Baby born at 23 weeks weighing 1lb 2oz who doctors said was too small to survive becomes the star of a nappies advert three months later
When she went into labour at 23 weeks, Lisa Curtis was told her baby was too small to survive.
But not only did tiny Bodhi Gascoigne cling on to life despite weighing just 1lb 2oz, three months later he starred in a TV advert for Pampers nappies.
Now his proud mother wants to share his story to help others. She said: ‘I was told there was no hope and simply handed a leaflet which basically said my baby would die.
‘I was devastated. So to go through all that and then not only does your baby survive, but end up on TV felt like a miracle.’
Babies born before 24 weeks – the legal cut-off date for abortion in the UK – are not deemed ‘viable’.
Miss Curtis, 35, and her soldier boyfriend Shane, 36, from Skegness, Lincolnshire, were expecting their firstborn in May last year. So they decided to spend their last Christmas together without children at a luxury hotel.
But by Christmas Eve, Miss Curtis was struck by back pains that she now knows were the start of labour – 17 weeks early. She went to hospital in Salisbury, Wiltshire – and was told to take paracetamol and rest. But after days in agony she returned and was finally told the baby was on its way.
Miss Curtis added: ‘The nurse said sorry and started rubbing my hand… I then twigged that because I was not yet 24 weeks into pregnancy they classed my labour as a miscarriage.’
A consultant explained that in the UK babies born before 24 weeks do not automatically receive medical help. The mother broke down when she was handed a leaflet explaining that her baby was too small to survive.
She was moved to Southampton Hospital, where doctors told her to prepare for the worst.
‘They were still treating me as if I was having a miscarriage and I was asked if I wanted my baby passed to me for a cuddle when he died and things like that. It was like a bad dream.’
But as Bodhi entered the world on December 30 he gave a tiny cry – and doctors knew he was fighting. Despite a battle with the deadly infection sepsis he astonished doctors by growing stronger.
And when Miss Curtis was told an advert was being filmed at the hospital and that producers wanted to film Bodhi – she agreed. Last March he was three months old as cameras filmed him in his incubator to promote Preemie Protection nappies for premature babies. He was discharged in April – one month before his due date and shortly after the advert aired.
Miss Curtis added: ‘I want to give hope. We were pretty much told there was none but look at him now. He’s a star.’