London - Weighing just 12oz (about 350g) at birth – the equivalent of a can of coke – baby Theo Taylor was given little chance of surviving by doctors.
He had stopped growing in the womb and was so small his mother Katie Rhodes, 24, had been asked to consider an abortion the day before she went into labour.
But she pressed on and tiny Theo was born by emergency caesarean section at a remarkably early 26 weeks and five days. He is thought to be the smallest baby boy ever to survive in the UK.
His father Jay Taylor, 27, said: "He was smaller than my hand ... I had never ever seen a baby that small – I didn’t know babies could be that small. I kept saying to Katie that everything would be okay, but it wasn’t until I saw him I realised how serious things were. I think that was the most scared I have ever been."
Rhodes’s 19-week scan revealed Theo had not been growing as expected.
The mother-to-be was later taken to hospital with pre-eclampsia and three days later doctors performed an emergency caesarean when tests showed the baby had fluid around his heart. Theo – the couple’s first child together – was born on March 15 weighing 350g at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.
His parents, from Durham, were able to touch his hand for a few seconds before he was put on a breathing machine using the smallest tube available.
Rhodes, a support worker, said: "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."
The family are now raising money for Tiny Lives, a charity that helps to care for premature babies at the Newcastle hospital. Mr Taylor, a delivery driver, added: "[Theo] was much smaller than [doctors] thought he would be, but they 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."