Eala Belle, the daughter of Jimmy Coyne and Sinead Carroll, was born during the extreme weather last week, and her parents - with a lot of help from the Gardaí and ambulance crew - had to undergo a dangerous journey to hospital in the height of the snow storm.
All was well in the end though and baby Eala Belle was born healthy and happy at lunchtime last Friday.
“We had to trudge through the snow … me and my bump and my dripping waters! We had to manage getting into a 4 x 4 … In fairness to them [the Gardaí], they were fantastic and they drove all the bog roads in the snow drifts … There was no road, put it that way … They [the Gardaí] were fantastic at driving and snow drifts that they were hitting was unreal,” Sinead said.
Sinead then recalled her journey in the ambulance. “That was another long journey as well … It’s even worse when you’re stuck in the back of an ambulance. You can’t see out the windows, you can’t see what’s going but you can feel the skids and you can feel the pulling … slipping and sliding in between contractions and everything,” she continued.
Sinead’s due date was Tuesday 27th February and at the start of last week they were not too worried by the storm or the fact that the due date had passed. The young Kildare couple hoped the baby might come after the storm and go a week over like many first babies.
However, last Thursday evening around 9pm Sinead’s waters broke and she began having labour pains. Storm Emma was at its worst at this point with blizzards and huge snowfall affecting north Kildare where Sinead lives. She rang an ambulance, but soon afterwards the control centre rang her to say her ambulance had gotten stuck in the heavy snow and they were sending a fire brigade to rescue it.
Sinead was very worried and felt panicked at this stage, but she remembered seeing a Facebook post that Gardaí in Kildare had a 4 x 4 for emergencies during the storm. They called the station and the Gardaí came to get her. Sinead praised the Gardaí for keeping her calm, but she knew they too were on edge, battling very dangerous conditions on a back road during a blizzard.
The journey into Naas to meet the ambulance took twice as long as usual. Sinead’s labour pains got worse at this stage. When she arrived at Naas Garda station an ambulance was waiting for her. She said the trip from there to the Coombe was also scary as the ambulance was skidding and being blown around the road.
Sinead said arriving in the Coombe around midnight was eerie. The couple’s baby girl Eala Belle (‘swan’ in Irish) was born at lunchtime on Friday. Sinead said the midwife who helped deliver Eala Belle hadn’t been home since Tuesday, and lots of nursing and other staff were forced to sleep in the hospital over the duration of the bad weather to make sure everyone else was safe.
Sinead said everyone did their best, and the couple are extremely grateful to the Gardaí, the paramedics and the staff in the Coombe.
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