unplanned pregnancy

Our fourth child: an unplanned pregnancy

Mum-of-four Becky Dore tells us about her journey to having four children following an unplanned pregnancy.

My husband Maurice and I married on the 30th June 2006 and could have never imagined the rollercoaster of a ride we would go on when it came to creating a family. We decided to start our family straight away and within a few months we were expecting our first baby. Rachel arrived 12 months after we got married.

Like a lot of first-time parents, we struggled at the beginning, as it really was a baptism of fire. Once we got into some routine, and found our feet, we then started discussing adding more little people to our gang.

When Rachel was 18 months, we decided to start trying again. This time, it wasn’t so easy. For many years we tried to conceive but unfortunately, we experienced secondary infertility. After years of trying, tests, doctor appointments and more trying we were advised to undergo fertility treatment.

In 2012, we had three healthy embryos, two of which they implanted and we froze our third embryo.



On the 16th April 2013, we welcomed our twins Emma and Siobhan to our family. Our plan was to survive the next 12 months and then to go back to the fertility clinic and implant our third embryo – but like all good plans, it wasn’t to be.

twins 1000

Our twins had just turned one and I wasn’t feeling the best. One day, I decided to take a pregnancy test, not expecting the result was going to be positive. I sat there in the toilet, trying to take in that there was a positive pregnancy test in my hand. I ran into our bedroom, where my husband was having his weekly lie in, and promptly woke him up. I couldn’t believe it, and really wasn’t that happy, as our plan was to go back for our last embryo.

It was meant to be

I spoke to our public health nurse and told her I wasn’t handling this pregnancy very well. I was still trying to cope with the twins and Rachel was adjusting to having siblings. I wasn’t in a good place – the public health nurse sent a referral letter to Dr. McCarthy, the perinatal psychiatrist, in Holles Street. I met with him to discuss how I was feeling.

Even after only one meeting with him I felt better, as the pregnancy continued I started to feel much better. At our 21-week scan, we found out that we were having a little boy. As a friend once told me, “What is meant for you, won’t pass you by.”

I had the twins by C-section, which meant that I had an option of a planned C-section for our little fella. After doing some research and chatting to Maurice, I opted for a C-section and at the same time, I requested a tubal ligation (getting my tubes tied – I didn’t want any more surprises!).

Growing family

I had a very physical pregnancy, what with dealing with twins who were still babies and school runs – I was tired all the time. I was very lucky to have the support of my husband and family.

My brother dropped Maurice and I into Holles Street on the 16th December 2014 where we welcomed our fourth healthy child into the family.

Brian has been a wonderful addition and will be well minded by his three older sisters. The recovery from the C-section was hard, and I still very much relied on the help of my husband and family. Our house will always be busy and crazy but I wouldn’t change a thing.

More like this:

Infertility and relationships
My hallway homebirth
My honest birth story


Q My son is 18 months old and has just started saying his first words. It is an extremely exciting time in our house and my husband and I are eager to encourage his speaking as much possible. What advice would you give us on how we can foster this without bombarding and confusing him?

AThere is nothing better than hearing your baby begin to talk. All the hard work you have put in over the last two years is coming back tenfold.
Toddlers will vary significantly with ability and speed of which they talk however a guide would be about 50 words by 2 years of age. The most important thing to watch for is that your baby/toddler is cooing and babbling and begins to string sounds together like “Mama/Dada” They should have a wide range of speech sounds and like to imitate you and things they hear.
There are many ways that you can promote Speech and Language development at home:
1. Slowing down your own speech and taking time over conversations with your little one. Every day is a new experience when you are 18 months, nappy changes, bath time, baking a cake brings endless opportunity for you to interact and offer new words for them to hear and repeat. Make eye contact, smile and use exaggerated tones to keep things interesting and fun for your tot.
2. Review the toys that you have on offer to your tot and ensure that they give plenty of open ended play opportunities. Role play is a wonderful way to allow children to take the lead. Kitchens with lots of plates, cups and pots. Fill the pots with dry pasta and allow your child to cook and serve you. Playdoh, painting, gardening and sandpits are also great for allowing your child to take the lead and babble about what they are doing. Read plenty of books together and point and allow them time to answer any questions that you ask.
3. Limit screen time. Overuse of televisions and iPads do not give your child opportunity to interact in a two way manner.
4. Ask your child lots of open ended questions “What’s that?” “Where are we?” Point at things they know the answer to for boosting confidence (Car/ Car, etc.) When they don’t know the answer, explain it to them. Limit baby talk and speak clearly with good pronunciation, remember you are the teacher and they will copy you.
If you are concerned about your child’s speech and language development, be sure to speak with your GP or developmental Health Nurse. They are very skilled at understanding the difference between speech delays and spotting something that may require professional attention.
Enjoy watching their little brains absorb the world around them and listen to what they have to say. It won’t be too long before they won’t stop talking to you, asking “Why Mummy/ Daddy?” every 5 minutes….


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Ask Sarah

Q I’ve heard a lot about the Paleo diet and as I am very interested in reducing the amount of processed foods and grain based meals my family eats, we are considering following this diet. From what I read it seems to be a back-to-basics type of eating. Is a Paleo diet safe for children? My kids are aged seven and nine.

A The Paleo diet is one of the most fashionable diets around at the moment. It is also known as the ‘caveman diet’ and is based on cutting out processed foods, starchy foods like bread and potatoes and eating more meat, vegetables and fruit.
As fad diets go, it is not the worst but there are some good and bad sides to it. Reducing the amount of processed foods we eat is always a good idea and by doing that you will usually reduce the amount of fat, salt and sugar you eat, which is a good thing! The problem with the Paleo diet is that it also cuts out dairy (on the basis that cavemen didn’t drink milk) and this means that the diet is very low in calcium. For this reason it is really not suitable for children who do need a lot of calcium for growing bones. How did cavemen manage without dairy? They ate a lot more food than we do (up to 10,000 calories per day compared to the 2,000 most of us eat). By eating that amount of food they were able to pick up just enough calcium from green vegetables and seeds. To put it in perspective, you would need to eat 16 servings of broccoli a day to get all the calcium you need. This is easier to do if you eat 10,000 calories per day rather than 2,000.
The other problem with the paleo diet is that it is not entirely based in science. Many of the Paleo diets out there say you should not eat wheat, even though we know that cavemen did in fact eat wheat and other grains. These diets also don’t recommend that you eat blubber and the big lumps of fat that were also a large part of the caveman diet!
A final problem is that many Paleo diets encourage people to cut out beans and lentils and to get their protein from meat and fish instead. Many studies over the last few years are clear that eating too much animal protein is linked with more cancer and heart disease. Eating some vegetarian meals based on beans and lentils is a great way to get your protein without always going for meat.
Is this a diet we should follow? I think there is a lot we can learn from the Paleo diets. We could all do with eating less salt, sugar and processed foods and adding in more nuts and seeds as well as more vegetables. However, I think following a strict Paleo diet could lead to low levels of calcium and vitamin D and so it is not suitable for children or teens and adults would need to think about a calcium supplement.