Tampa Bay parents reunited with preemie twins after local company flies them home

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A local family has been reunited after COVID-19 forced them thousands of miles apart.

Born premature, baby twins were fighting for their lives in a NICU. A Tampa Bay couple was traveling to see their babies, born to a surrogate in Utah, but fears of coronavirus made bringing them home nearly impossible.

For John Waterman and Alison Herman, it’s a reunion and homecoming for these tiny, bundles of joy.

“Today is the day they were supposed to be delivered, and they were. They were delivered to my wife and our family. It starts now,” Waterman said.

Birth came eight weeks early for David and Sydney, who were born to a surrogate mother in St. George, Utah. Life up until now was in the NICU, but life in Florida with mom and dad, nearly impossible.

“The corona(virus) is the reason for all of this. If there wasn’t corona(virus) we would have… I mean a commercial flight… The doctor in the NICU told us flat out, you can’t take these kids on a commercial flight,” Waterman said.

After watching our story the owners of Jet ICU reached out to the new dad.

“He asked me if we would let him fly our babies home. I guess I waited three seconds before I yelled yes,” the new dad said.

Leaving Utah, the four-hour flight with a nurse and dad brought these babies home to a very grateful family.

“It was a sense of relief, excited. Relieved that they’re home for good and that they’re safe,” Herman said.

The babies still have a fight ahead of them. They’re on oxygen and Waterman and Herman will be working with Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital to get them strong and healthy. The good news is they’re home with family.

The cost of the flight was more than $40,000 but Waterman and Herman won’t need to worry about that bill. The owners of Jet ICU did this for no charge.

The owner told 8 On Your Side’s Marco Villarreal they did it because they could help someone in our community.

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