Oliver home at last, after eight months

Andrea, Michael and Oliver Kelly.
Andrea, Michael and Oliver Kelly.

A couple from Methil are overjoyed at finally being able to bring their baby son home - after he spent the first eight months of his life in hospital.

Andrea and Michael Kelly arrived home with son Oliver last week after spending months travelling back and forth to Yorkhill Hospital in Glasgow.

At Andrea’s twenty week scan, the pair were told that Oliver had a severe heart condition called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS).

The condition, which affects one in every 10,000 babies born in the UK, means Oliver’s left heart ventricle, which should pump oxygenated blood to his body, is very small, and there is virtually a complete blockage between it and his aorta.

The aorta, which should carry red blood to the body, is also very under-developed.

Andrea and Michael say they were advised to have a termination because of the severity of the condition, but both agreed it wasn’t an option.

“It would have been on our minds for the rest of our lives,” said Michael.

After arriving by caesarean section on Valentine’s Day, Oliver had his first operation at four days old.

“We tried to take our mind off it by going out, but everywhere we looked, there were baby boys in buggies,” said Andrea.

After his op, Oliver spent 11 weeks in intensive care, during which time the couple were told twice to prepare for the worst and Oliver had to be put on an ECMO machine which pumped blood around his body instead of his heart.

Just weeks later, he underwent a second operation to make sure the top half of his body was getting enough oxygenated blood.

During Oliver’s hospital stay, Andrea and Michael, who have three older children - Caitlin (12), Liam (8) and two-year-old Michael Jr - were able to stay at Ronald McDonald house, which offers accommodation for parents with children with severe health conditions.

But Andrea said it’s been difficult not seeing their other children, who have been staying with relatives, sometimes for weeks on end.“The two eldest understand, but it’s very confusing for our youngest.”

Just weeks after Oliver was born, Michael decided to set up a Facebook page, ‘Oliver’s Story’, so that friends and family could keep up to date. They update the page most days, and Michael says they have even helped families from as far away as America.

Now, eight months later, the couple say it’s surreal to actually have Oliver home.

“It’s quite weird!” said Andrea. “But he’s settling in well.”

To raise money for Yorkhill, big sister Caitlin and friend Georgia Sadler are doing a sponsored silence on November 1. Sponsor the girls at www.justgiving.com/Linsey-Sadler.