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Saturday 10 December 2016

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

Zoe Ireland Drake
Zoe Ireland Drake

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.

Baby Zoe Ireland Drake weighed just 850 grams when she was born on Saturday.

Her parents Jenny and Gavin, (pictured) from Kentucky, had been on a flight from Paris to the US when she went into labour.

After the pilot diverted the flight to Dublin, Jenny was rushed to the Rotunda Hospital where Zoe was born just minutes later.

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

"My big fear was that, if she was born on the plane she wouldn't make it because she was so young . . . I was just trying to keep her in - which is easier said than done. Four minutes after I got to the hospital, Zoe was born."

Although Zoe is big for a baby of 25 weeks, she will be in intensive care for weeks, which means her parents will be staying in Dublin while she gains strength.

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

Gavin and Jenny Drake
Gavin and Jenny Drake

"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."

An online fundraising campaign to raise €15,000 has been started. Donations can be made at You can donate to help the family pay for their Dublin stay by clicking here.

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