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New baby joy on roadside in Knock


BUNDLE OF JOY Catherina and Kieran Jennings will be ringing in the New Year in the company of their new baby daughter Emily.

Michael Commins

A Knock couple had more drama in their lives than expected last week when the local townland of Ballyhowley became the registered birthplace of baby Emily Nicole Jennings, who was delivered on the roadside during an emergency dash to Castlebar.
Catherina Jennings had earlier in the day been let home from hospital in Castlebar, after a regular check-up. The baby was three days overdue.
Her husband Kieran was over in Ballyhaunis attending to some Christmas street lighting around 9pm when he got a call from home to say Catherina was getting some pains and thought there were signs that the baby may be on its way. 
“I had planned to be home around 10pm but she rang again at 9.30pm to say she had to go to hospital. I dashed back to Rookfield and she was in the jeep with me at 9.40pm heading for Castlebar hospital. “We had hardly gone a mile when I had to pull in at Begley’s Hill and our daughter was born there at the roadside at 9.55pm. I put my jacket and jumper on the ground beneath Catherina. It all happened so fast I hadn’t time to think about anything. You tend to operate on instinct. The baby was 10lbs. I cleared the airways and attended to the umbilical cord with my shoe laces.

Ambulance called
“I phoned WestDoc and Claremorris Garda Station and Garda Karl Murray was first on the scene. He had called an ambulance and doctor on his way out from Claremorris. Dr Gary Curran was the first doctor to arrive and we managed to get Catherina back into the jeep and out of the cold where he started to stabilise her condition. Gary and Karl were a great help to us.
“She was in and out of consciousness as we waited for the ambulance to arrive from Castlebar. The paramedics, Martin Feeney and Gordon Nimmo, provided valuable assistance when we all managed to transfer Catherina from the jeep to the ambulance.
“They spent about 40 minutes, along with Dr Curran, on stabilising her condition as a result of the birth and the hypothermia from the cold before leaving Ballyhowley for the journey to the hospital. Myself and Dr Curran accompanied Catherina in the ambulance.”
On arrival at the hospital in Castlebar, Catherina and the baby were given priority attention and both were checked out to ensure all was okay. “It was such a relief for us all at that stage. The excitement and drama of the night carried you along. It is only afterwards that you can reflect on how so much could have gone wrong. We want to extend heartfelt thanks to all who were so helpful on the night and who ensured a happy ending to the drama.
“Catherina and the baby were home in Rookfield two days later. Both are doing great and we are all enjoying a lovely Christmas with our other two daughters Katie and Lauren,” said proud father Kieran.