For 23 days I was able to say “Oscar is my son” and then he died and that “who is Oscar?” question became a lot more complicated to answer. Now I have to say; “Oscar was my son.” Only, if you think about it, he still is. It’s just I have to use past tense now because he died. See, I told you, complicated!
Oscar was diagnosed with a complex congenital heart defect when I was 16 weeks pregnant. By the time 41 weeks of pregnancy arrived and he was born, best case scenario was that he would live a few minutes from birth. The doctors believed that due to the complexity of his condition that he was not a candidate for surgery. They were wrong. Oscar not only breathed unaided for over 24 hours after birth; he then got through that impossible surgery. However, after surgery he could not be taken off the ventilator, due to a lung condition. He passed away at 23 days old in 2014.
23 days doesn’t sound like much, but it is a period of time you can become very grateful for when you are told that all you will have is minutes.
So, Oscar was the baby that lived. Not for long, and dependent on machines; but he was still the baby that lived.
He ate, slept and cried, which are all things that newborns do.
He fell in love with a heater, he frowned at anyone wearing maroon (doctors’ scrubs) and he made friends with a yellow duck. If you didn’t read the original Oscar’s Story, you will be a little confused at this point. I’m sure at some point I will explain again, after all, Oscar stories are my specialist subject!
I started my original blog to share Oscar with the world. It was my hope that in telling his stories, his memory would live on in more people. In doing this, he would always be remembered, by more than just the few people who were able to meet him.
I also wanted to raise awareness of his heart condition, and perhaps to provide some support to other parents who may have been given the same diagnosis. Yes, I know Oscar’s story doesn’t have the happily ever after that people want, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t happiness in it.
I cannot change the outcome of Oscar’s story. Yes, we cheated the ending for a little while, but there was never a cure for him. Oscar dying was always going to happen. I’ve accepted this, and it is something that I am learning to live with.
I want people to know that a sad ending doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the journey. That happiness can be found when you are told your baby has an incurable condition. That you can make memories that will last a very long time after your baby dies. That you can remember your lost baby and smile.
Oscar’s life doesn’t make me sad. Yes, I wish it could have been so much longer, but I cannot forget that I was given this amazing gift.
I was given Oscar; this tiny baby with a huge personality who taught me what fight and determination really are. I feel privileged to be his Mum, and would love to share his story with you.
So, Oscar’s Story is a little about raising awareness of congenital heart defects, a little about hearing negative news during pregancy, a little about what do when you are told your baby is going to die, and a lot about a 7lb something baby boy who lived for 23 days. A baby named Oscar, who was and always will be the centre of my world.
(even if his favourite thing was a rather ugly yellow duck!)