ONE family decided to mark their 'early Christmas present' with a name change.
Joanne and her husband James Fenton, from Fermoy, Co Cork, decided to call their daughter Noelle Bernadette after she was born two weeks' early at 7.28am on Christmas morning in Cork University Maternity Hospital.
"She was originally going to be called Chloe but if she was born on Christmas Day we had decided we would call her Noelle to mark the occasion.
"She wasn't due until January 6 but she came two weeks' early," her delighted mother said.
Around 2am on Christmas morning the labour pains started, and a little over five hours later Noelle weighed in at 7lb 15oz.
"The midwives were great and it was a stress-free birth. It was a great Christmas present to get this morning.
"She is quiet as a mouse, she just has her feed and then goes back to sleep," she added.
Her older sister Sarah (2) was also paying a Christmas Day visit to the hospital to see her little sister for the first time.
"She does think that Santa brought her a baby sister, a bike, a little play kitchen and three sets of pyjamas," Joanne laughed.
It might have been a day off for most of the country, but at maternity hospitals around the country it was business as usual.
Ciara explained when she began to feel pain around 6am on Christmas Eve, she wasn't sure if she was in fact going into labour as it had been 19 years since she had her other child, Marc.
The delighted mother told how Amelia, who weighed in at 7lbs 2oz, was a "very much wanted" baby after she had three miscarriages last year.
"Her big brother is absolutely over the moon. He always wanted a sister," she said. "Daddy is still in a state of shock. He was crying every time he looked at her. He couldn't stop."
She told how they decided not to learn the sex of the baby until it was born. "We thought that it was a girl all along," the mother said. "We are totally in awe of her."
Proud parents Gemma Woods and her partner John Devlin also welcomed their newborn bundle of joy into the world. Midwives at the Coombe Hospital in Dublin worked to deliver Sean at 9.10am yesterday morning.
And at Kerry Hospital Hospital one family got an extra special Christmas present, in the form of twins.
William and Victoria, from Glenbay, were born at 52 and 53 minutes past midnight.
Meanwhile at Waterford Regional Hospital, baby Laila Cullen was the county's first arrival at 2.15am.