COLORADO SPRINGS — October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month, and we’re following up on the Mika Hartman’s story of a high-risk pregnancy with her son Hudson.
You aren't given a nickname like "Hudson The Strong." It has to be earned.
When Hudson Hartman was born on April 12th, 2018, his heart wasn't fully formed, his lungs were not working right, and he was diagnosed with another complication of Down syndrome - transient leukemia.
Although Hudson’s mom, Mika Hartman, had made it through an extremely high-risk pregnancy and delivery, the challenges for her newborn son were only beginning.
Hudson spent the first month of his life in Children's Hospital Colorado. When he was three and a half months old, he had open-heart surgery. Mika says through it all, there have been many miracles big and small, and Hudson has overcome them all.
Living at altitude in Colorado Springs was difficult on Hudson’s heart, so his family – which includes a brother and his sister – decided to move to a lower elevation. His dad CJ, a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force, was able to arrange a transfer to Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi, and the family now lives in Ocean Springs, close to sea level. Hudson’s overall health has improved with the move.
Since leaving Colorado, the Hartmans have been keeping very busy. Hudson was named one of two grand marshals for the National Down Syndrome Society’s Buddy Walk in New York City in September. Mika calls it one of the best memories ever: “The opportunity was more beautiful than I can put into words, meeting our ‘family’ for the first time in a big crowd. The support, love, laughter and joy around this trip - Hudson was adorable and happy to be there. He could sense that he was around people that loved him, and that will want to be in his life from here on out.”
The Hartmans formed what the believe will be lifelong relationships. “I hope everyone calls me Aunt Mika someday, and I will do my best so they want to. We just had a beautiful weekend, no words to describe how beautiful it was, it was just a perfect weekend.” Hudson’s photo was also shown on Times Square’s giant digital billboard.
Mika, CJ and Hudson’s big brother and sister have embraced him in every way possible. Mika even got a new tattoo on her wrist. “October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month, and I got my ‘Lucky Few’ tattoo, which was really cool.”
After the Buddy Walk, the next adventure was a Halloween Disney Cruise. Mika says there were many costumes worn on the ship, including one featuring the colors of Down syndrome awareness: blue and yellow. “We were Ducky and Bunny from the new Toy Story 4. They are blue and yellow, which was perfect.”
Hudson also took part in the Jack Jack baby race. Mika says, “It was a bunch of babies crawling to see who was the fastest on the ship. Hudson did not win the race but he won lots of hearts with hundreds of people watching. He would stop and cheer for himself along the way and he was being so social and waiving and was just thrilled to be in front of so many faces.”
Mika says her new motto is “love conquers all.” Not some, not most, but all. She hopes by continuing to share their story, the lessons her family have learned can give hope to anyone who might also be given the news that they are pregnant with a child who has Down syndrome.
Mika says, “We are so proud of our new family. We are just blessed.”
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