There was a lot of tears beforehand
IN THE FINAL PART OF THE SERIES WE TALK TO THE MOTHERS (AND FATHERS) OF BABIES BORN DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
ISOBELLE FLAHERTY, daughter of Sarah Parker and Robert Flaherty, was born on the night of April 7.
The previous month, the world had changed.
‘ I was actually at a family funeral when my job called me,’ said Sarah. ‘ They wanted me to work at home as I was pregnant. That was March 12, and I didn’t go back into work after that.’
Sarah said that working at home for a couple of weeks before her maternity leave was quite nice. ‘ I had been having a great pregnancy with no issues,’ she said.
On March 30 she went to a clinic appointment and her blood pressure was high.
‘ I had never had issues before with anything like that,’ said Sarah. ‘ In my mind I wasn’t anxious, but really at that point I was worried and anxious.’
Her biggest worry was the thought of potentially having to deliver their first child without her partner there.
Sarah was admitted to hospital due to the high blood pressure, and her partner Robert couldn’t come in to see her.
‘ They were amazing in Holles Street, but I was still upset,’ she said. She did go home after a few days but unfortunately had to be admitted again, for the same reason, again, without anyone with her.
‘ I was at a point where I just needed to get home, there were a lot of tears.’
She did get home for a day and was relaxing, taking naps and baths and preparing for the new arrival. The baby wasn’t due until April 21, but Sarah’s waters broke two weeks early.
Off she went to Holles Street again, to the pre- labour ward. After staying overnight with nothing happening, she was given oxytocin to bring on labour.
‘ My partner was ready and waiting outside,’ said Sarah. He was brought into the labour ward to join Sarah, and Isobelle joined them at 10.30 p. m.
‘ Everything was fine, there were no issues. Because my waters had broken and there was a gap of 24 hours, we had to stay in for 36 hours and she was monitored.’
Sarah described the moment Robert had to leave them when she was being brought back down to the pre- labour ward. ‘ We went down in one lift and he went in another, and he wasn’t allowed
back in,’ she said. ‘ That was one of the hardest things ever. My heart was broken looking at his face.’
She was looking forward to getting back to her own home, and Robert couldn’t wait to get them home.
Once safely home in Greystones, they were able to avail of the domino scheme. Because of their proximity to the hospital, the midwife came to the house for checks.
‘ We were in our own little bubble, with nobody calling and not seeing anybody,’ said Sarah. ‘ Friends did come and we’d show them the baby at the door.
‘ It’s not what I ever imagined when we said we were having a baby. If I had been told nine months earlier that this was how it would happen I would have said that’s like something from a horror movie.’
Isobelle made it nonetheless. ‘ She’s here and she’s amazing and healthy,’ said Sarah, whose best friend had a baby last week so the two can share their experiences from now on.
‘ It was very hard, but Holles St were amazing, the midwives were unreal.’ While she had fears ahead of the birth, Sarah made up her mind to be strong. ‘ I just thought, we just have to take it on the chin, and whatever happens happens.’
WE WENT DOWN IN ONE LIFT AND HE WENT IN ANOTHER, AND HE WASN’T ALLOWED BACK IN. MY HEART WAS BROKEN LOOKING AT HIS FACE