PONCA CITY, Okla. (KFOR) -An Oklahoma boy will be coming home for the holidays after spending much of his life in the hospital.
Casen Hazlewood was born on May 6, 2019 at just 26 weeks gestation.
“Casen and his identical twin brother, Hudson, had issues from the very beginning. They were diagnosed early on with what’s called twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, where one of the babies gets more blood and nutrients than the other. In our case, Hudson was the dominant twin leaving Casen malnourished,” said Kari Hazlewood, Casen’s mother.
When the twins were born, they both weighed barely over a pound. However, Casen was noticeably smaller and more compromised than his brother.
“Casen is a fighter. He has been battling something since before he was ever born,” said Kari. “He may be tiny but he’s as tough as they come.”
Sadly, Hudson developed an infection and passed away 12 days after he was born.
Casen came down with the same infection but survived. In all, he spent the first 154 days of his life in the neonatal intensive care unit.
“He was born in May and we finally got to take him home in October 2019,” remembers his mom. “We were home for six days when he suddenly stopped breathing and we had to rush him back to the hospital. This would unfortunately become our routine.”
Although most children get mild colds or run a low-grade fever, these instances send Casen back to the hospital.
“Since his lungs aren’t fully developed he has a lot of respiratory issues and goes downhill fast, so at the first sign of sickness we just start heading to INTEGRIS Children’s. They are like our second family. We have spent so much time there. They all treat Casen as if he is their own child,” she said.
Fortunately, doctors are hopeful that Casen will outgrow his frequent hospital visits.
Recently, the staff at the pediatric intensive care unit at INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center held a bubble send-off for Casen to signify the 177 days he spent in the PICU overtime.
“As much as we love the folks at INTEGRIS Children’s and want them to continue to be a part of Casen’s life,” says Kari. “We are hoping to see them less often in the new year! We want to see them socially, not just when Casen is sick.”