Belfast Telegraph

Donations pouring in for American family facing prolonged stay in Dublin after baby Zoe born at 25 weeks

Plane forced to divert and mother gave birth four minutes after arriving at Dublin hospital.

By Brian O'Reilly

Donations have been pouring in for an American family facing a prolonged stay in Dublin after mum Jenny Drake went into early labour on a transatlantic flight.

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

Her mum Jenny, from Kentucky in the US, was travelling from Paris back to America when she went into Labour on board the plane.

After the pilot diverted the flight to Dublin, she was rushed to the Rotunda Hospital  where she gave birth to Zoe just four minutes later.

Although Zoe is doing well and considered big for a baby of 25 weeks, she will still have to remain in intensive care at the hospital for weeks.

It means her parents are now facing a prolonged stay in Dublin while Zoe gains strength.

A funding page has been set up to raise $15,000 to help the family – and has already raised over $11,000.

Her mother Jenny said: "She's doing really well, she is stable now thankfully.

"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 was just trying to keep her in -- which is easier said than done.

"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."

Mrs 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.

"It was pretty terrible," she said. "My contractions were three minutes apart pretty much from the get go.

"I was trying everything to convince myself that it wasn't labour - that it was just Braxton Hicks - but eventually I had to flag down a flight attendant.

"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.

"Originally they were going to turn the flight around and head back to Paris but, then we were told we were going to Dublin.

"We could see on the screen that's where we were heading.

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

She said it was a huge relief when the plane landed in Dublin.

"It was just really emotional. It was a huge relief to arrive safely."

"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."

Donations can be made to the family here.

Source: Irish Independent

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