When 28-year-old Adele Blake and her partner, Brandon Ward, travelled from their home in Britain to the popular Mediterranean resort of Marmaris in Turkey when she was six months pregnant, they thought they had nothing to worry about.
But when Adele required an emergency caesarean just three days into the trip, they experienced every new parent’s nightmare when their premature daughter was ‘held hostage’ by the hospital when the couldn’t pay the medical bill.
Speaking to The Sun, Adele said she and Brandon, 19, planned the trip to have some time with family before their baby was born.
Her doctor had declared her ‘fit to fly’, but while she was “eating some chips” by the hotel pool just three days into the trip, she panicked: she realised she was going into labour.
"It was a complete shock and I panicked," she said.
"I knew it shouldn't be happening. I was sobbing in the back of the ambulance."
She said when she arrived at a Turkish hospital - four hours away - Brandon was not allowed to be in the room as she was "strapped... to a table for an emergency caesarean."
LISTEN: Rebecca Judd and Monique Bowley discuss the very difficult first three days with a newborn baby. Post continues after.
"Almost as soon as I came round from the anaesthetic a receptionist arrived in my room and started demanding money," she said.
"I was groggy and confused and really only wanted to see my baby but they wheeled me down to the office, insisting I make a down payment."
It wasn't until 10 hours after baby Ayda was born that she got to meet their daughter. But they were unable to take her home, with the privately-run hospital demanding full payment before she could be discharged.
For 77 days, little Ayda was "held hostage", with Adele only being given limited access to her daughter.
"I was only allowed to see her for 10 minutes a day and they wouldn't let me feed her - I only got to hold her twice in the whole time she was in hospital," she said.
"And on those two occasions they wouldn’t allow Brandon into the room at all. It was just heartbreaking.
"After a few weeks she was clearly well enough to come home and take a bottle but they kept feeding her on a tube because they wanted to keep her there - they were literally holding her hostage.
"They said I had to settle the bill, to pay the money or they would keep the baby and we wouldn't be allowed to return to the UK."
The pair were given a bill totalling more than AU$178,000 - including a AU$5,300 c-section bill and a AU$2,100-a-day accommodation fee - which their insurers refused to pay.
According to comparethemarket.com.au, while many insurers offer cover up to a certain number of weeks, many policies will not cover the medical expenses for childbirth or the health care of a newborn child - even if it's born premature.
Some pregnancies - babies conceived through an assisted reproductive program, pregnancies deemed high-risk by a doctor, or women who have experienced pregnancy complications in the past - may also not be covered.
SmartTraveller.gov.au recommends pregnant women speak to their doctor well in advance of any travel.
"Airlines around the world have different restrictions on pregnant women travelling and you may not be allowed to fly as late into your pregnancy as in Australia," the site says.
"It is a good idea to carry a letter from your doctor verifying the stage of your pregnancy, but check with your airlines for any other requirements."
Pregnant women should always contact their chosen travel insurer to determine what may or may not be covered during their trip.
As for Adele and Brandon, the couple say they are "making up for lost time" with their daughter.
"We're treasuring every moment with Ayda," Adele told The Sun.
"We missed out on the first three months of her life and we're making up for it now.
"I just hope that by speaking out no-one else will ever have to suffer the way we did."