Home sweet home for Bradwell baby

A CHRISTMAS Day baby who launched into battle with a host of health problems the day he was born has finally gone home.

Proud parents Adam Coles and Kerry Yorke can’t get enough of bouncing baby Harlen, who is enjoying extra kisses and cuddles as they catch up on nine weeks of restricted contact.

Although still half the weight of many newborns, the tot is settling into feeding and changing routines at home in Sun Lane, Bradwell, having been born three months ahead of his due date of March 20.

Mum Kerry, 26, who works at the House of Fun nursery in Gorleston, said he was a happy baby who fed well despite everything he had been through.

After his early bird arrival on December 25, Harlen was immediately placed into special care at Gorleston’s James Paget University Hosptital weighing 2lb 12oz – considered sturdy for his age.

Doctors and nurses struggled to get him to breathe and at times he was fully ventilated. He has only been breathing by himself in the last week.

A series of blood transfusions were done, some of them in emergency situations, as his parents watched the colour drain from his tiny body which was being kept alive by tubes and beeping machines.

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Feeding had to be carried out intravenously and he developed suspected meningitis which turned out to be blood septicaemia.

Bringing baby home for the first time has been extra anxious for Adam and Kerry who – having become part of “team Harlen” in hospital – are having to go it alone without the safety net of round-the-clock nurses.

Kerry said she couldn’t thank doctors and nurses enough for their care of Harlen in the nine weeks he was with them.

For Kerry and Adam, 29, a service operator at a Norwich plastics company, it meant 12- hour daily stints helping with feeding and changing, and enjoying the occasional cuddle before returning him to the comfort and safety of his hospital cot.

“It was a bit exciting and a bit worrying too the day we brought him home, but I think we are doing all right,” she said

“He has done really well. In the last few weeks he has come a long way but he has had quite a few weeks of bad turns too.

“He had suspected meningitis which meant a lumber puncture and an infection of the umbilical chord. But now he is putting on weight and filling out slowly.

“When we first came home we were really nervous but he did really well and went straight in his Moses basket. Now he is getting used to us holding and cuddling him.”

Although still tiny at 4lb 6oz, Harlen, the couple’s first child, is well enough to be passed around cooing friends and family.

Doctors have said it is too soon and too cold for him to go out and he faces another possible blood transfusion if his haemoglobin levels do not rise this week.

But hopes are high that he will continue to gain weight and improve at home now that his family can finally unwrap their special Christmas delivery and enjoy him – without all the hi-tech trimmings of tubes and wires that were hampering contact in those precious first few months.