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Oscar's story

16th January 2015

Oscar was just three weeks old when he became very lethargic and unresponsive, wouldn’t feed and had an unusual cry and mottled skin. His worried mother Vicky, from Eccles in Greater Manchester, phoned her health visitor, who advised her to rush Oscar straight to hospital

Oscar's story

“Oscar was a very content baby who usually fed extremely well.

The day he became poorly he had been with my mum whilst I went to the doctors and had some mummy and daughter time with my little girl Ruby.

When I picked Oscar up all seemed well and he was fast asleep in his pram. On the way home we got stuck in really bad traffic and this is when Oscar began to become distressed. His cry was a cry I'd never heard from him before. I assumed it was down to him being hungry as he was due a bottle so once we arrived home I placed him in his Moses basket whilst I made his bottle.

I began to wash and dress him ready for bed and something just didn't seem okay, he didn't look like his usual self, he was quite unresponsive and very pale. My partner Michael reassured me that he was probably just hungry and tired. I tried him with his bottle and he wasn't even opening his mouth and by now was making a strange moaning sound."

Something wasn’t right

“Immediately my instincts told me something wasn't right so I phoned my midwife. I informed her that Oscar had a temperature of 38.4 and told her about his other symptoms. She advised me to get him straight to hospital, so we packed a bag and jumped straight in the car.

Once we arrived at hospital we were asked to wait and he was so silent and still in my arms, we genuinely believed it was possibly a cold or something. We were sent to a little room where they checked Oscar over, I remember the nurse pricking his finger for some blood and he didn't even flinch.

This is when things took a turn for the worse, she made a phone call and a minute later three doctors came into the room. We were taken to the children's unit and put into a private room. Slowly it began to sink in that something was really wrong. I remember holding an oxygen mask over my baby boy’s mouth whilst doctor were putting wires into him and trying to get blood and wee samples from him and still I was telling myself it's just a cold.

By now the room was full with doctors and nurses and the atmosphere was quite tense. I was heartbroken. He was transferred to the resus department, where a whole team was working on him. We were sent to the family and friends room as they informed me that they was going to have to drill into his bone to get the antibiotics into him and that it would be too distressing to watch."

It felt like a lifetime

“We were in there for over two hours whilst they worked on stabilising my baby. It felt like a lifetime. I kept telling my partner I can't say goodbye to him. A doctor came in to talk about Oscar and that's when he told us the shattering news, they weren't 100% sure and they still needed to do more tests but he was being treated for meningitis. We were also told that he was very unstable but he's a little fighter.

We finally got to see our little boy and I didn't recognise him. He was in an incubator waiting to be transferred to Manchester Children's hospital, he was on a life support machine and there were wires and tubes everywhere. His little body looked battered and bruised.

The ride to the children's hospital was the worst journey of my life. I was certain something was going to happen to him but thankfully he stayed stable and we managed to get there. I still find it very difficult when I see ambulances as it brings the most awful of memories back to me.

When we arrived I was separated from Oscar whilst they admitted him to the intensive care unit and stabilised him once again. After another agonisingly long wait we got to see our baby again and I just remember him being surrounded by many doctors who were all working so hard to save him."

I blamed myself

“Over the next few days Oscar deteriorated. He remained quite unstable and they did a number of tests on him including CAT scans, lumbar punctures and blood tests. It was confirmed, Oscar had bacterial meningitis. I was devastated, I blamed myself and spent hours going through everything I could have done differently. I now know there's absolutely nothing you can do to prevent this and I did nothing wrong!

Things took a turn for the worse and Oscar started developing seizures. This was horrendous to see, he was eventually put on the right medication that seemed to control these. He remained stable for the next week or so and slowly but surely Oscar went from strength to strength. He was brought off the life support machine and awoken and I got my very first cuddles.

He was moved onto the high dependency ward where he had his first bottle in nearly two weeks and we were then moved onto a ward where I could sleep right next to him. All was going so well and then I was informed that his MRI scan had shown that Oscar had been left with minor brain damage. We won’t know what this means for Oscar until he starts developing and growing.

Once again my world fell apart. I felt I should just be so grateful my baby survived, but I just couldn't help but worry about whether he was going to be okay."

The happiest day of my life

“After nearly a month in hospital we were allowed home. It was the happiest day of my life, I am very lucky to have been able to walk out of the hospital with my baby in my arms.

Over the next few months Oscar was slowly weaned off his seizure medicine and to this day has never had another, although we continue to keep a very close eye on this. He has had many development and hearing tests and to say he is doing amazingly well is an understatement. He is developing fantastically, he's walking and trying to talk, he's a very social and happy baby and as of yet we have absolutely no concerns about him.

He is now 14 months old without a care in the world and we are so very thankful to all the doctors and nurses who saved his life and for all the information and support we've had since from Meningitis Now.

Oscar had no rash that you get warned about with meningitis. If it wasn't for his high temperature I probably wouldn't have phoned the health visitor. I thank God I went with my instincts because I am certain if we would have left him any longer we wouldn't be able to call ourselves so lucky right now.

In the early days I found it very difficult to come to terms with what had happened to Oscar, particularly his brain damage.

I contacted Meningitis Now for advice and support and they were fantastic with me and very understanding. I’d recommend everyone does the same."