After going into labor four months early on a trans-Atlantic flight, a Nashville mother and her newborn daughter are reportedly doing well in a Dublin, Ireland hospital.
Jenny Drake was flying back to the U.S. from a “babymoon” trip in Paris with her husband Gavin last Saturday when she began experiencing labor pains about an hour after the American Airlines flight departed from France’s Charles de Gaulle Airport.
“I was terrified,” Drake told the Irish Mirror. “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.”
Her contractions began coming three minutes apart and after being alerted to the passenger’s condition, the pilot diverted the plane to Ireland, landing in Dublin. Ireland's The Journal reported that a doctor onboard provided prenatal care until medical staff at the airport were able to escort the new mother to Rotunda Hospital in Dublin.
“I just kept thinking, “Please let me make it to the hospital”, because every minute counts without oxygen,” says Drake.
The Irish Mirror says that Drake’s daughter was born within minutes of her arrival at the hospital weighing in at just 1 lb 8 oz. Drake says that her daughter—who they’ve named Zoe Ireland—is “doing really well” and in a stable condition despite her size.
The Drakes, who are also parents to a three-year-old son Aiden, are remaining in Dublin while their premature daughter receives care at Rotunda. They have set up a GoFundMe page to offset the cost of their extended stay in European.
“It was just really emotional. It was a huge relief to arrive safely,” says Drake. “We are just so grateful to everyone who helped and are thankful she is doing well.”
Most major airlines, including American, Delta and United, permit pregnant women to travel through their eighth month without a doctor's note. Drake was just 25 weeks at the time of her trip to Paris.
Last month, a premature baby was born mid-cruise to a mother who was just 23-weeks into her pregnancy prompting new concerns about pregnant travel at sea.