Tuesday 23 October 2018

'Ophelia was never going to be on our list of names' - Baby Maria born during Storm Ophelia

Sonya Burke and Colm O'Callaghan from Crosshaven with their new baby Maria (6lbs 15oz) who was born during hurricane Ophelia.
Pic:Mark Condren
Sonya Burke and Colm O'Callaghan from Crosshaven with their new baby Maria (6lbs 15oz) who was born during hurricane Ophelia. Pic:Mark Condren
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

An Irish mother celebrated the safe delivery of her 'storm baby' - but vowed that her new daughter was never going to be called Ophelia.

Sonya Burke admitted the birth of little Maria last Monday was "quite dramatic" given that she went into labour at 8.15am just as Storm Ophelia struck Cork with her full fury.

Sonya went into labour at her Crosshaven home - and was delivering her little girl as heroic paramedics rushed her to Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH) while coping with winds starting to gust to 130km/h and falling trees.

The mother of two, who has a little boy called Jamie, has not been able to be sent home from CUMH because she still has no power or water due to the storm at her Crosshaven home.

Sonya, her husband, Colm, and Jamie are now celebrating the safe arrival of baby Maria - and are looking forward to taking her home to Crosshaven.

"The trip to the hospital was a little bit shakey - we did have to (briefly) stop on the way," Sonya admitted.

"I have to give credit to the ambulance crew. They were absolutely fantastic and, of course, all the staff in CUMH have been lovely."

The Cork mother today issued a public tribute to the ambulance crew involved via Cork's 96FM - and said her entire family are grateful for them braving the storm.

She also paid a moving tribute to the members of the emergency services to helped protect others at the height of the storm.

Sonya admitted she didn't focus too much on the storm at the time given her labour pains.

"At the start I could hear the wind. Where we live is quite high so I didn't pay much attention to it at the start. I suppose in the throes of the pain of the delivery I just didn't care," she said.

"I was simply hoping that everything would go alright. But thank God all is well."

Sonya laughed that she was never going to name her daughter after the hurricane.

"I don't think so - that (Ophelia) was never going to be on our list of names," she said.

The infant is now thriving at CUMH.

"All is great now - she is a good healthy baby. Maria was born at 6lbs 15oz.

"She was three weeks premature but she is doing very well.

"She is feeding well and sleeping well. In fact, I have had to wake her a couple of times to feed her she is sleeping so well.

"It is a relief to have it over with. All I want to do now is go home."

The mother of two admitted her narrow miss with the storm only dawned on her on Tuesday.

"It really hit us yesterday what a drama it was with the storm."

Even Colm managed to arrive in time for the birth.

"Her dad walked in just as she was being born. He had to come home from work. He was meant to be working last night as well in Zico's (restaurant). So my apologies to all the customers who couldn't get their pizzas delivered that night."

Sonya admitted her priority now is simply getting Maria home.

"We don't have any power or water at home. I would have been home yesterday, maybe even before that, if there was," she said.

"We are hoping, fingers-crossed, it will be back today. It'd be nice to go home."

The young mother again thanked CUMH staff and the emergency services for their support.

"Everyone has been fantastic and I cannot thank them enough for their kindness."

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