When Joanne Wombwell went into labour at just 23 weeks and five days she was rushed from Chesterfield to Middlesbrough to give her twins the best chance of survival.
Local hospitals did not have the facilities or expertise to deal with such complex births so Joanne, 31, had to make a 999 ambulance journey to The James Cook University Hospital in heavy snow with husband Tony, 39, following closely behind.
A few hours later Jensen and Amelia came into the world. The tiny babies each weighed less than 2lb and had to undergo heart surgery at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle and laser eye surgery at James Cook.
It was touch and go for a while as both babies suffered further complications but after four months on the neonatal ward the twins were allowed home to Derbyshire.
Joanne and Tony were so impressed with the care and support they received that they nominated the neonatal team as NHS Heroes – A new national scheme designed to recognise the great work that individuals and teams do every day in the NHS.
Joanne said: “The unit gave us amazing care and support and saved our twins and there is no way we could ever repay them. If anyone deserves this recognition they do.
“They were all amazing – the nurses, the healthcare assistants, the doctors, everyone.”
Tony added: “Every family that we met on the unit said the same – the care was amazing and the staff were lovely. I don’t think we could have got through it without them.”
Now aged 22 months the twins are doing “amazingly well” and they travelled to Middlesbrough with their parents last week to present the neonatal team with their NHS Heroes certificate at an awards ceremony hosted by South Tees Hospital’s NHS Foundation Trust.
Anne Wall, clinical matron for neonates said: “It is a great privilege to be in a position to give the babies and families in our care the best start in life when they have been born in difficult circumstances.
“It was lovely to catch up with the twins and their parents and see how well they are doing.”