Sally Rowlette’s husband recalls last kiss goodnight to children

Mother who died after birth ‘never suffered from any illness prior to her death’

On the night that Sally Rowlette left for Sligo hospital to have her fourth baby she went into her other children's bedrooms, kissed them goodbye and told them she would see them the following day.

Her husband Sean was emotional as he recalled her last day at home.

They moved their two year old into another room in preparation for the arrival of the new baby. The family had dinner together before Sally put the kids to bed.

The jury was told that Sean and Sally Rowlette had been childhood sweethearts who met at Easkey Vocational School where Sally was a year behind her future husband. After dating for nine years, they married.


Mr Rowlette recalled that his wife gave up work to work fulltime in the home. “She was a wonderful wife and a wonderful mother to our children. Sally had been very healthy and “never suffered from any illness prior to her death”.

He said she did have severe pain before going into labour with her second child but they were told that this was caused by kidney stones, which probably passed during labour.

Sally was sent to ICU for 24 hours after this birth but they were told this was for observation. His wife had high blood pressure but nothing else.

“At no point were we told not to have more children or that there were any increased risks associated with this,” he said.

During her fourth pregnancy, Sally was told that she was in good health at all antenatal appointments, he said. The only cause for concern was that the baby would have a cleft lip and would require surgery at three months,he said.

Mr Rowlette recalled that Sally woke him at 11.30pm and told him she was having cramps and contractions. They chatted in bed with a cup of tea and an hour later when the contractions became more frequent and they called the babysitter .”

Sally went into each of the kids’ bedrooms and kissed them and told them that she would see them tomorrow”.

Mr Rowlette said his wife was very calm on the way to Sligo hospital and talked about the kids on the way , “telling me how to look after them while she was in hospital” .

He said he struggled to fill his wife’s shoes. “I have had to learn to cook. I find it very difficult to take care of the kids”. It was hard to answer the children’s questions about Sally without breaking down.

They were curious about her .They had pictures of her beside their beds and say goodnight to her every night. He and Sally had agreed to call the baby Shauna but, after what happened , “Sally” seemed the most appropriate name.

Events like Christmas and birthdays were always tinged with sadness, because Sally should be there to share in them. Mr Rowlette said he had many questions “and I feel that I owe it to my family and to other families to press for answers so that they will not go through the same ordeal”.

The inquest before coroner Eamon MacGowan is continuing.

Marese McDonagh

Marese McDonagh

Marese McDonagh, a contributor to The Irish Times, reports from the northwest of Ireland