Ford is ONE

Before having Ford, I told myself I wasn’t going to be “that mom” who plans an extravagant first birthday. Ha, the things we say before actually becoming a parent.  I created Ford’s 1st birthday Pinterest board when he was only a few months old. About 5 months before his 1st birthday, I had the entire party planned. Yeah, I know… I’m cray.

When Ford’s ETV surgery was scheduled for August, I was relived because that would give him about 6 weeks to recover and be well enough to host his 1st birthday party. Goodness gracious, God had another plan for him. Ford had major complications with the ETV surgery and ended up staying at Primary Children’s Hospital for 2 months. He celebrated his first birthday in a hospital bed, hooked up to wires, drains, and tubes.

I realize that most parents get to celebrate their children’s 1st birthday in the comfort of their home, surrounded by friends & family. Their child gets a smash cake and loads of presents. They have fun games & themed party favors. And while that might be the norm, it is not lost on me that there are other mother’s celebrating their child’s 1st birthday (or any birthday) in a hospital. I want to share how I pulled off a fun, festive, and inexpensive birthday for my son while he was in a hospital crib.


When we were given the news that Ford would not be discharged before his 1st birthday, I was devastated. But you know what? Ford deserved the best birthday party a hospital could offer. I refused to let his big day go unnoticed so I decided to decorate his room with the homemade items I had made. We turned his room into an under the sea party! Click HERE for the DIY party decorations.

I used streamers for the water and hung cut out fish to look like they were swimming. The bobbers that spelled O-N-E which were supposed to go on his highchair, I hung on his hospital crib above his pillow. I made a first year milestone collage – I LOVED taking pictures of his monthly milestones and knew I wanted to showcase them. I brought most of his gifts to the hospital so that he could open them on his big day. His actual birthday was on a Tuesday, but I set all this up on Sunday and left it up all week – I felt like he deserved a week long birthday celebration.

By the time Ford’s first birthday rolled around, he had already been at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, UT for about 6 weeks. The doctors, surgeons, and nurses knew him well. The nurses were especially smitten by him. All his favorite nurses came by to see him that day (even if he wasn’t on their rotation). They brought him books, and stuffed animals, and snuggles. This wasn’t the birthday that I had planned and hoped for, but those nurses made his day EXTRA special and I am forever grateful for their kindness.

Ford had been very sick leading up to his birthday. He was left very weak from a cyst fenestration surgery, he couldn’t keep any food down (even with a feeding tube), and he lacked “life”. Somehow, on his actual birthday, he perked up a little bit. He was able to keep down some food and was even able to try his first tiny piece of cupcake. It was such a miracle to see him smile. We only had our parents come up to the hospital that day and man did it cheer Ford up. But the absolute BEST part of his birthday, was that Josh & I both had the opportunity to hold him for the first time in days… talk about the most magical moment. His 1st birthday, while not what we imagined, turned out to be a wonderful day and one we will never forget.

**If you are planning a birthday party in a hospital, remember to run all decor / visitors / food by the nurses. They will be able to tell you what is allowed.