‘It was an

Bray People - - NEWS - By MYLES BUCHANAN

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

op­por­tu­nity.’

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.

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