When Shanel Hudson went in for a routine ultrasound at 24 weeks in 2018, she never imagined that a few days later, she’d be having her baby almost 4 months early. After having an emergency c-section, her son was born weighing just 1 pound and would remain in the hospital for 6 grueling months fighting to grow and stay alive. Watching her son fight for his life at such a young age inspired her and gave her hope.
Shanel comments, “He was so tiny and at times he would become so ill that the doctors would tell us to be prepared to say good-bye at any moment. It was very tough on our family, but he would always bounce back and had such a feisty spirit. It was easy to stay positive watching him go.”
What also kept her positive was the support of other preemie families that she connected with while in the NICU and through support groups.
After coming home following their lengthy stay, Shanel says she wanted to find a way to honor preemies and their strength along with providing their families who fight alongside them something that gives them a feeling of hope and joy during or after a tough time. This she says is where the idea for the brand Supreemie Baby was born.
The brand consists of a clothing and accessory line designed for preemies and their families. It also includes a children’s book entitled Supreemie: Kylo’s Journey Through the NICU that Shanel co-wrote with her husband. The book features pages full of vivid and inspiring imagery of a preemie baby growing into a big super baby who is fighting be strong enough to fly home from the hospital to be with his family at home. It also includes a glossary that describes terms that are typically used in the NICU.
To Shanel, this book is important and special to her because it features an African American character, which is based on her son, as the protagonist. “African American main characters account for 10% of children’s books. Children with medical equipment and disabilities account for even less than that. I’m happy to be able to incorporate both into this book,” she says.