Jamie's Little Lion

At 4am on July 24, 2013 my wife Erin was rushed into the delivery room. She tried to mask the pain with a smile and a few nervous jokes. She later told me if she wasn’t laughing, she would have been crying. Our baby’s heartbeat had gone down. They needed to get him out – fast. Erin delivered our baby by emergency cesarean section. He was born at only 25 weeks...

Alone and terrified, I waited.   Listening and praying for a sound – any sound. Yet, still no wail of a newborn baby, no cries from Erin.

After what seemed an eternity, they told me Erin was fine. However, there were complications with the baby. My heart sank.

The doctor put his hand on my leg.  He said the words no parent should ever have to hear. “I am so sorry,” he said, I don’t think your baby is going to make it… he hasn’t been breathing for 15 minutes.”

A million thoughts ran through my head — Would Erin survive this? Would we survive this? But I still had faith, I still prayed.

After a call to my mom, the doctor came back into the room.  “We have never seen this before,” he said. “After 18 minutes we were able to resuscitate your child.”

My wife Erin came out of her sedation and the next thing I remember we were in the Newborn ICU.  It was there I saw Greyson for the first time.

I am actually getting goose bumps as I type this – he was amazing – so perfect and at 1 lb, 14 oz, so teeny-tiny. I got my first picture of him and quietly feared it would be his only one. 

Each day is a new miracle and he’s come a long way. Would I wish this experience on anyone? Not on my worst enemy.  Yet I wouldn’t give it up for the world – our Little Lion is here and I love him and his mother more and more each day.

Greyson earned the nickname "Little Lion", as he was born under the Leo stars, but more importantly he has shown courage, determination and strength.   He fought through heart surgery, a brain hemorrhage, chronic lung disease and underdeveloped hearing and vision to develop into the healthy one year old he is today!  Watching him grow and fight has been inspiring to our family.

Being the parents of an extremely premature and tiny baby has been a roller coaster, the highs of the love we have for our beautiful son but also the lows of terrifying illnesses and complications.

Greyson wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the prayers of family and friends and the skill of the dedicated doctors and nurses at BC Women’s Newborn ICU.

But it takes more than skill and dedication to give babies like our son the best chance of a healthy life. 

During his stay in the Newborn ICU, Greyson was supported by the miracles of neonatal medicine and research, including the high-tech equipment needed to keep him alive and growing.

As parents and donors, we can help BC Women's provide the very best critical care to newborns and their families.

Please join us in giving to BC Women's to ensure that the Newborn ICU is always ready for babies like our son Greyson.

From the bottom of our hearts – thank you!




Jamie O’Neill

Photos from left to right:
1. The first photo taken of our baby boy.  I quietly feared it would be his only one.

2. Here he is just after he broke out of an induced coma. He looked up at my Godmother Jean and smiled at her like he had known her forever.  It made her cry.

3. Enjoying life outside - I love him more and more each day.

4. Our little lion, we're so proud of him.

Please make a donation this holiday season to help babies like Greyson.

Story and images by Jamie O'Neill

Top photo by Dan Ferguson, Langley Times