‘He was such a warrior’: Mom’s harrowing account of her 4-year-old’s THREE open heart surgeries
“My son Hudson has Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS).
After having the typical pregnancy and birthing experience (doctors and hospitals) with our first born, Jensen, we decided to do things a bit different and more on my terms, so we hired a mid-wife and doula. We planned to only have one ultrasound at 20 weeks just to make sure everything was all good and on track with the wee one. The appointment started out like every other ultrasound I had been to, full of excitement to hear our babe’s heartbeat, a regular screening — until the end, when the lady told me I would need to book a follow up appointment because she couldn’t see the left side of the heart due to the position of the baby. Looking back, I think she was just trying to not worry us.
We booked another ultrasound for the following week at the major ultrasound clinic in town and within the first five minutes the tech asked why we weren’t sent to the high-risk clinic in Calgary (about an hour south of Red Deer). I asked why and she said she had to go get a doctor. After painfully waiting for 10 minutes, a doctor came in and told us that our baby’s left side of his heart looked as if it was not going in relation to the right and that we needed to go to Calgary for a more extensive ultrasound with better equipment. That was difficult to hear but I was convinced at that point that they would tell us that it was just a mistake, and everything was fine.
The next 4 weeks were hell.
We traveled every Wednesday to Calgary for ultrasound after ultrasound (so much for only wanting one) to track Hudson’s progress. The first four appointments were ALL bad news.
Each time was something different. Confirmation that yes, the left side of his heart was too small, and he did indeed have Hypoplastic left heart syndrome. Next time, it was that he had no echogenic bowel, but now had a plural effusion (water around his lungs). Then it was that the plural effusion had doubled on the left, so we might have to fly to Toronto to have a shunt put in to alleviate that fluid. And the worst one: it looked like he might have Trisomy 18 and they would not do any invasive procedures (i.e. heart surgery) because he would only survive for up to two weeks.
I don’t remember what she said after that.
I was done. I was defeated. I needed to get my mind off everything and the only way I knew how was through photography. I have been a professional family photographer since 2010 and diving into work was the only thing that saved me. It gave me an escape, something to look forward to when we were finally able to bring our boy home from the hospital, even though he had not even been born yet.
I went into to every ultrasound with a positive attitude in hopes to hear good news, but was kicked down every time.
…Until Feb 23… week 31 of my pregnancy
But most importantly, to my sweet Hudson: never lose your passionate nature or your goofy smile, continue being your fearless self and above all, be kind and compassionate to others. Rage on little dude, rage on!”
by Jayme Ford, mother to Hudson and founder of in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada.
Credits: The Paper Deer Photography
Submitted by: alex
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