A baby born 10 weeks premature and without a top layer of skin has defied the odds and finally made it home with his parents.
The boy, Kaiden Shattock, arrived more than two months early, weighing just 2lb 7oz and with an undiagnosed condition which meant his parents couldn’t hold him for 10 days.
Doctors warned parents Jessica Kibbler and Jake Shattock the baby may not survive, as he was placed on a series of medications to try and improve his condition and reduce his pain.
Mum Jessica said:
When the nurses took us into the room to introduce us to Kaiden for the first time he was red raw, like a piece of uncooked meat.
There we were, two 19-year-old new parents with no experience of raising children, and our first was born very weak and very ill.
Everyone was silent, and everyone was distressed and upset. Jake and I cried, but even the nurses left the room and cried their eyes out because they didn’t know what to say to us, and didn’t know how else to help him.
Kaiden’s unusual condition was apparently caused by a kidney complication Jessica experienced during her pregnancy, called hydronephrosis.
Six weeks after the delivery, Kaiden started to grow skin, though it was still risky to put him in any clothes. Earlier this month however, he underwent his first skin graft, and will have four more operations over the next year.
We’d never seen such a small baby before and he was covered in bandages. No baby had ever been on so much medication. The staff did everything they could to reduce the pain. The only skin he had on his body was on his face – that was just 2%.
Jessica and Jake were determined to do everything they could for their son and, though he will require followup operations in the near future, experts are working on investigating Kaiden’s rare condition.
Jessica, however, is just happy to have him home, saying:
He’s got the loveliest smile and the prettiest laugh if you get him going. Kaiden means the world to us and we don’t think we could be happier.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.