PAULA Hunter was over the moon when she discovered she was expecting a baby in 2016.

She blossomed during pregnancy but it went wrong when she went into labour.

Paula suffered a four day long labour and during it, medics discovered her daughter, Lily, had inhaled her own faeces.

When inhaled, meconium causes a baby’s airways to become blocked and can be fatal.

As soon as she was born, floppy and unresponsive, doctors at Colchester Hospital rushed the newborn up to the neonatal intensive care unit where they tried to clear her airways.

However, Lily did not respond well and she was taken to The Rosie Hospital in Cambridge, an hour and a half from home.

Paula, 39, said: “I only saw Lily for a second because I had to go through recovery myself following such a difficult labour.

“Four hours later I was shown photos of my daughter but neither my husband, Neil, nor I realised the severity of her condition at that point.

“When I was finally able to visit her on neonatal intensive care unit, I was distraught to see my baby covered in wires and hooked up to so many monitors.

“We were told she needed to be sent to Cambridge for lifesaving treatment but I wasn’t ready to be discharged yet which meant my baby would have to travel there without me. I was heartbroken.”

Fortunately she was discharged later that evening and raced to be with Lily.

One of the nurses in Colchester had told them about The Sick Children’s Trust, which offers free accommodation so parents can be with their children.

After six days, Lily’s recovery vastly improved.

Her parents were told the medical team had never witnessed such a miraculous turnaround.

Paula said: “Watching Lily fight for her life every day is something we will never forget, but having a room in Chestnut House made it possible for us to be there with our daughter,joining her in her fight.

“There were times in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep and was desperately anxious.

“I was able to visit Lily on the ward because we were within walking distance of her side.”

To thank the Sick Children’s Trust Paula hopes to raise £700 for the charity.

She is running the Royal Parks Half Marathon on Sunday and will take on the iconic 13.1 mile challenge across central London alongside her sister-in-law, Bev Hunter.

She added: “Before Lily was conceived I had registered to run my first ever half marathon, but had to stop training early on in my pregnancy.

“This seems like a perfect way to resume the challenge and at the same time raise both money and awareness for a charity which is so close to all our hearts.

“Bev and I are training hard together and we’re hoping to complete it in two hours.”

The Sick Children’s Trust relies on voluntary donations and although the accommodation is free for families, it costs the charity £30 to support a family for a night.

Abi Abdel-aal, Chestnut House manager, said: “I remember how distraught Paula and Neil were when I first met them on the ward and then showed them around Chestnut House.

“Lily made a quick recovery, but it was still touch and go those first few days, which was frightening for her parents.

“We are so grateful to Paula and Bev for taking on the challenge and wish them the best of luck.”

To sponsor Paula visit paula-hunter4.