Letters to my Son - Your Early Life

Hudson, moments after being born.  Weighing in at 5 lbs 3 oz.

Hudson, moments after being born.  Weighing in at 5 lbs 3 oz.

Your life started early. Six weeks early to be precise. Your Mom's placenta was fully developed at 34 weeks and no longer able to sustain your growth. She was in labour for 13 hours, ending with your birth at 4:02 am on a Sunday. The first day of your life was full of drama. On the way out, you had quite the struggle.

There were a few moments that we were anxious because of a weak heartbeat, but you fought, and your mom was strong, and you made it. We were told that you would need to be sent to another hospital, and we were worried about being apart from you but, luckily, the folks at Mt Sinai hospital in Toronto were able to work some magic to get you a spot in their NICU. If you do decide to have kids yourself and still live in Toronto when you do, I highly recommend that you look into the same hospital.

We spent the first month of your life in hospitals. Not because you were sick, but because you just weren't fully grown yet. You needed some time in an incubator to be sure that you were healthy enough to survive on your own. 

Nathan & Hudson enjoying some quality skin-to-skin time

Nathan & Hudson enjoying some quality skin-to-skin time

Your mother was with you nonstop the whole time she was at the hospital. I was there in the morning and the evenings, but I had to keep going to work during the daytime. There were signs all over the maternity floors of the hospital encouraging Mom's to have "skin-to-skin" time with their newborns to promote bonding and exchange of pheromones that help to induce breast milk production. I slightly misunderstood the signs and insisted on having skin-to-skin time with you myself every day. I was the only man doing so, and I realized that right away, but we carried on and had our one-on-one skin time every night from 9:00pm-10:00 pm.

After the first week or so we received a disturbing phone call that they were planning to move you to another hospital because you were too healthy for the Mt Sinai NICU. At first, I protested, then the doctor told me that there was another family who was in the same situation that we were in who would otherwise see their newborn shipped off to another hospital immediately after being born if we didn't agree. Since we were so grateful that someone else had made that sacrifice for us, we paid the favour forward. 

The first picture of us together.

The first picture of us together.

We went to your regularly scheduled feeding time you tried eating from a bottle for the first time before they moved you to St Michaels hospital. We were there to see you off, and we were there to receive you at the new NICU a few minutes later, and you settled in right away. The next morning we found out that you had a bit of a hard time with the transition. You developed pneumonia over night. That just meant that there was liquid in your lungs, but we had no idea why. It's possible that you got sick but, more likely, you may have ingested milk down the wrong pipe on your first feeding.

It was a bit of a setback for us all. You were fighting to get healthy, and your mom and I were paying an emotional toll just being there to watch you fight. We weren't allowed to hold you for a few days while you were recovering and that just broke our hearts. It was a stressful time in our lives, but soon enough we were able to take you home and start our lives together.

The first day you came home we went straight to the park. It was important to us that you got to see what you had been missing out of life having been cooped up in that incubator for those long weeks.

Hudson and Uncle Bone, matching outfits and nap times.

Hudson and Uncle Bone, matching outfits and nap times.

Letters to my Son

I've been writing to my son since he was an infant.  

A typical lounging day for Hudson.

A typical lounging day for Hudson.

While I was growing up, I lost my father, and I've lived the rest of my life wondering about the kind of person that he was.  What would he have thought about things that are important to me?  Where would he stand on issues that matter to me?  How would he have handled things that I've faced?  What advice would he have had for me in specific situations?

Don't get me wrong; I had a 'Dad'.  JD Greene married my mother and adopted me as his own when I was eight years old.  He was a great role model, particularly when I became a Dad myself.   

When Hudson was born, I got to thinking about my role in his life.  I thought about what kind of father I wanted to be and how I wanted to be available to him through the important parts of his life.  I started a project where I found myself chronicling my thoughts, feelings, and future advice that I would have for him, in case something ever happened to me and I wouldn't be able to do so myself.  

The content is truly stream of consciousness writing with sharp breaks between categories.  The letters are mostly put together in a manner that makes sense, but sometimes stories are told from different perspectives.  Some sections have been edited over time with new perspectives because, as Hudson ages, I'm learning, he's learning, and the kinds of things that I think are important evolve along the way.  

I've written hundreds of thousands of words and had given instructions to two of my closest confidants where to find and how to access the entirely if anything ever happened to me.  Their instructions are to deliver the incomplete work to Hudson when he turns 18.  

Some of it is more personal than I expect I would ever be comfortable sharing in a blog environment, but some are fun and interesting enough that I would like to publish it.  I will be deploying an infrequent series called: 'Letters to my Son' that includes some of this content, starting with this post.  Maybe one day, I will put them all together as a book for him to have as a keepsake.

In the meantime, stand by for the beginning of what is shaping up to be a weekly series to get started.

Thanks for reading!

Nathan