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. 
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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. 
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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.
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I didn't know Calvin.  I felt alone and I felt a lot of pressure to figure everything all out. 
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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.
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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!  
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Dairy and Gluten free lamb cake.  The lamb is a first-birthday-tradition on my mom's side of the family.
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He was fussing for food - a first!  Dad to the rescue!
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Thumbs up Dude!
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I thoroughly enjoyed watching him play with his cake.
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Cal's Cousins! (Minus tiny tot Adrianna)
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My cake-decorating talented sister-in-law baked some extra yummy cake.
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A taste of lamb cake - he liked very much!
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13 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday Calvin! Happy Birthday Mama. I always think its our birthday too, after all we gave birth :)

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  2. Happy birthday sweet Calvin and a happy mother's day to you Ilisa! Thank you for your wonderful honesty about your feelings. So many of us in our wonderful "club" have experienced the similar feelings.

    I just want to say that you look awesome in those photos for having just given birth!

    Love love love cake pictures, but I am also really enjoying the ones where he has the stick. He needs to hang out at our house and play some fetch with Sophie dog.

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  3. Hey Anna! Hey Ilisa! All three of us are becoming fast friends I think. =) Your decorations for your party are awesome. The flowers, the cake(s!), the little lolly pops (?) and of course, the center of it all - Calvin the cutie. I can relate to you in terms of not feeling attachment (as you well know about my story already!). Isn't it amazing to really FEEL it??? It is hard to admit those feelings of unattachment but by admitting them we can move on.

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  4. Happy birthday to Calvin & his wonderful family. It looks like everyone had a great time celebrating.

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  5. Looks like it was a wonderful day! It is truly a celebration of so many things. Your recollection of those first moments with Calvin touch the heart because I have definitely sat in similar shoes and understand. One year does so much for the heart. The cakes are wonderful and Calvin is so adorable! Your family is so blessed. I am glad it was a great day!

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  6. Happy birthdy, Calvin! Love, love, love the cakes. The lamb cake looks amazing! What a fun tradition.

    I love how you said that you couldn't feel his need for you for a long time. I remember feeling that way too. Thankfully it passed and our kids need us oh so very much! Glad to see such a healthy, happy boy smiling for his 1st birthday!

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  7. This post made me cry:). Thank you for sharing about Calvin's birth. I have a very similar pic of me holding Ben in the Nicu. I also look very weary. And now to the photos of Calvin on his birthday . . . SO cute! It looks like he had a great day!

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  8. Happy Birthday sweet boy!! Calvin makes me melt with his eyes...Its exciting what a year can do...describing the sense of Calvin not needing you...are words that I have been looking for...that is a feeling I have had....but could not understand or put into words..thank you! I love the pick of Calvin on his side to sweet and the thumbs up is him saying he is a RocKSTaR and look out!! smiles

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  9. That picture of Cal in the incubator....SWEETEST. PICTURE. EVER.
    And yeah, this post had me crying too. So similar to everything I felt in those first few days. This was just beautiful to read. LOVED the cakes!!! Happy 1st Birthday to little Cal :)

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  10. So nice to hear a little bit about Calvin's birth. Birth memories like that are hard, but look how amazingly beautiful and perfect he was (and is!!) It's so great to see that now and fully feel it. I love his first birthday pictures. Whining for food- yay! He is still such a handsome little man. Congratulations Ilisa on his first year!

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  11. This is the first time I have seen your blog (found it through Jenny's Little Chili Tribe blog). My little guy is not much older than Calvin, who is absolutely adorable by the way! http://secondtimearound-vernyvern.blogspot.com/

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  12. I always think how cool it would be to give birth to another child with Down Syndrome and feel total excitement--almost more excited that with a typical baby--because that is how I think I would feel if it happened again. It would be cool to experience that. I liked what you said about not feeling like Calvin's mom at first. Very relatable.

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  13. Happy belated birthday, Calvin!!! I love the chubby newborn picture of him. Absolutely PERFECT.

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