WEIGHING less than a bag of sugar after being born 12 weeks premature, the first days of Lily-Mae’s life have been spent in an incubator.
But now proud dad Mark Davies is cycling from Blakeney to Longlevens to say thanks to staff at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital for keeping his baby alive.
Lily-Mae weighed just 1lb 11oz when she was born in March.
Mum Sarah Underwood and dad Mark, from Longlevens, visit her in the special baby care unit every day, where she remains in an incubator and weighs 2lb 11oz.
Mark is preparing to cycle 22 miles with some of his friends and family to raise money for the Scoo-B-Doo Society, which supports the unit at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.
“I wanted to do something to give back to the hospital,” said builder Mark, 41.
“People don’t realise what goes on in the unit until something like this happens to them. It is a way of saying thank you to the hospital and the staff for keeping our baby alive.”
Doctors were concerned about Sarah’s high blood pressure after she knocked her leg at work while pregnant.
She was taken to hospital where she was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia, which causes serious complications to both mother and baby.
The only way to cure pre-eclampsia is by delivering the baby, so on March 20 Lily-Mae was delivered by caesarean section.
“It was too dangerous for her to stay in the womb,” said Mark, who proposed to Sarah in Egypt last year.
“She was so tiny. It was a very emotional and worrying time for us.”
Doctors are positive about Lily-Mae’s progress and she now only needs a little bit of oxygen to help her breathe.
Sarah, 38, currently spends most of her time at the hospital, while Mark visits them in the evenings after work.
“I know Sarah is tired and stressed but she doesn’t let things beat her,” said Mark.
“She is doing well and she is staying strong for Lily-Mae.
“It is difficult leaving her in the hospital and going home knowing you have got a child but she is not at home with you.”
The sponsored cycle ride takes place on July 26 and ends at Longlevens Community Centre with a barbecue, raffle and race night.
Mark is hoping to raise £1,000 for the charity.
Donations can be dropped off at Longlevens Community Centre.
To donate, visit justgiving. com/Mark-Davies72