'Babymoon' couple get stuck abroad after wife goes into labour six weeks early
A heavily pregnant woman who jetted off on a 'babymoon' before the birth of her first child ended up getting trapped in Greece – after her daughter made a surprise early arrival.
Robyn Bishop, 29, flew to Crete with partner Stephen Howe, 32, for a luxurious stay at a five-star adults only resort in April 2022.
The mum-to-be was 29 weeks' pregnant, and had been signed off as fit to fly by her doctor.
But just two days after landing in Greece, Bishop's waters broke and baby Flora eventually arrived six weeks early.
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She was declared too premature to fly by their insurance company so the trio finally landed back in the UK last week – after spending two months abroad – via a medical repatriation flight.
"I'm so traumatised by the whole experience," says the mental health nurse, who lives in Northampton with her boyfriend.
"I'm a first-time mum with a premature baby and we were just stuck out there in another country with no help, it's been so difficult.
"We were calling the insurance company seven times a day, just trying to find a way back to the UK. We were desperate to get home.
"I'm just so relieved that Flora is here safe and sound. It was unlikely I could have children easily naturally due to having PCOS, so she is certainly my miracle baby!"
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With their first child together due on June 24, Bishop and Howe, who is the director of a painting and decorating company, had jetted off on a 'babymoon' in Greece.
"We actually booked our holiday before we got pregnant and then decided to use it as a babymoon as I'd still be safe to fly," she says.
"We had been struggling with the idea of having a baby and the realities of it.
"We were pretty rocky as a relationship and had hoped some time, just the two of us, without life's stresses would give us an opportunity to reconnect before our baby arrived."
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Bishop visited her doctor in April 2022 where she was declared fit to fly and set off five days later on April 17.
The peace of their last holiday without a baby was soon disturbed, however, when Bishop's waters broke as she sat down on a chair on the hotel room balcony on the second day of their trip.
She was rushed to Venizeleio Hospital in Heraklion by ambulance, where medical staff administered medication to try and stop the contractions and halt the premature labour.
Despite the doctors' attempts at delaying the birth, baby Flora was in no mood to wait and was born a few weeks later on May 13 via caesarean.
"Nobody spoke any English and they weren't explaining what they were doing so I was just having drugs pumped into me without knowing what medication it was," says Bishop.
"After the C-section, I woke up to no baby. I didn't see Flora for two days, and then only saw her once a week.
"I was in hospital for four weeks and we only saw her four times and were allowed to touch her twice. It was horrible."
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After being discharged from the hospital last month, they were left trapped in Greece and struggling to get back to the UK.
Bishop claims that their medical insurance company, Mayday, had originally stated that premature Flora was unfit to fly due to arriving six weeks early.
The new mum claims that Mayday did offer an ambulance to take them back to the UK but says that doctors advised against the four-day trip with a premature baby.
The family were stuck in Greece for eight weeks and had to change accommodation four times, spending a whopping £5,000 on finding a place to stay.
Thankfully, Mayday managed to put the family on a medical repatriation flight last week and they are now finally back on British soil.
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Prior to the flight, a spokesperson for Staysure Insurance, who use Mayday as their global assistance company for customers, said: "Our priority is to ensure that baby Flora gets the best care possible, which is why we have been closely liaising with our medical team on the ground, and the doctors at the hospital, to discuss the safest way to get the family back home to the UK.
"Various options were explored, including transfer by road ambulance with a specialised medical team, however, despite the doctors declaring baby Flora fit to fly home on a commercial flight, Mayday, our 24/7 global assistance company, overruled the decision and instead have arranged her transfer by air ambulance, to ensure the safest and most comfortable journey home for them all."
Although still dealing with the trauma of their rocky start to family life, Robyn and Stephen are pleased to be back and are settling in with Flora at home.
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"The journey honestly was a dream," says Bishop. "The paramedics were incredible and instructed us to go to sleep if we could and they'd handle any feeds/nappies. It took just over four hours and we were in Luton.
"Flora slept the whole way, only waking for a feed. She was hooked up to a heart rate monitor where they tracked her O2 levels and was strapped into a cosy pod.
"When we landed, she went in an ambulance and us in a taxi to my mum's address where we were all finally reunited with family.
"I'm extremely happy she's finally here. I couldn't wait for her to come – and it turns out, neither could she!"
Additional reporting by SWNS