Thursday, February 2, 2012

Calvin's Hats

Today's charity has been sending hats to families since 2009...

They are called Calvin's Hats, and are run by beautiful woman named Annie.  Here is their story straight from Annie (there is no way that I could tell it as well as she does):

Calvin's Mommy, and I have been very good friends for a number of years.  I had the privilege of working with "Teacher Jenna" and seeing her incredible gift with children.  I got to hear about this guy named John that she had met at school (including how good he looked in a uniform) and experienced the joy of watching the two of them get married. 

I can tell you exactly where I was the evening she called and told me that she was pregnant (store parking lot).  I don't think this was necessarily the timing of their original plan, but Jenna was so happy.  I  had to do what I do best... shop.  Gender didn't matter- this child needed clothes.  Stat!  I remember being so excited to send her a little gift to acknowledge this little person growing inside her.

There were a few bumps in the beginning of the pregnancy that were worrisome, but it all seemed to straighten itself out with time.  I enjoyed seeing the pictures of the cute little baby bump- we had plenty of conversations about how she would carry a baby and what her tummy would like like.  Knowing how great my dear friend is with kids, I couldn't wait to see her with one of her own.

 The 20 week ultrasound time FINALLY came (I had plenty more shopping to accomplish).  I waited all day for the phone call or text message.  I can also tell you exactly where I was when the call came (pulling into a coffee shop drive thru).   I received a call from her parents- not exactly what I was expecting.  If I remember correctly, it was her dad.  He said the ultrasound looked abnormal and they were waiting to be referred to a specialist... and that Jenna knew I was expecting a phone call but she just wasn't up to talking at that point.

I remember Jenna telling me that she wanted a doctor to give her a very black and white answer as to what needed to happen next.  The doctor did just that- even referring to it as a "black and white" situation.  Calvin was diagnosed with Alobar Holoprosencephaly- a diagnosis that no parent should ever have to hear, say, or know how to spell.  Calvin's brain had stopped developing early in the pregnancy.

Calvin was delivered on April 17, 2008, at 22 weeks gestation.  I wish I still had the text she sent me that afternoon- it brought me joy and pain at the exact same time.  "He's here and he's perfect.  They let me hold him as long as I wanted."

This was a new experience for me.  I'm the "fixer."  My job is to make everything better.  In this situation, there was absolutely nothing that I could fix.  The only thing I knew to do was to walk beside my best friend in a journey that broke my heart... and had a life long impact on hers.

In February of 2009, Jenna shared Calvin's things with me.  It was one of those moments that I'm so thankful for because I had the chance to see inside of her heart a bit more.  I saw an unopened letter written to him, his gorgeous pictures, his blanket, a hat from the hospital... and that's where Calvin's Hats started.

The hat given to them by the hospital was way too big for his tiny head.  Jenna said, "I couldn't even give him clothes that fit right. It just seems like another way that I failed."

I didn't have a clue how to make a tiny hat- but I knew the perfect person to ask.  Sarah DuVal, another dear friend, had been making adorable infant hats for years.  Calvin's Hats started with a blue hat made by Sarah that was just the right size for Calvin's little head.

Three years later, and Calvin's Hats is sending out hundreds of hats each month to those that are too small for the standard hospital hat. (typically babies lost to miscarriage or stillbirth before week 30).  They are run strictly on donation, and send their hats to hospitals and families all over the world at no charge.  As someone who has lost a child, I can't tell you how much something as small as having a hat for your baby means.  We are robbed of the beautiful delivery experience that someone with a living child gets.  The little things like the name on the crib, the take home outfit, blankets etc.. are stolen from us.  These just become reminders that are child is not here, and what we are missing out on (and will miss out on).  To get a part of that experience means so much.  I am so happy to be able to share such a wonderful charity with you all today.

You can reach Calvin's Hats at 
Phone- (503)510-0417


Annie said...

Thank you for sharing our heart.

Buckley said...

Thank you for letting me share your wonderful charity!! You have comforted so many of my close friends!! xoxoxo

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