THE future has arrived, and with it, a little baby girl.
A couple who lost their unborn child last year are celebrating the birth of a healthy baby daughter -- with a little help from pioneering new robot technology.
Anne and Patrick O'Mahony proudly showed off their beautiful new baby girl Lucy at Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH) yesterday. Lucy was born at 10am on Thursday morning and weighed in at 6lbs exactly.
The couple are among the first in Europe to benefit from the use of the da Vinci Surgical System, a sophisticated robotic device designed to enable surgeons to perform complex surgery using a minimally invasive approach.
"I'm just delighted really. Words can't describe how I'm feeling at the moment," Patrick (35) said yesterday. "I was a bit nervous and apprehensive but now I'm just delighted we have this little angel with us."
In February of last year, the couple lost their first baby Dylan, five months into the pregnancy.
Consultant Dr Barry O'Reilly at that stage found that Anne (33) had a weak cervix, which put her at a much higher risk of miscarrying.
Traditionally doctors would tackle the problem with a cervical stitch, an invasive procedure that requires the patient to remain in hospital for five days and can take up to three months to fully recover from.
But CUMH has been designated Europe's first Robotic Gynaecological Epicentre, and is the only hospital in Europe to perform the procedure using sophisticated robotics.
"We lost baby Dylan in February of 2010 and we met with Dr Reilly a few weeks later and he explained to us that this procedure was available in Cork," Anne said.
"It gave us a lot of hope because obviously when we lost Dylan you'd be worried that you may not have a healthy baby," the accountant from Donoughmore, Co Cork, added.
According to Dr O'Reilly, when the da Vinci robot is used, the patient is usually discharged within 24 hours and can be back to 'normality' within a week.
"With the robot there is a very small incision and we can operate with great precision," Dr O'Reilly said. "It's amazing technology."
Anne had the procedure and then, to the couple's delight, fell pregnant with Lucy. This pregnancy was full term.
"This is a great day, I'm absolutely delighted," said Dr O'Reilly. "This was a very difficult time last year for obvious reasons. What the da Vinci has allowed us to do is prolong this pregnancy to this stage where little Lucy has been born healthy and well.
"I'm absolutely delighted, this is a great day for us in Cork and this is obviously the way of the future for women who have problems like this," he said.
Patrick, a carpenter by trade, and Anne were last night planning on bringing their new addition home.
"I'm relieved that all has gone well and that baby Lucy arrived safely, we are delighted," Anne said. "It's been a long road and we've reached our destination.
"I was very surprised that she was a girl because I was convinced it was going to be a boy. She's gorgeous and she'll be spoilt rotten."