Happy World Down Syndrome Day!

If you haven’t had anyone tell you yet, let me be the first: Happy World Down Syndrome Day! Yes, that’s right. Today, March 21st, is a day to celebrate individuals living, and thriving, with Down syndrome. 3/21 is particularly chosen for this day of celebration because of the third copy of the 21st chromosome that is present in those with Down syndrome. Whether or not you have the privilege of having one of these amazing people in your life, would you please take a minute to hear our journey and celebrate this day with us?

My son Calvin was born in November of 2015, the third son born to us within three years. What a surprise to us when he entered the world at just 25 weeks, weighing a whopping one pound, six ounces. And then again to our surprise a week later we found out he had been blessed with an extra copy of his 21st chromosome, also known as Down syndrome. For so many this conversation comes with a negative bias and being told inaccurate things about the child’s future. That, thankfully, was not our story. We were met with compassionate words and reminded that, like every child, his biggest need was to be loved and treated with the dignity and worth that every one of our children desires and deserves.

Our journey since then has not been smooth, but it has been uniquely ours. Our son has fought for his life in the hospital on two separate occasions because of his early birth and Down syndrome diagnosis. These struggles pale in comparison to the love we have for him. We have fought alongside him, with prayers and tears for his life to be spared and for more years with him. We can’t imagine our lives without Calvin. His smile, sense of humor, the way that he lights up any room he’s in, and his ability to make his brothers laugh until they cry, are attributes that are uniquely his. We can honestly say that we wouldn’t change him for the world, or the road that we are on. It is a road that very few get to take and that is why we like to call ourselves ‘the lucky few’. We truly are.

If you get the chance to join someone on this unique journey, will you do me a favor? Would you consider making your first word, “Congratulations!” instead of “I’m sorry”? I know that from the outside looking in, it looks hard and it may be hard to relate to. But trust me, it is worth congratulating and joining them on the journey. After you’ve said that and helped your friend wipe away their tears, please share with them these amazing resources:

  • Jack’s Basket: Their mission is to celebrate every baby born with Down syndrome and congratulate their family with gifts, support, and resources. Anyone can request a basket to celebrate these amazing people and give them a positive start to their unique journey.

  • Gigi’s Playhouse: This ‘Down Syndrome Achievement Center’ provides numerous services and fun classes and events to families of individuals with Down syndrome. We have met some of our best friends there!

  • Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota: Connects families with others in their area for support groups and education on different topics related to raising children with Down syndrome.

Happy World Down Syndrome Day – to you and your family and to our Calvin.

Blog post contributor Lynn is a friend of the Minnesota Birth Center and proud mama to Jacob, Lewis, and Calvin.  

MBC’s Unique History

Did you know? The names of MBC’s birthing suites reflect the spirits of five strong women who made a lasting impression on the hearts of MBC medical director Steve Calvin and his wife Cindy. Just like every birth has its own story, so do our birth rooms! Come on a little tour, and see what is special about them…

RUTH (MBC-ST. PAUL)

This beautiful purple-ceilinged room is named after Ruth Carlson Burke (1927-1989), Cindy’s mother. Ruth is remembered as a fiercely dedicated and loving mother to Cindy and her three sisters. Besides maintaining an immaculate home and sewing matching clothes for her four daughters, Ruth also worked part time as a legal secretary and bookkeeper. We appreciate the intense maternal vibes that abound in the Ruth suite!

ELSA (MBC-MINNEAPOLIS)

This popular room in Minneapolis has seen more births than any other at MBC! Elsa Carlson (1897-1990) was Cindy’s maternal grandmother. She immigrated from Sweden at the age of 12 to live with her aunt and uncle in Lake City, MN. She became an LPN after receiving her nurse’s training at Ripley Memorial Hospital in Minneapolis, graduating in 1920. Elsa was a faithful mother of three, wife, nurse, and friend. This trailblazing woman is remembered as sweet, loving, attentive, and fun – her vibes definitely live on as this room continues to welcome new little lives into the world!

BARBARA (MBC-ST. PAUL)

Perhaps the most serene birth room in St. Paul is named after Barbara Leafblad, a valued member of the MBC Board and the “Midwife of Record” when MBC first opened. We are grateful for the contributions of this innovative local midwife. The birth centers would not exist today without Barbara’s warm, encouraging and wise advice and presence.

AUSMA (MBC-MINNEAPOLIS)

Ausma Sperberg (1933-2006) was the owner of the Minneapolis property until her death in 2006. She was an immigrant from Latvia and the mother of two children. We are beholden to her for being the guardian of what would become the first location of the Minnesota Birth Center.

DONNA (MBC-ST. PAUL)

This popular room in St. Paul was named after the valiant mother of MBC founder and medical director Dr. Steve Calvin. Donna (Calvin) Anderson, born in 1931, was widowed with two young sons at the age of 26. Donna then married widower Waldo Anderson, who had a young son himself. At age 27, Donna had an instant family of three sons: Steve, 4, Wayne, 3, and John, 2. Daughter DeVon arrived in 1959. Donna worked for many years as the certified dietician and eventually the Director the Tucson Unified School District Food Service. Her steadfast and devoted spirit has graced many hard working mamas in this birth room!

Pregnant or planning to be? See these beautiful rooms in-person at an upcoming Orientation!


Photo credits: TreHus Architects
Special thanks to Cindy Calvin and Emily Campbell of MBC for compiling these stories.

MBC Chubbiest Cheeks – 2018 Edition!

2018 is over and the frigid days of the New Year are upon us. It’s a perfect time to be reminded of all of those delightful, chubby cheeked-babies who graced us with their presence last year. While we love all our #babiesofMBC, below are our special favorites.

Here’s to a 2019 full of the cutest, chubbiest cheeks (and perhaps, slightly warmer temperatures).

# 10 – Like Brother, like Babe! Keep those Chubby Cheeks coming!

# 9 – Never has there been a snugglier Viking to date!

#8 – “Who you callin’ cheeky?”

#7 – Cool, calm, collected..and chubby cheeked!

#6 – Recipe for a great nap: Chubby cheeks, pillows and snuggles!

#5 – Raise your hands if you’re adorable and chunky!

#4 – Pearls and ruffles go great with chubby cheeks! Who knew? Better tell Vogue!

#3 – What can top those chubby cheeks? A matching hat and pants combo, of course!

#2 – Runner-up for Chubbiest Cheeks, but no one beats that handsome, red hair!

#1 – 2018 CHUBBIEST CHEEKS! Congrats, lil’ one! We could stare at you…All. Day. Long.

Thanks to MBC Birth Assistant & Clinic Nurse Abbie E. for compiling this list!