Abe Adetella, who is in her late 30s, gave birth at the side of a road on the outskirts of Kilkenny City on Wednesday night in what were described as foggy and cold conditions, with temperatures below freezing.
From Tommy Murphy Park in Carlow town, the mother of three other children was driving to St Luke’s General Hospital to have her blood pressure checked when she felt a “huge move”, and knew her baby girl was about to arrive.
A number of passers-by stopped, among them Eamonn and Mae Doyle from Kilkenny City. Mr Doyle, a retired garda, and another young man who had come upon the scene, told him the woman was going to have a baby.
Mr Doyle’s wife, Mae made her way over to the car. The driver’s door was open and the woman was lying back across the passenger seat.
She told Ms Doyle: “Get ready to catch my baby”. The 7lb girl was born at 7.40pm. Abe has not yet decided what to call her.
Ms Doyle put out her hands and says the baby popped into her arms, crying out loud. They managed to find a blanket and wrapped the baby up.
Mr Doyle phoned an ambulance, which they say came nearly 20 minutes after the initial call. The ambulance crew took the woman and the baby to hospital.
The little girl suffered mild hypothermia but is now recovering well and is due to leave the hospital today.
Ms Doyle visited the new mum and her baby in hospital yesterday.
Speaking from hospital, Abe said: “I was driving to the hospital to have my blood pressure checked. I was due on the day but had no labour pains at all ... I felt a big move.
“I was coming up to the roundabout and I knew I had to pull over and park but if I parked on the side of the road, nobody would maybe stop. I knew I needed someone to stop and help me because I thought I was going to have the baby there. I knew people would see me.”
She thanked those who had stopped to help, in particular the Doyles.
An emotional Mae said: “It’s lovely to see that the baby is healthy and in an ordinary cot and that her Mam is happy. It’s lovely to see her and I’m delighted.
Ray O’Sullivan, consultant obstetrician at St Luke’s, praised Ms Doyle, saying she did a marvellous job.
When asked if he has any advice for pregnant women in such situations, he said: “Don’t drive yourself! Always drive with someone else, don’t travel alone, and if you are accompanying somebody in labour, not to panic, it’s a natural thing.”