Cayson Blake Part 2

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When Cayson was about three weeks old I started to feel like something just wasn’t right.  He wasn’t eating very good, he was vomiting a lot, and something just didn’t feel right to me.

One afternoon my husband put him in his swing and I went down the hall to take a nap.  While I was laying there I thought I heard something.  I listened closely but didn’t hear it again.  A little later I heard a noise and went to check on Cayson.  He had been crying, hard, and was pretty hysterical when I got to him.  But even though he was crying hard it wasn’t loud.  Our house isn’t that big.  For as upset as he was I should have easily been able to hear him crying.  This made me feel even stronger about something not being right.

The next day I called the doctor to get an appointment.  They had a slot open for that afternoon.

The first thing they did was weigh him.  Alarms went off for me because he hadn’t gained any weight since his one week appointment, he was still 7 lbs 4 oz, and was still not up to his birth weight.

The took him to the exam room and I told them everything that was going on.  They looked him over and the doctor said that she was pretty sure he had reflux and would give him medicine for that.  She also said that she wanted us to wait a few minutes to have another doctor who was older and had more experience to come look at him just to be sure.  So we waited.

The other doctor came in and listened to his heart for what seemed like a really long time.  I was starting to get a little nervous.  When he was done listening he looked at me and Crist and said he heard a murmur.  I started to get teary and he looked at me and said, “Don’t cry.  Murmurs are fairly common in babies.”  I got myself together and he explained that there are benign murmurs of childhood and that he is pretty sure that is what Cayson had.  He said that he thought one of the holes in Cayson’s heart hadn’t closed up and that they could give him medicine for that.  He told us that we needed to set up an appointment with a cardiologist to get an echocardiogram (an ultrasound of the heart) just to be sure.

I left the appointment feeling discouraged.  I was worried.

I called to make the appointment and they had one for the next day.  I took it and felt relieved that they could see him so soon.  A few hours later the office called me to tell me that they were canceling the appointment because they were calling for a huge snow storm in the morning and their office would be closed.  The next appointment they had was nearly a month away.  My heart sank.  I really did not want to wait a month to find out what was wrong with my baby’s heart even if they did think it was a harmless murmur.  My husband called our doctor’s office back and they called a different office and got us an appointment the next week.  A week was still kind of long but it was better than a month.

The day of the appointment came.  We put Cole on the bus and dropped Carson off with a babysitter.  Cole had a two-hour delay that morning and wouldn’t have to be picked up until 12:45 and since the appointment was at 8:00 we figured we would be done in plenty of time to pick him up.

We got to the appointment and they weighed him.  His weight still was not up.  They checked his blood pressure and his vital signs.

We went into another room to get the echo done.  One of Crist’s classmates works at the office and she came in while he was getting the echo done.  We were all laughing and talking.  I started feeling a little nervous because the echo was taking a long time.  The doctor came in and said that they needed to see our insurance card just to check something.  The echo finally was finished and the doctor told us to go sit in the other room and he would be in in a minute to talk to us.

We went back to the room and sat down.  The doctor came in, sat down, got out a pen and a piece of paper and started to talk.  He told us that our son had a serious heart condition called a coarctation of the aorta.  That the aorta was pinched and that his heart had to work extra hard to get blood to the lower part of his body.  He drew us a picture and explained everything to us.  In the back of my head I was thinking, “Ok so when are you going to give us the medicine.  This can be fixed with medicine right?  It has to be able to be fixed with medicine that is what the other doctor said.”

Then he looked at Crist and I and said, “Your going to have to be admitted to the hospital.  Your son needs heart surgery.”  I looked at him and said, “What?  You mean right now? Today?”  He said yes right now.  He told us that unless our house was on the way to the hospital that we shouldn’t go home to get clothes.  He told us that we should expect to be in the hospital at least two weeks.

My heart sank.  Hadn’t we already been through enough?  Cayson had survived birth and now everything was supposed to be perfect.

I cried and strangely enough laughed the whole way to the hospital.  This could not be happening.  We could not be driving to the hospital to admit our newborn son to the PICU to have heart surgery.  We had already been through enough and this was not real.  It couldn’t be.

But it was.

We got to the hospital and they took us to our room.  The surgeon came in and told us that they were going to monitor him and wait until tomorrow to do the surgery.  He talked to us about the surgery and what he was going to do.  He told us there was a 2% mortality rate.  That did not comfort me at all.  To me that number was too high.  We were told that there was a 1 in 800 chance of what happened with Cohen would happen and now they were telling me that there is a 2 in 100 chance of Cayson dying too.  At that point I fully expected Cayson to die during the operation.

The operating team came and got him the next afternoon.  They said that the operation would take between 4 and 5 hours.  They tried to explain to us what he would look like when he came up from the operating room.  That he would probably have a breathing tube in and be very swollen.  They explained that once the surgery was over we would be able to see him for a few seconds in the hall and then they would take him back to his room.  Once he was in his room we would have to wait for about a half hour before we could come back to see him.  They also told us that he would be getting a line either in his neck or leg and until that was taken out we wouldn’t be able to pick him up or hold him.

We walked with the team down to the operating room and then we had to say goodbye.  I really felt like I was saying goodbye for ever.

Cayson right before his surgery

Cayson right before his surgery

My mom and a bunch of our friends came to sit with us while we waited for the surgery to be over.  I don’t know what I would have done without them there.  They kept my mind off of what was going on two floors down in the operating room.  In my head I was still expecting the surgeon to come up and say that he was sorry and they had done everything to try to save him but they couldn’t.

After a very long 4 and a half hours they finally came and told us that the surgery was over and that they were able to remove the breathing tube.  The social worker took us down the hall so we could peek at him before they took him back to the PICU.  He was so swollen but alive.  At that time I thought he looked so good but looking at pictures now I’m not sure what I was thinking!

Right after surgery

Right after surgery

The surgeon talked to us and told us that everything had gone well but they had to do a little more work then they originally thought they would.

Drawing of what was wrong with Cayson's heart

Drawing of what was wrong with Cayson’s heart

How Caysons aorta looks now

How Caysons aorta looks now

After about a half hour they came out and told us we could go back to his room.  He was hooked up to tons of stuff but he was living and breathing and that was all that mattered to me.  I felt like a ton of bricks had been lifted off my shoulders, that I could breath again.

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He turned a month old a day after surgery

He turned a month old a day after surgery

The next few days flew by.  I was so nervous about bringing him home.  I was so afraid something would go wrong and I wouldn’t know what to do.  That I would mess up his medications.

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The nurses were amazing.  They taught me how to do everything.  They made sure I was comfortable with Cayson’s care.

After a few days his arterial line came out and we were finally able to hold him again.

Holding Cayson for the first time after surgery

Holding Cayson for the first time after surgery

He had lost more weight and was down to about 6 lbs 12 oz.  He was having trouble eating which is not uncommon with cardio babies.  They put a tube in his nose and fed him that way to make sure he was getting enough.  Then they took the tube out and tried to have him nurse.  He did ok and they felt he was ready to go home.

Little man with his NG tube. If you look close you can see where he pulled out his IV

Little man with his NG tube. If you look close you can see where he pulled out his IV

After being in the hospital for a week they told us we could go home.  We were so excited!  I wasn’t feeling nervous anymore, just excited to be together with the rest of my family.

Going home the first time

Going home the first time

We got home and I fed Cayson.  He threw up.  Not just a little spit up but a lot.  A few hours later I fed him again.  He threw up again.  I called the doctor.  She told me we had to go back to the hospital.

I cried and cried.  The boys were upset.  Crist was upset.  We just wanted to be a family!

Back at the hospital

Back at the hospital

So we went back.  This time they had me weigh him before and after every feed to make sure he was gaining weight and to make sure he was taking enough in.  It was kind of a pain to do but we did it for two days.  Finally on the third day the doctor felt confident that Cayson was eating enough to gain weight and that we could go home.

Sign the boys made for us

Sign the boys made for us

Going home again

Going home again

This time we were able to come home and stay home!  It has been a month since Cayson’s surgery and he is doing good.  He is gaining weight although he still has days where I don’t think he is eating enough.  He has to take 4 medications (which is one less than he took when he first came home) one of which he really does not like.  It gets a little crazy when we go out because we have to remember to pack all of his meds.  We still have lots of doctors appointments, with the cardiologist, his regular doctor, and weight checks.

One month after surgery

One month after surgery

I am so thankful for the amazing people who are in my life that have helped me get through this time.  People have been awesome with gift cards, cards, gifts, phone calls, text messages, meals, and coming over to help me with the boys and around the house.  I don’t think I will ever be able to thank them enough.

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Cayson Blake

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Baby Beiler #4, Cayson Blake, made a fast and furious entrance into the world on January 20, 2014!  He was by far the fastest of my four labors.

My whole pregnancy I had been dreading week 38, the week we lost Cohen.  Even the days of the week were the same for both pregnancies, I turned 38 weeks on a Saturday for both.  The weeks leading up to week 38 were awful.  I was an emotional wreck.  I cried, a lot.  I didn’t want to see anyone or talk to people.  It was too hard.  Hard to act excited when really I was terrified.  Hard to go out and even have strangers ask about when I was due or how much longer I had.  So I stayed in, pretty much only going out to pick Cole up from school and to take and pick up Carson from school.  I begged and pleaded with God to please please please let me have this baby before I hit 38 weeks.  I begged the doctor to induce me.  He wouldn’t but he did strip my membranes which I was convinced would put me in labor.   It didn’t which caused even more tears.  One night I even had contractions all night every ten minutes only to have them stop in the morning.  I was a frantic mess.

Then week 38 came.  I broke down.  I cried.  I yelled at God.

Then came Monday, 38 weeks and 2 days.  I am sure that Cohen died that night because it was the next day, Tuesday, that he didn’t move all day.  I was panicked.  I had a doctor’s appointment that morning.  I went in and everything was good.  I asked the doctor if I could please come back the next day, just to hear the heartbeat, just to make sure.  He told me I could come in everyday if I wanted to.  He still wouldn’t induce me despite my many tears.  He offered to strip my membranes again but I had already had it done twice and nothing happened so I said no.  I ask him if he had any suggestions of a way to naturally induce labor.  He gave me a suggestion and I went home ready to try it.

I got home and sat around for a while feeling sorry for myself.  Feeling mad that nothing had worked to start labor.  Feeling mad that God hadn’t started labor for me.

My mom was there to watch Cole and Carson while I went to the doctor.  She was getting ready to leave and I ask her if she thought I should give what the doctor suggested a shot.  She said I might as well try while she was still there so that if it did work she wouldn’t go all the way home just to have to come back again.

So I went in to my bedroom and dug out my breast pump.  I pumped for 15 minutes on each side.  In the middle of the pumping my husband came home from work and ask what in the world I was doing.  I told him I was trying to get this baby to come, NOW!

By the time I was done I was having contractions every five minutes.  I didn’t think I was really in labor.  I figured I would have contractions for an hour but they would stop.  In less than an hour the contractions were coming two minutes apart.  My mom and Crist insisted that I call the doctor and at least go in to be checked.  I called the office and they said that since I had only been having contractions for about an hour that I could either stay home, take a shower, walk around, and see if the contractions continued or I could come in to the office (which was the opposite way from the hospital) and be checked there.  Since Crist and my mom were glaring at me I decided I better go in and get checked.

On the way to the doctor the contractions continued to come every two minutes.  We got to the doctor’s office and of course had to wait because we didn’t have an appointment.  We waited there for almost an hour an a half before the doctor finally came and checked me.  By that time the contractions were coming almost every minute and they hurt…….BAD!  The doctor came and said that I was only 4 cm dilated but that the head was super low.  He told us to head to the hospital and that he thought we would have this baby by midnight at the latest.  It was about 6:50 then so I figured we had plenty of time.  I would get there get an epidural, have some time to think and relax, and then in a few hours push and have our baby boy.

It takes about 30 minutes to get to the hospital from the doctor’s office.  My husband drove like a crazy person.  On the way there the contractions started coming even more frequently and they were way more intense!  I was in serious pain.  When I am in pain and in labor I get really hot and when I get really hot I pass out and throw up.  I felt this coming on so I opened the window (it was only about 16 degrees that night).  We were driving through the city and there were people out and I was screaming in pain.  I have no idea what those people thought and quite frankly at that point I did not care.  All I cared about at that point was getting to the hospital and getting some pain medication!

About half way there my husband, who hadn’t eaten most of the day, thought he would be funny and turned to me and said, “Can I stop at McDonald’s?”  After I nearly bit his head off with my screamed, “NO!,” he claimed he was joking but I still think he was serious.

We finally got to the hospital and they didn’t have any wheelchairs.  By this point I couldn’t walk and every time I moved another contraction came.  Crist pulled up to the door and by that time the hospital staff had found a wheelchair.  The put me in it and wheeled me back.  I signed a few papers and they rushed me to a room.  Crist left to park the car.

The nurses who pushed me to the room asked where my husband was.  I said he went to park the car but all I really cared about was getting an epidural.  I told them I wanted one, NOW!!  They looked at me and said that I had to get checked first.

Then my dear friend who is a Labor and Delivery nurse came in the room.  She was there the night that Cohen was born and I told her that if she was working when I came in I wanted her to be my nurse.  I was so happy to see her!  I begged her for an epidural.  She told me I had to wait for the doctor to come check me.

My beautiful friend and nurse

My beautiful friend and nurse

My husband got back to the room and the doctor came.  He checked me and I was 7 cm.  It had been less than an hour since I had been checked at the office!  Things were moving along a little fast for me and I was still begging for an epidural.  While he was checking me my water broke.  They told me I didn’t have time for an epidural.  I turned to my friend and said, “You don’t understand I want an epidural.  I don’t want to do this without one.  Seriously you don’t understand I can’t.  I have to have one.”  The doctor checked me again about 3 minutes later and I was at 9 cm.  The nurses had taken off the heart monitor and the doctor asked for a heart rate.  They couldn’t find it right away which caused me to panic!

At this point I was frantic.  This was not at all how I pictured my labor and everything was going way too fast.  I pushed and his head was out!  The doctor told me not to push or I would rip.  He held my baby’s head so that it wouldn’t come out anymore, with me yelling the whole time that I needed to push.  Finally he told me I could push again and with one more push Cayson Blake was born. We were in the delivery room for a total of 11 minutes!

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I had unintentionally had a completely natural birth.  I felt like a warrior!  Katy Perry’s song, “Eye of the Tiger,” kept running through my head.  I’m surprised I didn’t roar 🙂

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Cayson weighed 7 lbs 7 oz and was 21 inches long.  His labor was by far my shortest labor only lasting 3 and a half hours.  He was perfect!

My doctor, the one who delivered Carson and Cohen and was supposed to deliver Cole but he was on vacation that week, arrived at the hospital about 5 to 10 minutes after Cayson was born.  He was shocked that the baby was already born!

Snuggling with Cohen's bear

Snuggling with Cohen’s bear

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My mom, Cole, and Carson came to meet Cayson about an hour after he was born.  Carson danced around the delivery room singing, “We get to keep this baby! We get to take him home!  We get to keep this baby!  We get to take him home!” It was a very emotional time for us, feeling happy that we have this new baby to love but missing Cohen so so much.

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Cayson had a lot of fluid so he spent his first night in the nursery being monitored.  His oxygen levels were good so he was able to spend the rest of the time at the hospital in the room with us. When we left the hospital he weighed 7 lbs 2 oz but was eating well.

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His first week at home was very emotional.  I was feeling like I had to choose between Cayson and Cohen, to love one meant I didn’t love the other.  It was so hard.  There were so many tears those first weeks.

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Cole and Carson adore Cayson.  The first week home they constantly wanted to snuggle, kiss, and be with him.  They still love being with him!

We took Cayson to his one week appointment.  They said everything looked good.  His heart and lungs sounded good.  He had gained weight and was now up to 7 lbs 4 oz.  We took him home thinking we had a perfectly healthy baby boy.  We would soon find out that he wasn’t as healthy as we thought.

To Be Continued………..