THE thought of giving birth on a beach is most mums-to-be idea of hell because of the sand, the heat, the wild ocean currents and all the camera-happy tourists. 

But Iuliia Gurzhii’s lifelong dream was to have a “natural” birth on golden shores so, at 35 weeks pregnant, she flew 4,000 miles from her home in Tameside, Manchester, to the Caribbean. 

But the 38-year-old’s sun-soaked dream quickly turned into a nightmare for her and husband Clive, 51, when they were left “stranded” off the coast of St Lucia with Louisa, their four month old baby.

The pair “feel like prisoners” after getting stuck unable to register the newborn's birth or apply for a passport.

To make matters worse, they left their eldest daughter Elizabeth, eight, in the UK with her aunt Kristina, 24, because they couldn't get her passport renewed.

Iuliia, a yoga teacher, told Fabulous: "I can't sleep at night. It is traumatising. 


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“I am scared of the night. It is hurricane season we have storms now – it is traumatising for us all.

"I can't stop crying, we are begging for help – we have been abandoned."

Iuliia had a ‘normal’ birth with Elizabeth but didn’t enjoy it so began to research ‘freebirth’ options. 

She found a beach she liked in Martinique in March 2023 and travelled there with Clive when she was 35 weeks pregnant.

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NHS doctors don’t advise women over 37 weeks pregnant to fly in case they go into labour. Iuliia  had a private ultrasound before travelling and was told she would be OK to go. 

The pair then decided that the weather conditions weren’t perfect for their dream birth, so they picked up a private boat in Martinique and were sailing to Grenada when Iuliia’s waters broke off the coast of St Lucia. 

She ended up giving birth at sea off the coast of Rodney Bay. Baby Louisa was born at 12:40am on April 23, 2023, weighing 3kg. 

Clive said: "It was perfect. It was loving in the moment. She was able to connect with the universe. 

"The sea gives off a frequency which is a natural painkiller. It was so much less painful for her. 

“She felt so much more comfortable. We went back to mother nature. It was a magical moment."

Despite not being able to give birth on the beach, the pair were happy with their decision. 

A few days later, they went to the Owen King European Union (OKEU) Hospital, in St Lucia, to get checked over and register their daughter's birth.

"I can't stop crying, we are begging for help – we have been abandoned.

But they claim they were told they couldn't because it was not within 24 hours of her arrival.

Clive said: "We headed over to the registry office and filled in the forms for a birth certificate.

"We waited for a couple of weeks and the registry office came back and said they couldn't do anything as the baby wasn't born in the hospital and nobody witnessed the birth."

And now they claim the UK High Commission said they needed a DNA test to prove the baby is theirs – which they are still waiting to get the results for.

Clive, a sports coach, said: "We have been passed around different agencies and nobody will help us.

"We are running out of money. We will soon run out of food.

"We are essentially stateless – we are more than abandoned. We are prisoners in a country that we are not allowed to leave."

As the storm season was rolling into St Lucia, the couple had to move the boat to safety and anchored in Grenada on June 20, 2023.

After arriving in Grenada, Clive and Iuliia went to the UK High Commission in St George for help.

The hope is when the DNA test results come back, the couple will be allowed to leave with a passport for the baby and return to the UK.

They have spent 15,000 on the trip so far. Clive said: "We don't have enough money for flights. When we came over here, they were £600 each and now they are a few grand.

"I am £6,000 in debt on the card. We are running out of money.

"We keep being called by the Foreign Office and they ask us if we have an update for them.

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"They should be the ones helping us get out of here."

An FCDO spokesperson said: “We have offered consular support to a British family in St Lucia.”

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