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Hudson, Waiting for The Gift of Life

There are more than 2,100 children in the United States waiting for a life-saving organ transplant.

This is the story of Hudson, waiting for a heart transplant, submitted by his parents, Tori and Theodore DeMartini.

We went into our 20 week ultrasound not expecting anything unusual. When the sonographer was spending a lot of time looking at the chest and we noticed a lot of black where the heart should be my wife asked the sonographer if something was wrong. She said, “Yes, it looks like hypoplastic left heart.” It took the remaining months of the pregnancy to grieve for the fact that our son Hudson would be born with half a heart and to prepare for what came after birth: open heart surgeries at 5 days, 4 months, and two years. Between the first two surgeries there were feeding difficulties, weekly visits to the cardiologist, and the constant terror of sudden death.

After his third surgery (plus another chest exploration to wash out an infection), we were home to finish two weeks of IV antibiotics and then on to normal life. We had just moved to Pennsylvania and it felt like our hardships were behind us. Then, six months after his last surgery, Hudson seemed more tired and he was starting to get puffy.

We were admitted to the hospital and his echocardiogram showed that his heart function was severely decreased. At the time we hoped that this was just a temporary issue due to an acute illness. After a few weeks in the hospital on medication his function was better, but still far from normal. The plan was made for Hudson to go home and be listed for a heart transplant.

If there ever was a child who was made for these challenges, it is Hudson. He is strong and brave, but also unimaginably sweet. From the time he was a newborn in the hospital he would watch and engage with others and connect in a way that I have not seen any other baby do. When it is time for an IV or a shot Hudson will cry and let you know he doesn’t like it, but he has never held a grudge against any nurse.

Hudson is a chatter box, loves to play and will give hugs to any person or animal within reach. We always knew that Hudson would need a transplant at some point but we never thought it would be so soon. He needs a heart transplant so that he can keep being the wonderful little boy that he has already become. He needs a heart so that he can continue to be clever, funny and sweet. Hudson needs a heart because he has done so much with just a half that I can’t imagine what he would do with a whole.