Four years ago today at 5:25am a 7lb5oz* screaming baby boy named Oscar was born.
*7lb5oz is his correct birth weight, I’ve just been incorrectly saying 7lb9oz for years oops!
The screaming part is particularly important since he had been diagnosed in-utero with a congenital heart defect that we were told meant he wouldn’t be able to breathe outside the womb. Oscar was the master of doing the opposite to what was expected though and as long time readers will surely know; Oscar’s way is always best.
In the moments just after Oscar’s birth I got to do the one thing I had hoped, and that was to hold my baby. When he didn’t decline in health as the doctors had predicted, I don’t mind admitting that while holding him I was thinking; “ok, now what?” and that in the hours after his birth I thought things like; “I hope his health starts declining soon” and “don’t get attached to him, because he is going to die.” Believe me, I wasn’t at all ungrateful for the extended time we were having with Oscar, it’s just in my head things weren’t supposed to happen like that, and I hadn’t really considered what would happen if we had a little more time with him. In my head I thought I was prepared for him dying, and that not happening was scary, confusing and very unexpected.
April first was the day Oscar was born, and I believed that would also be the day he died. As it turned out, the second part did not happen on that day. April the first, instead turned into a day of making memories. Of Oscar having cuddles with his Mummy, Daddy, Nanny, Grandad and his Aunties and Uncle (and probably a couple of nurses as well.) It was a day of Oscar having so many photos taken and of everyone, most of all me, trying to commit every little thing about him to memory. It was the day I never imagined I would get, and the day I didn’t truly understand how much I would appriciate until much later. April 1st was our miracle day. It was, and will always be Oscar’s day.
April 1st was the day we found out his eyes were brown (yep, no newborn blue here!), that he hated hats and most importantly that Oscar didn’t ever do what was expected of him.
On each year since Oscar’s birth I have written him a letter. It’s a tradition that I will continue here;
Four Years, huh?
It seems like only yesterday, yet at the same time a lifetime ago, since that very first time I held you. If I close my eyes and imagine I can still remember being in the room where you were born. I can picture the tray of hot chocolate on the table to my right, I can see the photographer moving around the room capturing images of you. I could tell you the colour of my hospital gown and the layout of the room, which is strange since in that moment the only thing I seemed really aware of was the feeling of you laying on my right shoulder snuggled skin to skin. I hope I never forget the moment that I first held you. It was a moment I wasn’t sure I would get, and the one I wanted so badly. It is a moment that won’t ever be able to be repeated or replaced and one that I wouldn’t change for anything.
I wish more than anything that we had been given more time together, but at the same time I feel so selfish wishing for that when we were given so much more than we were ever told we would get.
I wish I could remember telling you out loud that I loved you; I hope you knew even if I didn’t say it. Because I did baby boy, I loved you more than anything. I still do and always will. For such a tiny little thing you sure did make a huge impact on my life.
Oscar, my beautiful brave boy, there is nothing that makes me prouder than being able to say that I am your Mum. I promise that I will never forget you or stop talking about you given any opportunity. And if the opportunities stop coming, then I will just create them myself.
I still find myself wondering who you would have become, of what you would be like now, but that’s just what parents do. Don’t ever doubt that doesn’t make me proud of exactly who you were during the short time I got to keep you for.
I wish I could buy you presents on your birthday, but since that isn’t a possibility I’m going to try something else to celebrate 4 years. Just 4 you.
I love you forever, baby.
I don’t know if I really believe that Oscar is somewhere and can read what I write to him, actually I possibly lean towards not believing, so maybe I just write down the things I wish I could say to him.
Oscar was a fighter. People say that about people who are ill; that they fought, but in so many cases it is true. That Oscar’s and indeed other peoples bodies cope with so much more than we imagine they can. And, for Oscar, when we were told that there was no hope, that there is “a close to 0% chance of survival” somehow he continued to go on. I think this makes Oscar incredibly brave.
Do you ever wish you could be braver? Do you ever put things off because you are scared? Because you are scared you may fail? Because you are worried about what others may think of you? I do it all the time. I’m scared so much of the time. I am not a brave person.
The other night I was watching TV and then was scared to go to my kitchen in case the actor playing the fictional corpse from the programme filmed two years ago was waiting for me….I am clearly not brave. In fact, I actively avoid things that scare me much of the time. Oscar didn’t have that choice. Whether he knew fear or not, he survived things that would scare most adults. So, in honour of Oscar’s fourth birthday, I am going to be brave. I am going to do things that scare me; 4 Oscar.
I am challenging myself to do 23 things, one for every day that Oscar was brave and indeed each day of his life, that I would otherwise be scared to do, put off or haven’t done since Oscar was born. And I’m going to post about them here. I’m going to share them, like i’ve shared Oscar’s life, in the hope that it may make people think of him just a little more this April.
Want to join me? Use the hashtag #4oscar
It doesn’t take much to be brave and be a “little more Oscar.” Just do one thing that scares you, one thing you have been putting off. Life is cruel. Oscar had so little time, yet he changed my life forever. He was brave, he defied the odds and he did the impossible.
I’m hoping to channel just a little of that Oscar spirit this month.
And, since you made it through a wall of text (or maybe you didn’t and just scrolled really quickly) here are some photos of my baby boy, all taken on April 1st 2014:
Note; some of these are edits that have never previously been posted. Eventually, I will run out of new angles on old photos, but not today!
And lastly, I wonder again (as does Oscar I think) how I got his birth weight wrong all these years: