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Tuesday, 11th May 2021

AIMS Ireland protest outside Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital

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Orla Kerbey from Bettystown with her six month old daughter who was born in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, taking part in a small protest outside Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda today to highlight Ireland's maternity restrictions. Photo: Ciara Wilkinson.

AIMS group campaigns for improvements in maternity services

At a protest by members of the Association for Improvements in Maternity Services Ireland (AIMS) this morning outside Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital over restrictions due to COVID-19  was Orla Kerbey and her six months old daughter.

Orla and her husband Bill had a pregnancy loss in 2019 as a result of which she was sent for an early pregnancy scan during lockdown last year.

“When we went in we were met at the door by a security guard who told us my husband could not join us” Orla said.

“It was devastating because the anxiety just sky-rocketed because I was automatically expecting bad news straight away.”

Orla, who is from Bettystown, said she was on her own for all pregnancy scans and said the restrictions, “robbed us of so many lovely moments.”

“My husband never saw her heartbeat on the screen, he never saw her move, (or) see the anomaly scan where the sonographer is saying ‘that is her arm, that is her kidney; we never got to share those moments.”

“I laboured at home for 17 hours because I was terrified to go into hospital to be told you have to stay in but your husband has to go.”

Bill was allowed to join her shortly after she arrived at the hospital.  She had a C-section and he was allowed to stay until one hour after their baby was born at 3.00 am.  

“He did not get back in until 7pm that evening so I was 13-14 hours on my own. I was numb from the waist down from a spinal epidural and I was reliant on midwives to change her nappy, to dress her, to bathe her.”

 Emma Cutlip from Drogheda taking part in the protest.

“I never felt as a result of restrictions that my care was compromised in any way. I had exceptional care from all of the midwives and right through to the housekeeping staff, it was fantastic.”

“We are very lucky, we have a healthy baby and we did not get bad news during our pregnancy last year. We had it (bad news) the previous year and my husband was there to hold my hand but my heart breaks for anyone getting bad news and they are having to relay that over the phone to somebody.”

Also at the protest was Jene Hinds, one of the founding members of AIMS Ireland, who said,“partners are not visitors and it is really an integral part of the entire parenting experience that they are there.”

She said that in Our Lady of Lourdes, partners are allowed in for labour, birth and C-sections adding, “I think it is important to acknowledge the hospitals making efforts.”

“We would love to see partners go in for all antenatal appointments, in the Lourdes (hospital) can go in for 20 weeks anomaly scan, in other units you are not and other units do not  even offer them. That is why we need a uniformed approach for maternity services.”

For more about AIMS see:

Pictured taking part in the AIMS protest are (fromleft): Susann O'Reilly from Mornington, Samantha Ni Mheachair, from Drogheda, Orla Kerbey from Bettystown and Jene Hinds from Bettystown.

This article was written by Elaine Keogh

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