We had just had our first anniversary. It was summer of 2004. I was determined to graduate before the baby came, which meant I was graduating a semester early. I took 13 hours of classes in summer school and was signed up to take 19 in the fall, the most I had ever taken. I was fiercely determined.
We went at 20 weeks to have our ultrasound to see if we were having a boy or girl. We were so excited to see the baby moving around in there, but baby would not let us see between it's legs! So we went again the next month and finally we got a quick peek...a BOY! I was not one of those first time moms who had any inclinations about either gender so I wasn't surprised at all. I was excited! A first son. I have also always said that those male hormones did not agree with me and that's why I was so sick, but that's probably a figment of my imagination.
My mom got more excited after we found out we were having a boy. She was disappointed it wasn't a girl, but she started buying things for the baby and I was grateful for some peace between us.
My precious friend Kelsea was engaged and getting married in September of that year. She had asked me to be a bridesmaid and I had such a great time attending all of those wedding functions. I was super self conscious about my body and fitting clothes was awkward, but I'm so grateful I got to be part of that time with her.
As school started and Dwayne started a new job as an Assistant Manager of a restaurant in Jacksonville, we started to feel like we needed a home. We had a lease until December, which was the month we were due, and we didn't want to break it. One night towards the end of September, we had a really bad storm the knocked the power out to our apartment complex. Then we started hearing rain and it sounded like it was coming INside. We got up and looked and rain was coming in through the window and underneath the wall. It wasn't flooding outside, but somehow rain was getting in. We called the emergency number but there was nothing they could do till the next day so we put towels down and toughed the night out. When they came out to assess the damage, they decided they needed to see if moisture was behind the drywall. They cut out a section of drywall and realized that water had soaked the insulation and actually caused an electrical fire in the wall not three feet from where we slept, but the insulation had done it's job and put it out. They told us it really wasn't safe for us to live there anymore and gave us freedom to leave. They also refunded our full deposit and let us live there rent free for the month of October.
Well my sweet friend Melissa's mom (one of my other mama's) was a real estate agent and we decided to ask her if she could help us find a house. We knew we couldn't afford much, but were hopeful we could get something. We found a small house in a decent neighborhood in Jacksonville in our price range. Donna helped us in every way imaginable. We got a good loan with a great interest rate, paid a good price for our house, and ended up not owing hardly anything at closing. This was absolutely God's mercy on us because we were so poor! We did not use credit cards (we didn't even have them) but determined to live on Dwayne's meager salary. We lived super simply. I found myself sometimes wishing for new things, but I was so grateful for God's constant provision in our lives, and believe me, it was evident. We moved into our new house in October.
As we looked at names for our son, we really felt led toward Hebrew names. Shana is not a common name, and Dwayne is more common, but still different, so we knew we weren't going to name him Joe or something common. Suddenly we found the name Cale which means "Faithful and Bold" in Hebrew. It derives from Caleb. We started looking at the spelling and decided to mix it up and make it Cayle. Dwayne's middle name is Neal and so is his dad's, so we decided to pass that on: Cayle Neal Wilson. It felt perfect. We began to pray that God would make Cayle faithful and bold for Him.
My family and friends hosted a big shower for me. I was so very blessed by all who came and by all that was provided. God met all our needs and then some through this shower.
My growing up friends: Casey, Kim, Me, Alicia, and Jennifer
The whole group!
Me and Mom the day of the shower
I felt good most of the rest of the pregnancy. Cayle moved around a lot during the day while I was sitting in class. I remember if I sat too close to my desk, he would start kicking it which hurt. I also remember saying he was going to be a genius since he was sitting in college classes every day. He also sucked my brains out. I remember sitting in class and raising my hand to respond or answer a question, and by the time I was called on, I had completely forgot what I was trying to say, which was not like me at all. Ugh, there were many times I felt like a complete idiot.
At some point in December my mom took some maternity pictures for me with my camera. We couldn't afford a photographer so we did the best with what we had.
My belly was huge!
This is my favorite
I decided I really wanted to walk at graduation, even though I would be 38 weeks pregnant. I was not one of those first time moms who was rushing him to get here. I wanted him to stay in till close to 40 weeks so I could finish school! I was going to be the first person in my family to graduate from college and that was an honor and a super big deal to me. Against all odds and many people's beliefs, I got married, moved four times, had a miscarriage, got pregnant again, and still maintained my scholarship and was going to graduate, and it only took me three and a half years! I was proud of that and wanted to celebrate it. Then, as that day drew closer, my doctor was checking me and realized that Cayle was looking to be pretty big and also based on ultrasound, my amniotic fluid was decreasing. I did not want to have a c-section, so we decided to induce labor on December 17th, which was 10 days from my due date. I was supposed to walk at graduation on the 16th. Okaaaayyy.
The night of graduation I was having contractions every few minutes. I feel pretty sure that had I let nature take it's course, Cayle would have come on his own within the next 72 hours anyway. Everyone sitting around me at graduation was like, "Wouldn't it be so cool if your water broke right now?!" Uhh no! I did not want to be on the 10 o' clock news!
Walking across the stage to get my diploma.
I made it through graduation with nothing crazy happening. I received my Bachelor of Arts degree, with honors, in Professional and Technical Writing and a minor in English. I was pumped. And ready to have a baby.
The next morning we were at the hospital at 5am. I remember being anxious, but I had no idea what to expect. I wasn't fearful of labor. I was still fearful that I would lose Cayle. Honestly I had anxiety the whole pregnancy that he wouldn't make it, because I had lost the first baby.
They got my IV going and started Pitocin. The doctor broke my water a few hours later and then the contractions really started going. At around 11am I was desperate. I had never hurt so bad in my life. I was literally moaning and had zero control over it. I hadn't even ever considered natural labor and we hadn't gone to any birthing classes. I felt equipped with knowledge, but in retrospect I wish I would have just rode things out and tried to do it naturally (minus Epidural). I asked for an Epidural and they told me they would have to push fluids first. They said I could have some Stadol while we waited for the anesthesiologist to come in and start the Epidural. I was desperate so I said okay. This was the worst mistake ever. I fell asleep but it didn't stop my pain. I was moaning and hurting and couldn't fully communicate that because the pain medicine had taken over. I did this for hours. No real rest. Finally the anesthesiologist came in and gave me the Epidural. It honestly didn't hurt because my contractions were hurting too bad. I'm guessing it was afternoon at that point, maybe around 4pm. My pain subsided but then Cayle's heart rate started changing. They turned me to my side, which made the Epidural wear off on one side. I was progressing so. slowwwwwly. My doctor said Cayle was having a hard time getting all the way into the birth canal because he was on his side instead of face down. At 8pm my doctor came in and had me start pushing some to see if he would turn. At 9 we started pushing straight through and he told me if he wasn't out at 10, we were having a c-section. I was determined to get him out without a c-section. I pushed as hard as I could feel that I was pushing. Dwayne held one leg and mom held another. Dad was up near my head. I remember feeling so thirsty and dehydrated from only having ice chips for so long. Finally he started crowning. I was pushing so hard I had my eyes closed and I remember Dwayne started crying and he and mom quit counting and I got mad because I was focused on that counting. Then I looked down and he was coming out. Finally there he was! I looked at my son and lost it. That precious little boy had been living inside of me all these months? I was a mess.
They wouldn't let me hold him right away because apparently I had a bad tear. I did get to watch while they weighed and measured and stamped his feet and wrapped him up. I wasn't the first one to hold him either, and neither was Dwayne. It was my mom. The mama bear in me was already there and I was having a hard time with the fact that I wasn't the first one to hold my child. I think Dwayne had stepped out into the waiting room to tell everyone the good news. When he came back in, he was the second person to hold the child I had just worked so hard to push out. Finally they were done sewing me up and I got to hold my baby. He knew me immediately. He was rooting and looking at me. I started trying to nurse him and then the hoards of family that were there wanted to come in. I figured out quickly that there was no shame anymore. People will bust up in your room with your hoo ha hanging out or your boob laid out. Whatev. Mortified.
Finally they all left and it was just us. And I held him and stared and counted and looked and fed him because he acted like he was starving. I did send him to the nursery after a while because he was asleep, and I was so exhausted. I don't know if it was our first or second night in the hospital but they told me he was hungry and since my milk hadn't come in yet, maybe we should supplement with a syringe of formula and a passy. I had read not to do those things because of nipple confusion, but I was so desperate for sleep that I agreed. It definitely made him a happier baby.
Not only did I have a level 3 episiotomy, but I tore past that into my rectum. Cringey cringerton. I had no idea what all that meant and thought maybe it was pretty normal. I didn't have a lot of issues right away, but I definitely did after I got home from the hospital. More on that later.
Finally we got to go home from the hospital. It was the week of Christmas. I was more tired than I had ever been in my life but my heart was so full. My world had changed again and now part of my heart lived on the outside. What a gift, Lord. What a fearful, beautiful gift.
My precious little boy.
We weren't tired at all or anything
Christmas day. I was too tired to even put on make up. Screw you world!
Aunt Jen holding her nephew
My dad (Pepaw) and his first grandchild
Spencer, Dad, and my Papaw, and Cayle