Sunday, April 05, 2020

By Louise Walsh

Charlotte Hope introduced to the new members of her family. Picture: Louise Walsh

A Meath mother who had to give birth alone because of Covid-19 hospital restrictions had to Facetime her partner so he could meet his new little daughter.

Emily Watson’s father who flew home from the UK to see his new grandchild also had to greet the baby through a window when they arrived back from hospital to their home in Trim

The 32-year old gave birth to her fourth child, little Charlotte Hope in Mullingar Hospital on March 28 last with the support of only the midwives and other women who were well separated in the ward.

Little Charlotte arrived into world, weighing 8lb 4oz at 5.28pm and had to meet her father Tommy Collins through Facetime a short while later.

However, Emily was full of praise for the midwives, who she says were getting abuse over the phone from family members of other women in hospital expecting babies who weren’t allowed birthing partners because of the Covid-19 restrictions

“I was brought in to be induced and had to stay overnight because the first induction wasn’t successful,” said Emily who already had two boys and a girl.

“I had been told that I wasn’t allowed have any birthing partners so I was prepared for it and the midwives were amazing. One stayed with me the whole time minding me and a further two arrived to help with the birth.

“After Charlotte was born and as soon as I was able, I Facetimed Tommy to show him his new daughter. Of course we were upset he couldn’t be there but we both knew this measure was going to keep the baby safe

“There were lots of angry dads and family members ringing and giving the midwives abuse but it’s not their fault. These measures were taken by the HSE to keep us all safe. I have to admit I was anxious about going into the hospital after reading about a Covid-19 case there but all was fine.

“Nurses did constantly have to ask the same questions to see if I had symptoms but neither I or the baby were tested.

“There were other women in the ward, all socially distanced and we all supported each other. It was harder for the first-time mums who didn’t know what lay ahead and God forbid anything went wrong, that would have been hugely difficult to deal with on your own.

“My dad Neville came home from the UK to meet Charlotte but he could only see her through the window. He’s home for a while now but we don’t know when he’ll be able to cuddle her.

“My mum has met her on Facetime and Tommy’s parents have been sent pictures on Facebook so it’s a really tough and emotional time for all of us.

“My teenage daughter Eleanor gave Charlotte her middle name – Hope. It’s all everyone can do right now to see the end of his virus.”

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