Expectant mum, Emma Sweeney (right) with her sister Anna Deely (right). Also pictured is Emma’s daughter Annie Picture: Shelley Corcoran
The decision of Midlands Regional Hospital Mullingar to lift the ban on birthing partners in the maternity ward has been widely welcomed by expectant parents across the region.
The hospital had banned partners from entering the ward in an effort to slow the spread of Covid-19, leaving expectant mothers to face into the prospect of giving birth alone.
Emma Sweeney is due to give birth to her second child on August 6 and is relieved that she can have her sister, as her birthing partner when her second child comes into the world.
“When I heard there was a ban in the hospital and I had to go through labour on my own, I was very nervous as I suffer from anxiety and panic attacks,” said Ms Sweeney.
“I guess I wouldn’t have minded as much if it was my first because I wouldn’t know what to expect but when I had my daughter, Annie, I was in labour for 72 hours and one or two things went wrong but I wouldn’t have got through it as well as I did without my sister Anna by my side; she was amazing and kept me calm at all times.
“To have someone there I’ve known all my life and knew how bad my anxiety had been in the past, my sister knew exactly what to say and do and had me laughing most of the time; it really helped and that’s always a lovely memory to have.”
Restrictions have been relaxed because, thankfully, there has been low incidence of infection in the unit.
“Now that the restrictions have lifted a little and I can have my birth partner there for the last half hour makes me feel a lot more relaxed,” Ms Sweeney told the Leader.
“You need someone you know by your side holding your hand telling you you can do this and it’s almost over.
“I’m also hoping by the time my little girl is ready to come into the world everything will be back to normal in the hospital and I can have my sister Lorraine with me through it all.”