Oliver Booth has raised thousands of pounds by taking on a marathon challenge to thank city doctors for the care of his two little girls during the first few months of their lives. 

His young daughters Maisie, aged 4, and Georgie, aged 2, were both born prematurely, leading to stays at the Neonatal Unit (NNU) at the Jessop Wing. 

Maisie was born at 30 weeks and 5 days weighing 3lb 3oz.

Oliver said: “I was driving home from work when I got a call to say that Natalie’s waters had broken, which I didn’t really take in as she was only 30 weeks gestation.

“We lived opposite a GP, so in the time it took for me to get home she’d got an emergency appointment and they’d called an ambulance. We were taken to the Jessop Wing, where Natalie and the baby were monitored closely.

“Seven days later Natalie went into labour. Maisie was born at 30 weeks and 5 days weighing 3lb 3oz. Small, but perfect.

“When she arrived we were able to have a quick cuddle before she was taken straight to the NNU. We didn’t really know what to expect at this point as she was our first child and there were no warning signs that Natalie would go into early labour.

“Maisie was a trouper, she did amazingly well. She had some mild jaundice, and at one point they thought she may need a blood transfusion, but she battled on. She was discharged after around two months, just before Christmas — the best Christmas present ever.

We hoped our second baby would be easier...

“After the first birth, we were hopeful our second would be a little easier. Natalie passed the thirty week mark which was a big milestone for us. She was routinely monitored and everything was fine.

“Then around 32 weeks gestation she became quite unwell and spent a week in the Northern General Hospital. One evening after I’d just got home from visiting hours, I got a call to say she’d gone into labour. A few hours later Georgie arrived. Again we got a quick cuddle, then she was moved into NNU.

Maisie and Georgie are now healthy, happy little girls and Natalie and I are so thankful.

“During both these times the staff were wonderful. The nurses were especially lovely. You end up spending so much time there, that you need to feel comfortable, and to be able to talk to them on a personable level.

 “They go about their work with compassion and empathy, sensitively juggling the emotions of what is one of the most draining times for a new parent. They’re just invaluable.”

Oliver raised £1,500 for the NNU by taking part in the Yorkshire Half Marathon.

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