On the 5th of October 2018, we found out that we were expecting our first baby. In what we would know to be true Hudson style, he was full of surprises and had already hung out on the inside for 18 weeks and 5 days without us knowing!
Instead of the “let’s wait to tell people” it was a “shit, we need to tell everyone before this baby magically appears”... and magically appeared he did.. 6 weeks later to the day - loved a Friday this boy, but Thursdays were really not his thing... or the number 6 but that it a wholeeeeee other story!
Little Hudson was born on the 16th of November 2018 at 24+5 weeks gestation. He was 750g and 33.5cm long - a “good size”.
Other than a pesky PDA, premmie lungs and a suspected infection or two we had a fairly uneventful NICU journey. Ok that makes it sound like a walk in the park.. it wasn’t.. it was hell.. having to say “see you tomorrow” everyday and leave him in the care of people who were the only ones that knew how to keep him alive.. not you... however, our outcomes were better than many and he was a growing and determined little dude.
Fast forward 116 days, we finally got to go home after an agonising wait for a week to get his hernia repaired - it was our ticket out of there and we were so ready to be an “at home” family!
We encountered a really nasty patch that started with refusal at the breast.. then refusal of the bottle.. then projectile vomits that were worthy of an Olympic gold medal! However, we kept hearing “oh it’s only reflux” ... “all babies have reflux” ... “he will just grow out of it”... *insert gigantic eye roll here*... well after a few hospital admissions, put on reflux medications, doctors becoming concerned that he hadn’t grown or put on weight in a long time etc etc etc. we had the NGT re inserted. This was a blessing as we weren’t having to work to get him to feed from the bottle BUTTT the vomiting got worse and worse and worse. His breathing began to worsen, every breath becoming more laboured until it looked like he was running a marathon just whilst lying down or sleeping. Concerned it was getting worse I took him to ED. We were admitted for 12 days for investigations where the only reason they could give me was that he had a virus... yet he was happy, full of energy... just breathing terribly. For months we put up with his reflux, projectile vomiting and washing his clothes, our clothes and his sheets several times a day. We were scared to have him in the car as he would begin to choke when he was vomiting due to the angle he sat at... until we were finally referred to a respiratory specialised... well Hudson does like to make an impression on people and after a few visits of being cute, Hudson showed his true colours and projectile vomited all over his office, as well as had one of his scary choking episodes. He was aspirating his vomit every time, and our doctor was mortified that his “just reflux” had been brushed off for so long. This was our reason for his breathing deteriorating.. not a virus.. We were again admitted where we spent just over a week for them to completely stop his vomiting so that it was safe for him to go home. This meant a TPT (Transpyloric Tube) and home oxygen to help take the pressure off of his even more damaged lungs.
This was our saving grace. Although at the time it felt like we had taken a billion steps backwards, little did we know that we would take some huge steps forward! Just days after not vomiting Hudson out a rusk in his mouth. This was the first time anything but his teddy had been in his mouth.. and of course, I cried tears of joy!
Slowly we made progress towards eating. It involved mess, over-excitement of how delicious food was (even when it was the worlds plainest cracker), and countless items of food thrown on the floor for the dog to eat (if you don’t have a dog already - get one, they’re amazing cleaners and I can highly recommend labradors! ?). We went from his TPT back to a normal NGT... and he continued to try new things but custard was his currency!
Fast forward a year later and the feeding team said the words I never thought I would hear... let’s pull it... for a moment I was unsure what they were pulling.. maybe his arms and legs to make him longer?! But no, they were talking about the tube! It came out and it hasn’t gone back in! Although his weight gain isn’t fabulous and we have been struck by illness and pesky teeth coming through, I feel so “normal” now and it’s amazing. He may be small, but hell he is determined and will fight with everything he’s got. At the end of the day, he will be one heck of a jockey if he still weighs under 9kgs by his 18th birthday!!
He is about to turn 2, and my goodness - that fighting spirit that got him through the tough times in NICU sure does make for one hell of a toddler. He is incredibly funny, he is so expressive in terms of the faces he pulls and he loves to make people laugh. To my busy little mountain goat, could you please stop climbing onto everything and slow down time - you are amazing!
I’m running this marathon over the month because these incubator saved his life. He endured so much, and if he can do that.. then I can run a couple of kms to help raise the money needed to buy more of them. You are my inspiration little man - thank you for opening up my world and allowing me to meet so many incredible families along this journey!