Our first night in the hospital was surreal. He slept in my arms and in his little plastic bin next to my bed. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. The doctors wanted his blood sugar monitored to check for gestational diabetes. It surprised me because at 8lb, 2oz he was my little baby. I’m pretty sure now they just wanted to see that he was eating something. I made my husband follow him to the nursery and back anytime he went. The nurses could tell I hated to see him go and they graciously let Edward stay right by his side anywhere he went. He passed his hearing test which everyone was happy about because it meant that he wasn’t deaf. He could have been deaf?! We were learning more than we ever thought possible in such a short time. I had been put in touch with a cranio-facial team in Houston and we had appointments set up before we even went home. I had personal phone numbers to keep in touch over the weekend ‘in case we needed anything.’ What could I possibly need that badly?
When I think about his birth now, the one thing that stands out to me the most is what he taught me in the first moments I held him; my first of many lessons from Given. I took him in my arms and kissed him and he stopped crying almost immediately. We said hello to each other and I offered him my breast, not knowing what else to do for him and praying he could nurse. He immediately went to work. He knew exactly what to do and had no idea that his body wouldn’t let him do it. He had no clue that he was anything less than perfect and that’s what made me realize that he was right. He wasn’t anything less than perfect. He wanted to nurse, and I wanted it for him but it just wasn’t meant to be. What I realized by his enthusiasm in that moment was that he was not a victim of his cleft. In his eyes, he was complete and made just exactly as he was meant to be. He knew nothing about deformities or brokenness. All he knew is that I was his Mama, and he was my baby and we were meant for each other.
That is what I think of in the moments of weakness when I want to feel sorry for myself, or for him. He is only a victim if I make him one and he deserves more from me than that. All I need to know and teach him is that I am his Mama, and he is my perfect baby and we are meant for each other. I am truly so grateful that he was meant to be mine.
One year ago our sweet Given was born with a cleft lip and palate. Even with all of the amazing resources we have had at our fingertips, the past year has been (sometimes excruciatingly) difficult in a lot of ways. We have been so incredibly blessed to have access to specialized bottles, pumps, medicines, teams of doctors and emotional support. Given has had everything he could possibly need to thrive and be happy, and is doing incredibly well. He makes us laugh everyday and brings us so much joy.
To celebrate his first birthday, in lieu of traditional gifts, we are asking our friends and family to consider partnering with us in giving a gift to a child born with a cleft that doesn't have the resources they need. It's so easy to change a child's life and it is such a deeply meaningful and lasting gift. Given will have his second surgery on June 14th, just 3 days after he turns one. We are believing that we can raise enough money to provide 2 surgeries for another child by that date. It only costs $240 for one surgery!
Go here to make a donation http://support.operationsmile.org/goto/given_sanchez
Here is a video with a little more information about what Operation Smile does
I hope to see many many smiles changed through the selfless giving of my friends, family, and readers. Let's make Given's first birthday even more amazing (if possible) than it already is! Thank you, family Sanchez, for sharing your journey with us and for allowing me the privilege of knowing your wonderful family.