Mums and babies take big leap in their stride

“It’s only my luck to have a child that can only celebrate its birthday every four years,” laughed one Cork mum after she gave birth to her first born in the early hours of Feb 29.

Colette Foley’s 7lb 7oz baby was born at 1.30am at Cork University Maternity Hospital.

“I wasn’t due until Saturday so he was three days early. I’d never really given much thought to him being due in a leap year. But there you go, it’s only my luck,” said Ms Foley from Douglas.

“I think we’ll be celebrating his birthday on the 28th,” she said, adding that she couldn’t really ignore his birthday for the next three years.

In Dublin, it had barely registered with Caroline Dunne that her newborn son would only have an official birthday every four years.

Caroline was due to have a caesarean section next Tuesday but in the early hours of Wednesday, she started to go into labour — fast. An ambulance had to be called to her Clonsilla home and there wasn’t even enough time for her partner to make it to the Rotunda.

“I nearly had the baby on the sitting room floor. I’m still just shocked. This was all such a surprise. The ambulance staff were great though,” she said.

Caroline has named her son, Conor Walsh. Conor weighed in at 5lb 7oz.

Claire Doyle also had a little boy at the Rotunda yesterday. Again, the fact her son was born was born on a leap year had nearly passed her by as she was so busy adjusting to life with a newborn.

Her baby had also been born unexpectedly early when the hospital suddenly changed her caesarean date.

“You know I haven’t really thought about it. It’s a bit strange alright but I’m sure it will be a novelty for him,” said Claire from Drumcondra. Claire already has two older children, a boy and a girl.

“Our first priority is to come up with a name. We’re still discussing it,” she said, laughing.

Ever since leap years were introduced over 2,000 years ago with the transition from the Roman calendar to the Julian calendar in 45BC, leap day has been associated with age-old leap day traditions and folklore.


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