Twin Babies Came 4 Months Early—and Now a Family Is Stuck in Portugal

Fred and Kim Spratt's romantic babymoon in Portugal took a scary turn when Kim's abdominal pains started, and she delivered preemie twins.
Gregg Brekke/Shutterstock

On paper, Fred and Kim Spratt's babymoon sounded like a dream come true: a romantic trip to Portugal scheduled smack dab in the middle of Kim's second trimester, when most of us preggos are brimming with energy. Still, Kim was pregnant with twins and didn't want to take any chances, so she got her ob-gyn's blessing before booking the vacation. The New Jersey couple's European adventure was postcard-perfect—until the abdominal pains began.

Their twins' arrival—four months early—was anything but storybook for the first-time parents. "Once I got into the delivery room, there had to be about anywhere between 10-15 people strapping down my legs, informing me it was too late for any drugs since I had inquired, a woman telling me to breathe, the OBGYN not even knowing my name but only that I was in labor with preemie twins," Kim explained to ABC's Los Angeles affiliate. "I can thoroughly remember looking to my right seeing the incubators and the doctors and nurses working tirelessly and the sadness I felt of not hearing the babies cry, feeling robbed of the joys of childbirth."

When the preemie babies were born, on Mother's Day no less, daughter Hayden and son Hudson each weighed barely more than a pound. Sadly, Hudson would only survive the first few weeks in the NICU; Hayden, meanwhile, was diagnosed with emphysema. With the financial support of a GoFundMe page set up by friends, the couple has been able to stay in Portugal while they mourn the loss of their son and watch their daughter grow stronger each day. Now, nearly three months later, the little girl weighs an impressive 5 pounds and has been cleared to go home to the U.S. via medical transport (doctors deemed a commercial flight too risky).

But hang on to your party hats—the Spratts aren't out of the woods. According to Fred, their insurance company rejected a request for a medical transport, saying it wasn't a medical necessity. (The flight costs $82,000 out of pocket.) But the couple's other option—staying in Portugal until Hayden is healthy enough to fly home on a commercial flight—isn't really viable either. Kim and Fred recently found out they may only be able to stay in Portugal for a few more weeks. With just over $55,000 donated via GoFundMe, the family has some financial help, but coughing up nearly $30,000 more just to bring their baby home is tough for any new parents.

Sadly, this isn't the first time a U.S. mama has given birth unexpectedly on foreign soil, only to spend considerable time afterward wading through red tape. Earlier this year, Wendy Morrow went into labor at 32 weeks in Hong Kong's airport. She later gave birth in a Hong Kong hospital and her son, Kyuss, spent time in the NICU. To make matters worse, her insurance company refused to cover the exorbitant costs because Morrow delivered outside of the U.S. Mom and baby are back home in Iowa now. Here's hoping Kim, Fred, and Hayden have the same kind of happily-ever-after ending they so deserve.

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Bonnie Gibbs Vengrow is a New York City-based writer and editor who traded in her Blackberry and Metro card for playdates and PB&J sandwiches—and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch her feisty, funny son grow up. Follow her on TwitterPinterest, and Google+.

If your baby is a preemie, she will likely have some difficulties in the beginning. Find out how to help your premature baby--and your family-- thrive.

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