Two weeks before her due date, a newborn girl who weighed no more than a bunch of grapes was delivered and brought home. When Lily-Mae was delivered three months early at the Royal Gloucestershire Hospital in March, she weighed just 1 lb 11 oz. Doctors advised Sarah Underwood, 38, that because of her premature birth, her baby might need to spend months in critical care. Yet after spending two months in the hospital, she was healthy enough to go back to Longlevens, Gloucestershire, where she was born 16 days earlier. Her proud builder father Mark Davies expressed his pleasure when Lily-Mae was finally permitted to go home again after several “terrifying” months.
He recalled being terrified to touch the newborn since she appeared so frail and he didn’t want to injure her. Seeing her in such a tiny incubator was unsettling. We were genuinely prepared for the worst. The odds were not in her favor because she was very young and was born three months early. Her diminutive size and the numerous tubes and cables that were linked to her were horrifying. Thank goodness, the physicians were quite optimistic, and everyone was really supportive and encouraging.
Miss Underwood, an administrative clerical assistant, stumbled into a cardboard box while at work, causing her feet to swell up unusually. Although she believed she was pregnant, her supervisor persuaded her to visit a doctor, who took her straight to the hospital after taking her blood pressure.
After some blood tests, she was diagnosed with preeclampsia, a condition that raises blood pressure and can only be cured by childbirth. She was given steroid injections to strengthen the fetal lungs and delivered by caesarean section on March 20, although she was due to give birth on June 13. Lily-Mae was born weighing just 1lbs 11oz, 6lbs less than the average baby weight of 7lbs 5oz. She was born at 27 weeks – just three weeks after the legal abortion limit.
After weeks of intensive care and nursery care at the Royal Gloucestershire Hospital, Lily-Mae was allowed to return home on May 28. Mr Davies spoke of his relief at being able to start a family life normal family, even if the couple is not prepared for early arrival.
We frequently receive many visitors who want to speak with us, he stated. Although they warned us that sustaining the pregnancy would be highly risky, I don’t think we realized how bad it actually was. Later, after she was born, we discovered we actually had nothing for her because she arrived so quickly. She is doing great right now. Despite the fact that she currently weighs 5 lbs 4 oz, most babies still weigh that much. Now that she is here, we can spend every waking moment with her and be a true family.
Mr Davies is currently planning a sponsored bike ride to raise £1,000 for the ward that has helped his daughter. I want to do something to give back to the hospital. It’s a way to say thank you to the hospital and staff for keeping our baby alive.”