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The Martin Family

My partner, Alex and I have stayed in two of The Sick Children’s Trust’s ‘Homes from Home;’ Magnolia House and Treetop House. Our daughter, Isabelle was born on 21 July weighing six pounds and ten ounces and needed specialist treatment in Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

Isabelle was born with a blockage in her bowel and when she was less than 24 hours old she was rushed into theatre to have life-saving surgery where 75% of her bowel was removed. Following this she was admitted into the Critical Care Unit where she spent the next ten weeks.

During this time, Alex and I were able to stay in The Sick Children’s Trust’s Magnolia House which provided us with everything we could need. The best part about the house was that it was directly connected to the hospital so we were never too far away from Isabelle. We didn’t like leaving her but knowing that we could rush to her bedside in just a couple of minutes if she needed us was really comforting.

 Alex has two other children, Jordyn who was 12 at the time and Kaden who was eight. We kept in touch by face timing them

but really missed them so it was lovely when they came to visit at weekends. It was so important for them to have time bonding with their new baby sister and Magnolia House enabled them to do this as well as giving us the opportunity to spend time as a family; we could cook home-made meals and relax in the lounge catching up about their week at school.

The house staff were amazing and couldn’t have been more helpful. They were so flexible and understanding, it really helped to make us feel relaxed. As we were staying in the house for so long, there were times when we had to pop home to pick up some more belongings and during this time the house staff kindly let my mum stay overnight in our room. We never wanted to leave Isabelle on her own so being able to do this was great.

After ten weeks, Isabelle was transferred to the S1 ward and Alex and I were moved to Treetop House, the charity’s other ‘Home from Home’ in Sheffield, located on the top floor of the hospital where we stayed for a further four weeks while Isabelle recovered.

We live in Doncaster which is only a half an hour drive away from Sheffield Children’s Hospital but Isabelle’s condition was so unstable at times that even that distance would be too far in an emergency. We wanted to spend as much time as possible bonding with our new-born daughter and because of the close proximity of both Magnolia House and Treetop House we could be there from early in the morning until late at night.

Isabelle was able to come home three weeks ago and is doing well now. We are so grateful for the invaluable support we received from The Sick Children’s Trust and hope to stay in touch with all the staff. My sister in law will be running the London Marathon this year to fundraise for the charity and we have lots of exciting fundraising ideas too. For now, we are looking forward to the new year ahead after Isabelle’s difficult start to life.

Danielle Martin, Isabelle’s mum
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