Friday, October 17, 2014


As I look back on this part of my life, I think about how slow each day seemed to go, but how it absolutely feels like yesterday, and it's actually been almost 10 years. If you are in this season of life with babies, can I just say, please try to embrace it. I don't say that insensitively, because I remember very well the sleepless nights, the exhaustion, the crying, the whining, the explodopoops...but I also remember that sweet baby scent. The milk coma with drops dripping down the chin. The sleepy grins. The way they fit just so inside your arms.

You can't get it back friends. Chase it. Soak it in. Love every second that you can.

I digress.

So I went from being a full-time college student, to a full time stay-at-home-mom overnight. My breast milk finally came in and we were able to stop giving formula. And that dude could eat! Can I also just say if you're a new mom and the lactation consultant tells you breast feeding shouldn't hurt that they're lying to you? It does hurt for the first week or so. Your nipples are not accustomed to what's happening to them! Mine were raw and chafed and bleeding. And then they were fine and I loved breastfeeding. Except when I wanted to sleep. But mostly I loved it. *Grins*

I was very determined that Cayle was going to sleep in his bed beside ours. I swore I would never be a cosleeping mom. It was a bad policy. Ask me how I feel about that now. *Grins* So when he woke up to eat in the night, do you know what I did? I sat up in bed, turned my lamp on, got my Boppy pillow, and nursed him. And Cayle was not a fast eater. Usually it would take him 30-45 minutes to eat. So there I was trying to stay awake at 2am while he nursed. Yikes. After he ate, he would go back in his bed. In addition I decided I needed to be super woman at home. Dwayne had to go back to work almost immediately after we came home from the hospital. He had a relatively flexible schedule though and worked just a few minutes from home which was good. I didn't have a lot of help though besides Dwayne. None really. No one volunteered to come help so I could sleep. Things were still uneasy with my parents and I didn't want to ask for help because I was afraid I would "owe" them something later, or that it would be something they could hold over my head to get what they wanted, because they had done this kind of thing before. I think we had maybe two meals brought to us. It was definitely very isolating. I was a little upset about all of that, but I honestly was so tired, and so enamored of this wee one that I didn't have the emotional energy to get bitter. That wouldn't have changed things for us anyway.

So I was trying to be all "Fly Lady" because that's what all the cool moms were doing and I was totally living in a place of what I should be doing because that's what a good wife and mom would do, etc. No one ever told me to do it, I just felt like that's what I was supposed to do. I was home all day and I never wanted Dwayne to feel like I wasn't working as hard as he was. And he never felt that way. He usually worried I was doing too much. And I was. I was nursing, and not sleeping, and working my tail off cleaning, cooking, and doing laundry every day. And I was still in the postpartum period.

Oh, and that stage 3 episiotomy that I tore past into my rectum? Yeahhhh that. I felt like I was pooping glass every time I pooped for the next six months. No lie. I cried every time I had to go. It was awful enough to make me decide I *might* want a c-section with the next baby and I hated surgery, so it was a big friggin deal.

Cayle was growing and doing so well, but when he was six weeks old his stool changed. It seemed like diarrhea to me, but I wasn't sure because all of it was so new to me. So I checked his temperature rectally, but that confused me because the books I read said it was a degree higher than an under the tongue reading. So what did that mean? Was I supposed to round down? I tried under the arm, and I knew you were supposed to round up for that, but I couldn't compute it. What temperature was accurate and which one should you give the doctor? I was worried he was sick though. So I took him to the doctor. Now mind you, I was not a dependable source and I was a freaked out mom. I still lived many days in fear that I might lose him like I did my first baby. The doctor we would normally see at our clinic was out that day, so we saw one of the others. She consulted with another doctor and they determined Cayle needed a spinal tap in the office. I started sobbing. I just imagined how painful that would be for him and they wouldn't let me go in there. Fortunately Dwayne was with me to help hold me together. Then they told us we needed to take him to the hospital for observation and medicine while they wanted for test results. I was so stressed. My sweet innocent baby was getting poked and stuck and now we were going to the hospital. They needed to start an IV on him and I swear we had the worst nurse ever. They were holding my sweet baby down and sticking and sticking and sticking him. I was standing there trying to console him, but I was scared and angry and postpartum. I ended up having to walk out and I stood in the hallway sobbing feeling like a horrible mother because I couldn't watch them do that to him but I didn't know what to do. Finally they got an IV from the NICU (duh!) and a new nurse came in and they had to give it to him in his head. They said he was dehydrated and that's why they had to stick him 7 times. I'm still not convinced.

So then we got to stay in the hospital for three days. They let me nurse him and stay with him which was a huge blessing. Our regular pediatrician came in the next morning and really seemed to think he was okay and that this was all just as precaution. He seemed to indicate he wouldn't have admitted him if we had seen him which made me a little angry with the other doctor, like they had overreacted. But I guess better an overreaction than and underreaction, right?

All of his tests came back completely normal, so who knows if it was viral or if he was even sick? We came home from the hospital and I was so grateful he was okay. Then, literally the next morning, I woke up and I knew something was very wrong. I thought maybe I had mastitis, but my boobs didn't hurt. I had a high fever and I felt like I had been hit by a truck. I went to the doctor and tested positive for the flu. The flu. Six week old baby and no real help and I have the flu?! What in the world. They told me I would have to "pump and dump" milk for 7 days while I took Tamiflu and give Cayle formula again. Cayle didn't mind the switch at all, but I was devastated. I felt like I must have done something wrong to get the flu and that I was failing him as a mother because I couldn't nurse him like I should. I don't remember what had happened with my family at that moment but I didn't even want to ask my mom to help me, so I called Dwayne's stepmom to come help me. I was terrified she would get sick, but I also didn't want to get Cayle sick and I needed to rest. She helped me one full day and then Dwayne took over. I was able to just sleep and check on them occasionally. I will be forever grateful for that. Also, in retrospect I was trying to do wayyyy too much and that probably contributed to me getting sick to begin with.

He was probably three or four weeks old here.


Dwayne loved this little robe. He thought he looked like a boxer.

 We finally got healthy and started getting into a groove. It was around this time that I started blogging on Xanga. This was before Facebook, I think. Facebook originally was a teenager thing anyway. I found Xanga through a friend who loved to write, and I decided it might be a fun way for me to stay in touch with the outside world too. There were several of us stay-at-home-moms (SAHMs) who blogged about our daily life and it was so refreshing to have other people who were going through the same things I was. My friend Miranda, who was in small group with me, had given birth to her first son Cade in September, just before I had Cayle, so we were in the thick of it together. Also my best friend Carrie had a 1 year old and was pregnant with her second. What's funny is a lot of the women I know the best and am still the closest to, all blogged together on Xanga for years.

Cayle had just started sleeping well at night and then suddenly was fussy and waking up a lot and drooling. I figured maybe he was starting to teethe but he was only three months old so I figured it would be a while before he cut a tooth. Then one day I was feeling his gums and he had not one, but two teeth on the bottom! At three and a half months old! After that, Cayle spent the rest of his first year cutting teeth two at a time ever 4-6 weeks. It was nuts.

Then Easter came:



So squishy!!

Dude was a CHUNK!
I still used my  Minolta SLR film camera that I had gotten in college a lot. We couldn't afford to go get pictures taken, so I tried to document everything myself. I'm not as good as a professional photographer, but I do feel like I've been able to get good shots that I'm proud of over the years.
I started putting Cayle in his bouncey seat in front of Baby Einstein videos when he was pretty little. He loved it and it helped me get housework done when he was fussy.

In May, I took Cayle down by the river and took some five month old pictures of him.

And bathtime. Goodness he loved his bath!

Cayle was in the 75th percentile at birth in weight and length and has maintained that all of these years. He was probably 18 pounds when he was 6 months old. Because of this, when he started getting mobile, first he rolled. He literally would roll like a burrito all the way across the room. Then later he army man crawled. It was adorable and he was fast. He never pushed up on all fours, but that dude could get where he needed to go.

Around 6 months old

When Cayle started eating solids at 6 months old, he really lost interest in breast feeding. He didn't have the patience for it anymore and I was tired of trying to force him, so we went to formula. I felt a little defeated but I felt like we got a bad start from the beginning and I just didn't feel like fighting it anymore. Plus he loved baby food and so we wouldn't have been nursing as much anyway.

Soon our second anniversary came and we decided to go away for the first time overnight and leave Cayle for a weekend. We went to Hot Springs where Dwayne proposed and stayed in the Arlington Hotel and did a spa weekend. We had a good time, but circumstantially some weird things happened. First, after we had left the car for a while in the lot they told us to park in, we came back to the car to go out to eat. We had been driving for a few minutes and I felt something bite my foot, and then again a second time. I looked down and the floor was literally crawling with ants. I started freaking out. I have ant issues. We drove straight to Walmart and got some bug killer. We couldn't figure out where they came from or why. That was the same car that got stink bombed and it just never seemed to recover.

Then during our spa day, what we expected would be super relaxing, turned out to be really rushed and not. I felt like herded cattle as I did their special "bath" and then during my 30 minute massage, the masseuse talked to me the entire time and I could not relax at all. It was super frustrating.

BUT, we loved on each other and ate and talked and had such a blast. We missed our boy though.

Downtown Hot Springs for our 2nd anniversary
I just remembered this, but I had to have shoulder surgery that summer. I had been in a car wreck when I was still in college, before I got pregnant. In the wreck, my shoulder had rammed against the driver's side door and I knew it had caused damage. After a lot of physical therapy, the doctor finally decided to do arthroscopic surgery. A few months before surgery I really started having a hard time carrying Cayle around without my shoulder locking, so I was hopeful that the surgery would correct that problem and it did. I was only out of commission for a couple of weeks. I'm too stubborn to stay down long and I didn't even rest it as long as they wanted me to. Lol.

Cayle could pull up for months before he started walking. He was about 9 or 10 months old here. And look at all those teeth!

He loves his daddy. And there's Tippy dog.

I started substitute teaching some at my old high school in the fall. My mom kept Cayle for me while I did that. He loved bouncing!

Thanksgiving picture with Aunt Jen

Cayle's first birthday!!

It took him a minute, but once he got on that cake, it was over!
Dwayne and I knew we would not go back to conventional birth control pills after all that the Lord had shown us about letting Him plan our family. I was praying from the time I had Cayle, that God would give me at least a year before I got pregnant again. Mostly because I had been so morning sick and I was terrified of going through that again. I started practicing the Fertility Awareness Method, which is basically where you understand your body and your monthly cycle better and you chart different aspects of that on a calendar. You are supposed to do this for a few months before it is a reliable form of birth control and I had watched it through two cycles, and then suddenly things were off. I was late. I knew I was pregnant. I could even tell you when I got pregnant. I took a pregnancy test when I was one week late, which was exactly a week after Cayle's first birthday. It was positive. I was super scared to tell my family because they were not always very supportive and I did not want to be discouraged. I was excited that the Lord had chosen me to give birth to another life, and even though we didn't have all our finances in some perfect order, I knew He would provide for us as He always had. PS-God totally has a sense of humor. I prayed for one year and that's exactly what I got. Ha!

Cayle on Christmas. He wasn't very cooperative with pictures that day.

Cayle and Pepaw

"Why are you pointing at that camera mom? I just wanted to look at you!"
So at the end of 2005, we had been married two years, had a 1 year old son, and were pregnant with our second baby. We were super excited even though we didn't know what the heck we were doing. At least we knew what to expect the second time around!


  1. Love that sweet boy! He was such a good baby!

    1. Yes. My heart aches with how fast time has flown by. He's about to be 10. My love. Sweet, precious, mature, amazing boy. <3


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