Couple perseveres with remaining twin after premature birth during 'babymoon'

Early on Mother's Day, Kim Spratt lay in a hospital bed 3,000 miles from home, separated from her husband and surrounded by doctors speaking in Portuguese. Then someone spoke in English, and she heard the words no expectant mother wants to hear three months early:

"She is having these babies now."

Kim's twins were born minutes later, each weighing barely more than a pound. Her son, Hudson, did not live past a few weeks.

"It was a very emotion-filled experience that was supposed to the [sic] all smiles and happiness with your husband holding your hand," she told ABC in an email. "Things are not always what you expect them to be."

Her daughter, Hayden, is still fighting for her life at the Maternidade Dr. Alfredo da Costa hospital in Lisbon, Portugal. Kim and her husband, Fred, have put their life in New Jersey on hold, staying by little Hayden's side as she tries to grow to a healthy size. They don't yet know if, or when, she will be able to go home to the U.S.

Their ordeal began during what was supposed to be a routine vacation. Kim and Fred went to Spain and Portugal on a "babymoon," a common practice for expectant parents wanting a final getaway before their baby arrives.

Kim said there were no signs anything was wrong until they reached Lisbon, their last stop. They decided to go to the hospital after Kim experienced a couple hours of increasingly bad abdominal pressure. Even at that point the parents-to-be thought it would be a routine check-up, they said.

"Neither one of us thought it was labor, but maybe they would check to ensure the babies and I were OK, administer some medicine and we would be on our way," she said. "There was really no big warning of being in labor up until it was too late."

Things went from concerning to scary quickly. Kim, a first-time mom, described how different the experience was from what she had imagined.

"Once I got into the delivery room there had to be about anywhere between 10-15 people strapping down my legs, informing me it was too late for any drugs since I had inquired, a woman telling me to breathe, the OBGYN not even knowing my name but only that I was in labor with preemie twins," she said. "I can thoroughly remember looking to my right seeing the incubators and the doctors and nurses working tirelessly and the sadness I felt of not hearing the babies cry, feeling robbed of the joys of childbirth."

Hayden has been diagnosed with emphysema but is growing and getting stronger, Kim said.

Since that night, Kim and Fred have kept vigil over their surviving twin, Hayden. A friend started a GoFundMe page to help the couple afford hospital bills, Hudson's funeral, their extended stay abroad, and continued bills in both their personal lives and Kim's business, a private personal training studio.

Kim said she has learned firsthand how hard it is to be the parent of premature babies.

"We are very proud of both of our children for how hard they fought/are fighting because we learned they work 300 percent harder than healthy term babies," Kim said.

The couple has kept their strength through relying on each other, the hospital team and the friends and strangers who have sent encouragement from all over the world.

"We have had many send their prayers, hopes and wishes that helps get us through each day and give us strength to face the hour to hour rollercoaster," she said. "We realize we have been dealt quite an unimaginable situation, and agree for the hopes of our daughter and to honor our son, we have to dig deep, keep our spirits up, believe, and find a strength we never quite knew existed. We have heard the saying of 'Time heals' but going through this we really see how 'Love heals.'"

Hayden, now seven weeks old, has grown to almost two pounds. She was diagnosed with emphysema, but otherwise is progressing well, her mom said.

Kim said they continue to wait and hope for the day Hayden can go home.

"We have wanted a family so badly and to raise them with good work ethic, morals, respect, etc., so for us to stay strong for them and each other was the only option," she said. "All we can do is have faith, believe and give it time."

Images used with permission. Follow the Spratts' story or donate to their cause on their GoFundMe page.
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