Baby Evie touches down on British soil as Ipswich family's three month ordeal comes to an end
PUBLISHED: 10:34 20 January 2016 | UPDATED: 09:01 21 January 2016
After three months, three weeks and two days they will finally be home.
More than a quarter of a year after her birth baby Evie, born 12 weeks premature in the Dominican Republic, was last week declared strong enough to fly.
And the relief of that news for parents Sharon Halls and Daniel Compton was so overwhelming they burst into tears.
While at a friend’s wedding in the Caribbean country last year Miss Halls contracted an infection which sent her into labour.
Evie was born on September 28 but weighed a tiny 2lbs 10oz and required immediate specialist care. The family launched an appeal for donations to support them and Evie’s medical bills until it was confirmed their insurance company would cover the costs.
Since then it has been a waiting game; waiting for Evie to grow into a healthy young baby; waiting for the time she was healthy enough to fly.
Baby Evie’s eventful timeline
September 16, 2015: Daniel Compton and Sharon Halls arrive in the Dominican Republic for a friend’s wedding
September 28, 2015: After contracting an infection which sends her into premature labour Miss Halls gives birth to baby Evie, weighing 2lbs 10oz
October 3, 2015: The couple announce the birth on Facebook and appeal for help funding Evie’s emergency medical costs
October 5, 2015: Mr Compton and Miss Halls’ insurers confirm the costs incurred as a result of their daughter’s birth will be covered – but are told they may have to wait until December to come home
October 11, 2015: The parents are able to hold their daughter for the first time
October 23, 2015: Sharon’s mother arrives to lend some family support
October 28, 2015: A month after her birth, now weighing 2lbs 13oz and able to breathe unaided, Evie is released from hospital
November 30, 2015: The family have to face up to the fact Evie’s slower than expected progress means they will not be back in the UK before Christmas
December 25, 2015: Miss Halls, Mr Compton and Evie have a small Christmas celebration in their flat in the Dominican Republic
January 19, 2016: After finally getting the good news they can return home the trio board a flight back to the UK
Last night that day finally arrived – at 12.40am UK time the trio was embarking on an eight hour flight which would see them land at Gatwick Airport around 9am today.
Speaking before their flight yesterday Mr Compton said: “We’re over the moon. As soon as we heard the words from our medical adviser ‘Lets’s get you all home’ we burst out in tears.
“It’s a massive relief. I can finally get back to work and start providing for my family, that’s a nice feeling.”
Despite their joy both mum and dad were slightly wary about making the flight.
“We are nervous because we’ve never flown with a baby before, let alone one with complications,” Miss Halls said.
“We have been told to try and get her a hot water bottle bit I don’t think you can buy one in the Caribbean.
“I’m going to be holding her in the kangaroo position the whole time to stop her getting cold.”
But at the front of couple’s minds are the reunion they will have with family members they have not seen since last autumn.
And once back on UK soil, after an appointment to get Evie checked over at Ipswich Hospital, Mr Compton and Miss Halls will be able to indulge in some truly British fare they have missed while abroad – a full roast dinner and a good cup of tea.
The pair also thanked everyone who had supported them during their ordeal.
“It’s definitely very emotional,” Mr Compton said. “It show’s mans humanity to man that people have gone out of their way to donate and we thank them for it.”
And despite having no idea of her challenging first few months of life Evie will always have a reminder of her unconventional birth.
Mrs Halls said: “We’re going to do her a massive scrapbook of everything we have collected and photos and newspaper cuttings.”