A COUPLE are celebrating the auspicious 12/12/12 arrival of their second 'miracle baby', thanks to pioneering robotic surgery.
As the century's last sequential date, for some it represents luck. And Anne O'Mahony delivered baby Zoey at a healthy 2.8kg (6.1lb), with her husband, Patrick, expressing relief that both mother and little girl are safe and well.
Ms O'Mahony was diagnosed with a chronically weak cervix that, without surgery, can lead to miscarriages. In July 2011, she became the first woman in Ireland to undergo treatment using the advanced da Vinci Surgical System at Cork University Hospital.
She safely delivered baby Lucy and yesterday gave birth to Zoey, thanks to the same technique.
Obstetrician Dr Barry O'Reilly performed the procedure and expressed delight that the couple, from Donoughmore, Co. Cork, now have two girls.
"When a woman's cervix is weak, the woman is likely to have a pregnancy loss because it begins to open in early pregnancy," he said.
"In order to prevent this from recurring, we can perform a surgical procedure before a further pregnancy called an interval abdominal cervical cerclage (stitch) to keep the cervix closed."
The procedure allows the mother to safely carry her baby to almost full term.
The procedure was once carried out as part of major abdominal surgery, requiring a lengthy hospital stay.
The surgery involves robotic arms being used by a surgeon, via keyhole incisions, to conduct the cervical repairs. It is guided by 3D imaging technology.
As well as being less painful, the procedure offers the benefits of a minimal hospital stay, a vastly reduced risk of infection, reduced blood loss and faster recovery period.