Friday, July 29, 2011

Ilya and 5/5/5 Warrior update

I finally deposited the 5K/5Mile run money 2 weeks ago.  After the expenses of the socks, clock, and refreshments, we were able to donate a little over $1000.00!  I rounded it up to an even 1100.00.  Have a look - almost $1400.00!!   Whew, I feel a sense of finality.  It was a wonderful event and I am looking forward to next year!  Hopefully Ilya will be adopted by then.

I am still Ilya's 5/5/5 Warrior through Sunday.  Please continue to spread his picture and the word he needs a family!  It does not end on Sunday.  He can still receive donations and I will still be his warrior - just not through a program.  Thank you everyone for your generous donations.  10% of all proceeds to go the Voice of Hope fund which keeps Reece's Rainbow running - which is very vital.  One of you followers  (Laura Carroll) was kind enough to ask your employer for a donation: I.C. System.  They donated $100.00 to the Voice of Hope fund!  How awesome is that?  Thank you again, everyone!

PS.  Wendi is enjoying her Kindle!!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Happy Birthday, Sweet Baby Calvin!

I am looking at the clock.  11:15pm.  One year ago I was being sewn up after a very easy and quick (yet very painful) delivery.  Things kicked in around 8:30pm and I remember I kept thinking "I am not ready!  It is too soon!".  Knowing what might be coming had me very unsure.  I didn't know what it would feel like to be a mother to a baby with a serious heart condition AND Down syndrome.  I was flat out clueless.  I don't like being clueless.

Sweet Baby Calvin John was born at 11:00pm and taken straight to the NICU. 
I felt very sorry for myself over this.  I wanted my baby in my room.  I wanted to take my baby home with me before the weekend was out.  I wanted my baby to not have either a heart condition or Down syndrome. 
After the stroll to the unfamiliar and unknown NICU around 1am I went to the unknown postpartum room in the unfamiliar hospital.  My heart was heavy.  I was disappointed.  This was not what I signed up for.  The joy was lost.  People were home.  I was exhausted.  I hadn't tried nursing yet.  He was getting formula.  I hadn't held him yet (except a minute right after having him).  He looked like he had Down syndrome.
I didn't know Calvin.  I felt alone and I felt a lot of pressure to figure everything all out. 
The painful night went fast yet extremely slow.  I wasn't sure it would ever end and still more unfamiliar faces, sounds, and smells.

6am found me restless and needing to know who I just gave birth to.  I padded along down the hall, following the dots, passing the labor and delivery ward, and managing my way back to Calvin.  He lay there as though little had changed.  I did not feel a sense of his need for me.  I didn't for a long time.
When I think back a year, I feel a lot of pain still.  However, I am most sad for not knowing how wonderful the year marker is.  I am sad I saw Down syndrome instead of absolute perfection.

This is familiar.  It is comfortable.  I know him.  I feel like Calvin's mom.  Simple as that.

Happy Birthday, Sweet Baby Calvin!  
Dairy and Gluten free lamb cake.  The lamb is a first-birthday-tradition on my mom's side of the family.
He was fussing for food - a first!  Dad to the rescue!
Thumbs up Dude!
I thoroughly enjoyed watching him play with his cake.
Cal's Cousins! (Minus tiny tot Adrianna)
My cake-decorating talented sister-in-law baked some extra yummy cake.
A taste of lamb cake - he liked very much!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Hectic Life: Specialty Check Ups

This has been a very exhausting week.  Yes, for me, but also for Calvin.  He slept 12 hours straight last night and went to bed earlier than he has in weeks.  I have been getting pretty burnt out with 10pm bedtimes and 7am rise times with little to no naps.

Calvin is very attached to me.  I am flattered to an extent, but it also makes it hard to get anything done around here.  Phone calls are left unanswered.  Housework is left to the imaginary fairies (I imagine them, they don't come, so here I am today - I praise God for today because I am well rested and actually got the lawn 90% completed yesterday).

Because Calvin turns 1 tomorrow, he had many health visits in the past 1.5 weeks.  This week included audiology, cardiology, ophthalmology, and the Down syndrome Clinic.  It would take a while to give details.  Basically, he will have see an ENT and his regular doctor again next month because of a couple of concerns.  No worries, at least not yet.  I am not worried.  The world of Down syndrome is interesting at times.

I have said many times how much I like Cal's cardiologist, Dr. Sutton.  He does not see Down syndrome when he looks at Calvin.  Sure, he has mentioned it once, I think.  Really, I'm not even sure he has.  This week should be highlighted with these words spoken by Dr. Sutton: "His heart sounds completely normal. I do not hear a murmur (which would indicate valve leakage).  At this point I don't think he needs an echo. I am going to treat his heart like a normal, healthy heart.  We can see him in a year."

Yes, great news!  More so, he is saying a lot here that I did not hear at the eye doctor, who after 2 appointments in the past 6 months and sees absolutely no problem (actually said his eyes are great), still wants to see him in 6 months.  Say WHAT?  Why?  I would like Dr. Sutton to be Cal's eye doctor as well because this is what he'd say.  Ready?  "His eyes look completely normal and healthy.  I am going to treat his eyes like a normal, healthy eyes."

Anyways, not worth getting stressed about.  Not much has changed except I am pushing more food into Calvin.  However, I will not loose my intuition as his parent.  That is what is hard at times.  I feel as though I am not a parent, just the funnel for healthcare providers.

Yes, I am grateful for the services, when they are needed and are helpful.

Sorry no pictures today.  Tomorrow there will be!  ONE YEAR!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Donation Station

Jo Jo and I delivered 4.5 coolers of frozen liquid gold to the new parents and baby last night.

When we walked up I saw a running friend, Doreen, at the door!  Turns out she is has been friends with the new mom, Pam, since high school.  Doreen and I had some catching up to do since I have been so busy and we do not talk/run together much anymore.  She didn't know about Calvin.

I feel so great because a)it is healthier than formula b)it will save the family money and c)the milk is going to be used and by someone 10 minutes away!

The new dad was busy putting milk in the freezer (took a while, there was a lot!) and came in asking "this all came from you?"  I guess there was a reason I was producing 48 ounces a day!

On top of it all: breast-milk changes as the baby gets older.  So, the milk at day 1 and day 30 is different than one another and also different than at 9 months.  There is less fat in the milk early on, for example.  Well, some of the milk delivered was from when Calvin was less than 2 weeks old (August 4th last year - he was still in the NICU).  The new baby was 2 weeks yesterday.  That means the milk he will get is age appropriate for his development.

I also shared with Pam that women who adopt can still mimic and/or try breast-feeding.  I figured she can take it or leave it, but if she had any desire, the options are there.  I know a woman who did do that.  She used a supplemental nursing system (Medela product).  There are also supplements that can be taken to trigger hormonal changes to enhance milk production.

I get excited about nursing because even though it is hard for some people, and some do not like to, it is so good for a developing baby.  Nutrition is one thing.  Attachment is another.  It is all important and powerful.

I have absolutely no doubt Calvin is benefiting greatly from nursing.  I can see his changes when he nurses.  He used to be a very poor nurser and now he has many skills and natural reflexes: moro reflex development seen in his hand usage during nursing - I liken it to a kitten kneading - which is very important in regards to oral development (language included).  Another thing about nursing and neurological development is in regards to switching sides.  When this is achieved, a developing brain benefits due to the full spectrum use of eye movement (not being consistently blocked by a bottle and looking one way).

I digress!

God is Good!  Having Calvin has been a blessing is so many amazing ways.  My life is so full!

Friday, July 15, 2011

I am so excited! (Breast-milk donation story)

This gives me goosebumps!

I am a school counselor.  I have been on maternity leave this past year and will be going back next month.

Therefore, I am getting in the swing of things and checked my email yesterday.  I had a 2-week-old message from our home-school liaison.  She was asking for financial support for a young couple who was considering adoption for their soon-to-be (any day) born baby.  The support would be used for gas for them to visit the baby while they made the transition.  The young couple was not 100% sure what they wanted to do yet - as you can imagine.

The home-school liaison has become a friend of mine over the years we have worked together and I was sorry I checked my email so late.

I hopped over to facebook before shutting the computer and was greeted with a feed from a friend on there.  Pam.  She was excitedly announcing they were adopting a baby boy who was born to a young couple on July 1st.

The 2 couples live in the same town. And yes, they are connected (I don't think I am giving away any identifying information since I don't know the young couple, but it is obvious Pam has a new child - so I think this is okay to share here).

I called my mother-in-law, Jo Jo, to ask if she had heard the exciting news of Pam.  I know Pam through Jo Jo.

As I was talking to Jo Jo, I shared I was going to called the local adoption agency to inquire about donating our freezer-full of breast-milk (since Calvin is not having dairy anymore, and there is sooooo much).

I got the idea from an OB nurse I stopped to talk to on Tuesday after bringing Calvin in for his 12 month check-up.  I had forgotten about this adoption agency.

In the middle of my talking, it dawns on me that maybe Pam would like the milk!  After a few phone calls and time to think it over, it is a go!  We will be delivering breast-milk tonight!  It was all meant to be - what I call "A God Thing"!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Hectic Life: 12 month well child check

Sweet baby Calvin will be 1 next week.  Hard to believe.

His check up went well.  He is below the 10th percentile for height and weight and 50th for head circ.  (all on the Down syndrome growth charts).  I am not going to get in to that now, that picture is too sweet...