By Rose Barrett
A Dublin mum who went through two miscarriages in the space of three months has hit out at the ‘no partners’ policy introduced in maternity hospitals.
Sinead Hingston Green, who lives in Kilternan with her husband Micheal and their two children, has described the ban as “horrendous”.
She experienced a miscarriage followed by an ectopic pregnancy, with all medical tests, hospital visits and subsequent surgeries endured without her husband Michael.
Emotionally and physically she was devastated and badly needed his support, as her mind tried to decipher the blunt message: “There is no pregnancy, your baby is ‘non-viable’.”
Sinead told Dublin Gazette: “We were so thrilled when I realised I was pregnant in May but about five and a half weeks, I knew something was wrong. I googled Holles Street and saw that expectant mothers must attend the emergency department alone.
“The staff I must say were so kind, so compassionate and supportive, I cannot fault them as they tried to reassure me that bleeding can sometimes happen.
“I sat and waited on the results of blood tests and a scan. I had to return again the next day, alone again, and have an internal scan. We were still quite hopeful and the stenographer had been the midwife on my first baby’s delivery so I felt comfortable with her.”
Tragedy is not new to Sinead. Nine years ago, her first husband Geoff died whilst the couple were holidaying in Portugal; she was 19 weeks pregnant and her world fell apart.
“I’ve dealt with being a widow at 30, and coping with the pregnancy on my own. I’m not ‘fragile’ but when the bleeding reoccurred in May, I presumed I had passed the embryo.
“On my return to the hospital, I was told the embryo was still there, with no heartbeat and described as a ‘not a viable pregnancy’. The words were not intended to offend but to expectant parents, it’s a new life, the excitement, the anticipation – gone.”
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Sinead believes it’s wrong for couples not to be together while receiving traumatic news; unfair on both.
“I totally understand the HSE and the government’s stance on wanting to protect their staff, pregnant mothers and new born babies. That is reasonable. But ridiculously, I can go into a café or a restaurant, and sit at length without a mask on.
“Yet the person I live with and retain closest contact with, my husband, cannot attend a waiting room with me, in a very safe and sterilised environment.
“I got as far as the prayer room in the hospital and broke down crying. I wasn’t fit to be on my own, never mind driving home alone. I was bawling, totally bereft and had to go back the following week for a D&C.
“The staff were so supportive, as much as they could be. I understand with the Covid restrictions but I still say with the country opening up this ban on partners is atrocious and should be revoked immediately.”
In August, Michael and Sinead were thrilled to realise she was again pregnant.
“My GP recommended a private scan, to confirm the dateline. Once again, I had to go alone.
“I was then about seven weeks pregnant. During the scan, they couldn’t locate the embryo. It was they thought, an ectopic pregnancy, ‘a pregnancy of unknown location’.”
“God, how impersonal and awful is that? Imagine a first-time mother going through that or being told, alone, her baby is ‘non-viable’, or in ‘an unknown location’. I needed Michael there, I was devastated, despite the staff being so kind.”
More stress lay ahead for Sinead who had to return to Holles Street for blood tests but this time, after a couple of days she was kept in before she had surgery, her embryo was located in one of her tubes, with both tube and embryo removed.
The mum of two has opened up about her experience on social media, with reaction from mothers across Ireland.
The HSE stated: “The anxieties and frustrations these restrictions have caused for women and their partners, at what should be the happiest time in their lives.
“However, hospitals must prioritise the safety of all our patients and staff, and do everything we can to ensure hospitals are protected from the ever-present threat of Covid-19.”
Follow Sinead on Instagram @sineadhingston.