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Published January 04, 2012, 08:43 PM

Wisconsin Baby a Hefty 15 Pounds at Birth

Here’s one way to think about Michael Robert Calistro-Gomulak’s birth weight: At 15 pounds, 7 ounces, he weighed more at birth than both of his parents put together when they were born.

By: John Lundy, Forum Communications

Here’s one way to think about Michael Robert Calistro-Gomulak’s birth weight:

At 15 pounds, 7 ounces, he weighed more at birth than both of his parents put together when they were born.

“Both the father and I were under 7 pounds,” said the mom, Gina Calistro, 36, of Minong. “We were very small.”

Michael, who was born Sept. 28 at Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids, Minn., is the first child for Gina and the second for his dad, Scott Gomulak. His big brother is Trevor Gomulak, 14. Grandparents are Steve and Peggy Gomulak of Superior and Carol Calistro of Coon Rapids.

Gina and Scott had been expecting a big baby. She was diagnosed with gestational diabetes at seven weeks, and she knew because of that condition the baby probably would grow quickly.

It did.

“When I was 36 weeks, he was already 11 pounds, 6 ounces,” Calistro said. “Let me tell you, it was miserable. I couldn’t walk.”

Doctors talked about inducing early delivery, she said, but decided it was better to allow the baby’s lungs to develop. She chose to have the baby delivered in Coon Rapids, where she grew up and knew the doctors. She also wanted to be closer to the Twin Cities than she would have been in Duluth.

Michael was delivered by caesarean section on Sept. 28 — one week early — and transferred immediately to Children’s Hospital in the Twin Cities. But after two weeks, the family was sent home to Minong.

“Now he’s as healthy as a horse,” Calistro said. “There’s no problems whatsoever. He’s really just thinned out now. He’s only gained 3 ounces since birth, but he’s gained almost 3½ inches.”

Michael was not the biggest baby ever born in Minnesota. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, at least three were bigger at birth: one born in New Ulm in 1995 weighing 15 pounds, 10 ounces; one born in Minneapolis in 1991 weighing 15 pounds, 15 ounces; and a baby born in Minneapolis in 1998 weighing a Paul Bunyanesque 16 pounds, 7 ounces.

More recently, a child was born in Minnesota that weighed almost as much as Michael. Axel Laverne Dolton was born Nov. 23, 2009, to Wendi and Michael Dolton of Rochester at a mere 15 pounds, 6 ounces.

Gina Calistro and Wendi Dolton have something else in common besides being mothers of very big babies: Both work for Medtronic, the Twin Cities medical device manufacturer. “I don’t know if it’s something in the water or what,” Calistro said.

Calistro, who works out of her home, returned to work on Tuesday after her maternity leave.

When Michael is older, he’ll no doubt hear about how big he was at birth. But he’ll probably hear a lot more about his namesake. There are Michaels on the Gomulak side of the family, but Michael was also the name of Gina Calistro’s father, Michael Calistro, who had been a medic in the Vietnam War and a longtime Minneapolis police officer.

Gina Calistro’s parents had Easter dinner at her home in Blaine, Minn., in 2009. As they drove out of her neighborhood, a drunken driver crashed into their vehicle. It was his fourth offense, Calistro later learned. Both Michael and Carol Calistro were critically injured, but Michael managed to turn his wife’s head to keep her airway clear, and he called for an airlift on his cell phone.

“He actually saved my mom’s life,” Gina Calistro said.

They were flown to Hennepin County Medical Center, where Carol eventually recovered. Michael died two months later from complications of pneumonia, said Gina Calistro.

“To me, it was a positive thing that came out of a horrible thing,” she said. “That was the hardest part of my life was losing him, but then I wasn’t supposed to be able to have kids. … When all of a sudden I got pregnant, it was kind of a miracle in itself. That’s why I thought: ‘He has to be named after my father.’ ”

Lundy writes for the Duluth News Tribune