WHEN mum-to-be Emma Adkins experienced pain in her stomach seven weeks before she was due to give birth, she knew something was wrong.

Doctors at the John Radcliffe Hospital found that the 33-year-old was seriously ill with a combined liver and blood clotting disorder called HELLP, which forced her to have an emergency caesarean section on September 5, 2010.

Her son Matthew was born and taken into the care of the hospital’s neo-natal unit – which she credits with saving his life.

Mrs Adkins, from Guernsey, has family in Oxford who are now fundraising for the unit.

She said: “I was quite poorly, Matthew was okay, just little, and he was in about 10 days.

“I was on intensive care two nights and back on the maternity ward for another week.

“The nurses and midwives were amazing on the ward, the guys with Matthew were really good and my consultant was amazing.

“They saved our lives, more so mine. We were lucky.”

Mrs Adkins was visiting Oxford for her best friend’s hen party when she was rushed to hospital.

She added: “I just want to say thank you, I hope they continue with their amazing work.

“You don’t expect to have a baby seven weeks early, it is a bit of a shock. Everything is normal now. He is a fabulous little boy who turned two in September.”

Her brother Alistair Redhouse, owner of Kidlington-based Alistair Redhouse Estate Agents, said his sister’s positive experience prompted him to fundraise.

Mr Redhouse said: “We are helping raise awareness of the great service the John Radcliffe Hospital neonatal unit provides.

“The John Radcliffe is very close to my company’s heart. My sister owes her life to the amazing staff in the Intensive Care Unit.

“My nephew thrived under the care of the staff in the neonatal unit and he has blossomed into a healthy, delightful two-year-old.”