Bringing a child into the world during a pandemic is hard enough, but a deaf Dundee father has opened up about the additional challenges his family have faced.
Richard MacQueen, 36, and his wife Caroline, 29, welcomed their son Jørgen on April 26 and captured the touching moment his mother Ann, a Ninewells worker, and father Alan met their grandson through the window for the first time.
The couple, who live in Douglas, are profoundly deaf and said it has been difficult to adapt to lockdown life as they rely on face-to-face communication which has been restricted.
It is still unknown what level of hearing, if any, little Jørgen will have, as he failed his first test and will be reassessed in the coming weeks. His eldest brother Ronan is also deaf.
Richard said the birth had been challenging as they were unable to lip-read due to everyone wearing face masks, but he thanked midwives for their care.
He said: “Once the baby was born, my wife was moved to the maternity ward and I wasn’t allowed to go in. It was really sad because I was really excited to go and spend time with baby but to just wait outside felt surreal.
“The staff have been fantastic in looking after Jørgen and Caroline, even though the hospital seemed really busy.
“We had a BSL interpreter there which was so good because without the interpreter, there would have been no chance of getting any communication because everyone is wearing face masks, so any chance of lip-reading would have been impossible.”
Sharing the good news with loved ones has also been tricky, said Richard.
Caroline’s parents live in Denmark and may be unable to see him and his older brothers Ronan, 10, and two-year-old Terje for a long time.
“We rely on face-to-face communication because we’re deaf and can’t use the phone, so we’re having to video call so people can see Jørgen – it’s been quite difficult to adapt to,” Richard added.
“I feel quite sad about the whole situation because we were so excited and couldn’t wait to have people come and visit and share our excitement. But at the same time, we understand how important it is to protect ourselves, the baby and others against the coronavirus, especially our key workers who are working so hard.”
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