78 days after premature birth on cruise ship, family able to bring baby back to Utah

Posted at 9:51 PM, Nov 21, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-22 00:27:54-05

OGDEN, Utah -- A premature baby, born on a cruise ship and given little-to-no chance to survive, arrived in Ogden Saturday and was reunited with his family.

"He is actually coming home, it is a very surreal feeling," said Chase Morgan.

On August 31, Chase's wife Emily gave birth to a baby boy, 15 weeks premature, named Haiden. They were in the middle of a Caribbean cruise and were 14 hours away from the nearest hospital, which was in Puerto Rico.

"Supposedly I had miscarried him, so that was a difficult thing to go through, and then all of a sudden, 45 minutes later, they said he is alive," said Emily Morgan. "It's just been a fighting chance every day, really."

Haiden hung on to life as the cruise ship made the 14-hour journey to Puerto Rico. He was then flown to Children's Hospital in Miami.

"I never have had a doubt that he wasn't going to make it, and I still don't," Emily said.

On Saturday, the most precious four-and-a-half pound package that could be delivered landed safely at the Ogden Airport. after 78 days, Haiden was finally home.

Along with Haiden's parents, and big sister Chloe, Emily's tumble and cheer team was also at the airport to provide support.

"It's so exciting, I'm so happy, it's been a long process, a long journey, and we're just so glad he's going to be back with the family," said team member Emily White.

Haiden will now be taken to McKay Dee Hospital, where he will remain until doctors determine he is strong enough to officially go home with his family.

"Just to know that we are so close now and have the opportunity to be together and Chloe will have the opportunity to have her brother," Chase said.

This family reunion, which took place outside the hangars at CB Jet Center, was made possible through AirMed, which is part of University of Utah Health Care.

They said these types of cross-country trips are extremely rare. However, they had been following Haiden's story very closely, and felt compelled to donate their time and resources to bring him home.

"He is definitely one of ours, I think all of us have adopted him, and been very concerned about him, and he'll always be part of our family; we'll be checking in on him and seeing how he is doing," said Colleen Connelly of AirMed.

As for when Haiden will be released from McKay Dee hospital and taken to his actual house with his parents, that is yet to be determined.

The family is optimistic they'll have him home by Christmas. They said one of the biggest factors in the transition from Florida to Utah is how he will adjust to the elevation.