SINGAPORE – Their parents didn’t even know they were pregnant when British couple Chloe Wilkinson and Patraic Walsh-Kavanagh unexpectedly welcomed their little one, 14 weeks early and thousands of miles from home—in Singapore, where they are now stranded.
The UK couple had been traveling around Asia and Australia since December 2017. Wilkinson found out she was unexpectedly pregnant in November of last year, and they decided to return home to the UK, at which time they planned to tell their families the happy news.
But on their way home, during a two-day stopover in Singapore, Wilkinson was rushed to the hospital Feb. 19 with an infection. At 24 weeks pregnant, she found out she was at too much risk of preterm labor to fly home. On Feb. 26, baby Lorcan was born weighing just 1.9 pounds, per the Mirror—and it may be three months before he is stable enough to travel.
In addition, the couple has been hit with $185,000 in medical bills, the BBC reports. The travel insurance they purchased before they left on their trip doesn’t cover pregnancy, and without working visas they can’t seek employment.
As such, they’ve turned to crowdfunding: Walsh-Kavanagh’s sister started a GoFundMe campaign that has so far raised more than $70,000. An update says the baby is “proving stronger than anyone expected.”
Wilkinson has been discharged from the hospital, and she and Walsh-Kavanagh are using money they made working in Australia to rent a flat near the hospital.
“Lorcan’s been fighting with all his might and we are bursting with pride at the strength he is showing so far,” she says. “However, we are on our own, a 14-hour flight away from our family and friends, and it has been a very difficult start to parenthood whilst Lorcan remains in hospital.”