SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A baby who has spent the past two months in a Miami hospital after his premature birth on a cruise ship reached his final destination in Utah.
Baby Haiden arrived home Saturday in Ogden just before 8 p.m. after a flight that included medical equipment to ensure safe transport.
He was greeted by his parents, Emily and Chase Morgan, and a crowd of well-wishers. Many cheered and held up "welcome home" signs as medical staff took Haiden, who was in an incubator, off the aircraft.
The Morgans said it was surreal that their son was back with them.
"Even a week ago we weren't sure if we were all going to be together," Chase Morgan said.
The couple was on a seven-day cruise around the eastern Caribbean on Aug. 31 when Emily Morgan started experiencing contractions. The baby was not due until Dec. 19, and Morgan's doctor had approved the trip.
They initially thought it might be false labor but called onboard medical staff when they saw blood. A doctor aboard the Royal Caribbean ship told her she couldn't give birth because they were still 14 hours from the nearest port in Puerto Rico.
But holding back wasn't an option, Emily Morgan said. It's not totally clear what caused her to go into early labor, though doctors have said it might have been related to dehydration.
After the delivery, the doctors said Haiden wasn't expected to live long. They brought the mother her 1 ½-pound baby, wrapped in towels wet from the birth.
Upon arrival in Puerto Rico, the family, which includes the couple's 3-year-old daughter, was whisked away to a hospital. Haiden was transferred to a children's hospital in Miami a few days later.
The operators of the University of Utah's Flight Med program offered to transport Haiden from Miami to Ogden at no cost. Haiden will be hospitalized in Ogden for the next several weeks, Emily Morgan said. The family hopes he will be home in time for Christmas.
This story has been corrected to show that Emily Morgan was not on the flight.