Wexford's Helena celebrates birth hours after The Voice appearance
Wexford songstress Helena Bradley Bates didn't realise quite how close she was cutting things when she appeared on the semi-finals of RTE's The Voice.
Because just a few hours after performing on stage before a TV audience numbering hundreds of thousands, Helena gave birth to her fifth child - 'a grand little fella' - at Wexford General Hospital last Monday.
'He surprised everyone in the whole of Ireland when he arrived so soon. I couldn't be happier and I did my best the night before as well,' said Helena, who was knocked out of The Voice despite being told she had the strongest voice in her group.
She said that during her performance she had no inkling on the impending birth of her son Ewan. While the scans had suggested he was due on Wednesday, April 22, the doctors had predicted May 4, so Helena thought she had a few days to chill before time got really tight.
However, all that changed last Monday when her waters broke, with little Ewan delivered by Caesarian section at 4.17 p.m. in the maternity wing at Wexford General Hospital.
'It was too close for comfort,' Helena told this newspaper, 'I had no warning and was moving around and dancing as best as I could on Sunday night, putting the best into my performance.'
She said her other children - Dean, aged 18, Ayla, 16, Callum, aged 13, Orin, aged 15 months - had all weighed in at around nine pounds, while Ewan tipped the scales at seven pounds and 12 ounces, possibly due to all the stress of the competition.
'You wouldn't know with the stress, but he's a grand little fella,' she said.
Helena, who lives in the Wellingtonbridge area with partner Neil Kinsella, said she was sitting back and relaxing after the birth and the TV show.
'It still hasn't hit us yet, but I could be back on the road before you know it,' said the 41 year old.