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Chatham boy Tommy Small born with his intestine outside his body

After 12 weeks battling for his life in hospital, the family of 'miracle baby' Tommy Small are looking forward to the new year.

Five-month-old Tommy Small was born seven weeks early with gastroschisis, meaning his intestine was outside his body.

His mum Lori Lea Scales was rushed to King's College Hospital in the last week of July for an emergency caesarean.

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Baby Tommy Small was born seven weeks early with gastroschisis
Baby Tommy Small was born seven weeks early with gastroschisis

The 21-year-old said: “When I was pregnant I could just tell something was wrong.

"When Tommy was diagnosed with gastroschisis it was just a blur, I knew I had to stay strong for him.

“I became quite depressed, all the other mums were with their babies, and some babies arrived after Tommy and left before him, that was difficult too.”

Miss Scales, Tommy’s dad John Small, 24, and their son four-year-old Coby, lived in a special house for patients' parents while Tommy underwent treatment.

The full-time mum added: “The house was a life saver, we were minutes from the hospital, we got to stay for free, instead of getting the train everyday.”

Tommy had surgery within 12 hours of being born but his condition got worse as he developed bacterial meningitis.

Tommy Small was born with his intestines outside his stomach
Tommy Small was born with his intestines outside his stomach

He was discharged after three months in hospital in November and got to go to his home in Nelson Terrace, Luton, but with multiple check ups and hospital appointments the family couldn’t relax.

Miss Scales said: “I was really nervous to take him home, we were so scared that the doctors wouldn’t be there to look after him.

“But we were more than happy to have him home.

“I’m so relieved he got to have his first Christmas and New Year at home with his family. Tommy is a miracle.

“When he was in hospital we were all separated and never got to be to together. I’m so glad we can be a family now.

“He tried to open his presents but he wasn’t sure what was going on really.

John Small with Tommy and his brother Coby
John Small with Tommy and his brother Coby

“He’s really smiley and such a happy chappy.

“When I take him out, people always ask to see my newborn because he’s so tiny, and they’re always shocked when I tell them he is five months.

“His four-year-old brother Coby absolutely adores him, he always wants to play Spiderman with him.

“But due to his condition he does fart a lot more than most babies.”

Miss Scales wants other mums whose children have gastroschisis to come forward.

She said: “I don’t want other mums to feel they can’t talk about it, and there are lots of people to help.

“I liked a Facebook page called, Gastroschisis Babies Uk, I got a lot of support from that.”


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