A mum has entered the new year heartbroken after losing her nine-month-old son, her only child, on New Year’s Eve.
Little Oscar Wren Williams was born with a severe heart defect, needing multiple open heart surgeries shortly after birth.
Despite this his mum, Hollie Williams, said her little boy had always faced life with a smile which brightened up their Christmas Day.
But now it is the memory of this smile that a devastated Hollie Williams, and Oscar’s dad, Joe Lee, are clinging onto, as they come to terms with the loss of their beloved baby boy.
“He had the best Christmas. He woke up smiling, the whole day he just smiled,” Hollie told Coventry Live.
“Then it just happened so fast, he just deteriorated in front of us so fast, you blinked and he just changed.
“We knew that there may be a chance that he might not make it, but we never thought it would be this soon.
“We just wanted more time with him.”
The couple, who live in Coventry, knew early on in the pregnancy that their baby had a heart defect, and he was monitored closely every week until he was born on March 31 last year.
When he was born he was diagnosed with Tricuspid atresia, which is where the valve that controls blood flow from the right upper chamber of the heart to the right lower chamber of the heart doesn’t form at all.
“We found out at the 20-week scan, then referred to Birmingham Children’s Hospital and we had a check-up every week on his development until he was born,” explained first-time mum Hollie.
“Then when he was born we were transferred from Coventry hospital to Birmingham Children’s Hospital and he underwent his first surgery, which was keyhole, at 24 days.
“We were told to prepare that he would possibly need two major open heart surgeries and one keyhole, but we weren’t prepared for the constant in and out of hospital, being so worried, all of the ambulance trips, then he had to have emergency open heart surgery which was not planned.”
The emergency surgery was needed after medics found that the shunt which had been put into his heart was blocked.
“He wasn’t getting any blood flow so they had to take him in for an emergency operation then and during that surgery they cut his vocal chords so he had vocal paralysis so he was NG tube fed from then,” she explained.
In between the hospital trips, the family made the most of their time: “We managed to have a little celebration for Father’s Day and his dad’s birthday.
“We would go from being okay for a bit, then if he got an infection it was major for him.
“But no matter what he went through, he came out smiling. He had open heart surgery and even though he was on a ventilator he still tried to crack a smile.”
Having spent much of October and November in the ICU, the family were able to spend their first Christmas together at home – but then tragedy struck.
“We had the community nurse came round on the Thursday (December 29). Everything was fine but he had lost 300 grams in weight,” said Hollie.
“Because we had a cardiac baby, we have to phone Birmingham if there is anything that is a bit off.
“So the community nurse phoned Birmingham and they were not concerned about his weight as long as his breathing was the same and his heart rate was the same.”
The community nurse arranged to visit again the next day, but this appointment did not take place as Oscar had taken a devastating turn for the worse.
“By the time they were due to come for the appointment, we were already going to the hospital because he just wouldn’t wake up. He was cold but he was sweaty,” Hollie explained.
“When we got there they tried everything. They couldn’t get into his veins.
“As they phoned Birmingham (hospital) to see if they wanted him to be transferred there, his heart just stopped. They tried for about an hour to bring him back but we lost him.”
The loss of their son is still raw, so raw in fact that it has yet to sink in properly.
“Because we are so used to him being in hospital, and him staying there, it just feels like we have left him in hospital,” she said.
“We can still go back and see him in the morgue. It just feels like we are popping in to see him because he doesn’t look dead, he looks like he is sleeping. It hasn’t actually sunk in yet.”
They have yet to arrange his funeral as they are waiting an inquest.
Hollie added: “You never think you will have to bury your own child.”
Faced with the heartache of losing their child, the family are asking the community for help to give him ‘the best send-off anyone could ask for’.