Aisling Marron: I just wanted to sleep for 10 hours and have someone else mind her

Pandemic Pregnancy: I couldn’t face the prospect of heading into a night of having to look after this new baby

I didn’t feel the immediate rush of love on the birth of this baby like I had with my first. She came out roaring and continued to cry the most unbearably distressed cry.

After two hours of her wailing on my chest, I passed her over to her dad – under the guise of letting him have a go but really, I wanted her off me as clearly nothing I was doing was helping.

We discovered then the source of her distress which was her too tight hat, causing her discomfort on her recently bruised head. And once we took it off, she spent a lovely peaceful hour on her dad’s chest before it was time for him to leave.

I was so jealous of him getting to go home. I couldn’t face the prospect of heading into a night of having to look after this new baby. I just wanted to sleep for 10 hours and have someone else mind her. Why couldn’t my husband be the one to stay? Why couldn’t he be the one to set alarms to wake every three hours to feed her and I’d go home and look after the baby that I knew what I was doing with.


That first night in the hospital, alone with my own thoughts, I spiralled a bit. I felt bad that I had had a lovely pain-free experience and the baby had come out literally battered and bruised and crying in pain. Maybe she wasn’t ready to come but we had made her? Maybe if I’d spent more time on the ball she would have been in a better position? Maybe the forceps had damaged her?

Every thought that came into my head had a negative slant and I was convinced only of the worst-case scenarios. A nurse dropped in a leaflet about testing the baby’s hearing.

Two years ago, the same leaflet had been left on my bedside table and I hadn’t given it a second thought other than acknowledging it was a routine test to be carried out before we left. Now, I looked at it and my only thought: was: there’ll be something wrong with her hearing.

I said all this to my husband who told me he had been the exact same on the birth of our first girl. He had gone home after her birth, completely overwhelmed, and thought to himself: “My life is over – and I have so much more living to do!”

He had had similar doomsday thoughts about the hearing test. And looking back, I remember now how he decided to take matters into his own hands and instead of waiting three days for the hospital hearing test, he conducted his own amateur tests: slamming doors suddenly and without warning to see if the baby would react. It was very annoying.

By the time morning came and after a small cry and chat with midwives, I was feeling better.

Snack supply

The midwives were so helpful but I still loved when they changed over because it meant I’d get a few fresh hours of ringing the bell for their assistance before I’d start to get embarrassed by how often I was doing it.

At one point, while stuck under the baby, I considered calling a midwife to pass me my snacks. In the end I didn’t because 1, it wasn’t important and 2, I didn’t want anyone to see how extensive my snack supply was.

Visiting hours were 2 to 4 and were strictly enforced. My husband would begin queuing outside from 1.30 and by 4.20 a security guard was calling round to each room to check that all visitors were gone.

The rest of the day was long with no company other than a baby. But I was feeling fine and the baby was feeding well so I asked to be discharged a day early.

Also, I thought it was time to relieve my parents of toddler-watching duty as my mother was starting to critique Paw Patrol and you really shouldn’t over analyse why the emergency response unit in a town governed by a mayor who carries a pet chicken in her handbag is a troop of puppies directed by their little boy leader.

And so, the three of us set out for home.

“I feel sorry for the toddler”, I remarked as we left. “She was the ruler of the house and now she won’t be”.

“Ah, she’ll be the co-ruler”, my husband responded. “Like the Social Democrats”.

Pandemic Pregnancy
Part 1: This is all getting a bit Angela's Ashes
Part 2: We got bad news at the first baby scan
Part 3: What's the oldest woman you've delivered?
Part 4: Not yet telling your colleagues about the baby
Part 5: It turns out, I do miss my husband
Part 6: Asking if the baby had magically appeared
Part 7: Apprehensive about having a second child 
Part 8: I'm living for my monthly maternity check-ups
Part 9: We decide we'll take a little holiday
Part 10: Maternity leave during lockdown has advantages
Part 11: I bat away suggestions for coping with labour
Part 12: 'Natural' is great if the birth is going well
Part 13: My baby is big, so I'm going to be induced
Part 14: I was with epidural and it was glorious
Part 15: I just wanted to sleep for 10 hours