Couple Is Home After 3 Months Stuck Abroad for Premature Birth

A New Jersey couple and their baby girl are home safe, after spending three months stranded in Portugal, caught between medical regulations, insurance costs and visa stipulations.

Kim Spratt, husband Fred and baby girl Hayden landed at Teterboro airport in New Jersey Sunday afternoon, according to ABC station WABC-TV in New York, following a summer of stress nearly 3,500 miles from home.

"We're happy to be home, but it does feel like there's a part that's missing," Fred Spratt said, according to WABC.

In May, doctors cleared Kim to travel, when she was six months pregnant with twins. But one week into the vacation, Kim went into labor. The couple's newborn son, Hudson, did not survive. Daughter Hayden weighed 1 pound, 8 ounces at birth.

Doctors said Hayden was healthy enough to fly home, but not on a commercial fight. She needed a medically equipped plane, something the Spratts said their insurance carrier initially refused to pay.

The family's insurer, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, initially declined to comment on the case because of privacy laws, but later said it would pay for the trip.

"We were able to reach Mr. Spratt. Based on a review of the member's case, we have made the decision to cover the requested medical transportation service," company spokesman Aaron Billger said. "We are pleased that the family will be returning home in mid-September."

And sure enough, the family, including little Hayden, made a safe landing in the United States Sunday. The Spratts' visa may have only allowed them to stay in Portugal for a few more weeks.

Hayden will still need to be hospitalized here, according to WABC.

As happy as they are to be home, Fred Spratt said the family is "incomplete" without Hudson.

"My daughter wants Hudson to be remembered," said Kim's mother, Donna Kirzow, according to WABC. "He will be remembered. He will not be forgotten. He will always be a part of this family."

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