Couple’S 10 Mile Run For Daughters Born Just Over 1Lb

Great Comeback 2

Entries for the Simplyhealth Great South Run are open. Enter at: Greatrun.org/South

A couple who had two babies that were born prematurely at just over 1lb will take on their first ever running challenge to support the charity that helped them during their recovery.

Andy Kay and his partner Hayley, from Horndean near Portsmouth, had two daughters that were born three months premature, almost two years apart.

Annabel and Isla were born at 1lb 12oz and 1lb 15oz by emergency caesarean and spent a lot of their early lives in hospital.

Annabel spent around three months in hospital after she was born early after mum Hayley suspected something was not right during her pregnancy.

After a routine check-up at St Mary's Hospital in Portsmouth, scans revealed there was a problem with blood flow from the placenta.

Hayley underwent an emergency c-section and little Annabel was born.

Despite being born at just 28 weeks old and weighing just over a bag of sugar, Annabel pulled through and made an amazing recovery thanks to the care and attention of medics. Just under a year and a half later, Andy and Hayley fell pregnant again and were taken down a familiar path when Hayley went through another early birth.

Little Isla was born almost exactly the same weight as her sister and was placed in critical care.

Thankfully, both sisters, who are now eight and six-years-old, made a full recovery and are now leading healthy and normal lives.

Throughout this tumultuous time in their lives, Andy and Hayley were supported by the charity Bliss, who provided guidance to them when they were thrown into the unknown.

The couple will marry this year and decided to take on a 10 mile running challenge at the Simplyhealth Great South Run to stay in shape for their big day and to also give something back to Bliss.

The world's leading 10 mile running event will return to Portsmouth on Sunday 22 October. Andy, 38, said: “When Annabel was born, Hayley and I were first time parents and did not know what to expect.

She had a feeling something wasn't quite right and we visited the hospital.

“Little did we know that Annabel would be born that day!

“I could not even believe that it was possible at that point for a baby so small to survive. Annabel was tiny, she was placed in an incubator and whisked away from us.

“At first, being surrounded by huge, beeping machines was something so unfamiliar to us and we were constantly on alert. Gradually this became the norm and something we were used to due to the help that Bliss gave us.

"18 months later, Hayley fell pregnant again and she was given steroid injections to try and make the baby's lungs more developed during the pregnancy.

“But again, Isla was born at 28 weeks old due to the lack of blood flow in the placenta. Although we were more prepared this time round, it was still a testing time.

“We felt very positive about Isla's chances and were over the moon after just over two months in hospital, she was able to go home.

“Both of the girls are doing really well in life and it was just when Hayley and I decided to get married that we thought about doing a physical challenge to give something back to Bliss.

“With our wedding coming up, we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to raise money for a good cause and to improve our lifestyles ahead of an important day.”

Andy and Hayley will join over 20,000 people for the Simplyhealth Great South Run on a fast and flat course around Portsmouth and Southsea. The course gives participants the unique opportunity to run through Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and passes the iconic HMS Victory.

This year's Simplyhealth Great South Run will be the couple's first ever running event where they hope to raise a considerable amount of money for Bliss.

Andy added: “Bliss supported us through the entire situation, through both of our daughter's births and recovery.

“They provided helpful advice and even found time to give us little gifts which meant a lot during a tough time that someone was there for you who understood the situation.

“It is going to be a very exciting year. We're getting married and we thought what better way to ensure we look good on the photos than by training for a 10 mile run.

“It makes it more special that we will be able to support an amazing charity in the process.”

Entries for the Simplyhealth Great South Run are open. Enter at: Greatrun.org/South