Moving day in sight for Draco

Draco Kinley is about to go home - which is a very big step for a child who has lived in the children's ward at Dunedin Hospital his whole life.

Last February, Draco's nursery had been decorated and mother Annaleah Kinley thought she had 14 weeks to wait for his arrival.

Except Draco would not wait that long - he was born on February 24 at just 26 weeks gestation, well before his due date of May 29.

Draco Kinley.
Draco Kinley.
He weighed just 900g at birth. His hand was the size of one of Ms Kinley's fingernails, and the smallest nappies in stock at Dunedin Hospital had to be folded in half to fit him.

''When they saw how small he was, he was given eight weeks to live,'' Ms Kinley said.

''But he has constantly surprised us since then.''

Draco has only left Dunedin Hospital twice, for treatment in Auckland and Christchurch.

The medical staff in the children's ward have become a second family, and Ms Kinley's mother Mel has moved down from Cromwell to help.

''I wouldn't have been able to get through without my family. It has been a long road.''

The first time Ms Kinley held Draco, she was nervous because she thought he might need CPR.

At other times, Draco has needed emergency help.

''Our biggest scare ... he stopped breathing, his lips turned blue and his eyes rolled into the back of his head, his body went limp and lifeless.

''The emergency nurses all came in, his oxygen kept getting lower and lower - I stopped watching when it was in the 20s.

''They had to bring him back three times, and it took 45 minutes to get him stable.''

With Draco's range of health problems, it was not until he was 10 or 11 months that Ms Kinley thought her son might finally become well enough to go home.

He is still far from well. Draco's left lung is half the size of his right, meaning he requires oxygen. He has multiple heart problems, including two holes, and a range of other issues.

''He is bright and alert now, though. He has really turned a corner,'' Ms Kinley said.

''He is very cheeky, but he's very cruisy - he likes meeting people and he's got family all over the place now.''

Draco will likely require a lung transplant and a heart transplant within the next few years, so there are plenty of anxious times ahead.

For now, however, there is a big day to anticipate.

''They said in about 10-20 days we will hopefully be able to take him home,'' Ms Kinley said.

''That will be amazing.''

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