Baby Maria ‘stormed into the world’ as Ophelia raged

Mother says she had no choice but to deliver child at home in Cork with friend’s help

Sonya Burke and Colm O’Callaghan, from Crosshaven, with their new baby Maria  who was born during Storm Ophelia. Photograph:  Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Sonya Burke and Colm O’Callaghan, from Crosshaven, with their new baby Maria who was born during Storm Ophelia. Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

 

A woman who delivered her baby at home during Storm Ophelia was praying electricity would be restored to Crosshaven, Co Cork so she could discharge herself from hospital.

Sonya Burke said her daughter Maria “stormed in to the world” at 8.15am on Monday just as Ireland began to feel the impact of the extreme weather event.

Ms Burke said the weather was starting to deteriorate when her waters broke at 7.25am at her house on Camden Road.

“At that time I wasn’t really concentrating on the weather but the weather was shaky enough after she arrived and we made the trek to the hospital. I woke with pains at about 4.15am and I was passing them off because I had another three weeks to go,” she said.

“Then I thought these are getting quicker and quicker and the father of the child was at work so the only person in my house was my 14-year-old son. So I called him to get the number of the hospital. He called my friend so she arrived and my friend delivered her.”

Ms Burke said everything happened so quickly she did not have much choice but to deliver the baby at home.

Surreal

“It was surreal the whole thing. The baby is called after my friend who delivered her. I would say my friend is headed for years of therapy!

“I have to give credit to the ambulance crew. They were fantastic and of course, all the staff in CUMH [Cork University Maternity Hospital] have been great.

“The trip to the hospital was a little bit shaky. We did have to stop on the way. Trying to get home now with no water or electricity is going to be the thing,” she told PJ Coogan on Cork’s 96FM.

Thousands of people were still without power in Co Cork on Wednesday.

Hungarian national Judit Petrik was among 700 people in the town of Innishannon in west Cork who were still waiting for their electricity to be restored.

She said the area had turned in to a “ghost town” since Monday.

However, Ms Petrik was staying calm by making copious amounts of tea using a plate with tea lights to warm the water.

‘Pubs were like Christmas’

The local pharmacy remained open for a few hours to dispense prescriptions. The only other stores open were a Centra and a Gala convenience store.

Martina Healy, an employee of Gala, said they were only able to open because of access to a generator.

“Everyone is looking after one another which is brilliant. Its all word of mouth. We reopened the following morning because we are on a generator. We were told we could be without electricity until next Monday,” Ms Healy said.

“The kids are cracking up. You will get them to play a bit of Kerplunk or a board game but kids are real phone heads.”

However, Ms Healy said some businesses were doing a good trade. “Some of the pubs were like Christmas. Everyone getting together and having a laugh. The pub was jointed. Everyone in having a right old session.”