We will forever be grateful to all the Neonatal Intensive Care staff at the Royal United Hospitals Bath. If it wasn’t for these superheroes, our boys and I simply wouldn’t be here today.

I’m Taya Bassett.  I would like to share my story and ask that you give a life changing gift this Christmas to help the RUH provide extraordinary healthcare for everyone.

I was born at the hospital’s original NICU 32 years ago. I was the second smallest baby on the Unit at the time, weighing just 1lb 9oz and born prematurely at 6 months. Thanks to the care of RUH staff in 1989, I was able to start my own family.

Our pregnancy was going well until a scan at 29 weeks picked up on an abnormality; late twin-to-twin transfusion. This meant there was a growth difference between our boys and Charlie’s placenta was growing weaker. Over the next few days, I developed early signs of pre-eclampsia and so we were quickly transferred to the labour ward and then the delivery suite.

Our twin boys, Harvey and Charlie were born at 29 weeks plus 5 days at St Michael’s Hospital in Bristol, weighing only 3lbs and 2.5lbs. We were soon transferred to the Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care at the RUH where they had round-the-clock care from the incredible team and specialised treatment for their breathing problems.

Being a NICU parent is a unique experience full of highs and lows – we were fortunate to spend 10 weeks watching our boys progress each day as they grew in strength. We were the lucky ones, because sadly this isn’t always the case for every baby in there.

The main thing that helped us get through it was all the care and support we received.

Not just from the amazing staff and counsellors, but also the special bonds that we made with other parents. This was especially important during Covid-19. Having people we could relate to was so valuable and helped make this difficult journey a bit easier, as well as being a huge distraction from everything else that was happening in the world.

The award-winning Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care is such a welcoming and calm space, it made us feel less anxious and I think it would have been a very different experience had we been in the old, cramped Unit. We are also grateful that it has parent accommodation, so we were able to live there for the duration of the twins stay.

Our journey highlights just one of the many projects that the charity has helped to fund.  The Forever Friends Appeal helps the RUH to do more and provide exceptional healthcare for everyone. They push the boundaries of healthcare through innovation, research, cutting-edge equipment, enhancing spaces and supporting staff to be extraordinary.

This will be our first Christmas with the boys and we are really excited to celebrate it as a family of four. I want to continue supporting this amazing charity which is striving to improve the health of people in our community. They rely on the generous support of the public, which is why I feel I have to ask for your help.

Please give a life changing gift this Christmas by making a donation today! Your support will ensure patients like my babies continue to receive the very best care.

I didn’t think our twin boys would end up being treated in NICU, but they did and I am so grateful for the extraordinary care they received.

I hope that my story today helps you to understand the vital part you can play in helping families like mine.

Thank you and Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones.