Christmas wish for Colne baby

Lancashire Telegraph: Natasha Whiteley with her son Oscar who has had severe medical problems Natasha Whiteley with her son Oscar who has had severe medical problems

A MUM whose son was born with cerebral palsy is praying her ‘little fighter’ will be home in time for Christmas.

Oscar Sebastian Jack Whiteley has already cleared one hurdle and defied medical expectations by coming out of intensive care a week after his brain was starved of oxygen during labour.

Now his family have overcome another obstacle after securing a new home big enough to cope with the specialist equipment needed to give him round-the-clock care.

He has not been allowed home before by doctors because his family’s home in Varley Street, Colne, is too small.

Mum, Natasha, praised the community for helping her to raise enough money to start renting the more spacious house.

Oscar, who weighed in at 6lb 13oz on September 10, spent a week in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Burnley General Hospital after midwives struggled to find his heartbeat.

He also suffers from hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), which means he has an inadequate supply of oxygen to the brain.

Miss Whiteley, 25, said: “He had severe oxygen deprivation during labour.

“He can’t suck or swallow and he had seizures which he’s on daily medication for. He had 40 seizures a day when he was born, brought on by a chemical imbalance in his brain.

“The doctors said he will be dependent on mine and my family’s care for the rest of his life.

“It was touch and go at the beginning – there was a while when there was no oxygen and no blood supply going through to his brain at all. It was hour-by-hour.”

Because Oscar cannot feed from a bottle he will need a gastrostomy, an opening allowing him to be fed directly into his stomach, when he is older.

Miss Whiteley has been told her privately-rented, two-storey terrace home - where she lives with her mum Tracie Prior, stepdad Shaun Bellingham, her younger sisters Amber, 15, and Millie, 14, and her nephew Harley, three - is too small to cope with the expert equipment Oscar will rely on.

She said: “He’ll require a machine and we can’t just leave it on overnight in case he’s sick, that’s why we or the nurses need to be around him.

“On the physio side of things he needs a special bed, a special cot and special chairs which are impossible in this house.”

Miss Whiteley, who has separated from Oscar’s father, said the first week of his life was ‘absolutely horrible’.

She said: “I had a completely low-risk pregnancy. I didn’t have morning sickness or any problems whatsoever. All my checks and scans were fine.

“I was in labour for seven-and-a-half hours. They checked me at 7.30am and everything was fine. When she checked again at 7.45am, it took the midwife five minutes to find his heartbeat.

“She pressed the panic button and they rushed me to the birth suite and I had an emergency caesarean. I went to sleep and woke up in recovery. My first question was: ‘Where’s Oscar?’”

“They told me he was in intensive care and needed help breathing. His consultant came in and told me they didn’t know what was wrong.

“The first week was absolutely horrible, sitting there with the doctors and you don’t know what’s happened. You blame yourself. I couldn’t do anything.

“But I had faith in him. I turned to my mum and said that as long as I got to take him out of hospital I didn’t mind if he was disabled. As long as I get to take him home, that’s all that bothers me.”

Miss Whiteley, a former student at Nelson and Colne College and Pleckgate High School, Blackburn, will have to quit her factory job to care for Oscar.

She has a meeting with doctors tomorrow (TUESDAY DEC 10) to find out if Oscar is well enough to be allowed out of hospital for the first time.

She said: “I’m hoping he’s home for Christmas, that’s the dream, but they won’t let him come here.

“It’s affected my family quite a lot. My sisters and nephew have been losing out because me and my mum have been at hospital so much.”

Miss Whiteley hopes to move into her new home, in Skipton Road, thanks to the help of Albert Road firm Manor Property Management, which has allowed her to put down a deposit in instalments in the hope that Oscar will be out of hospital sooner.

Toddle In Private Day Nursery, in Brook Street, which Miss Whiteley’s nephew attends, has also planned a fundraiser for Oscar.

She said: “We had a donation page on Facebook which raised £150 off my friends and even complete strangers. We’re so thankful to them.”

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