An astonishing story of survival played out recently on the high seas, as a Utah woman gave birth to her son prematurely while on a cruise ship hours from land, keeping the one-and-a-half pound baby alive as the vessel sped to reach the port.
The gripping drama unfolded on August 31, according to Yahoo News, when Emily Morgan of Ogden, Utah began experiencing contractions while on a seven-day-long cruise in the eastern Caribbean. Morgan wasn’t due to give birth until December, so she and her husband at first believed she was experiencing false labor. When the couple saw blood, however, they knew it was time to contact the ship’s doctors.
— FOX 5 DC (@fox5newsdc) September 25, 2015
After the Morgans sought out the medical staff and Emily was examined, a doctor told her she couldn’t give birth, as the ship was still 14 hours away from Puerto Rico, the nearest port. Emily knew the baby was coming, however, and according to her, holding back wasn’t possible.
Emily delivered her son, who was quickly whisked away by medical staff, and was told she had miscarried. She demanded to see the baby, however, and after 45 minutes was reunited with her son, who was wearing a tiny oxygen mask.
“I had felt him kicking. I felt the process of him getting bigger. I said, ‘I’m going to see him, I don’t care if he’s alive or if he’s dead.'”
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) September 25, 2015
The baby’s skin was pink, and he was emitting a feeble cry, signaling that his lungs were healthy, according to the Huffington Post. Still, medical staff didn’t expect him to survive. Babies born months prematurely usually have just a one in 10 chance of living through the experience.
The staff wrapped the baby in towels and used microwaved saline packets to build a makeshift incubator, keeping him warm as the ship sped for port. The captain was able to bring the vessel into Puerto Rico two hours ahead of schedule, where the Morgans were met by two ambulances, which rushed them to a hospital. A few days later, they were transferred to a children’s hospital in Miami.
— Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune) September 25, 2015
Emily’s baby, who has been named Haiden, is now doing well, and is being fed through a tube in his stomach. He will remain hospitalized until his original due date of December 19, and while his family say that mounting medical bills pose a problem, they are accepting donations online through a GoFundMe page. Though Emily says she was initially frustrated when officials on the cruise ship wouldn’t let her see her baby, she points out that they have also been very helpful as her family handles the unusual situation.
[Photo by Emily Morgan/Twitter]