Sunday, September 14, 2008

Celebrating 4 Years of Cajes!!

"Making the decision to have a child - it's momentous.
It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking outside your body."
Elizabeth Stone
Don-Don came up in the middle of the night to set up his birthday swing set and then drove home before Hurricane Hannah....

Cajes turned 4 last Monday and we are so proud of the little man he is turning out to be. He loves his new swing set, playing outside, going to pre-school, helping me and his daddy with anything we may be doing and playing with toys. He still loves Kasey Kahne, Indians, Pirates, being an Artist, Diego, Thomas the train, any fire and rescue vehicles, as well as any construction equipment, and especially Jesus and angels…

We had a little party on Saturday the 6th to celebrate with some of our friends and family—please forgive me for not mentioning everyone by name— then Sunday we went downtown to the Lexington Avenue Arts and Fun Festival with Aunt Kim who came in to town especially for the party. On Monday Mamaw wanted to take Cajes to the fair for his actual birth day and that was a lot of fun, minus the freak show component located conveniently in the kiddie area nonetheless. Cajes enjoyed the few rides he rode, especially pretending he was a race car driver and mostly just playing the silly rigged games that the fair gouges families with. We did take home a plastic sword and a stuffed bear and that made it all worth the while for Cajes.


In light of Cajes turning 4, I felt compelled to share the story of Cajes’s birth, as it was the most pivotal and important moment in all of my life—also one of the most memorable and amusing in hindsight. For those of you who know this story don’t feel obliged to re-live it through the narrative below…but for those of you who haven’t heard this story or who have forgotten it, feel free to read and laugh…as it is hard not to.

This excerpt was taken out of the front of Cajes’s baby book:

"Your birth was a surreal experience that began at 6PM on Monday the 6th (of September 2004 for those of you not familiar with this story)… Labor Day nonetheless…When we went in to Labor and Delivery they wanted to “ripen” my cervix overnight with medicine called Cervadil. At 6AM on the morning of the 7th a nurse resembling Attila the Hun comes barreling in to our room where your dad and I were sleeping comfortably and announced that if I had any intention of getting an Epidural that day that I needed to go ahead and get the line put in now because there were back to back C-Sections lined up for the day— and I had to decide right then, without wiping the sleep from my eyes, whether I wanted one or not. Erring on the side of caution I agreed to go ahead and get it because I had been a labor coach twice before and I was not disillusioned enough to think I could possibly push something the size of a football (or maybe larger) out of me without medication. By 7AM I had been visited by the anesthesiologist and was prepped and ready with the Epidural line hanging out of my back.

By this time Hurricane Frances was starting to flood Asheville, as water was rising in Biltmore Village at a rapid pace and the nurses were all buzzing around discussing the effects of the storm and comparing notes on who had it the worst at their house—whose road was washed out, whose barn was flooded and how many other nurses weren’t showing up for their shifts. Meanwhile I am hooked up to a Pitocin drip and labor progressed. By 2PM I had only dilated to 3 cm. Dr. Travis thought we could and should speed things up by breaking my water. Keep in mind I had not received any medication at this point, only gotten the line inserted….I should have thought about that before allowing my water to be broken because for those of you uninformed about obstetrics it requires the doctor to insert their hand and a hook into places that strangers aren’t welcomed gladly. Once that agonizing procedure was complete real labor became very painful. Contractions were coming rapidly—one on top of the next and I finally decided I wanted the drugs…tap my line. The rest of the day was spent….well, laboring.

When midnight arrived and I hadn’t dilated beyond 4 cm. Dr. Travis highly encouraged us to get a C-Section as the window of opportunity for Cajes to arrive on his own was slowly dwindling and his heart rate was going up and down. For hours the one sweet nurse who wasn’t immersed in the frenzy of the Hurricane kept coming in a flipping me from side to side to keep his heart rate in a normal range—God love her.

At 12:05 AM I was wheeled into the operating room shaking like a leaf from major fear combined with lots of medicine…at 12:26 AM on the 8th of September Cajes was born. All I remember of that moment was laying on the operating table, arms spread out like Jesus on the cross, and feeling certain this was the closest I had come to death in my life. However, in the background of my comatose state I could hear the nurses and anesthesiologists prepping me, talking about what was going on with the flood, who was coming to assist from what department all the while Paula Abdhul’s “Do, do you love me--tell me baby?” played on a radio. Then I heard Boys II Men…”So we’ve come to the end of the road…” and began to get more concerned that maybe I already was dead. At that point I was slipping in and out of consciousness until Ben arrived and the surgery began. Within minutes I heard Dr. Travis saying “He’s solid” and I mumbled trying to ask if they were sure he was a boy and if he had hair. Then he was passed to Ben who immediately began to console him as they stitched me up.

Lots of people were there to greet Cajes into the world—all of whom had waited since early morning and it was now the middle of Wednesday night…my parents, Ben’s parents, Mamaw, Aunt Carol, Uncle Ted and Heather. Cajes was like a king being born—the first grandchild on both sides of the family and the first boy on my mom’s side of the family in 53 years—hence me asking if they were positive he was a boy. Ben and I were overcome with love and were awestruck from the moment we saw him.

Because I was Strep B positive and he had a slight temperature (less than 2 degrees) the Pediatrician felt like he should go on antibiotics until meningitis could be absolutely ruled out. I was so still delirious they could have told me they sold him to the circus and I wouldn’t have put up a fuss…because when I say they gave me drugs I mean major drugs like morphine combined with other mind numbing medicines. Thank God Ben had the wherewithal to follow the Doctors and Cajes up to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and make sure he got settled in comfortably. I was in a recovery room as they prepped a room in the Mother/Baby unit for us. I didn’t realize they intended on keeping Cajes in the NICU for 4 more days…but later found out it was precautionary.

As Cajes was getting settled in the NICU they attempted to get us settled in Mother/Baby. Just as soon as all of our family left to go home and sleep in their nice cozy beds the power in the hospital went out because of Hurricane Frances. Now I’m sure you are thinking—they must have back up power, and yes they do…but it runs only a minimal amount of electricity. This does not include the air conditioning!! After the major surgery of a C-section I was forced to lie in my own sweat and filth feeling like spiders were weaving a web in my hair as bugs were coming out of my skin from the Morphine leaving my body. Ben was so exhausted that he started snoring obnoxiously on the little couch in our room. At this point I was miserable and began throwing things at him to startle him in an attempt to stop the snoring long enough for me to go to sleep—to no avail. Finally I called the nurse and she got me some sleep medicine and a sip, and I mean SIP of water to take the pill. I begged for ice chips or anything to help cool me off—but they were already under alert that the hospital would likely lose water as a major pipe had busted somewhere up the road. So, I lay there frustrated until I got so mad I literally got up and hobbled down to the nurse’s station. They stood in shock, looking at me like a deer in headlights, as I had only been stitched up 2 hours ago and I was bent over like I suffered from acute Osteoporosis. Thank God I knew one of the nurse practitioners and she helped me back to my room with a BIG cup of ice this time…and the rest of the night I relished each piece of that ice as I knew it would be my last for several days.

Biltmore Village on Sept. 9th

Morning came and we were able to visit Cajes as much as we wanted but I was forced to lug around an IV and a bag of my own urine until they took the catheter out later that day. As we got upstairs the first time that morning we saw that the water had risen to the windows of Wendy’s and McDonald’s in Biltmore…by lunch it was to the roof. The whole hospital was stirring with panic as they had just gotten the air back on when they lost water and had no way to flush toilets, make meals, wash linens, etc…and this wasn’t just for that day…this was the case for the rest of our stay with Mission/St. Joseph’s. Whenever we needed to go to the bathroom Ben had to go out and retrieve a 5 gallon bucket of water from a community trash can full of water located in the middle of each hallway, come back and dump it into the toilet. For the rest of our visit we were allotted 1 gallon of water per day to use in our room as needed, (i.e. brushing our teeth, sponge bathing, etc). On top of that we were only served boxed meals that required no preparation or clean up. After being without food since Monday night’s induction, by Thursday I was pretty hungry. My mom and Aunt Carol were gracious enough to bring me homemade chicken and dumplings and to tote jugged water up to my room to wash my hair over the sink because not only had I not eaten a hot meal, I also had not been able to shower or bathe due to the water outage. Now for some people this might be okay…but I take a shower daily and even if I didn’t after being in the hospital since Monday, going through labor and delivery of a 9lb and 5oz bundle of love then sweating out the drugs like I was in Celebrity Rehab, rest assured I needed one. But no. No shower for me until I actually got released on Saturday with baby in tow and returned to our home in Weaverville where my new challenge became climbing 15 stairs to get to our bedroom and bathroom. "

All in all I can laugh about this now— but believe me, when we got the hospital bill I felt like they should take a little bit off our tab for the lack of water, air, hot meals, and nurses who couldn’t focus on their jobs. After all, we could have bought a new car for the price of Cajes… But we surely wouldn’t trade him for the world, or a new Honda!

Four years later Cajes continues to be a source of pure joy and happiness and has been the most incredible thing that’s happened in our lives! Just the other night after we tucked him in to bed he said “Mom-mom, come here.” And I said “Yes honey?” Then he said “I like you…” and I leaned in to him saying “not as much as I love you” as I kissed his forehead. He then said “why do you kiss me so softly?” and I replied “because I love you.” Then he said “I like your soft kisses,” smiled his contagious smile, turned over and went to sleep. And as I shut the door to his room I was brought to tears as I thought of how special those memories will be when he is a teenager, a young man and then a father himself one day. And I thanked God for his sweetness when I went to bed that night.


Birthdays Gone By

~Cajes turns 1~

~Cajes turns 2~

~Cajes turns 3~


Anonymous said...

Oh Sonia how so very sweet.I'm glad you got Cajes and not the Honda for he will put more miles on you than you can ever put on a car.What a sweet post.Now I must go quickly and bang my hard drive with a bat as it has somehow helped me loose all 208 pics I editided for the past hour.I have found the pics but will now have to edit each one all over again.So much for posting tonight.Oh well .I enjoyed your though! LOVE, MONY:>

Jessie Francis said...

i'm glad you retold that story. there were many details i had forgotten. what an ordeal he was born into? it makes a great story though.
what he said to you the other night before bed brought tears to my eyes. so precious.