SAN DIEGO – A three-day vacation to San Diego has turned into an almost five-month stay for an Ohio couple.
Their planned 9-month pregnancy came to an early end during a visit here when the new mother unexpectedly delivered four months early. Now the couple and their tiny premature son are stuck in Southern California until the little one is released from the hospital and can travel back home.
“This was completely unexpected. We had no idea,” Kelly Flaherty said.
She and her husband, Christian, thought they would have a quick vacation before their baby arrived, but their son, Wyatt, couldn’t wait to come out.
“He decided he wasn’t going back to the Cleveland weather," Kelly said. "He wanted to stay here in sunny San Diego and just hang out in the sun.”
Less than three hours after arriving in San Diego from Cleveland last September, Kelly went into labor. She was five and half months pregnant. The new parents still haven’t been able to leave San Diego.
“He came out so early, I wasn’t even aware at that age that he could survive, but he’s done unbelievably well," Christian Flaherty said. "I’m so grateful.”
The new parents are keeping their spirits high. They created a website for little Wyatt, blogging about his daily health status and hospital experience. It’s their way of making it through this tough time.
While Wyatt remains Sharp Mary Birch Hospital, which could be for another month, Kelly and Christian are calling the Ronald McDonald House their temporary home.
Medical experts say this wild experience can be a lesson though for expectant moms. They say the best time to travel pregnant is during the second trimester, which is 13 to 28 weeks. But that’s still not a guarantee that something won’t go wrong, and if it does, the new mom, like Kelly, is far from home and far from her primary doctor.
There are a few things doctors say you can do to keep your pregnancy safe while on the road.
“Check with your OB/GYN. Stay well hydrated. Avoid long trips. Stretch every one to two hours. Avoid carrying heavy baggage, and check with your insurance company to make sure there are facilities that you are covered under,” said Dr. Gerstenfeld, an obstetrician at Kaiser.
The Flaherty's say they will certainly remember those travel tips if they have another pregnancy. But for now, the only traveling they want to do is return home to Ohio.
“As soon as he is released we are getting a plane ticket, and we are going home that day.”