A Million Dollar Babymoon?

ByAnisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Feb 2016
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It’s the last hurrah for many expectant parents: a getaway vacation known as a babymoon. And for one Canadian couple, the unexpected birth of their daughter turned a Hawaii vacation into a million-dollar staycation.

Jennifer Huculak was 24 weeks pregnant when she and husband Darren Kimmel flew to Hawaii for vacation. They bought a travel insurance package through Saskatchewan Blue Cross and got the go-ahead to travel from Huculak’s doctor.

Two days into the vacation, a ruptured membrane caused Huculak’s water to break. Baby Reece was born nine weeks early, and spent two months in the NICU. Huculak was put on bed rest for six weeks in the Honolulu hospital. While the family debated returning to Canada during this time, health concerns prompted them to stay in the states.

"Had we taken the chance to fly out on a commercial flight and something happened over the sea, there was a chance Jennifer could have passed and we’d have lost the baby,” Kimmel told TODAY. “I’m positive it’s not a chance anybody would ever be willing to take.”

The hospital bill totaled $950,000 — and was quickly denied by the insurance company. They said her high-risk pregnancy and preexisting condition meant she wasn’t eligible for coverage under the travel plan. But Huculak says she was unaware her pregnancy was high-risk; while she had a bladder infection that led to bleeding at four months pregnant, her doctor indicated her pregnancy was stable. Her doctors have reached out to Blue Cross on her behalf, but the insurance company isn’t budging.

“It’s a fair chunk of change,” Darren Kimmel told CTV News. “I guess we probably lean more towards bankruptcy unless we can figure out another way.”

Since their story has hit the Internet, strangers have reached out to help. “People we don’t know have been phoning and wanting to donate stuff,” he said. “When we did this story we didn’t expect it go through social media like it has.”

Most importantly, baby Reece, now almost one, is happy and healthy.

What did you do to prepare for your babymoon?

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