Parents club together to raise money for Norfolk hospital

When little Darci-May Milligan was born she was more than two months premature and weighed just 2lbs. Six months on, she is a happy and healthy baby.

Her parents, Barry and Gina Milligan, last night spoke of their joy of their 'miracle baby' and thanked those who helped save her life.

Mrs Milligan was just over 29 weeks pregnant with her first child when she suffered severe pre-eclampsia, a complication of pregnancy, and had to have an emergency Caesarean.

At the time, doctors told the couple, who live in Middleton Court, Hellesdon, that their unborn child had a 90pc chance of survival but still they could not help but fear the worst.

Darci-May was born 10 weeks and four days premature. At just a touch over a foot long, she had to spend 47 days in the intensive care unit at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital before her parents could take her home.

Six months on, she is fighting fit and healthy. Yesterday she made a guest appearance at a charity golf day organised by her parents to raise funds for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (Nicu) at the N&N.

Mrs Milligan, 29, a factory operative, said: 'Darci-May is the best thing to ever happen to me but it was the worst experience to ever go through. We had some really hard times.

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'I was ill throughout my pregnancy and the last few weeks were horrendous. And there was all the worry of it – the worry of not knowing how she was going to be. Nicu were absolutely amazing. I really didn't know how we would get through it but the Nicu staff helped us and reassured us. They were fantastic, I just can't thank them enough.'

Her husband Mr Milligan, 38, who has a daughter from a previous relationship, added: 'It was really frightening. The doctors just tell you how it is and it was hard hearing the truth. There was no way Darci-May could stay in her mum's tummy any longer than she did.

'If you look at her now, you would never think she was premature. She's doing really well. If it were not for the care and attention of the ladies and gents at Nicu, you hate to think how things could've been.'

Darci-May had been due on January 1, but was born on October 19. Her weight dropped to 1lb 10oz and she was still only 4lb 2oz when her parents were able to take her home at the beginning of December.

Now she weighs 13lb 10oz and is said to be catching up with full-term babies.

'She is fantastic,' said Mrs Milligan. 'It's amazing. I look at her sometimes and can't believe how well she has done. She is my miracle baby.'

Twenty-four teams took part in the Taylor and Taylor Associates-sponsored charity golf day at Costessey Park Golf Club yesterday. All money raised will go towards the Cots For Tots Appeal. It aims to raise �500,000 to help expansion building work at Nicu and equip four cots for babies needing high dependency or intensive care.

Currently the Norwich-based unit can look after 28 babies at any one time, but as one of only three specialist neonatal units in the East, it can regularly be full. Staff at the unit look after more than 850 babies a year.

'At the time, you are trying to struggle through and you look back and think 'how did we get through that?'', said Mrs Milligan. 'It makes you realise how every day there are people going through what we did.

'I can't thank the staff at Nicu enough. They were fantastic. They helped me be the mum I am today, they prepared me and helped me along the way.'

Mr Milligan added: 'The staff at Nicu were fantastic. We want to put something back in. The incubators cost �1,500 a day to run and my daughter was there for 47 days. They are trying to raise half a million pounds. We're hoping today's golf day will raise �2,000 or �3,000, which is just a drop in the ocean, but every little helps.'

To donate to the Cots for Tots appeal, log on to or send a cheque, payable to the NNUH NHS Foundation Trust with 'NICU Cot Expansion Fund F300' written on the back, to Communications, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Colney Lane, Norwich, NR4 7UY.

Are you raising money for a good cause? Call reporter Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email