Charlotte Taylor, 23, Doncaster explains how her and her premature baby boy were stranded in Majorca...
Lounging on a sunbed with a blossoming bump, I soaked up some rays.
‘The baby enjoys the sunshine,’ I smiled at my boyfriend, Luke, 20.
It was last September, and I was 27 weeks pregnant with my first baby – a boy.
Luke and I had joined my family for a holiday in Majorca.
‘It’ll be our babymoon,’ I’d joked.
Our last chance to relax before we were sleep-deprived and knee-deep in nappies!
I’d suffered with hyperemesis gravidarum for the first six months – severe morning sickness.
Thankfully, I’d just started feeling better when we jetted off for our two-week hol. But the day before we were due to leave, I got backache.
‘I think the baby’s moved,’ I moaned to my mum, Annette, 47.
Uncomfortable, I headed for an early night. But, at 11.30pm, I awoke with a start. I felt intense pressure – like I needed a poo.
Only, reaching down between my legs, I felt the baby’s head!
‘Luke!’ I screeched.
‘I’m having the baby.’
The colour drained from Luke’s face and he raced to get Mum.
‘It’s too early,’ Mum cried.
Far too early.
Someone from the hotel called an ambulance.
Terror pulsed through me as I resisted pushing.
I can’t have my baby here…
He was three months premature – I knew his chances of survival were slim.
The ambulance arrived, but there was more petrifying news. We were 45 minutes from the nearest medical centre.
There was only room for one more in the ambulance – and I was so scared, I wanted my mum.
So Luke stayed behind, anxiously waiting for news.
‘Call when you arrive,’ he said.
After a hellishly long journey, we reached the hospital. It was closed – lights off, doors locked.
The paramedic was knocking on the door when I had a strong, painful contraction.
The worst yet!
‘The baby’s coming,’ I gasped.
A nurse dashed out and I was bundled into a wheelchair, taken to a hastily made bed.
Everyone was speaking in Spanish and I’d no idea what was happening.
‘Don’t push!’ a nurse ordered.
But my body had taken over, the urge too great.
‘I have to,’ I cried…
Just 10 minutes after arriving at hospital, Zeke was born. Doctors whisked him away.
‘Is he OK?’ I sobbed.
For the next four hours, doctors battled to save him. No-one could tell me anything.
I couldn’t bear to call Luke, not when I didn’t know if it was bad news or not.
Finally, at 6am, Zeke was wheeled in, in an incubator.
He was alive!
‘But he’s so tiny,’ I sobbed, touching his little fingers.
He weighed just 2lb 2oz, had an oxygen mask on, and his skin was translucent.
I only got a few minutes with him before he was taken to a larger hospital.
Finally, I called Luke.
‘Zeke pulled through,’ I wept.
Overwhelmed with relief, Luke headed to see him.
Then I was transferred, too.
‘Doctors say we have to take it one day at time,’ Luke explained.
Zeke was too small and poorly to fly home. We were stranded.
Our insurance paid for me and Luke to stay in a hotel, but the rest of my family had to fly home.
‘I’ll call every day,’ I told Mum.
At three months premature, Zeke was in Intensive Care, suffering with under-developed lungs, a hole in his heart.
Doctors needed his weight to double before they’d consider sending him back to the UK.
Luke and I caught the bus to the hospital every day. But paying for food and travel drained our savings, so we set up a GoFundMe page and raised over £2,000.
After two weeks, I held my baby for the first time.
‘I don’t want to let him go,’ I sobbed to Luke.
Weeks passed, Zeke’s organs stabilised, he was taken off the oxygen – but he was still underweight.
‘Just need to fatten you up now,’ I smiled.
Finally, last December, we were flown home, and Zeke, who’d reached 4lb 4oz, was admitted to Doncaster Royal Infirmary.
Being stranded in Majorca with a poorly baby had been too stressful for our relationship, so Luke and I split to focus totally on Zeke.
It was sad, but amicable.
Just before Christmas, I took my baby home at last.
‘I can’t believe we’re home,’ I sobbed to Mum, as she finally cuddled her grandson.
My siblings Abigail, 22, Rebekah, 19, and Caleb, 18, enjoyed cuddles, too.
Zeke, now 6 months, is thriving. Everyone spoils him, and Luke visits regularly.
Usually people come home from their hols with a tan.
We came home with a baby!