The Struggles the Miracles: Hudson's Journey


May 1, 2019

Hudson Baumgarn sits with some of the donations that the Big Sandy Community have donated for his trip to the Seattle Children's Hospital.

It's time once again for Hudson Baumgarn, son of Colby and Rachael Baumgarn, to have his third open heart surgery at the age of four. Hudson has Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS) and without medicines and the series of three surgeries to rebuild the heart, babies with HLHS won't survive. The left side of the heart can't be fixed so the goal of the surgeries is to rebuild parts of the heart and redirect the way blood flows.

The third surgery in the series for Hudson is called the Fontan Procedure's. According to, because Hudson only has half a heart, "the goal is to make blood from the lower part of the body go directly to the lungs. This lets the blood pick up oxygen without having to pass through the heart. In babies with hypolastic left heart syndrome, low-oxygen blood from the lower part of the body mixes with high-oxygen blood. After the Fontan procedure, low-oxygen blood and high oxygen blood no longer mix. This lets the heart deliver only high-oxygen blood to the body. The Fontan procedure involves redirecting blood flow from the lower body to the lungs. Blood from the lower body now goes to the pulmonary artery, and then to the lungs, without having to go to the heart. The right ventricle remains the main pump and now just sends blood coming back from the lungs with oxygen out of the body." Colby knows it's all going to work out. Although he knows what will happen medically during surgery, he also knows it's an incredible procedure that has worked continually for 48 years. The first surgery was first performed in France by Dr. Fontan in 1971.

Rachael Baumgarn said they discovered Hudson's condition while she was still pregnant between 26 or 28 weeks. "We gave ourselves a day to feel sorry for ourselves and then we said what's next." His first surgery was when he was five days old. His second surgery was when he was six months old. "The only one who doesn't know there is something wrong with him is Hudson. He knows he has to go to surgery, and he knows he has half a heart, and he knows he has a special heart. He has been getting more tired, easier, right now, that's why we have the double stroller. He's going to be out in the world. So, after this surgery we'll let him fly." This surgery will not heal him, but will let him live more normally. According to Rachael, "his oxygen will be his normal at 83. We can go days without thinking about it. But then when he gets a cough......". It's the left side of your heart that pumps blood to the lungs to get oxygen. So, without the left side existing, the oxygen levels in his blood is affected. Any respiratory bug is a concern for them. "When he had croup last year, during the middle of the night when we turned on the light to give him medications, he was GRAY. We were terrified."

"The best-case scenario for recovery in the hospital will take about one to two weeks, and the worst-case scenario is more." They are preparing to be gone for one month. During his second surgery, he was home within five days, but Rachael felt like it was too soon for open heart surgery on a baby. Rachael said technically he is classified as special needs, but she doesn't see that. "I just let him do what he wants. If he plays hard his lips turn blue." In fact, during this interview at the library Hudson was there working on a project and when he came over to talk to his mother his lips were very blue.

There is a fundraiser this Saturday, May 4th, at the Big Sandy Senior Citizen center, at 2:00, to help them defray costs. Rachael felt very humbled by it, but they'll need the support especially if they have to stay longer than a week. If you can't attend but want to give you can contact Darlene Cline at the library.


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