Little Larenz Carr was just 13oz – the same weight as a tin of soup – when he was born 15 weeks premature.
And he was so vulnerable to the cold, doctors had to fight to keep him warm.
After realising that neither blankets nor an incubator would work, the enterprising doctors at St Michael’s Hospital, Bristol, came up with a DIY solution to recreate the his mother’s womb – a sandwich bag and some bubble wrap.
It was an apt choice for the fragile gift he was – and one which worked.
For now, 19 months on, Larenz is far from that delicate little boy.
His parents Vickie and Rohan Carr have been told by doctors that thanks to the bubble wrap, he is happy and healthy with no developmental delays.
Mum Vickie, a 29-year-old driving instructor, said: “Larenz looked quite scary when I first laid eyes on him.
“He was like a little alien with his skin all shiny and see-through.
“It’s incredible that medics saved him by popping him in a sandwich bag and bubble wrap to keep him warm.”
Vickie’s pregnancy was smooth sailing until doctors noticed her baby wasn’t growing at a routine 20-week scan.
When the Bristolian returned to see medics a week later, with a headache, they kept her in and warned that her baby may need to be born early.
“They told me they wanted to keep my baby in my tummy for as long as possible,” she said. “It was terrifying. I had no idea if my baby would make it.”
Vickie held on until 25 weeks and four days until October 29, 2019, when doctors noted her placenta was failing and rushed her for an emergency C-section.
Her baby was immediately taken to the neonatal unit.
Husband Rohan, a 32-year-old customer services adviser, said of his son: “I had never seen anything so small in my life. It was traumatic.”
Vickie said: “He was the same size as my hand and so transparent. He looked shiny, like he was covered in oil.
“[Then] seeing him in the bubble wrap – I had never seen anything like it.”
Miraculously, despite being so small, Larenz responded well.
But he had to be kept in the ICU until January 2020. Then he was transferred to the city’s Southmead Hospital where he stayed until February 6.
It was March 2020 when he was ready to go home – without oxygen support and still weighing just 5lbs.
“We got home the same week that the first lockdown was announced,” Vickie recalled. “It was scary. He could have still been in hospital and just one of us would have been able to see him.”
Now 19 months old and 20lbs, Larenz is right on right on track, according to his doctors. He’s even started nursery and yesterday he presented his dad with a very emotional Father’s Day card.
“He’s just amazing,” said Vickie. “He’s walking and he’s so determined. People hear how small a newborn he was and can’t believe how incredible he is.”
We recognise the news agenda can sometimes feel overwhelmingly negative.
And while it’s our job to keep you informed and hold those in power to account, we are making a commitment to also report more hopeful news.
We will celebrate the people, places and movements that are bringing good into the world and, more than that, we will dig beneath the surface of important issues with the aim of finding hope.
We will be firm in our convictions – but always fair-minded.
By sharing solutions to problems, we can do more good and feel better about the world around us.
Because we believe you deserve it. #mirrormorehopeful
Larenz may be little in stature but he already loves exploring his house – and Vickie has even spotted him playing with bubble wrap.
“He doesn’t know he was wrapped in it,” she laughs. “But he’s the kind of child that if he sees the bubble wrap on the floor, he’ll play with it!”
Rohan added: “To see how he thrives now is amazing. He’s our little miracle.”
Vickie adds: “When he’s older we shall tell him how he was so tiny and how he was kept alive. And if he doesn’t believe us, we have this newspaper to prove it!
- – Image: Tom Wren SWNS