Other than some low-lying placenta, Louise had a standard pregnancy. Our baby Oscar’s heartbeat was strong, and all our scans were normal.
At six months pregnant, Lou really did not feel well. On Sunday 25 April 2021, we went to hospital because we were so worried, but we were sent home. Then, five days later, on the Friday, Lou noticed she was bleeding, and we rang emergency services. We were rushed to hospital in an ambulance.
From there, things progressed quickly. We were told that Oscar’s heartbeat was very irregular so he would be delivered soon. Three hours later, he was born via caesarean. He was only 2lb 7oz and he needed to be resuscitated. It was very quick and chaotic. Lou was also struggling, she had lost a lot of blood during the procedure.
That night Oscar was transferred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge and although it was difficult to leave Lou, I followed the ambulance in my car. Initially I wasn’t able to see Oscar in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and I spent a very restless night sleeping in a hospital chair, worrying about my son and my wife. Honestly, those hours are such a blur.
At 8AM, after a full night in the hospital chair, the doctors came to speak to me. By this point I had been awake for over 24 hours and I don’t remember much of what was said. Later that day, Lou managed to get to Addenbrooke’s Hospital and I went home to try and get some sleep. I was so tired.
I had about four or five hours sleep before I was woken up by the worst phone call of my life. Oscar had a bleed on his brain. I have never felt so much pain in my life. 40 minutes is a long way to travel when you get news like that. My mum drove me to the hospital because of how tired I still was.
I managed to pack a few things for Lou, but I didn’t have anything for myself. Not even a change of clothes. On Sunday, 48 whirlwind hours after Oscar was born, the nurses put us in contact with Chestnut House, run by The Sick Children’s Trust, and we were kindly given a room to stay in, free of charge.
We live relatively close to the hospital, but for that first week half an hour would have been the difference between seeing Oscar alive or not. We were living day by day, hour by hour, and we needed to be there all the time.
We stayed in Chestnut House for a few days while Oscar got through the most critical period. We were able to stay on site, never more than a few minutes away. Sometimes Lou would go and sit with Oscar in the middle of the night when she couldn’t sleep. We could also finally eat some home-cooked food after a long weekend of living on snacks from the hospital. I cooked some pork and apple sausages for us with mashed potato and sugar snap peas.
It isn’t something that you think about until it happens to you, but we are so grateful that The Sick Children’s Trust could keep us near Oscar during his hours of need.
Oscar spent seven weeks in NICU recovering. He was always showing us his feisty personality When he was put on oxygen to help him breathe, he decided he did not need it and kept pulling the tubes out of his nose until the nurse gave up and let him breathe the air on his own. Later down the line, when we were introducing him to oral feeds, he decided he did not need the feeding tube and again kept pulling it out. He hasn’t needed any support for his breathing or feeding since.
The bleed on his brain thankfully did not spread. There is some damage as a result, but we do not know what the long term effects will be and we will need to see how he gets on in his first year of life.
Oscar is a fighter and he never gave up on himself– myself and Lou certainly didn’t either. After seven weeks in NICU and a further 6 weeks in Hinchingbrooke hospital, we are so pleased that Oscar is now back at home, enjoying spending time with his grandparents and having lots of cuddles and feeds!
Edward Rewse, Oscar’s dad