When Chase and Emily Morgan embarked on their seven-day Royal Caribbean cruise to celebrate their 3-year-old daughter Chloe’s birthday, they had no idea that they would return from the trip a family of four. Or just how stressful their relaxing family break was going to turn out to be.
Pregnant Emily was due to give birth on December 19, and had been deemed perfectly fit and healthy to take the cruise, but just two nights into the holiday, she went into premature labour.
At first, she and Chase thought it was just Braxton Hicks – the ‘practice’ contractions women often get later in pregnancy. But as they cruised the seas between Florida and Puerto Rico, the pains became more intense, and Emily’s husband noticed his wife was bleeding.
A doctor came to the family’s cabin and urged Emily not to push because the ship could not dock for another 14 hours!
“At 1:20 a.m. the doctor came over, looked at me and said, ‘keep your legs closed, don’t push because we are not porting for another 14 hours’,” Emily told Associated Press. “And I said, ‘I am pushing because this baby is coming, I know!'”
The couple’s little boy was born just 30 minutes later, some three months early. The doctors told distraught Emily she had miscarried and that the baby was dead. When she and Chase asked to see their little son, they were reportedly refused. But then, some 45 minutes later, the doctors returned and told the pair that actually, the little boy was alive, but that they did not expect him to survive.
“About 45 minutes after I had delivered, the two doctors came back in and said the baby was still alive, however, they didn’t expect him to live very long,” Emily told reporters.
Emily made it clear to the medics that she wanted to see her baby straight away.
“I had felt him kicking. I felt the process of him getting bigger,” she said. “I said, ‘I’m going to see him, I don’t care if he’s alive or if he’s dead.”
The baby was brought to her wrapped in wet towels and with a tiny oxygen mask on his face.
“He was crying, like a little feeble cry,” said Emily.”Along with his healthy pink coloring, it was a positive sign that his lungs were relatively strong.”
The Morgans swaddled the baby in dry, clean towels from their cabin and put heated saline packets around him to keep him warm. A sanitary towel was put on his head to try and stop him from losing heat.
The captain then sailed at speed to Puerto Rico, docking just as the little boy began to develop black spots on his fingers from loss of circulation. As soon as they disembarked, two ambulances transported the family to a local hospital, where their little boy – who they named Haiden – was found to be weighing just 1lb.
After a couple of days, the family were flown to a hospital in Miami, where they will now stay until Haiden is strong enough to be moved to a hospital closer to the Morgan’s home in Utah hopefully in October. It is then expected he will remain in hospital until his actual December due date.
According to his mum, Haiden is making good progress and is being fed breast milk through a syringe into a tube in his stomach.
What a roller-coaster of a story! Fingers crossed that little Haiden keeps up his amazing fight.