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Maternity restrictions: Woman spent hours in labour outside hospital doors

An Irish mother says she went through labour in a hospital car park for ‘as long as she could take it’ so that her partner could stay with her.
Michael Staines
Michael Staines

10.01 18 Oct 2021


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Maternity restrictions: Woman spent hours in labour outside hospital doors


Michael Staines
Michael Staines

10.01 18 Oct 2021


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An Irish mother says she went through labour in a hospital car park for ‘as long as I could take it’ so she could stay with her partner.

Breege O’Connor gave birth to her fourth child at the Coombe Hospital in Dublin last Sunday.

Under the hospital’s updated visitation rule’s, partners are only allowed to be with pregnant women when they are admitted to the Labour Ward.

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On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Breege said she delayed going to the hospital for as long as possible; however, when they arrived, she had not reached a point where they would be admitted.

“So, the option was given to me, do you want to go into a ward, we can give you help with the pain and there is medication we can give you but obviously your husband your partner can’t come in,” she said. “What would you like to do?

“Thankfully they had given me a bit of an opening there and I jumped at it. I said I’m out of here, I am gone. I need my husband.

“I was already quite upset going in and trying to keep it together. Not with pain or anything like that. I knew that was coming, you can be prepared for that. Just psychologically the idea of him not being near me.

“So, we headed outside and we stayed out there as long as we could. As long as I could take it. We had to just stand in the car park, there is no way I could sit in the car. We just found a quiet spot and he helped me through it.”

Birth

Breege said they stayed out in the car park for “a few hours” before deciding she needed to go back inside.

“By that stage, I just couldn’t take it anymore I had to go back in,” she said. “To be honest, I was afraid to stay out any longer because It was ramping up so much and I know my body and I knew I was pretty close.

“So thankfully when we got back in, they were happy enough to bring us straight through to a delivery room because that is the only time your partner is allowed be with you.

“When you are alone in a delivery room. Just you, your midwife and your partner.”

Maternity restrictions

In a statement, the Coombe said it does not comment on individual cases and noted that partners are permitted to join women as soon as they are admitted to a delivery suite.

Breege said the updated riles are not good enough.

“It is not like anybody is shouting that they want their whole families in there with them, but I really have a very strong opinion about your partner - your essential partner or your advocate - absolutely not being a visitor,” she said.

“My husband and I live together, we drove in together, we laboured together in the car park.

“We are fully vaccinated and we are doing everything we can right and yet there is this idea of just being ignored and told, well we are following HSE guidelines, we have compliance.

“They are using the right kind of terminology buzzwords on their website but when it comes down to it, my partner was not allowed to be with me and I am not the only one, I just happened to put up a tweet, there are plenty of other people going through worse.”

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