Our Little Warrior – one of my favourite stories

Written by AHQ

29 September 2014

Sometimes I have to wait a while before I publish a story. This is one of those times.   Actually I meant to publish this story earlier this year just after I went to Melbourne but must have been distracted with lots of of other things happening so now is the time. 

In the middle of last year, while Tarin Kowt was still active, I received a request from a fellow called Lyndsay.  

Hello Ladies, 

I was hoping you could make a quilt that might be a out of the order of your charter. 

My niece and her husband are expecting their first child soon; however, there will be some significant complications. The boy will be born with his bowel outside his stomach and there is a lot concern around the family. 

I was hoping to show Allison and her husband the love and support the Army’s extended family can provide with an Australian Army themed quilt. Their stresses and needs are far greater than anything I am experiencing, and as I  tell them, ‘Focus on your battles and not mine, I’ve been doing this job long enough to keep myself safe and well enough”

I hope you can make an exception for Allison.

Thank you, 

Well we didn’t really need to make an exception as the recipients are welcome to ask for a quilt to be made for themselves or for someone else if that is what moves them.  If that is how we can show them that we support them then it is no problem.  

I put out a call and before long Emma and her mother Sarah put their hands up to make this very special quilt.  This was a team effort and Debbie sent down a length of suitably army themed fabric and work began.  

As time went by Lyndsay kept us posted with updates 

The baby was due late July; however as I’ve found out this morning, he is being induced on 04 Jul.   I have kept the quilt quiet from Allison, but I have spoken to her sister and she will keep it “Mum”  about it too. 
Once again, thank you very much for your huge hearts and help. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any further info, 
Warmest thoughts, 
Then on the night of the 2nd of July my phone rang with an NO CALLER ID Number.  It was Lyndsay with great news.  The baby had been born, corrective surgery performed and both mother and baby were doing well.  As luck would have it there was just time to add the baby’s name to the quilt before it was quilted.    As you can see the quilt is double sided. 

He was called Oscar which means “Little Warrior”.  

Lyndsay and I agreed that it would be appropriate that Sarah and Emma deliver the quilt in person.  Sarah and I had discussed this as an option but had held off until we knew all was ok. Now arrangements were made for both Sarah and Emma to visit the hospital and new mum, Allison, the next day. The way I remember Sarah telling me the story is that she and Emma walked into Allison’s room and told her they had a present for her from her Uncle Lyndsay.  

Allison was incredulous and exclaimed “What?  From Afghanistan?”.  

Sarah and Emma explained the story and gave Allison the quilt.  They spent a short while talking to Allison and then after a couple of photos they left her to rest, still with the quilt spread over her.   These photos were sent to Lyndsay.

Any involvement with this quilt had been a privilige but receiving Lyndsay’s email was the icing on the cake.

Hi Emma, Sarah and Jan-Maree. 

Yesterday I was so gob smacked and so choked up I was without words.  I had to wait ’til today to email a response because last night I just wanted to say so much that it would have come across as a jumbled mess!

The quilt is magnificent, even Jason’s coat of many colours would be pale against it!  I harangued all the soldiers who came into the office to show them, all had the same resounding response of  ‘Awesome’, and’ wow’.   Emma, you ‘nailed it’ for sure –  the notion, the material gathering, the design, the effort, the time you have put into the quilt must have been enormous  to achieve this astounding outcome. Sarah, thank you for supporting Em and with the delivery to the Hospital. Jan-Maree, what can I  say?  I bet you feel particularly fortunate to have such able and wonderful members in your group. 

Allison’s husband sent me a message last night expressing his and Alli’s appreciation. I’ll get to chat with Alli probably when she gets out of hospital. 

Allison’s sister sent me an email this morning:      

‘I spoke to Allison on the phone late last night and she was thrilled with the quilt and all the work done by so many people to make it. She said Sarah and Emma were lovely and that she is hoping to place the quilt on Oscar’s crib today for a photo. I am going to visit tonight and am very excited to see it too 🙂 I am glad the delivery went to plan – wasn’t the personalisation of the quilt lovely and the fact they hand delivered.  Now I’m tearing up too!’  

When I get a copy of the pic I will forward it to you asap. 

Ladies, I have to head off for some tasks now, but I will get back to you soon. 

Thank you again from all of my family, 

We loved the pic of the quilt on the humidicrib.

6 July 

Lyndsay spoilt us with lots of photos of Oscar’s progress. 

The quality of the photos is not always great but they are good enough to see Oscar making gains.

15 July

15 July 

Sometimes we received some of Allison’s updates as well 

Oscar is doing so well- so much has been happening! He’s up to 33 ml every 3 hours, which is increasing every 6 hours by 3 ml (he’s allowed to breast feed for two sessions a day and the rest through the naso-gastric tube), he no longer needs to be aspirated, or have a saline drip, they are taking him off IV TPN (Total Parental Nutrition) today and he has been putting on weight too. Also changed doctor teams yesterday so now he’s in the Special Care Nursery Team instead of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit- which is for less serious babies. 

Bill and I are spending as much time as we can at the hospital but came home early last night for a 9 o’clock dinner. We are able to change nappies (up to 4th poo now) and can take his temperature, and feed him through the naso-gastric tube, burp him and most importantly cuddle him and read and sing to him. 

We’re staying cautiously optimistic but things are progressing quite quickly -he needs to be on about 60ml every 3 hours to be feeding enough. We’re beginning to think its time to have the car seat installed – just in case : D

22 July 

Hi Guys,

Just a couple of updates – All’s going very well!

Busy week at the hospital – Oscar’s on full feeds now but is having some troubles tolerating them so the doctors want to keep monitoring him. It’s pretty up and down and changes from feed to feed, but we knew this would be the tricky part and it will take time. It is great that his long line is out and we can dress him properly now. Cuddles are the highlight of our days : )

Oscar is doing really well.  The naso-gastric tube had been out a couple days and is tolerating his feeds with only a couple not so colourful vomits. We’ve just had news that I can ‘room in’ at the hospital for a couple of days : ) Great to be close to my son!

On 24 July we received my favourite photo with this caption!

OMG! I can’t believe I’m finally at home

And one final update and photo from Lyndsay from Tarin Kowt.  

I thought you might like this sweet picture.

 Work is quite busy at the moment with remediation deadlines looming. You may have seen the PM on TV today. He was in TK yesterday, with Therese and the CDF (LT GEN Hurley). I was able to have a brief chat to Therese.

Anyway, back to the grindstone, will chat a bit later.

Warmest  thoughts,

When I knew I was heading to Melbourne and would be catching up with Sarah for coffee I emailed Lyndsay, now home in Australia and asked him for an update on Oscar. He was pleased to hear us and passed our message on to Alli.

I was a little afraid that I had left it too late but Alli’s email arrived just in time for me to share the update with Sarah.  

So good to hear from you and have a chance to update you, Sarah and Emma on how everything is going. Oscar is doing great – chasing me around the room while I try to write this and even managed to delete Lyndsay’s email. 
Oscar’s initial surgery was an absolute success and he recovered really quickly – record time in fact. We were able to bring him home at three weeks but had a set back at 5 weeks when he became quite unwell and had to have emergency surgery for a suspected bowel obstruction. Thankfully they found the issue but the recovery was much tougher that time. 
The email was accompanied with a gorgeous selection of photos.

And a last word from Allison…
Since then we’ve had a couple of scares but he is going great. He’s crawling everywhere and is a happy, gorgeous little boy that’s just celebrated his first birthday with the news that we’re expecting a little brother or sister for him in January!
Thankyou again for the beautiful quilt- it’s very special and Oscar will learn how all about its story as he grows.
I think this will be one of my favourite AHQ stories for a while.
Till next time…………..keep spreading the word and happy stitching!  
Jan-Maree  xx

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  1. Sue Niven

    A wonderful story, thank you and i wish Oscar and his family all the love and best wishes.


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