‘It was an
SHIRLEY Reid was pregnant with her first child as lockdown rules were first introduced back in March.
Shirley and her partner Robert McNamee had been trying for a baby for some time and received IVF treatment in a bid for their first child. The couple are originally from Bray but live in Wicklow town.
The outbreak of Covid-19 meant Shirley had to attend the last few scans before her due date without Robbie in attendance.
‘For the last scans before my due date Robbie wasn’t allowed in and I missed his support,’ recalls Shirley.
‘I was anxious and I actually cried going in the door of Holles Street. I’m 41 and received IVF treatment so I was pretty anxious. Covid was still in its early stages so everything was a bit up in the air. It was an unsettling time for everyone because no one was too sure what was coming down the road.’
Baby Jessica was born on April 29 and her delivery took over 18 hours.
Robbie was only allowed into hospital for the actual birth, but he and Shirley were soon separated again as she had to go for surgery due to complications.
‘It was quite lonely really. I was by myself for so long and my partner was only allowed in for the actual birth. I was 18 hours in labour, which is a long time when you are by yourself. I missed by partner’s support. It was kind of scary. It was only six weeks into lockdown so things were still pretty new to us all. You didn’t really know what was around the corner. I was in labour for 18 hours. At 6 p.m. Robbie was told to wait outside the door at Holles Street. He was allowed into the birthing room but only for the delivery. He was allowed stay for an hour. There were complications during the birth so I was rushed to surgery and spent four and a half hours in surgery. When I woke up I was told “Robbie has gone home” and I couldn’t see him. We didn’t get a chance to hold her or dress her together. Then Robbie didn’t get to see Jessica again for another six days, which was really hard on him. She is an IVF baby so she is fairly special to us.’
Shirley was placed in a Special Care Unit, where all the new mothers assisted one another
as all visitors were banned due to Covid-19.
‘ The mothers all helped one another and provided some good tips. Most of them had sections, while I had a natural birth and didn’t have the same trauma in my body. Some of the mothers couldn’t even lift their babies. There were lots of tears and hugs. We gave one another support. We had a great connection. I would look after other babies while their mothers were taking a shower, and vice versa.’
Shirley and Robbie were keen for their parents to meet their new grandchild and sought some medical advice before purchasing PPE gear for Ann, Shirley’s mother, and Katherine and Paddy, Robbie’s parents, so they would be able to hold Jessica for the first time.
‘ They put on the protective gear so they could hold her. You can only use the PEE gear once so It was kind of upsetting because after that neither my mother nor Robbie’s parents got to see her again for a number of weeks. Still, it was nice for them to be able to hold Jessica because I know of other grandparents who never got that
Jessica is now very much settled in at home with her parents but Covid is still having an impact, with some of the couple’s friends still to meet Shirley and Robert’s new addition.
‘When we got Jessica home
it was just the three of us, and even if we were out for walks we were reluctant to let people approach and get too close to the buggy. I have some friends who still haven’t met Jessica yet, even though she is now already four months old.’
Grandparents Katherine and Paddy McNamee with baby Jessica.
Baby Jessica McNamee with proud parents Shirley Reid and Robbie McNamee.
Ann Reid meets her granddaughter for the first time.