A family hoping to enjoy a quick vacation before welcoming their next child got stuck in Cancun, Mexico, for a week after the pregnant mother gave birth via emergency C-section. Now the father and preemie, Poppy, are headed home for Malibu.
The Stewart family left their home in Malibu a week prior to enjoying one last vacation before their second daughter was born. But when Maggie got an infection in her uterus while traveling, she had to have an emergency C-section at just 26 weeks pregnant. It’s taken a week, but on Monday they finally were able to airlift the baby back to the states.
Poppy Stewart, surviving under a blue light in her incubator, arrived at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami after being medically evacuated from Mexico.
She was born weighing just a pound and a half.
"She has a hole in her heart. Her lungs are fragile. She can’t breathe on her own," said the child's father, Jeremy Stewart, who spoke to NBC4 as they rode in an ambulance.
The family, including 3-year-old Neeri, were stranded for a week as they tried to arrange a medical flight, but insurance wouldn’t cover it. They needed the U.S. embassy’s help to arrange travel documents for the one-and-a-half-pound baby.
"We really fought every hour of the day to get her here," Jeremy said.
The mother, Maggie, remains hospitalized in Mexico while the father, Jeremy, stays in Miami with newborn Poppy.
"We're just very happy to have her back here getting the best care she can get," Jeremy said.
The couple's 3-year-old, as well as Maggie's aunt, are with the recovering mom in Mexico.
"She was my rock. I hope I was the same for her. We held each other and were scared beyond belief," Jeremy said.
Back home in Malibu, Chase Tumin, who works with Jeremy at the Soba Recovery Center, has been in contact with the family. The center helped coordinate a flight.
"He has a huge team behind him. He has touched and saved many lives including mine. We’re all here for him," Tumin said.
Jeremy said baby Poppy is holding her own in Miami and he’s very optimistic she’ll be OK, but she has a long road ahead. He says Poppy was named after her grandmother, who died just weeks before she was born.
If you would like to donate to a GoFundMe account set up to help Poppy, you may do so here. Note that GoFundMe deducts 7.9 percent of all funds raised in the form of platform and payment processing charges.