They expected their child to die but were shocked and overjoyed when their little boy opened their eyes and looked up at them.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on November 25, 2019. It has since been updated.
The months leading up to the birth of a baby is an emotional rollercoaster for the parents, filled with equal measures of excitement and nervousness. No effort is spared to ensure that their newborn a safe and loving world. They take pains to choose the right color for the nursery, their clothes, baby-proofing the house, finding the right stroller, but never do they imagine that they would have to bid farewell even before seeing their child grow up.
Greg and Chelsea Bedford from Leicester, UK were heartbroken when their baby, Oscar Bedford, was born blue and lifeless despite the doctor's best efforts. The doctors tried to make the baby breathe for 15 minutes before he actually did. However, the baby suffered from a condition, Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) - grade 3, which caused brain damage because of oxygen starvation in the meantime. The newborn was hooked to life support in the NICU at the Leicester Royal Infirmary and lived for another 32 hours. When an MRI was done, it was found that he is braindead and it was decided to take him off life support, according to his GoFundMe page.
"They said that after taking him off the incubator he would live for minutes or maybe just seconds," Chelsea, 26, told Leicester Mercury. She wanted her mother to be able to see her grandson so she held her baby to her chest and Facetimed her mother. That phone call turned around from being a tragic one to a positive one in seconds.
"She was in the middle of the Highcross when the call got through to her and as we were talking she saw Oscar open his eyes and she just screamed. His eyes were open for the first time and it was so surreal – it felt like a dream. I sat on the bed and shook my head like people do in films. It was amazing – the best feeling in the world – but I had to pinch myself," said the mother.
Once he gained consciousness, the baby was given his mother's milk, which livened him up. He was later admitted at the Rainbows Hospice for children for a month where he was eventually taken off the end-of-life plan and sent home.
While the parents love their now 18-month-old son, they know that he is not long for the world. However, the parents take joy that Oscar smiles, laughs, and responds to them. HIE causes permanent health problems and disorders such as cerebral palsy (CP), cognitive disabilities, epilepsy, hearing and vision impairments, and much more.
"He’s 18 months old now and he’s like a baby aged under three months but he smiles and he laughs and he loves lights, despite being partially blind. He loves his trips to Rainbows – he enjoys hearing new voices and listening to music. He really likes being held and he babbles a lot," said the mom, according to Mirror.
Due to the complications that arose during childbirth, their baby has a life-limiting form of epilepsy and it is not known how long he will live. "He was in intensive care a month ago and we thought we were going to lose him," the mom said in November 2019.
They have set up a GoFundMe page for help with treatments, physiotherapy, and equipment he may need. "I don’t know how long I’m going to have with him but while he’s here I feel he should have everything – especially after all he’s been through," she said.
The couple are expecting again and will have a little girl in February 2020. "He’s going to really enjoy having a little sister," Chelsea added.