A premature baby, who was born the size of a coke can, has defied all odds to celebrate becoming a teenager this week.
Paula McKenna, 42, had a difficult pregnancy in 2005, resulting in the early birth of her son, Leyton Duke-McKenna. Leyton was born at 24 weeks on November 14, 2005.
Doctors told Paula he would never walk or live a healthy life but Leyton and his family are now celebrating as he turns 13.
Paula, who now has ten children, recalled going into labor three times in the early stages of her pregnancy with Leyton.
She told the Liverpool Echo:
"The first time I went into labor I was 22-weeks. I was sat on the toilet in hospital and the amniotic sac fell into my hands. I had to press the emergency button and all the nurses came running. They tipped me upside down and he slid back into my womb. And that happened twice!"
When she finally delivered Leyton, the poor infant became immediately unconscious after his lungs collapsed.
The doctors tried to get Paula to accept that the worst could happen with her son, but she refused to give up hope.
"They gave him 12 hours to live. I refused to say goodbye. I didn't know what I was expecting, but I'd spent so long fighting for him I wasn't giving up," she said.
Leyton would eventually spend the first year of his life at the hospital, but the boy who had been written off was able to go home with his Paula and his dad, Ronnie.
That fragile preemie is now in his junior year at Palmerston School in Aigburth and "happier than ever." Paula calls Leyton her miracle child, and that’s to be expected.
He has faced some health challenges, such as not walking until he was five years old, but Paula revealed that he remains a happy kid:
"I started to believe what the doctors were saying, that he'd never walk. But he walks and he talks and he's a little character who never complains! He's in his own little bubble, I'd love to be in his world."
Like Leyton, Francesca Bradley was also born premature, 2 days after the 24-week abortion limit. Doctors told her mother that if she was born earlier, she would most likely not have survived.
Francesca’s feet t birth, were the size of pennies, but the little fighter survived collapsed lungs, kidney problems, blood transfusions and a laser eye surgery, all in the first few weeks of her life.
Read the rest of Francesca’s survival story and see her incredible transformation here.
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