Three years ago today, at 5:25am, Oscar was born. He was 7lb9oz and most importantly born screaming. For the baby we were told may not survive being born this was amazing, and if I’m honest a complete shock. He was immediately placed in my arms and I just held him, expecting to see that “immediate struggle with breathing” and “best case scenario, you will have a few minutes with him” that we had been told about. Of course, as many of you know, no one told Oscar what he was supposed to do.
Oscar lived until he was 23 days old, and all of that time was spent in hospital.
For his first birthday, and each of the 23 days that followed I wrote a blog “Oscar’s Story.” Last year, I took that blog down because it contained too much personal information. Today, and for the next 23 days I will reproduce an edited version of that original blog here. For Oscar. Because no matter how much time passes, I will cherish every moment that he lived. I will always remember and I will always continue to tell people that he lived.
From my original blog:
“From the second he was born, my focus was on making memories. On taking in as much as I could, because in all honesty we assumed we would only have a few minutes.
I’m actually glad we didn’t know then that we would have days longer with him. I think, had we known that, I wouldn’t have taken as many photos in that first day and I likely wouldn’t have let my family spend as much time with him as they did.
I’m glad, instead, that I spent his birthday trying to learn everything about him. Below are just some of those things:
Oscar looked nothing like I imagined he would. This is one of the first pictures of him taken:
Obviously his eyes are brown. I was so sure they would be blue…I know most newborns eyes are blue, but since there are a lot of blue eyes in our families, I always pictured they would have stayed blue anyway. I’ve no idea where the Brown eyes came from, but they quickly became one of my favourite things about him.
He also seemed very alert on his first day. he was awake much more of the time than I expected. I imagined whatever short time we had he would spend most of asleep with a low-level of consciousness. Obviously no-one gave Oscar that memo:
Oscar found his thumb very quickly. I was a thumb sucker as a child (until I was far too old for it in fact) and I love that I got to see Oscar do the same…whether or not it was intentional, it made for a cute picture:
I always called this his “frowny face” and it was something that he really managed to perfect. Of course, what I’ve not mentioned until now is that wasnt what I originally called it. I called it his WTF face (and then realised that I probably shouldn’t be teaching a newborn to swear and swiftly renamed it!)
In fact, on Oscar’s first day I imagine he was very much like any other newborn. If it wasn’t for the fact that we knew his diagnosis, and we were placed in the hospital’s SANDS room, there may have been minutes that I could have forgotten what the future held for us.
When the nurse caring for us suggested we go outside I was a little confused as to why, and if I am being honest, I was exhausted and not overly keen on the idea. Now, I realise, it was to help us make memories and I am so glad that she suggested it.
I love the above photo, if only for the fact that Oscar had decided to keep the hat on his head for longer than 3 seconds. It is a well known fact that Oscar did not like hats. If one was put on his head, he would rub his head from side to side until the hat came off…right from the day he was born.
Excuse the bluriness, but I think these illustrate my point well:
I am so grateful that we had our one “perfect day.” That we got to spend the day holding and admiring our newborn, just like every other new family.”
What I didn’t write in that original blog, and something that I’ve never admitted is that I was actually convinced that when we went outside Oscar would decline in health. Even though I knew that Oscar was going to die, that nothing could be done, I actually felt safe in that hospital room. I could pretend that everything was okay and he was just like any other newborn. Of course I realised that he wasn’t; he was Oscar.
I wrote a letter to Oscar on his for his first birthday. It seems fitting I do the same now:
How has it been three years? It seems like yesterday and, at the same time, a lifetime ago. I can still imagine the softness of your skin under my fingers. I only have to shut my eyes, and I can picture your beautiful brown eyes so clearly.
Some days I feel that my world is so empty without you in it. You were such a small part of my entire life, yet you were and still are the biggest part.
I will always be your Mummy. Oscar’s Mummy is forever a part of my identity. I love to tell people about you. I still show people your photos. I probably always will. I am proud that you are mine.
I could torture myself with “what ifs”, in fact sometimes I do; but mostly I try to focus on what we had. You won’t ever age. I can’t really imagine what you would look like now. But, I know what you looked like when you lived, that I don’t ever plan on forgetting.
You were brave, you were strong and I will never forget that “Oscar’s way” is best.
I will always love you, my perfect boy.
Happy Birthday Oscar.
Today, there will be no presents, no cake, no party, no noisy three year old running around; just memories and thoughts of a very special little boy.