On November 14, 2005, Leyton Duke-McKenna was born prematurely at just 24 weeks. His mother had gone into labor three times before he was born.
Being the size of a Coke can, doctors believed that he wouldn’t live a fulfilling life. They didn’t even expect him to walk or talk but he’s since defeated the odds.
Doctors told Leyton Duke-McKenna’s mother Paula McKenna, 42, that he would never walk and that his quality of life wouldn’t be great when he was born the size of a Coke can. However, he’s defied the odds by celebrating 13-years and becoming a teenager.
Paula struggled when giving birth to her son. She had complications and found herself "going into labour" three times in the early stages of pregnancy.
For more on this story go to our Twitter account @amomama_usa. She recalled:
"The first time I went into labour 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!"
The Toxteth mother-of-ten was 24 weeks pregnant when she finally delivered her bundle of joy. However, the little boy was born unconscious after his lungs collapsed.
Doctors tried to "prepare her for the worst" because they didn’t believe little Leyton would survive. Despite this, the boy’s mother 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."
Leyton spent the first year of his life in hospital, but he eventually became strong enough to go home with his mother and father Ronnie. Paula shared that the medical staff had told her that it was "her willpower that kept him alive."
Today Leyton is a teenager who is in his junior year at Palmerston School in Aigburth and "happier than ever." However, he still faces some challenges with ongoing health issues.
He only started walking when he was five years old. His mother said:
"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."
She describes her son as her “miracle child.”
Theo Taylor is another child who was born the size of a coke can at just 12 oz. Taylor was born on March 15 and he survived death to be 6-months-old.
The Durham, England, boy was believed to be the smallest baby boy ever born in Britain to survive. His mother Katie Rhodes, 24, gave birth to him early at 26 weeks and 5 days.