Featured cherub of the week is CDH survivor, Hunter Matteson. Hunter is the son to Libby and Michael Matteson and big brother to Parker. Libby is our CDH International Florida Ambassador. Libby had this to share about Hunter:
“My husband Michael and I had been married for three years when we found out we were pregnant with our first baby. We couldn’t contain our excitement and never in a million years thought anything could go wrong. Our lives would soon be turned upside down.
I first learned of CDH when my son was diagnosed in utero just after the anatomy ultrasound. I was referred to Maternal Fetal Medicine at Winnie Palmer Hospital in Orlando, Florida, where he was diagnosed LCDH and we were given the daunting statistics. It was recommended that I have an amniocentesis done the same day to rule out any chromosomal abnormalities. During the amnio, the ultrasound tech and my husband watched as the doctor inserted the needle into my 21.5 week belly. I couldn’t watch but to my surprise, they both had the look of total shock. Our little boy had moved over to the needle and it looked as if he was pushing it away, almost saying, “get out of here!” In that moment, we knew this little boy was going to be a fighter.
I was set to be induced at 39 weeks at the same hospital with my doctor and the NICU team ready for Hunter’s arrival. We had met with the NICU team of doctors and nurses, the surgeons who would perform his repair surgery, and a social worker to help set up housing for us while he would be in the NICU. Even though we were checking off items on our to do list, we never felt truly ready as to how his birth would go. Each appointment I had prior gave no clear indication of how he would do during delivery. I knew he was a fighter but I soon learned exactly how much of a fighter he really is.
On April 16, 2013, he came out crying and I got to hold him before the NICU team intubated him. He was off of oxygen on day one, breathing on his own, and had his repair surgery with no patch at six days old. It was the hardest time in my life but I knew Hunter was a fighter and he continued to prove that each day. He hit his milestones and passed his tests in the NICU and we finally came home after 34 days. His first year was spent at many doctor’s offices including follow ups with his surgeons, monthly appointments with his pulmonologist, a follow up with the NICU clinic which included PT, OT, and a hearing test. He did well at each appointment and was given the clear. He is now a healthy and happy 6 year old little boy who plays baseball, loves to fish and swim, and is enjoying first grade. We feel so blessed every day that he has had no complications since and continues to prove to be our little miracle!”