PROUD Aldershot parents Sara and Christopher Sills are celebrating the birth of their "miracle" daughter who weighed just 1 lb.
They are experiencing a mixture of joy and relief as baby Lily Mary, born after 24 weeks, appears to be winning her battle for survival.
The cause of most concern is chronic lung damage which means she can breath only with the aid of a special oxygen supply.
"There were times when she was very poorly and we didn't think she was going to pull through," said Mrs Sills at the family home in Darwin Grove.
"Thankfully she has stabilised now…we can't thank the nurses and doctors enough for the way they have cared for her. Everyone has been fantastic."
Lily's birth proved traumatic for Mrs Sills who thought she would have her at Frimley Park Hospital.
But when she and her husband arrived at the hospital they were told that the baby would be too premature for the maternity unit to handle.
"They only admit mums-to-be who have been expecting for 28 weeks or more," she said.
Instead Mrs Sills was taken to Poole General Hospital in Dorset which is geared up to care for extremely premature births.
After she was born on July 1, Lily was immediately placed in a special incubator where she received 24-hour a day care.
As the tiny tot's life remained on a knife edge, her parents sat by the incubator reading her stories and talking to her.
"Seeing Lily wired up in the incubator was very scary, but the staff were brilliant," said Mrs Sills. "They told us to enjoy each day with her."
After three weeks Lily was assessed to be strong enough to be transferred to St Peter's Hospital, Chertsey, where she is receiving further specialist care.
Her parents, who visit her daily, hope she will soon be healthy enough to come home.
Waiting to welcome her will be her two-year-old sister Katie, who was also born prematurely, and brother Stefan, aged nine.
Mrs Sills, whose husband is a soldier serving with the Royal Engineers, said: "I hope my story will help reassure other women who may face the same experience.
"The skills of the doctors and nurses in the maternity units are amazing. We have nothing but praise for them."