ONE half of a double-trouble miniature miracle team has been allowed to return home from hospital – much to his family’s delight.
Gorgeous Harley Garthwaite, who was born a staggering 17 weeks early with his equally-cute twin brother Archie, has spent his life so far in the neo-natal ward of Stockton’s University Hospital of North Tees because his lungs were weaker than his sibling’s.
But the little battler was given the go-ahead to return to his home in Hartlepool five-and-a-half months after being born.
Tiny Archie was discharged from hospital back in October, aged about four months.
Today, the twins’ elated parents, Hayley Kennedy and jobless joiner Billy Garthwaite, who have been together for just 12 months after a chance meeting on social networking site Facebook in November last year, both said they now felt “complete”.
Hayley, 20, of Grasmere Street, Hartlepool, told the Mail: “It was absolutely fab bringing him home. I cried.
“It was just so emotional leaving the hospital after everything the staff have done for them. We can’t thank them enough.
“But on the other hand we now feel like a proper little family and I feel like a proper mam.
“I didn’t feel like a proper mam when he was in hospital because I wasn’t there for him 24/7. We’d go to see him at the hospital for an hour or so and then have to go home. It was hard.
“It’s just amazing to have them both together and we still can’t believe we have them both after we thought we were going to lose them.”
Archie and Harley defied medical odds when they were born in the 23rd week of their mum’s pregnancy weighing just 1lb 4oz and 1lb 6oz each – making them one of the most premature sets of twins in the country to survive being born so early.
The precious pair clung to life despite both having holes in their tiny hearts. Archie underwent gruelling open heart surgery at just two weeks old with Harley following two weeks later.
Medics also operated on both to correct bowel problems, performed laser treatment to stimulate their underdeveloped eyes and put them on ventilators and oxygen to help them to breathe.
The twins are getting bigger and stronger every day with Archie weighing 8lb 10oz and Harley 9lb 5oz.
They are still on oxygen and their parents have to keep a supply of gas canisters with them, even when they go out in the pram.
Hayley, a former pupil at High Tunstall College of Science, said the pair are so much more content now they have been reunited and both wake up at exactly the same times for feeds.
The hairdresser said: “Archie sleeps so much better now Harley’s home. He used to cry constantly, but now Harley’s home he sleeps perfectly.
“They both get up every night at 3am and 6am for their bottles. I feel as though they know they’re together, definitely.”