Saturday 18 November 2017

Labour planes: no time to spare as baby Zoe born

Zoe Ireland Drake weighed just 850 grammes at birth
Zoe Ireland Drake weighed just 850 grammes at birth

Lesley-Anne McKeown

A woman who went into labour on board a flight gave birth to a baby girl four minutes after arriving at hospital.

Zoe Ireland Drake weighed just 850 grams when she was born at 25 weeks on Saturday.

Speaking for the first time, her mother Jenny Drake from Kentucky, USA, said: "She's doing really well. She is stable now thankfully. We've called her Zoe Ireland."

The American Airlines flight from Paris to North Carolina had to be diverted to Dublin Airport after Ms Drake went into premature labour.

"I was terrified," she said. "My big fear was that, if she was born on the plane she wouldn't make it because she was so young and her lungs were not properly developed.

"I just kept thinking 'please let me make it to the hospital' because every minute counts without oxygen. And we did - four minutes after I got to the hospital, Zoe was born."

Ms Drake, an optometrist and her optician husband, Gavin, were returning home to Nashville to see their three-year-old son after enjoying a "babymoon" break in Paris.

The flight had only been in the air for about an hour when her contractions began.

"They asked if there were any medics on board and I think eight lights went on. There were several doctors who helped me, so I was really lucky.

"I felt for my poor husband - at one point they handed him a bag and said you may have to catch her."

An ambulance rushed Ms Drake to the Rotunda hospital when the plane landed. Baby Zoe is expected to remain in intensive care for the next few months but is said to be thriving.

"The doctors said she was big for 25 weeks, but she looks tiny to me. We are just so grateful to everyone who helped and are thankful she is doing well."

Irish Independent

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