Twenty-four Plus Six

By Amy Brett

An honest story of premature birth, neonatal care and their impact on family mental health and wellbeing

Twenty-four Plus Six is a memoir about the terrifying roller-coaster ride the author's family was suddenly and unexpectedly flung onto when her baby arrived 15 weeks early. It's the story of Amy's inner world, the darkest parts of her mind and the thoughts that no one wants to voice. A real no-holds-barred account of the psychological and emotional impact of premature birth, particularly on her mental health as a mother.

Amy wants to expose medical mistakes and fluctuating nursing standards. She wants to shine a light on how easy it is to fall through the cracks of the medical system. Her aim is to break taboos, voice pernicious thoughts and explore the many heart-wrenching dilemmas her family faced. 

Why? Because, against all odds, her baby survived and came home, but the trauma she experienced during the neonatal journey came with her, as it likely does for each and every neonatal family. 

1 in 7 babies is admitted to neonatal care in the UK, totalling over 100,000 babies each year. That’s 100,000 families going through a shared experience, battling similar issues, facing the same fears and struggling with comparable pain points. Amy's memoir honours the incredible strength and endurance of these families, and, she hopes, will help others by normalising the frightening psychological impact of having a sick or premature baby. Available to order now at major retailers.

My Very Little Sister and the Very Big Story

By Alina Brett

A book for children with a sibling in hospital

My Very Little Sister and the Very Big Story is a children's book, written and illustrated by Amy Brett's eldest daughter, Alina, to help families of premature and sick babies. It provides both a heart-breaking and heart-warming window into the sibling perspective, detailing how Alina came to terms with the effects of having a little sister on a neonatal unit.

Alina was only 3-years-old when her sister arrived in the world 15 weeks early while the Brett family were on holiday. Her parents tried to shield her from any distressing news and difficult emotions, but she picked up on far more than they appreciated at the time. Even a year later she was still coming out with questions and remarks about the neonatal journey that both surprised and worried her parents. She was still desperately angry, sad at times, confused and worried it would happen all over again.

So Alina's parents encouraged her to draw pictures and talk to them about her thoughts and feelings, which eventually became the backbone of My Very Little Sister and the Very Big Story. The aim of the book is to reassure siblings and families going through similar experiences that they are not alone, and to help them cope and make sense of their feelings. 

Over 5,000 copies of the book have been purchased by charities, businesses and neonatal networks and it's even travelled to the US, featuring in a library in California! The Brett family funds 2 copies for each of the 156 neonatal units in England so that families can have free access to the book whilst they're on the ward. An organisation called vCreate helped turn it into an illustrated audiobook, making it available across the UK as a digital download for the 100,000 families whose babies are admitted to neonatal care each year.

Money raised from book sales has funded 6 weeks of vCreate's secure video messaging technology for the Royal Sussex County Hospital Trevor Mann Baby Unit and the Princess Royal Special Care Baby Unit in Haywards Heath. Nurses can send messages, photos and videos to families to keep them updated and in contact when they are physically unable to be with their babies. It was a real lifeline during Covid and still continues to make a huge difference to many families. Alina chose to fund vCreate in order to help siblings feel closer to their baby brothers and sisters in hospital. 

Huge thanks to the Early Birth Association and to medical and nursing staff from the Trevor Mann Baby Unit for all their support with bringing the book to fruition. The Brett family donates all profit from website sales of My Very Little Sister and the Very Big Story to the Early Birth Association. Head to the Brett Books Shop to purchase your copy.