A mother of triplets has been rescued from her snowbound rural home after going into labour two weeks early.
Mandy Hayden Freeman's husband phoned an ambulance in a panic early on Wednesday morning at their house on the lower slopes of Mount Leinster.
Plans to send a helicopter had to be scrapped because of heavy snow but a midwife travelled in a convoy of two 4X4s and two ambulances to the house at Ballindaggin, Wexford.
She kept in contact by telephone with Ms Freeman, whose contractions were just four minutes apart. "At one stage the midwife had to tell my husband to get all the towels together and get me up to the bedroom upstairs," Ms Freeman said.
"I was just panicking at that stage, I was like, I can't have triplets here at home. They were all prepared to talk to him over the phone, talk him through the whole thing."
Only the off-road vehicles could make it up the snow-covered hill to the house when they arrived at 7.30am - around an hour and a half after emergency services were called. Ms Freeman was put into one of the vehicles and taken to the ambulance at the foot of a hill three miles away. But because of the road conditions they advised she travel to the hospital in the jeep.
"I'm talking to the midwife, my husband is on to the emergency services, he's telling them when I'm getting contractions, and I'm talking to the midwife, telling her when I'm getting them," Ms Freeman told RTE Radio. "They're all talking us through it."
Some 45 minutes later they arrived at Wexford General Hospital where Ms Freeman had an emergency Caesarian section. Aaron, weighing in at 4lb 4oz, and Ryan, at 4lb 1oz, are doing well, while baby Finn at 3lb 15oz is on oxygen.
Unfortunately Mr Freeman had to fare for himself, missing the birth of his baby boys after driving through the treacherous country roads by car, taking an hour and a half to do the approximately 24-mile journey. "One of the nurses said to him, so you're the daddy of the three boys," Ms Freeman said. "So he didn't even know he had three boys at that stage."
His absence led to another man, whose wife was also giving birth, being given a bit of a fright. "The doctor came out and presumed he was my husband and said to him, congratulations, the three boys are doing great," Ms Freeman said. "The poor fella nearly passed out. He looked at him and said, 'Em, I thought I was having a girl.' There was a bit of a fright there all right."