Published: 11:17, 21 September 2021
| Updated: 11:17, 21 September 2021
A mother has relived the "horrific" experience watching her newborn son be put on life support a year after her baby daughter fought for life in the same hospital.
Hannah Martin, 37, from Whitehill Road, Gravesend, saw her children admitted to the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) at Darent Valley Hospital, Dartford, after they were both born prematurely within 18 months of each other.
Now the whole family has paid thanks to the experts who helped them through the traumatic time.
Daughter Beau-Daisy Martin, two, was born in July 2019 at 35 weeks, five weeks premature. Her lungs had not had time to develop properly leaving them filled with microscopic holes which were filling with fluid.
Beau was unable to breathe properly as her lungs were drowning her. She was given intravenous antibiotics and was on oxygen for seven days.
Hannah said: "It was horrific."
After 13 days, the family were able to take Beau home but after two weeks she was admitted back into hospital after contracting sepsis.
After another round of antibiotics and injections for two weeks, Beau pulled through and was brought home permanently.
Around 18 months later, the family welcomed Grayson-Bleu Martin in February 2021, again five weeks earlier than expected.
Grayson, who is now six months old, was a healthy weight for a premature baby but an hour after he was born was struggling to breathe as his lungs hadn't developed due to a hormone deficiency.
Hannah said: "He was really struggling."
Hannah's husband David had to make the difficult decision to put their son on life support as she was still in recovery, having just given birth.
It was the right decision because after eight days, Grayson was discharged.
However, a few days after coming home, Grayson suffered a seizure and was admitted back to hospital before being discharged a few days later. But his seizures continued.
At only six weeks old he was blue lighted to St Thomas' in London for an operation on a blockage in his intestine.
Hannah said: "I have no other words than horrific.
"It was not the best time, I must say."
Hannah said having both her children be so ill, and to go thorough it with Beau first to then 18 months later be in the same situation with Grayson, was "scary".
The family were not allowed to hold Beau for four days and Grayson for three after they were born.
She said: "All you want to do is cuddle your children when they are so poorly but I was not allowed as they were so ill."
The brother and sister were under the same consultant during their time in hospital, and they told Hannah they had never seen two children be so ill and both pull through.
Both youngsters are now well and enjoying life at home, with Beau starting nursery at Scallywags in Dene Holm Road, Northfleet, this month.
To add to their woes, both Hannah and David, 41, were admitted to hospital with coronavirus on New Year's Eve.
David was discharged after two days but Hannah was hit worse and on oxygen for eight days while 28 weeks pregnant with Grayson.
She said: "That was the worst."
At the time, hospital visits were restricted due to the virus. She added: "You are going through that all by yourself. That is doubly horrible. I was making decisions all by myself.
"It was scary making all the decisions. You do not know if you are making the right or the wrong one."
The couple also have daughter, Imogen-Rose Martin, 11, and Hannah said it must have been really scary for her to watch all this going on, as she understood some of what was happening but not enough.
Talking about her children, Hannah said: "I am so proud of them. I do not know where they got their strength from."
She joked: "This is when I stop having children."
On August 28, the family hosted a charity ball - with a target of £4,000 - to raise money for Walnut Ward and the Little Buds fund at Darent Valley Hospital, which helped look after the children.
Hannah said: "We owe Little Buds the world and would like to be able to give something towards the care of the other prem babies who continue to arrive."
The Little Buds fund supports the SCBU at the hospital in providing care for the babies and mothers.
She said the ward staff were amazing and added: "We wanted to give back massively and just say thank you."
Darent Valley Hospital took to Facebook to share photos of the ball, adding: "Sometimes words do not do such acts of kindness justice, so we would simply like to say thank you, thank you, eight thousand and fifty thank yous to Hannah, David and all the Martin family!"
The family smashed their goal and have since raised £9,299 with their fundraising still ongoing.