But it’s the World Series!

Thank you for checking out my blog of our adventure! The previous entry left going into to fall of 2016. Quick Recap: Baby is going to be a boy, Trent is going into 2nd grade with a broken leg, Lydia is going into 1st grade and Matea is entering 4K. All in the School District of Fort Atkinson, where we just purchased our “forever” home in the spring.

We were expecting our 4th Child, but this was nothing like the previous 3. Our son was already diagnosed with a Major Heart Defect and was most likely to have Downs Syndrome. Our focus has completely shifted to the Heart, I frankly didn’t have the mental capacity to even process having a son with Downs Syndrome.

We were officially a High Risk Pregnancy. Meaning a ton more Doctor visits (now 45 min away in Madison, WI, instead of 3 minutes away in our small town. We also came to the realization that Michelle would have to take an extended leave of absence from her job with the son. Being newer in the district, she had limited sick/ vacation days. Meaning she would need to take many unpaid days off of work. Big Problem: we just bought a house and need the money.

I like to think of myself as a solutions guy. I knew we needed more money. I was working as the Director of Buildings and Grounds for the School District of Fort Atkinson, I was a salary employee, so overtime pay was not an option. I looked at different Part Time opportunities. The issue is that my full time job was an on call 24/7 job. Traditional Part Time employment was not going to work. I have a Masters Degree in Business Management and thought maybe I could put that to use. I did find an opportunity to teach night class at Madison Area Technical College. I was hired! Starting in January, every Tuesday night I would teach a business class. This opportunity was great and I really enjoyed teaching this class and another class in the fall.

We still needed more income for the fall, the teaching was not until January. What do I know? What are my hobbies? What could I be good at? I kept thinking there was some way to make a few dollars a week with baseball cards. Yes, baseball cards! I was (and still am) apart of many Facebook communities that buy/sell/trade baseball cards. In interactions with other collectors online I met a guy from Minnesota, Ryan Holland. I never met him in person, but we (with a few others) decided to start a Facebook group to do baseball card breaks! This was all because our son needed our family to change. Little did I know what road this would lead me to. So much more on this in future posts.

Back to our son, let’s give him a name…. one night after dinner Michelle and I were sitting around the kitchen table discussing boy baby names. I knew names from Chicago Cubs players was out of the question. I am still very proud our dog is Wrigley, though. One name I always liked was Malik, I just was never sold on it. So in discussing I brought up Malik to Michelle. Lydia just happen to be in the area and said “Baby’s name is Malix.” We looked at each other and said, “Yes it is.” Simple as that, he’s now Malix.

Image may contain: 3 people, including Tom Kulczewski and Michelle Marie
1st day of School in 2016. Matea is looking a bit sad to go to 4K.

Michelle and I thought it would be best to schedule a meeting with Trent and Lydia’s teachers together and share with them about our family changes. We knew Malix would have an heart issue that would need corrected. We did not know if it would need corrected immediately after birth, a week after birth, a month after birth, etc. We knew Malix would most likely end up in the NICU when born and his stay would likely be longer than a traditional night or 2 before coming home. So, let’s let our kids teachers know, what could be bad about that.

I can remember this meeting like it just happened. Michelle and I met right after school with both teachers in a classroom. Just the four of us. I was running around for work and squeezed this meeting in between work meetings. Michelle started out. Thanked them for coming, thanked them for a great start to the school year, yada, yada, yada….

Then it gets to the point to telling them about our family. I think it’s very important to remind you that neither Michelle nor I were from this small town, we knew no one outside of work, we were the family no one really knew.

Michelle shared that she would be gone for an undetermined amount of time due to the birth of our son. She then shared that our son has a heart defect that would require surgery and that there were many unknowns. That this point, I am expecting any person in this meeting to look her in the eye and say something along the lines of: “I’m sorry, if there is anything I can help, please let me know.” That is what anyone would expect to hear.

Instead this is exactly what the teacher asked: “What caused this?” I was shocked and really upset. I finally decided to speak and said “It doesn’t matter.” I was clearly upset at her immediate question, in fact, I excused myself from the meeting before I said something I would regret. I’ve struggled with this meeting for many years afterwards and I think I will always struggle to understand how someone can be so selfish in life they have no sympathy for you or your family. I shared this meeting with others at work, remind you I work in the school district. I was shocked and disappointed to hear the same phrase over and over again: “that’s just her.” So we should let people treat us like that because that is who they are?

Moving on, because clearly I need to 🙂

Malix was breech, we were preparing for the C-section on the morning of November 2, 2016. November 1st, we had a big dinner to celebrate the family changes. Present were Michelle’s mom (Kim), Michelle’s Aunt (Joy), and my mother (Peg) who came between chemo treatments. There is nothing, that would stop my mom from doing what she wanted to do!

November 1, 2016 Dinner was finished and I was watching only 1 thing… GAME 6. My Chicago Cubs were in the World Series!!!!!! Game 6 was a must win to go to Game 7. I was praying that the Cubs would win the World Series on the day our son was born! Michelle was upstairs packing and it’s the 3rd inning. The Cubs took an early lead and now were looking for more. This is a MUST WIN, I CAN NOT MISS this game. Addision Russell is up, bases are loaded. Cubs are up 3-0, 1 out. All I hear is Michelle telling me her water broke, and we need to get to the hospital NOW.

Hospital is 45 minutes away! Baby is Breech! Oh, Addison Russell just hit a Grand Slam! Cubs up 7-0, but it’s still the Cubs and I’m guessing they will blow it. We need to GO NOW! Michelle get’s into the car, I take the wheel and it was the fastest ride from Fort Atkinson to Madison in the history of car rides. We need a C-section, we may need heart surgery right away, we still have a little “hope” the baby does not have Downs Syndrome. We get to the hospital in great shape, baby still wanting to come, rush to surgery, I’m outside the surgery room, Cubs are going to Game 7, clock strikes Midnight. My son is going to be born today, the same day the Cubs may win the World Series! All is going to be great, what if it’s it not. What if Malix needs immediate surgery? What if his little heart doesn’t make it? What if I miss game 7? (I’m kidding, I never thought that)

2 thoughts on “But it’s the World Series!

  1. Tom, I love to read your posts, esp. your struggles with birth of baby versus Cubbies!  Love you, Aunt Caroline


  2. Keep writing, Tom. I love reading your story and remembering your mom as she told me parts of this story. Then I also remember the great trip we had to Chili when you were a high school student. Your faith has continued to grow as you face the challenges in your life.
    God bless,


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