It was a nightmare no mother would like to experience. Sam Baker was told by doctors that the baby boy she was holding in her arms would continue to live for a minute, hour or a day as soon as the life support helping him breathe was removed. But even as the family prepared for the worst, baby Harrison proved everyone wrong by not just living more than a day, but completely recovering from his life threatening condition.
20 year old Sam gave birth to Harrison in January and was immediately told that her newborn was suffering from type B meningitis –the most common form of the brain virus – and septicaemia.
The baby was kept alive with antibiotics as he was transferred to Sheffield Children’s Hospital before he was taken to Bluebell Wood Hospice – suffering from fits and unable to breathe alone.
When doctors thought nothing more could be done to save the baby boy now one month old, his ventilator was finally switched off.
‘We were told there was nothing more that could be done for Harrison and he would have to be taken off his life-support machine,” said Sam. “They told us it might be nicer to take him to the children’s hospice because it was a better place to say goodbye to him.
“I couldn’t get my head round the fact that I was taking my lovely little boy somewhere to die.”
‘Even when the doctors had given up hope I had something inside me that said it wasn’t Harrison’s time and he would live and he proved me right and pulled through.
Surrounded by family Sam held baby Harrison in her arms.
She said, ‘I just sat in the chair holding him and I kept stroking his face and telling him how much I loved him as my tears rolled down on to his little chest. It was heart breaking. We all sat in silence, crying, urging him to keep breathing.’
When the ventilator was removed, the baby coughed and choked. Minutes passed as he continued to breathe on his own, but doctors advised Sam and her husband Adam Ellmer against raising their hopes.
Sam recalls, “I could see he was getting stronger but we didn’t want to get our hopes up. The doctors had told us that even if Harrison did live he would probably be so badly brain damaged he would just lie there unable to function.”
“But as each hour went on he seemed to brighten and respond more and so I started to breast feed him and he accepted it. From then on he got better and he’s just our perfect little boy now.”
When the baby continued to breathe on his own, he was shifted back to the hospital and was discharged deemed fit ten days later.
Harrison has been left deaf in one ear and with mild cerebral palsy that slightly restricts his movement on one side because of his terrible ordeal, but otherwise the baby boy is absolutely fine.
Sam said, “We count every day as a blessing. Harrison is just a happy smiling, cheerful baby who never cries. He’s babbling and rolling over and developing normally.”
His father Adam, a pipe fitter, adds,”It’s been a really difficult time and Sam has been fantastic. It was great to bring Harrison home again, he is such a lovely happy little lad.”