Royal Caribbean is all about making people’s cruise dreams come true but when Emily Morgan boarded a ship in August, she never imagined she’d disembark with a babe in arms.
Hailing from Ogden, Utah, the Morgans boarded a Royal Caribbean cruise ship with approval from their family doctor. Three year old Chloe was also in tow for the family’s first cruise holiday. While there are strict rules about sailing when pregnant, Emily well and truly met the restrictions at just 23 weeks.
Not so smooth sailing
When Emily started to feel contractions on the second night of the voyage she put it down to simple pregnancy pains, however she quickly realised little Haiden was definitely on the way. On-board medical personnel were summoned and got to work making Emily as comfortable as possible.
“I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t really comprehend how wrong. I didn’t think about what the possibilities were. All I knew was I was going to have a baby,” she recalls.
A ‘miracle’ baby that defies the odds
Babies born at the 23 week mark have a life expectancy of just 15-30%. When born in hospitals the chances of survival are slim. However, relocate the scenario to a cruise ship sailing 100 miles offshore and 14 hours from the closest hospital and the outlook is not good.
“It’s a miracle he’s here,” says Emily. “The doctors really tell us that he’s a miracle baby.”
When the on-board doctor confirmed Emily was definitely in labour the reality of the situation started to hit home. He assured her that while he and the team would do all he could the ship simply wasn’t equipped with the same state of the art premature baby facilities of Western hospitals.
“I was naive. I didn’t understand what was going to happen from there. … I didn’t realize that there were going to be complications, and there were going to be problems, and we were a long way out at sea. All of that unfolded as we went along.”
Haiden’s born on the high seas
Amazingly, bub was one determined little boy and at 1.56 a.m. on August 31, Haiden Morgan was born.
“I remember I told them, ‘I want to see my son,'” recalls Emily, adding that doctors originally prepared her for the heartbreak of a miscarriage. “I want to see him, I don’t care if he’s dead,” she replied. At one point Emily herself was in danger from losing large amounts of blood through the umbilical cord.
When the Morgans were finally allowed to see their brand new baby boy they did everything they could to ensure that his little heart kept beating until the ship reached the nearest port of Puerto Rico. By dawn Haiden had developed a series of dark spots on his fingers and toes, a symptom of hypothermia.
A Race to Puerto Rico
In a photo finish that saw the Captain pull out all stops to arrive in Puerto Rico two hours early, Haiden was whisked off the ship and transported to the nearest hospital. Here he spent three days in the neonatal intensive care unit before being transferred to Miami. He’ll stay put until December 19, the original date he was supposed to arrive.
While several complications have stopped Haiden from gaining weight as a normal baby would, he’s doing well and most definitely falls into the ‘miracle baby’ category. Of course, the amazing medical team at Royal Caribbean deserve a plethora of praise for the role they played in delivering baby Haiden.
Here is Fox News’s update on the story: