'Miracle baby' to spend her first Christmas at home after battling to overcome rare kidney infection

Helen Stapleton and her husband Brian Long at home with Edie. Credit: SWNS
Helen Stapleton and her husband Brian Long at home with Edie. Credit: SWNS
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A distraught couple who were told their poorly newborn might not survive are celebrating this week - as they prepare to spend Christmas Day at home with their 'miracle baby'.

First-time mum Helen Stapleton was heartbroken earlier this year when a 20 week scan revealed her baby had a kidney condition that affects just 1 per cent of babies.

The 35-year-old and her police officer husband Brian Long, 42, fretted for weeks before little Edie was born at 38 weeks - only to be rushed straight to intensive care.

The couple say they had "no idea" whether Edie would ever leave hospital, as doctors couldn't say either way, and that her condition was "touch and go" for some time.

After 11 days Helen and Brian were allowed to take their first born home to Doncaster and, although she still needs regular medication, she has made leaps and bounds since.

Helen, on maternity leave from her job as a PA, said: "We're so happy that we get to celebrate Christmas at home with Edie.

"When she was in hospital fighting for her life we never even let ourselves think this far ahead, we had to take each minute as it came.

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"Thinking back now about everything she and we have been through is very emotional."

Edie was born at Sheffield Children's Hospital on July 15 this year.

Around four months earlier, following a routine scan, she was diagnosed with hydronephrosis, which means a dilation of the kidney.

However, Edie's condition was considered more serious because, unusually, both of her kidneys are affected, and doctors didn't know whether she would survive the pregnancy.

After being born and transferred to intensive care Helen and Brian spent 11 days at her bedside, after being given a nearby home to sleep in by The Sick Children’s Trust.

Helen said: "We didn’t really know what to expect after Edie arrived. We didn’t know how long we’d be in hospital and we were a long way from home.

"I was worrying about all these little things that really shouldn’t matter when your baby is in hospital. You don’t ever think you’ll be the one needing to use a charity.

"We’d never heard of The Sick Children’s Trust before Edie was born, yet it is so obvious why the charity exists. Without it, a terrible time would’ve been unbearable."

Even though she's now at home Edie still needs to take daily medication and make regular visits to hospital for check ups.

Helen says Edie's future is still unclear but that she is "much better" than she might be.

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"Everything we've been through has really put things into perspective," she said. "Brian and I are just so happy to have her with us, especially at this time of year.

"She's loving the festive period, especially the lights on the tree which she loves to play with."

Helen and Brian have raised £1,000 for The Sick Children's Trust and would urge anyone with some spare cash this Christmas to donate.

Helen added: “As we look forward to celebrating our first Christmas with Edie, we’re thinking about the families who will be spending theirs with their baby in hospital.

"Though, with the support of The Sick Children’s Trust they will be able to wake up and be with their child on that special day."

The Sick Children’s Trust is the charity that gives over 3,500 families with a seriously ill child in hospital a warm and comfortable place to stay when they need it most.

Chief executive Jane Featherstone said: “Sadly, not every child will be snugged up in bed at home on Christmas Eve, excitedly waiting for Father Christmas to deliver their presents.

"Hundreds of children across the country will be in hospital, and every one of them should be with their family at Christmas."

Give the Gift of Togetherness to a family like Edie’s by donating £30 to The Sick Children’s Trust’s Christmas appeal which will give a family with a sick child in hospital a place to stay over Christmas: sickchildrenstrust.org/Christmas