Eye doctor returns home with baby after giving birth in Ireland 3 months early

Jenny Drake with her baby Zoe in the Rotunda Hospital, Dublin. (Courtesy: Joe Dunne)

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Murfreesboro optometrist and her family is back home Saturday after being stuck in Ireland for nearly three months.

Dr. Jenny Drake and her husband were returning home from an extended business trip in Scotland when she began to go into labor in October on a Transatlantic flight.

Drake was only 25 weeks pregnant.

Courtesy: Drake Family
Courtesy: Drake Family

“I thought Braxton hicks and I kept trying to calm myself down. I think I drank three bottles of water thinking I’m just dehydrated,” Drake recalled.

The flight was diverted to Dublin, where she was rushed by ambulance to a nearby hospital.

Four minutes after she arrived, her daughter Zoe Ireland was born weighing 1 pound and 13 ounces.

“Originally she was Zoe Elizabeth, that no longer sounded like it suited her. She had to have some Irish in their somewhere,” Drake laughed.

Drake told News 2 Zoe has been a fighter. She got healthy enough to leave the hospital but her lungs and immune system couldn’t survive a commercial flight back to the United States.

The family needed a special medical flight to fly Zoe to Tennessee, but the family’s insurance claim was denied.

A GoFundMe campaign was started and raised more than $30,000, but they were stranded in Ireland still needing $30,000 more.


Just a few days ago, during a radio interview with the family, an anonymous Irish man donated the remainder needed to get them home.

Thanks to his generosity, Saturday afternoon the family flew into Nashville on an AirMed International critical care hawker jet to BNA’s Atlantic Aviation.

Drake says the kindness has renewed her faith in people.

“Now that we are kind of to the end of it, we can call it what it really is, which is a blessing. It’s been a crazy, traumatic, wild blessing, but it has been a blessing.”

Zoe and her family are now at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital where she is finishing up some antibiotics and doctors are making sure she is healthy enough to go home following the 12 hour flight.

Dr. Drake added she is anxious to get back to her business Drake Eye Care and Eyewear in Murfreesboro.

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