Mika and Hudson’s Journey


Now for part two of a story we brought you on Friday about an Ocean Springs mother fighting for her life during pregnancy.

In part one we told you about the insertion of a pacemaker into Mika Hartman’s neck caused by heart failure, the pacemaker allowed Hartman to carry her son Hudson to full term.

- Advertisement -

That was just half the battle as Hudson began to experience a multitude of problems.

“Those first two week of life we learned that Hudson had transient leukemia. We learned that he had hypothyroidism. We learned that he needed oxygen. He needed monitoring. He was having trouble feeding. His lungs were filling up because his heart wasn’t working properly. So, we had to start him on Lasix and there was just a lot of moving parts.”

After fighting off the leukemia in his first five weeks of life, Hudson’s heart complications forced him to spend six weeks in the NICU at Children’s Hospital Colorado before being allowed to go home. “Bringing him home was basically waiting for his heart to fail. They said it would fail between two months and five months of life and at three and a half months, he showed signs that he was in heart failure himself.”

The only option left for Hudson would an open heart surgery, which can be dangerous for children that young. Hudson prevailed and signs pointed toward the start of a semi-normal life for the eight-month old. That was until the Hartman’s took a trip up the mountains in Colorado. “As we drove up the mountain, his oxygen went down. The further we drove up, the more low it went, even on oxygen.”

After meeting with Hudson’s doctor, it was recommended that the Hartman’s move, as Hudson would not benefit by living somewhere nearly a mile above sea level.

Knowing they had to make a change, Mika’s husband, C.J., reached out to Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, hoping to be allowed to transfer there.

After getting approved, the Hartman’s sold their dream home in Colorado and moved to Ocean Springs. “After living here, Hudson showed all signs that we made the absolute positive move. He was not sitting independently. He was not crawling. He was not doing any of the big boy signs because his heart was not acting properly at altitude.”

While Hudson does need a G-tube to eat, he lives a mostly normal life, doing everything that a 16-month-old should do. “He’s a rock star. He loves music. He’ll get to banging his head and he goes all out. He’s so fun to watch and his new fun thing is kisses. You say kisses to him and he gets those puckered little lips and he’s just so excited to kiss you and he’s so proud of himself for doing it. He’s got this cute clap that he claps with his wrist and he’s just all excited for kissing.”

That personality helped gain the attention of the National Down Syndrome Society, who has named Hudson grand marshal of their ‘Buddy Walk’ in New York City next month.

Mika is excited for Hudson’s opportunity and hopes their story will have an impact on someone willing to listen. “I’ll be looking out at thousands of faces of beautiful people with Down syndrome and just, what a view, what an amazing opportunity. I’ll get to introduce myself to our new family.”

If you would like to sponsor one of the 2,000 participants for the Buddy Walk, visit ndss.org to donate.