Meet Theo Taylor. He might be Britain’s tiniest baby ever born, but he is fast proving to be one of its best fighters as he defies the biggest of odds.
Charming little Theo was born earlier this year weighing about as much as a can of soda pop, roughly 350 grams, against doctor’s warnings about low survival rates.
When Theo’s mom, Katie Rhodes, discovered that her baby boy wasn’t growing inside the womb anymore, she made the brave decision to give an extremely early birth to Theo, at just 26 weeks and 5 days old.
Her decision was made in the midst of ample warnings from Doctors and medical personnel that if she were to give birth to Theo, he would be on of the smallest babies to ever be born, and likely wouldn’t survive.
Katie along with her boyfriend, Jay Taylor, said that nothing had been out of the norm with their pregnancy until her 19th week when doctors noticed that Theo was much smaller than expected.
After delivering the news to Jay and Katie that their tiny baby boy wouldn’t continue to grow, the doctors offered to have precious little Theo aborted.
While the “offer” of aborting their son seems harsh, the doctors thought it was the best choice in the face of Theo’s odds of survival.
They had explained to the concerned parents that even for a baby boy born weighing 400 grams (50 grams more than Theo weighed), there was only a 25% chance of survival.
The odds of the tiny newborn sustaining such a premature birth without brain damage drastically reduced his odds to just 7%.
At the time of discussion, doctors thought that Theo would be born at about 450 grams. So when the tiny baby came into the world at just 350g, medical outlook on Theo’s capability to survive was grim, to say the least. Jay remembers,
“They were all really good and helpful and said they would do anything they could to help him, but right up until the day before he was born, we were offered an abortion.“
Theo’s parents weren’t giving up on their small son.
“I kept saying to Katie that everything would be OK and he would be fine, but it wasn’t until I saw him that I realised how serious things were.”
The astonished father recalls what it was like to hold his tiny son for the first time.
“He was smaller than my hand and much smaller than they even thought he would be, but doctors said he didn’t have any of the usual complications premature babies have. The doctor said he was about the weight of a can of Coke, but even when I picked up a can, it felt heavier than Theo.”
After receiving news that Katie had developed preeclampsia, a pregnancy complication that can have life-threatening consequences if left untreated, doctors decided to perform an emergency cesarean section for little Theo on March 15th, roughly 3 months before his June due-date.
Even though he was born relatively healthy, doctors still warned Jay and Katie constantly of the unlikelihood of survival, telling the parents to “expect the worst” for their little guy.
However, it seems that his parent’s constant flow of positivity found its way into Theo’s tiny heart during his time in the womb, because he wasn’t giving up on himself either.
When Theo was pulled from the womb, his mother was only able to hold his tiny hand for a few seconds before he was whisked away to be put on Oxygen via a thin, tiny tube down his throat.
Little Theo kept on fighting though, and by the time he was just 7 weeks old, Theo weighed 3 lbs and was able to be taken out of intensive care.
On July 7th, Theo got to go home with his parents.
Although he is still on Oxygen, it is now delivered via nasal prongs and he is on a scheduled program to slowly wean him off.
Theo’s mom, Katie, couldn’t be happier with his progress.
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Katie is elated at how fast her tiny son is growing and proud that he is defying all the odds that have come against him since before his birth.
“He’s a little fighter. Before he was born, it was really hard hearing all the time that he wasn’t going to make it, and even when he was born that we might not get to take him home. But we got through it by saying, ‘no, he’s made it this far, lets just support him’. We were so positive and kept saying that we would fight for him.”
Theo is surprising his mom and dad in the best of ways, proving that their faith in him made all the difference.
“It’s much easier with him home now than in hospital. It feels like he has been with us for much longer than six months. It’s weird to think that he was the smallest baby ever as he is so much bigger than he was and is doing so well now.”
As a show of gratitude for all of their help, Theo’s family has set up a fundraiser for Tiny Lives, a charity that offers support and donations to the family of premature babies at Newcastle Royal Victoria Infirmary. If you’d like to offer them your support, you can do so here.