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'Please let this woman through the checkpoint, her daughter is having a baby' - the ups and downs of giving birth during a pandemic

Being pregnant and giving birth are life-altering events in a woman’s life at any time — never mind when the entire country is locked down. Chrissie Russell asks six women who gave birth during the Covid-19 pandemic to share their stories, and meets the newborns who lit up the darkest of times | Portraits by Emily Quinn

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Yvonne O'Mara Walsh with husband Eoghan, newborn Isla and two year old Ava

Yvonne O'Mara Walsh with husband Eoghan, newborn Isla and two year old Ava

Emily Quinn

Emily Quinn

Teodora Sutra and baby Isabella

Teodora Sutra and baby Isabella

Amy, Frankie and Lola

Amy, Frankie and Lola

Clodagh O’Hagan with baby Frank

Clodagh O’Hagan with baby Frank

Emer O'Neill with husband Sean, their son Kyan and newborn daughter Sunny Rae

Emer O'Neill with husband Sean, their son Kyan and newborn daughter Sunny Rae

Laura Cunningham with newborn baby Ziggy

Laura Cunningham with newborn baby Ziggy

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Yvonne O'Mara Walsh with husband Eoghan, newborn Isla and two year old Ava

There may be one born every minute, but every pregnancy and all births are different - and that's especially true during a pandemic. Just a few days before St Patrick's Day, when the restrictions that would dominate life for the coming months were about to be announced, photographer Emily Quinn discovered she was pregnant. Already parents to Dylan (13), it was the much longed for news that she and her partner Niall had hoped for, after going through the pain of six miscarriages and IVF.

Thanks to new regulations aimed at controlling the spread of Covid-19, Niall had to wait in the hospital car park while Emily had a nervous 12-week scan that confirmed all was well. At a time when they both longed to embrace friends and family and share their incredible news, close contact was out.

"I haven't been able to hug my mum and that's been hard," says Emily. "I get a lot of hugs off my boys and they've been great, but everything tips me off. The world at the moment just gets me upset and I worry about what's going to happen."


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