2021), my husband and I paid for a scan in a private clinic where he was allowed in. 

“It was a positive scan, there was a very healthy heartbeat and we were told there was no cause for concern. However, two weeks later I was conscious that I was not developing a bump and I feared that the pregnancy may not have progressed so I attended the NMH, again by myself, with my husband waiting outside in the car. 

Once again, following an ultrasound, I received the devastating news that despite the healthy previous scan, this pregnancy had not progressed, and I had to pass this news to my husband while sitting alone in a consultation room.

Sinéad: ‘I crumbled when I got to the car and told my husband our outcome’

“I found out I was pregnant with my first baby on a Sunday – Mother’s Day – in March this year. The excitement was real. 

“I was very nervous considering I’d had brain surgery five years previously and it was unclear to me what the care approach would be for a disabled pregnant woman.  

Sadly, I miscarried solo on Easter weekend at just shy of eight weeks, while my husband had to sit outside with our dog in Merrion Square. 

“While the staff were wonderful, it was a genuinely horrible experience. I had some very invasive tests, little to zero emotional support (the staff did try their best), and no second pair of eyes and ears – critical for me as with my injury, it’s impossible for me to focus my attention if I can’t figure out where the noise is coming from; behind masks, this is exacerbated.

“Despite being stoic at the hospital, I crumbled when I got to the car and told my husband our outcome, when it hit me that I’d left the hospital with no prospect of having this baby.”

Ciara: ‘I laboured alone without my partner for 41 hours’

“I gave birth to my little girl Érin in April 2020, right at the start of it all. At the time, partners were completely banned from attending all stages of labour and post-natal visits were also banned.

I laboured alone without my partner Eoin for 41 hours. And while the staff in Mullingar Maternity Unit were absolutely top class, it didn’t compare to having Eoin there.  

“The other mothers in my ward were so lovely and helpful and we looked after each others’ babies when we needed showers and the bathroom, but that should have been our partners’ turn to bond with their babies.  

“Eoin didn’t get to meet his little girl until she was three days old, and I was a shell of a woman leaving that hospital. 

“I suffered from nightmares, night sweats, flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, anxiety and ended up being diagnosed with PTSD, anxiety and postnatal depression at my six-week checkup. I felt I was grieving for the experience we missed out on both watching our daughter coming into the world.”

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Emma: “I gave birth on 25 March this year in the Coombe Hospital. As this was my first baby, there was a lot of unknown in general. I had a very easy pregnancy for the most part.

“On the day of the labour my easy pregnancy came to an end.  

As my water broke at home and there was some blood in it, the midwife told me to come in sooner rather than later. My husband dropped me to the door and waited outside the hospital.  

“From that moment and for the next ten hours I was alone. I felt like a little girl entering the hospital doors by myself, frightened of what was to come. My baby was what they call ‘sunny side up’, which is where the baby’s back is against your spine, and in my case he was sitting on my sciatic nerve. 

“My contractions went from nothing to extremely intense due to my baby on my spine. My partner wasn’t allowed in until I was dilated 3cm and I was only 1cm. 

“The worst part of this whole process for me was that I needed someone to advocate for me, telling them I needed pain relief, and even just a friendly face holding my hand. The nurses are all lovely but it wasn’t until my husband came in that I could relax. 

“From my husband’s perspective, he had never been through those doors until the labour, never been to a scan, and had to wait in his car worrying about what was going on.

“Once my baby was delivered, my husband had to leave after an hour and I was wheeled down to the ward. 

Apart from being by yourself during the labour, it’s even more daunting by yourself with a newborn baby, having never fed or changed a baby in my life, and dealing with pain from stitches and the onslaught of hormones.

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Naomi: “I was booked for induction on Saturday 19 June, and arrived at the hospital at 6am with my bags. The hospital was empty and I went to make my way to admissions with my partner and were stopped at the door and told I would have to go in alone and that he could wait in the car ‘until he was needed’.

“My induction began at 8.30am… My partner came in the evening as we have 2 small children at home also. I was beginning to get contractions at this stage but he was told to leave at 8pm and again would be called ‘when he was needed’ and to head on home. 

“At 9.34am they finally agreed that I was in labour and that I could be brought to an emergency delivery room. My son was born at 9.44am. My partner was phoned as I was being wheeled into the delivery room as I guess they had decided that he ‘was needed’ at this point. 

He missed the birth by 14 minutes. As he was trying to get into the hospital he was stopped by security despite telling them his partner was in the delivery ward and this further delayed him. 

“I felt totally unheard and unsupported. My partner was totally left out of the entire experience.”

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Darren: “My fiancée and I are expecting the birth of our first baby in September 2021. 

Other than the foetal abnormality scan, I have been excluded from all other aspects of my partner’s pregnancy. 

“[Recently] my partner was experiencing pains and we rushed to the hospital. I wasn’t allowed step foot in the hospital. I attempted to enter on several occasions but was asked to leave. 

“I completely respect Covid restrictions and abide to them closely. But I almost feel like a third class citizen when it comes to how maternity hospitals treat partners.” 

‘I will have to labour alone’

“I am 32 weeks pregnant and attending the CUMH. To date, my husband has been unable to attend any maternity appointments, with exception of the Anatomy scan at 20 weeks. 

“As I approach my due date, the biggest concern that I have is coming true – that I will have to labour alone. The CUMH has recently (28 June) updated their maternity restrictions following Minister Stephen Donnelly’s mandate but they are still failing to allow partners to attend for full labour.

As a first-time mother, this is very concerning and distressing.”

‘I’m sobbing in a chair on my own’

“I got pregnant with my third baby in March and had booked in to the Rotunda for an early scan in May. 

“I should have been 8 weeks along at the time. My partner wasn’t permitted to come and I was okay with that. I figured this was my third pregnancy, I had no previous issues and I ‘felt’ very much pregnant. 

“When I got into the room, everything felt normal until the image appeared. I couldn’t see anything. I was fairly sure of my dates. I knew with the other two I had seen a foetus at this stage but there was an empty sack. I was told not to worry yet, that the dates could be wrong and to come back next week.

On the day of the scan, I rang and asked could my partner attend. I was told no. I told them my situation and I was told I’m sorry but no.  

“I had to walk in there, past all the bumps and babies and sit and wait on my own only to go in, be scanned and then to be told there was no baby. The waiting was horrific. 

“I’m sitting there with a lovely obstetrician who is doing her utmost to comfort me but also explain to me the natural, medical and surgical approaches to passing a baby while I’m sobbing in a chair on my own. 

“Then I left, text my husband ‘there’s no baby’ because I couldn’t bear to make that call in the public space of the hospital and walked past the bumps and babies once again with tears streaming down my face, up the street and out to the car where I could finally bawl in peace.”

Ashling: ‘I do not want to attend emergency as I cannot have my husband there to support me’

“I have had two miscarriages in the past eight months.  

In November 2020, during the first miscarriage I attended the early pregnancy unit in Our lady of Lourdes Drogheda. Due to Covid-19 restrictions my partner could not attend, and it was bad news.   

“In February 2021, I was pregnant again but chose to miscarry at home. I’m currently pregnant and my husband could not attend my early scan in Rotunda maternity hospital.

“I am experiencing complications and I do not want to attend emergency as I cannot have my husband there to support me and feel there is nothing they can do anyways if the pregnancy is not viable as I am only seven weeks pregnant, and they cannot stop a miscarriage. 

Restrictions have not been eased for women like me who have had recurrent miscarriages or high-risk pregnancies and if they attend hospital will have to face bad news alone. I’m angry that they are refusing access to partners when support is most needed.”

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Susan: “Myself and my husband were overjoyed to find out that we were pregnant with our second child on July 9 2020.  

“We patiently waited for our 8-week scan to roll around and on 7 August I excitedly went to my consultant’s office for my first scan. What began as pure joy quickly turned into confusion, fear and sadness when there was no heartbeat.

The moment when I needed my husband the most I was alone crying in my doctor’s office being questioned about dates and how sure I was that I was 8 weeks. 

“I was told to wait 2 weeks and come back where there was just a 50/50 chance there could be a baby, again alone. It was at this appointment on 21 August I was given the devastating news that my pregnancy wasn’t viable and I was going through a missed miscarriage. 

“Fast forward to the start of this year. We were so so happy, I mean overjoyed to find out we were pregnant at the end of January.

“This time when I went for my first scan my husband waited in the car outside with our son just so he could be close by if anything happened, I was so relieved when I heard the heartbeat and was told to come back again in two weeks time for a reassurance scan. 

“I immediately know something wasn’t right [at the reassurance scan] when my consultant was quiet and kept moving around looking for the baby.

“Then he said the heartbreaking words I had only heard 7 months before that I’m sorry I can’t find the heartbeat. To say I was devastated doesn’t even cover it, I was beyond upset and angry. 

I’m most angry that he never got to hear our baby’s heartbeat. I had to go through two checkpoints on the way home and explain why my journey was essential holding back tears.

Laura: ’I honestly don’t think I will ever get over this experience’

“My due date was July 8 2020 and it came and went – on Monday 13 July my contractions started and my mother and husband brought me into hospital. My husband walked up to the entrance of the hospital and was told by security that he had to leave me.  

I went to the pre-labour ward, with the pain and contractions getting worse – I was lying in a bed with nobody for support. The midwife had concerns as my baby’s heart rate kept dropping and eventually my waters broke and was moved to the delivery suite which then my husband was allowed come in. 

“At 12.06am on Tuesday 14 July 2020 my beautiful baby boy Daniel was born. My husband got to stay with us for two hours and he had to leave.   

“My husband was not allowed back to see us until that evening between 5pm and 7pm. I found this extremely hard.

Waiting for 5pm to come to see my husband felt like a lifetime – I was so lonely nobody to talk to and nobody to help me.  

“I know there are worse stories than mine but I honestly don’t think I will ever get over this experience.” 

Samantha: ‘My boy spent the first hours of his life with strangers’

“I gave birth in October 2020. I was induced at 37 weeks due to premature rupture of membranes. 

“Induction started at 7.30am and my husband was allowed to join me at 5pm. Delivery ended in emergency caesarean. My husband was asked to leave less than an hour after delivery and myself and baby were taken to a ward.  

“Baby had some difficulty breathing and was taken from my bed to NICU. My beautiful boy went to NICU without me (as I couldn’t walk let alone get out of the bed) and without his father.  

My boy spent the first hours of his life with strangers. His father should have been called back to be with him when I couldn’t. Instead he had to wait for visiting hours.

‘I spent the early stages of labour on my own’

“I had my first baby on 6 June 2020 in Holles Street. I attended A&E on the evening of the 4th as I hadn’t felt movement all day, I had to do this on my own. Thankfully everything was fine but as I was one day overdue they decided to admit me that night. 

“I was induced on the 5th and spent the early stages of labour on my own, going through having my waters broke and contractions without the support of my partner. Finally at about 10.30pm on the night of the 5th I was moved to the labour ward and my partner was allowed to come in.

I feel deeply affected by this experience and I am still triggered by birth stories on the TV. 

“I am currently expecting my second child, due in December. I am electing for a C-section and one of my motivations for this is your partner is with you from the moment you go in.”  

My entire pregnancy was spent in lockdown so I knew the birth would be the same, but even though I knew this I wasn't prepared for the isolation. (8)

Jean: “I gave birth to my son on Tuesday 5 May 2020 in Limerick Maternity Hospital and I can tell you I did not have a good experience. 

“It was a planned C-section with my consultant which was great and full of the most wonderful supportive reassuring professionals who made me, my husband and my son feel incredibly safe. 

“My husband had to leave 20/30 minutes post surgery so I was relying on the midwives to care for me. 

“There was a delay in my pain relief. The nurse I had during the day told me what I was due and at what time. I couldn’t stand and was barely sitting up so could not physically go out to the nurses desk. I pressed the button and was told I had to wait until the shift change was complete. This took 90 minutes. 

My husband was not with me to act as my advocate. To calm me. To care for me when I was vulnerable.

Michelle: ‘That is news that shouldn’t be confirmed by phone to a father and husband’

“In January 2021 I attended the Rotunda emergency room with symptoms of pregnancy loss… I had a scan confirming I had indeed lost our baby at 8 and a half weeks.  

That is news that shouldn’t be confirmed by phone to a father and husband. News that shouldn’t have to be given to anyone on their own. It is a very vulnerable position for a woman to be in. In physical and emotional pain. Trying to get the questions you want answered out with no one to speak for you. 

“I was fortunate to become pregnant again but with an additional load of anxiety which has to be carried alone. A very anxious scan at 8 weeks where I have feared hearing the same sentence. “I am not seeing what I expect to see at this stage…” 

“I nearly didn’t have the courage to go the appointment the nerves were so strong.  If there was someone there in the waiting room with me it would have been a different experience. 

It isn’t a want for company or someone to pass the time in the waiting room, it is a need for the support of your partner to get through those hard and nervy appointments. 

“I am now over 20 weeks and I am waiting for any signs of restrictions changing but I still worry about the next stage of pregnancy and the lack of support my husband may not be able to give through no fault of his own.”

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Audrey: “I’m on my second pandemic pregnancy, I gave birth to my son in September 2020 and I’m now currently 16 weeks pregnant. 

I came from a background of four miscarriages so to not have my husband at scans and appointments has been horrific, knowing every appointment I went to could be bad news will never leave me.

“At 32 weeks pregnant I had a bleed and went to hospital and en route was in a car accident and spent two nights in hospital and still did not have my husband with me. 

“When I gave birth, we walked the streets of Dublin at 3am until 7am soaked in my broken waters until I reached three centimetres as I would not leave my husband and be on my own in labour.”

Alan: ‘I didn’t get to share all the scans with my wife’

“We were nearly 10 years trying for kids and after numerous IUI (intrauterine insemination) and IVF treatments we were lucky enough to get pregnant with twins.  

We had a scare after a couple of weeks with a heavy bleed, had to drive to Dublin thinking it was more bad news. I wasn’t allowed in so I found out we were having twins by a WhatsApp from my wife.  

“Just disappointed I didn’t get to share all the scans with my wife. We now have 7-week old girls, who are more than we could ever have hoped for. Happy ending to a very long and stressful as well as expensive journey.” 

Susan: ‘I really felt I needed my partner by my side for support’

“We sadly lost a baby during the pandemic… The pain of having a miscarriage without my partner being allowed in to hold my hand and support me was horrendous. 

“Thankfully we fell pregnant again in the second half of 2020. Again I had to attend my 12-week and 32-week scans alone 

I didn’t get an anomaly scan with the maternity at 21 weeks but went for a private scan and unfortunately my partner couldn’t attend this either. I was so anxious and nervous attending all of these scans and I really felt I needed my partner by my side for support given the devastating miscarriage we had previously suffered.

Kerrie: ‘The isolation after such a traumatic experience was so difficult to cope with’

“I had my daughter April last year in Waterford Regional Hospital just when things were really getting scary and we were in the first lockdown. 

“I had to say goodbye to my husband at the door of the hospital and walk in alone and sick. The thought of being without my husband and first daughter for weeks with no visits was so upsetting and my preeclampsia quickly deteriorated through the stress of it.  

“I started having seizures and was rushed for an emergency C-section the evening I arrived at Waterford. I was only 30 weeks so I was so scared for my baby and being alone made things so much harder. 

I was brought back to recovery and my husband Liam was asked to leave straight away which was so horrible. He had to drive home to Kilkenny and I didn’t see him for a week after that. 

“The next morning I was moved to the postnatal department to recover. It was such a difficult time, I was completely alone for five days.  

“The nurses and doctors were as supportive as they could be in such a tumultuous time but I was so upset I couldn’t see my baby or have the support of my husband and family to help deal with what had happened. The isolation after such a traumatic experience was so difficult to cope with.”

‘I’m contemplating a C-section so that I know he will be there to support me’

“I found out that I was pregnant with my second baby in September 2020. However at seven weeks I had a bleed. 

“I remember sitting there [in hospital], trying not to make eye contact with anyone in case I met someone I knew, while my husband sat in the car.  

“After a 90-minute wait I was seen and had my scan and was told there was a heartbeat, that I was fine and they sent me home. The bleeding continued for the next 10 days and I just knew myself that it couldn’t be right to bleed that much so I went back.

There were seven people in that tiny room (trainee doctors) while I was scanned and told that I had lost my baby, while my husband sat out in the car.

“Sent home again to miscarry at home, ended up in A&E. I remember walking through the corridors, with blood dripping down my legs and my bags in my hand, sitting in the waiting room getting blood all over the chair all while my husband sat out in the car!

“I’m now 36 weeks pregnant and it’s looking like my husband will have to wait out in the car. If this labour is like my first labour he won’t be eligible to attend. I’m contemplating a C-section so that I know he will be there to support me, but what a shitty reason to get major abdominal surgery.”

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“I gave birth in March of this year via planned C-section in Cork. I was asked to arrive at the hospital at 7am as I was second on the list that day. I walked in to the reception with my husband who was carrying my bags. He was told to leave the building immediately due to Covid. 

I sat on the bed on my own in a private room while my husband sat downstairs in the underground carpark for eight hours. 

“The staff were all friendly and I felt extremely at ease throughout the op. The op lasted 40 minutes and then we were brought to the recovery room where my husband was given 45 mins with his new baby. 

“Then a midwife and porter came to bring me and baby to our room. They started wheeling the bed away but I wasn’t told to say goodbye to my husband so presumed he was coming with us in the lift. That was the last time I saw him for four days until we left the hospital. He was told to exit the hospital in the opposite direction.

I cried every single day for 10 weeks after leaving the hospital… I’ll never forget the injustice of it.

Celine: ‘I was 33 weeks pregnant and completely alone’

“On St Stephen’s Day [2020], I attended the Coombe as I had not felt the baby move in a couple of hours. I was informed that there was no heartbeat, my baby had died hours earlier. 

I was 33 weeks pregnant and completely alone. I had a slight panic attack and they had to phone my husband (who was at home with my son so I had thought I was overreacting) and tell him to come to the hospital. 

“Fast forward six months and I am extremely lucky to be pregnant again. 

“I received an appointment for an early scan and was advised that no, my husband could not attend, that I must go alone. I was devastated. I found the whole experience traumatic.”

Kayleigh: ‘I found certain aspects of the Covid restrictions a blessing’

“My first baby was stillborn at 24 weeks in 2018 due to a placenta abruption. It was a horrible ordeal, I wouldn’t wish on anyone.  

“With the current Covid restrictions in mind; I couldn’t imagine going through something traumatic like what I had in 2018 alone. I had my husband with me every minute of every day for the week I was in the hospital. 

“I gave birth in May 2020, in the middle of the pandemic to our third lovely little baby. 

This time, rather selfishly, I found certain aspects of the Covid restrictions a blessing. 

“My partner not having to come along for every check up meant we were never stuck for a sitter for the other little ones at home.  

“The check ups ran smoother than before, the waiting room was less crowded…. the whole pregnancy and delivery experience for me personally was much more relaxed.” 

Holly: ‘I was so terrified about being left in a ward to fend for myself’

“I ended up being three days in labour and I stayed at home until I was 4cm dilated because I was so terrified about being left in a ward to fend for myself after all my hypnobirthing classes. 

Women need their support person whether it’s their partner, mother, sister. It’s the toughest thing I’ve ever gone through and I definitely didn’t feel supported or heard during it.

Amanda: ‘I’m a very strong person but I never felt so alone in my life’

“On 1 December 2020 I miscarried at seven weeks. I spent the next five days in and out of Holles Street for numerous scans and blood tests, each time alone while my husband sat outside in the car. 

“I’m a very strong person but I never felt so alone in my life. My husband was gutted that in that situation where the only thing he could do was support me he wasn’t allowed. He felt so helpless. It was his baby too.” 

Keith: ‘I was not permitted to enter at any appointment’

“My wife fell pregnant in July 2020 and gave birth to our son in April 2021. 

“Our experience was somewhat frustrating – for my wife more than it was for me. We were semi-private and I drove her to every scan and appointment during the pregnancy. 

I was not permitted to enter at any appointment. I never witnessed a live scan and had to wait for news each time. For me personally this was ok as I just sat in a car with a coffee and the radio. 

“But for my wife this was an anxious experience in case she had to come out and give me any bad news and not be together to receive such news. Fortunately this didn’t occur but I would imagine the whole missing out of the scans and the journey of the pregnancy would be more impactful if it were your first child. 

“I sat outside on the day [of induction] for 14 hours waiting to be called in. Constantly in and out of the car walking about Dublin not having any idea what was happening other than a text or two check in. Eventually I had to go home and come back in the next morning. 

At 1.20pm the next day I was called to go into delivery and the baby was born 20 minutes later. It was a very nervy, chaotic and anxiety driven situation. I had no time to talk with my wife. No time to adjust to the situation. And the delivery was expedited due to baby’s heart rate dropping. 

“Usually you would be with your partner for hours before and be up to date with the situation and informed during the whole process. So to come into that with 20 minutes was harrowing during that time.”  

‘I felt so unsafe and fearful of the virus that I wanted to isolate as much as possible’

“I had my first child at the very end of 2019 and my second child arrived in February 2021.

I must say that I feel quite strongly on the whole issue of the restrictions and frankly I agree fully with their implementation.

“Many of those who know me and knew I was pregnant asked me to sign petitions and speak out re the restrictions but I couldn’t support them in their rebellion.

“I felt so unsafe and fearful of the virus that I wanted to isolate as much as possible thereby minimising my baby’s and my risk. I didn’t want to see other people’s partners/families/friends etc clogging up corridors and filling up ward rooms near me. The restrictions kept me safe and honestly kept me sane.

“I first began my pregnancy journey with a miscarriage in 2018. It was awful, my husband was by my side when the ultrasound revealed the unthinkable.

“I know the devastation of that and how nothing really can make that feeling fade.

“Nothing is going to lessen or take that pain away for now (partner there or not). A partner being in the physical room when that tsunami of horror and grief hits you is not going to stop your anguish or somehow make things right.”

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Kate: “I had some light bleeding one day in the run up to Christmas [2020] at about 8 weeks. I was in and out of the Rotunda emergency room for blood tests and scans over the next 3-4 weeks until I was eventually given an appointment at the early pregnancy unit (EPU) in January where a more senior doctor could (finally) confirm that I was miscarrying, and they gave me the pills to ‘complete’ the miscarriage at home.

I knew my husband wouldn’t be allowed accompany me on my visits or even sit inside in the waiting area. He was recovering from a surgery and couldn’t drive so I couldn’t deal with the added worry of him standing alone on Parnell Street for hours at a time, especially in the dark. 

“If I hadn’t gone into the emergency room after the light bleeding, I may not have found out about the miscarriage until my 13-week scan. I can’t imagine how I would have coped with that alone as many women must have experienced in the last year.

On those occasions in the waiting room off the front Entrance to the Rotunda, I was glad I had a mask and my hair covering my face because I didn’t want the other women in the waiting area of the emergency room to see me crying alone and add to their distress. 

“In those moments, on those visits, my husband had to process what was happening separately and looking back, that breaks my heart.”

Deirdre: ‘I was alone hearing the news but the staff were superb’

“I had what they call a ‘missed miscarriage’ back in November. I was 11 weeks pregnant waiting for my first scan when I started bleeding in work. 

“I attended my maternity unit’s ED alone, scans were performed which showed that the foetus was only measuring at 6 weeks and perhaps had stopped developing. I was alone hearing the news but the staff were superb. So caring, kind and compassionate.” 

‘I’m glad he was my second and not my first because I don’t think I would have survived that on my own’

“I had to be induced due to the diabetes. While it was a planned procedure it was fairly traumatic and painful. I was squeezing the life out of the hand of a nurse I had met five minutes previously and having to make decisions for me and my baby while not 100% myself. 

I was given the option to go on to the labour ward or keep waiting for full labour to kick in which could be several more hours. I knew if I was on the labour ward my husband could come in and so I chose that so I could have him with me. 

“In the end of it all I have a beautiful healthy baby boy. I’m glad he was my second and not my first because I don’t think I would have survived that on my own. 

“It was a very lonely, scary experience sometimes and you are just flooded with pain and hormones and you want to cry out and be hugged or surrounded by the people you love, partner, friend or your family and you can’t because you are holding the hand of a young nurse on training and you don’t want to scare her from nursing for life.”

Serena: ‘I was so anxious, unsupported and stressed’

“I still find it difficult to speak about my labour without crying. 

“I had my baby in The Coombe Hospital on the 30 May. I laboured for 27 hours. My husband was only allowed to be with me for the three visiting hours then made leave.  

For all the preparation I did for birth my birth plan completely fell apart as I was so anxious, unsupported and stressed. 

‘I feel like these restrictions impacted me more than I imagined they could’

“I found out during the first lockdown that I was expecting my third baby. 

“I wasn’t as nervous as I would have been if it had been my first pregnancy and think of all those first time parents that have missed out on so much by not attending appointments together. I’ve also suffered pregnancy losses and can’t imagine receiving that news alone without a person by your side as has been the sad reality for so many. 

My pregnancy had some complications which meant appointments every two weeks… I wish I’d had someone with me to help advocate for me as I began to feel lost and unable to speak up for myself.  

“Towards the end, with the complications it was agreed I’d be scheduled for a C-section. 

“Eventually it was time to go to theatre. I called my husband to tell him he was allowed to join me.

“As time passed and my husband still was not there I was starting to panic he’d miss it. I kept asking where he was. I was then told your baby will be delivered in less than 5 minutes.

“My husband meanwhile had been delayed by no one answering the bell in the maternity ward to let him in. I was told someone would meet him there and escort him to surgery but they’d forgot to send someone.

“He finally arrived less than two minutes before our baby was born. As the baby was three weeks early I knew there was a high chance of the baby going to NICU.

After he was born I was allowed to have a look at him before he was whisked straight off. My husband was allowed to stay with me for a few more minutes.

“I’m grateful it’s over though that I had some good experiences with some excellent staff but at the same time I feel like these restrictions impacted me more than I imagined they could or would both mentally and physically.”

‘I feel robbed of so much because of the restrictions’

“This was my first birth, my first time becoming a mother – that alone made me anxious.  

“My pregnancy wasn’t so smooth towards the end and at 38 weeks I was told to come in and bring an overnight bag. 

When my husband dropped me off and left me alone in the hospital doors [it] was awful. I cried so much without his support.

“Prior to this, myself and my husband [had] done hypnobirthing classes so I could get through the birth as I was very scared of going into labour – however all of our classes and prep was thrown out of practice because I didn’t have my support system with me. 

“No woman should have to go through experiencing early labour and not have their husband there for them. It is awful. Horrific. I feel robbed of so much because of the restrictions.

I am left terrified to have another baby. And if I ever do get pregnant again I will make sure it is a home birth so I can have my husband to help me.”

Kate: ‘It leaves me feeling very upset, vulnerable and angry’

“In March 2020 I had to attend an emergency appointment on my own while my husband waited outside in the car and be told that there was no heartbeat on the scan. 

I’m one of the very lucky ones to be pregnant again but have had to attend all my appointments for this entire pregnancy on my own and the anxiety of this whole process has taken a huge toll on our family. 

“Instead of us looking forward to the birth of our son (who is so loved and so very much wanted and our little miracle after our losses) it has left us dreading the process ahead and has made us very fearful. 

“It leaves me feeling very upset, vulnerable and angry to be denied the support I need and it is also very difficult for my husband to be disregarded by these restrictions because at no point should he be considered a ‘visitor’ at the birth of his son.”

‘I had to spend a large portion of my time in labour alone’

“I gave birth to my first baby in early 2021. Being pregnant during a pandemic, whilst working as a healthcare professional, was anxiety inducing to say the least! 

I required induction in the end and the visiting and labour restrictions at the time were such that I had to spend a large portion of my time in labour alone. 

“I remember not being physically able to apply my TENS pads and packing my bag to transfer to the delivery suite was so difficult I burst into tears and there was nobody there to console me. 

I don’t blame staff or the maternity services for the restrictions at the time, they were there for the greater good, but it didn’t make it any less difficult. I was traumatised for a few months afterwards.

‘I’m absolutely dreading if I have to go any appointments on my own’

“I went for my first doctor’s appointment on my own, fine, and the second one as well. At the second one I heard the baby’s heartbeat, it’s a shame my husband had to miss that.

I was told in [another] scan that something looked abnormal. I had to walk out of that scan on my own knowing this and then repeat it all to my husband at home, remembering all the details and terminology. 

“We were sent for more scans and test in Galway. Already we knew something was wrong and again I had to go in on my own [but] my husband was allowed to join me in there halfway through.

“Eventually we had to arrange for a termination in England, as it was not available in Ireland under these circumstances. The baby had Spina Bifida. 

“We are trying to conceive again and I’m absolutely dreading if I have to go any appointments on my own. I will be causing a fuss and demanding that my husband be allowed in with me because I’m just too worried to deal with this on my own again.”

Orla: ‘I sat there wondering had he missed the chance to ever hear our baby girl’s heartbeat’

“In December 2020 I was made sit alone in ER in the Coombe, when I say alone I don’t just mean without my husband present, I mean entirely alone – there was not one single person in the reception or waiting area

I was bleeding out waiting to hear if we had lost our baby, we had only had our first scan three days before that and my husband was not allowed attend that either

“I sat there wondering had he missed the chance to ever hear our baby girl’s heartbeat.

“Since then I have continued with a high risk pregnancy alone while he has had to wait terrified in the carpark dreading if he he got a call from me because that phone call means bad news.”

Rachael: ‘I have attended every appointment, every scan, every A&E visit, ALONE’

“I am almost 33 weeks pregnant with my second and attending University Maternity Hospital in Limerick.

The first appointment was in January during the height of the surge so I was resigned to the fact that I would be on my own. 

“I had to return a few days later for a follow up scan which I again had to attend alone… As I sat there a few women came and went, one of whom was sobbing and ringing her husband. It was horrible to watch as I could offer no form of comfort. Seeing this as I was waiting to see if my own baby was ok was mentally tough.

“As the weeks have gone on, the anxiety and anger have been mounting. I have attended every appointment, every scan, every A&E visit, ALONE. My husband has not heard the heartbeat of his second child and is filled with his own anxiety every time I have had an appointment.

I am due on 27 August, and after more than a few late-night conversations my husband and I have made the decision that when I present to UMHL in labour he will NOT be leaving my side. We do not want to create any distress for other women present but will be kindly and gently saying NO to these restrictions.

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“I found out I was pregnant five days before the schools closed due to Covid. I have many friends and family who never saw me pregnant, and I have a joke that I was the unmarried pregnant woman sent away to have her baby in secret to preserve my family’s reputation!  

When the day finally came for me to go to the hospital on my own to be induced I just felt excited. Nothing could have prepared me for just how alone I would feel over the next few days. 

“After a complicated delivery my partner was allowed to stay for an additional hour and then I was left alone again for the following four days. I was allowed no visitors during this time. 

“Any mother will remember the minute nurses stop worrying about you and focus all of their attention on the baby. This is how it should be of course but as a first time mother, recovering from major surgery and blood transfusions, completely exhausted but too scared to sleep, trying to learn how to breastfeed and care for a newborn, I felt completely abandoned.”

Naomi: ‘My daughter was nearly born at home because I refused to go in alone’

My experience of the maternity restrictions saw me receive the news of my miscarriage alone in May 2020 while my partner was in the car outside. 

“I fell pregnant again the following month and went to every appointment alone dreading another appointment like the one in the EPU. Because of the restrictions my daughter was nearly born at home because I refused to go in alone. 

“Thankfully she was born very shortly after, healthy and thriving. The next two days alone on the ward were hell with many tears.”

Julie-Anne: ‘After a few tears I said goodbye to my husband and headed into the ward’

“In June 2020, after a year of trying and at 37 having begun the first steps of fertility treatment I discovered I was pregnant.  

“My first bleed at 19 weeks was the scariest as my first thoughts was that I was losing my much longed for baby. As I sat in the emergency department… I was surrounded by three or four other women in the same boat.

All at different stages of emotion and fear, all of us trying to share tissues, giving each other a reassuring glance.

“At my 39-week appointment the decision was made for medical reasons to induce me that day. At this stage we were back in Level 5 lockdown so after a few tears I said goodbye to my husband and headed into the ward. 

Once I was in the delivery suite the midwife examined me and calmly advised me not to panic but that I was 10cm dilated. Frantic calls were made to my husband but my baby decided she was ready to come and 23 minutes later she was in my arms with my husband arriving about five minutes after that. 

“As I sat in every appointment – whether that be my scheduled visits or my emergency visits – all I could think of was keeping the nurses, midwives, care assistants, doctors, porters, cleaners, admin staff safe… after all they faced into work every single day putting themselves and their families at risk and I needed them to be safe to keep me and my baby safe.”

Gina: ‘Having to go through this alone was horrific’

“I was a week off going for my 12-week scan and started to bleed. I was really worried but was hoping for the best. 

“I rang the Maternity in Limerick, they said to come in and told me to come ALONE. So I went in for my scan and nothing showed up on the scan – they could see the gestational bag was there but nothing in it they said my dates are wrong or baby stopped growing.

Back out I went sitting in a waiting room trying to control the tears streaming down my face crying behind my mask ALONE.

“I suffer with anxiety and having to go through this alone was horrific. The difference it would have made to have my fiancé there with me. You need that support person with you.”

Clair: ‘Not having my husband with my for even a minute throughout the whole ordeal’

“In June 2020 I had significant bleeding at 10 weeks pregnant. As my partner was not allowed into hospital I felt our much-wanted little baby slip from me at around 10pm in the toilet of the emergency room of Limerick maternity hospital. Alone. 

“Due to low blood pressure and fairly severe pain, I was then kept in overnight and attended a scan to confirm what already knew the next morning. All completely and utterly alone. I cannot explain how much this affected me, not having my husband with my for even a minute throughout the whole ordeal. 

Thankfully I fell pregnant again in early 2021 and obviously I was extremely anxious when it came to my scans but I have had to attend all on my own without the support of my partner, regardless of my history.

Sarah: ‘I was lonely, isolated and terrified’

“I became a first time mother in March 2020. Attended my final few appointments alone and scared of what was to come. 

On 27 March, my waters broke. This was the best case scenario. It meant my husband was allowed into the labour ward with me. I cried with pure relief.  

“Thirty hours later I had my little girl in my arms. Unfortunately, I had a haemorrhage and required extra care.  

“For three days I sat in that hospital bed and cried… I was lonely, isolated and terrified. What should have been amazing was traumatising.” 

Una: ‘To go through it alone and unsupported is cruel’

“Last summer I had a miscarriage at 11 weeks. On the advice of my GP, I attended the ED at the Rotunda after some light bleeding…alone.  

I was alone when a scan revealed that my baby’s heart had stopped beating. I was alone the following day when a repeat scan at the Early Pregnancy Unit confirmed I had suffered a missed miscarriage.  

“Losing a baby is a profoundly heartbreaking loss, especially when the road to conceiving has been fraught with difficulty. To go through it alone and unsupported is cruel.”

‘I video called him during my labour’

“My partner dropped me at the door in labour and I video called him during my labour.

“The midwives were absolutely fantastic and I had to get my head around the fact that everyone made sacrifices during the pandemic and my partner had to miss out on this once in a lifetime moment but if it meant a midwife was there for the next lady in labour in this scary time of unprecedented lockdown it was our sacrifice. 

My partner met baby for the first time two days later when he came to pick us up and the pandemic has meant working from home and seeing our little baby throughout his working day as well as in the evenings. A luxury he never would have had before.

‘The staff were very comforting but it wasn’t the same’

“In March 2020 I was pregnant however unfortunately it was not meant to be and we experienced a miscarriage. 

The restrictions had only just come in and I couldn’t have my husband with me. It was awful, sitting in the waiting room with all the other pregnant ladies. The staff were very comforting but it wasn’t the same, I needed my partner.  

“We had a fabulous baby boy born April 2021, restrictions were still in place so my husband could join me once I was 3cm [dilated] and allowed to stay for an hour after the birth of our son. 

“I really needed my husband to look after our baby while I attended to my recovery.”

Aisling: ‘My husband was waving up at my hospital window from the street’

“It was so hard going to appointments and scans alone. Finding out the sex of my baby alone. I was lucky I had a healthy pregnancy and birth. I can only imagine the heart ache some woman who got delivered bad news went through alone.

“When I was in labour I was having contractions alone and my husband was waving up at my hospital window from the street.

After my son was born I was so tired and really missed my husband I could have done with him to help me in out and of bed. Also for emotional support.

“Having a baby is the most joyous time but also can be quite overwhelming and emotional. It shouldn’t be done alone.”

Marianne: ‘All I wanted was my husband so we could grieve together’

“We decided to start trying for a baby in the summer of 2020, although I am on the older side I managed to conceive within a few months but unfortunately I suffered a miscarriage early on.

“March 2021 rolled around and much to our surprise I was pregnant again.

“Unfortunately I woke one morning to what was to be my second miscarriage in a number of months.

The staff in Holles Street were unbelievably kind and gentle… [but] the loneliness I felt going to Holles Street alone will stay with me forever.

“I was told to return two weeks later for a follow up scan for the hospital to confirm that I was no longer pregnant, which again I did alone.

“I left the hospital and sobbed my heart out and all I wanted was my husband so we could grieve together.”

Lucy: ‘My husband was really side-lined’

“I suffered my fourth miscarriage in February/March 2021.

“Due to my history of miscarriages, I was booked into an early scan. At this scan a suspected miscarriage was detected.

“Getting that news on my own was awful. My husband was sitting in a rental car outside so he would not be out in the rain. I sent him the following text: “no heartbeat I’m coming out now.” 

Leaving the hospital and seeing my husband was something I will never forget. 

“I was scheduled for a D&C. This would be my first as I have previously miscarried naturally at home. I was terrified. The staff were kind and put me at ease, but my husband was really side-lined. He got all his information on the miscarriage from me and was never given an opportunity to ask questions himself.”

He waited in the car outside. As I was walking in, I noticed that the car park was full of men alone in their cars.

Niamh: “The tragic cases are heartbreaking, but so much joy has been stolen from us too. That joy is a huge thing to lose.

Our baby is due this week. I have been lucky that I have had a relatively uncomplicated pregnancy. It is hard to go to a scan alone when there’s a huge worry that a problem might be found. Every scan had that potential. My partner hadn’t been to a single scan.

“We had the 21-week scan in March, Covid-19 numbers were back under control but the restrictions from January were still in place. He waited in the car outside. As I was walking in I noticed that the car park was full of men alone in their cars.”

HSE advice on Covid-19 and pregnancy is available here. There is also information available on specialist mental health service for pregnant women and new mothers. 

Design by Shane Delahunty and Nicky Ryan

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