THE job of a grandmother is increasingly hands-on. So it was yesterday, when Claire O'Driscoll successfully delivered her daughter's baby in the back seat of a 4 x 4 -- less than a kilometre from a maternity hospital.
Claire (49) took matters into her own hands when her daughter Sinead (30) screamed she was going to have her baby before her frantic husband, Austin, could get her to hospital.
Claire, who had been sitting in the front seat, jumped into the rear of the 4x4 to help her daughter as her husband kept driving.
And baby Siobhan was born just off the Wilton roundabout in Cork -- almost within sight of Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH).
"I got a phone call at 3am to say that Sinead was going into labour," Claire told the Irish Independent yesterday.
"We'd agreed that I would go with her to hospital so I got out of bed and we all headed off."
Austin drove the family 4x4 from their home in Ballymacoda in east Cork but, as they neared Little Island, the contractions were so strong and fast Sinead feared she would not make it to the delivery theatre.
"We got as far as Carrigtwohill and Sinead got a really bad pain. I jumped into the back seat and rubbed her back.
"The next thing we were going up to the Wilton roundabout and she said: 'Mam, I have got to push.' There and then the delivery came," the delighted grandmother explained.
Austin, who works for courier firm TNT, said it was the one parcel he was delighted he didn't have to deliver himself.
"It's a priceless package alright," he said. "Siobhan is absolutely beautiful and both mother and baby are doing very well."
Claire, who was already a grandmother thanks to Sinead's oldest child, Denise (3), is a Health Service Executive carer. "The waters just went and the baby came with it. She was beautiful. It was the experience of a lifetime," she said.
Austin was determined to ensure the baby got prompt medical help, so he didn't stop driving until he arrived at the hospital -- and a nursing team was waiting at the door to look after Sinead and baby Siobhan.
Baby Siobhan weighed in at 6lbs 14oz and is thriving.
Both mother and baby daughter are expected to be sent home today.