A woman refused IVF due to her weight fell pregnant naturally before giving birth to 2lbs 3oz baby 11 weeks early – so tiny he was dwarfed by his teddy.
Penelope Taylor-Jones, 35, had been trying to conceive for more than five years before falling pregnant naturally.
Medics had warned her she must lose weight before being considered for NHS help with IVF.
But despite her best attempts, Penelope – who was a size 20 – struggled to shed the pounds.
Penelope and her partner, Alan Taylor-Jones, 39, a motoring journalist, had almost ”given up hope” when she was delighted to discover she had fallen pregnant naturally in February 2021
But despite being ”ecstatic about expecting”, Penelope developed serious morning sickness and struggled with her type one diabetes throughout.
After falling ill at just 29 weeks with pre-eclampsia – a complication in pregnancy usually involving high blood pressure – medics advised an emergency c-section at St Richard’s Hospital, Chichester, West Sussex.
Baby Rupert was born on September 2, 2021, at 7.09pm weighing a tiny 2lbs 3oz – and was dwarfed by his teddy bear, nestled beside him in his incubator.
But after 56 long days in hospital battling a bleed on the brain, the ”little fighter” was finally able to return home with his parents to their home in King’s Lynn, Norfolk.
Rupert, now 18 months, is thriving and despite still being small for his age, now towers over his old teddy – affectionately named Stanley Bear.
Penelope, a teacher, said: ”I tried so many diets and did shift a bit of weight just not enough.
”It was really frustrating, and we’d pretty much given up on the idea of NHS IVF when I found out I was pregnant.
”It was an amazing surprise, but the pregnancy really took its toll.
”On top of that Rupert then arrived so early and was fighting for his life.
”Thankfully, he was such a strong-willed baby and came though the other side.
”The bear was given to him by his great-grandma, she bought it for our wedding and saved it for our first child, so it’s really meaningful to us.
”These days he’s so independent and obsessed with toy cars – he’s just amazing.”
After five years of marriage, in May 2018, Penelope and Alan reached out to their local GP for advice about IVF after they’d struggled to conceive naturally.
But Penelope was instructed to lose around six stone before being considered eligible.
”It was really a hard thing to hear as I’d always struggled with my weight,” she said.
”I tried every diet out there, Atkins, Weight Watchers, Slimming World, Keto – but none of them stuck.
”I did manage to lose a bit but not really enough.
”We were actually considering going private and wondering how we’d pay for it when I finally conceived naturally – it felt like a bit of a miracle.”
During her pregnancy, the primary school teacher battled multiple health conditions including pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP) – an itchy rash that sometimes appears in pregnant women.