Happy Birthday, Caiden (Part 2)

A picture I forgot from the last post: Grandma Donna and mommy, waiting for the arrival of Caiden. This is just after they started me on pitocin and were waiting for the contractions and the pushing to start. She was a real trooper and stayed the entire time, even being there for me when I was screaming and crying while the doctor put in the epidural. I clung to her like a life-raft in a deep, dark sea of pain and terror. By the way, she’s a strong woman for being so small!

The nurses at the hospital were very kind in helping me figure out the whole breast-feeding thing. I wanted to do it and was anxious to get started. Unfortunately, my son wouldn’t latch on. In between constant crying, he wanted nothing to do with the milk I was trying to supply him. They gave me baby bottles to feed him, since he wasn’t eating and I think that didn’t help with the whole process. I’ve since learned that if a baby is given a bottle, he will gravitate towards that – because it is so much easier for him.

We stayed in the hospital for the rest of the week and came home on Friday. His Grandma Donna stayed with me in the hospital the entire time and then stayed with me over the weekend. She had to get back home on Sunday and daddy had to get back to work on Monday. Starting Monday morning, I was alone with my new baby for the first time.

A cute story I just remembered. My ex-husband had a dog for many years. Her name was Dakota and she was loyal to only him. If I entered a room and he was asleep, she’d growl at me to get out. She wouldn’t let me near Mark – ever – when he was asleep and, if he was awake but involved in something, I could not sneak up on him. Well, when we got home with Caiden, Dakota decided that Caiden was his and no one was allowed near him. Dakota refused to follow ex #1 to bed, when he went and wouldn’t leave Caiden alone. She was all up in his business – Caiden’s and didn’t leave his side the entire night and ex #1 was getting very upset that he lost his dog to his baby boy.

When everyone left for home and work, that’s when I realized that I had a child who was sick. He screamed and cried all day and nearly all night. Not only did his Excema get worse but he wouldn’t keep any food down – whether it was my own offerings or formula in a bottle.

(The excema would eventually leave open, bleeding sores all over his face)

So, now I was alone. Sore from being cut open and my son was rejecting every bit of food I gave him. He’d spit up, throw up, or just cry and scream for hours on end. I had no clue what to do. I started taking him to doctors and quickly earned the title of Munchausen by Proxy. I was accused of making my child sick – with my stress, etc. I was told there was nothing wrong with my child. At one point, I was told there was nothing wrong with him right after he threw up across the room and I do mean projectile vomiting!

From daddy, “We went to at least 4 pediatricians before someone would listen to us and actually do something to help. He cried for the first 7 weeks and didn’t really sleep for more than 20 minutes at a time.

Finally, I took him to a doctor in another town. This doctor will forever have my love. He stayed in the room with us for nearly 30 minutes, talking to us and learning about my child. He watched as I fed Caiden a bottle (I had long since been told that my breast milk was making him sick and I needed to put him on a bottle) and he watched as Caiden threw it up all over the place. He ordered an Upper-GI (a picture of his stomach and what happens when he swallows food). It took the radiologist about 5 seconds to see that my son had “acid-reflux” and was unable to keep his food down. His screaming and crying was because his stomach was near always upset because of this.

Not very many people would hold him, up until this point. None of the family really cared to watch him and give daddy and I a much needed break. I don’t blame him. If he wasn’t throwing up on someone, he was screaming his little head off.

In this picture, his uncle Stan and woman watched him for an hour or two around Halloween (which is a few days after his birthday, remember) and dressed him up for me to take a picture. This is typical of Caiden at that age – crying constantly.

Finally, someone cared enough to fix the problem and he put my son on some medication that calmed things down. He started sleeping good and, by extension, so did I. Things started calming down. However, during all that, I learned many things about motherhood.

  1. I know why and how a mother could be pushed to shaking or beating their children. I called Grandma Donna many a time, in tears, because I was on the verge of violence with my brand new baby. She was always there to listen and help calm me down. Quite a few times, daddy even left work early to come home after I called him to say that I was in the garage smoking and the baby was in his crib and I was *not* going back in the house for all the money in the world!
  2. I know why and how a mother could end up leaving or giving up their children. I couldn’t believe that I had this small bundle of non-joy and it was mine to take care of. I started daydreaming about those “Safe Place” signs I had seen all over town. I learned that those signs and those places started years ago when a mother could no longer take care of her child in a safe and healthy way and it was a place they could “drop” their child forever with no questions asked aside from name, birthdate and any relevant medical information.
  3. I know why a mother who doesn’t work would give their child to someone else at a very small age to watch during the day. And yes, I did put my child in daycare for periods of time so I could gather my wits and try to recover from the latest fiasco with him.

After all of that, I was finally able to start trying to enjoy my brand-new bouncing baby boy. I was able to bundle him up nice and warm and take him to Colorado with me to visit my parents in March of 2007. However, during that visit, he quit eating completely and would cry constantly. Then, when he finally fell asleep, I couldn’t wake him.

Giving up on trying to figure it out on my own, I took him to the local emergency room in Pueblo, Colorado. At the time, he was so dehydrated, it took 5 nurses before they could finally get a needle in his arm to give him fluids. My dad and my youngest brother came to visit me and my dad made sure I didn’t fall apart. He warned me I wasn’t able to do that around my son. That part was hard but not as hard as what came later.

The took some head x-rays and CTU scans and determined that he had to have water on the brain. With his daddy in Idaho, it was probably the worst news I’ve ever had to swallow. They wanted to take him up to the Children’s Hospital in Colorado Springs, Colorado – by ambulance! My dad and brother couldn’t go with me and I ended up riding alone but, when I got there, my eldest brother and his wife were there to meet and greet us. That was great, and made me feel so awesome.

It was a long night, waiting for the doctor to stop by in the morning and let me know what was going on with my child. Sleep was elusive but my child held up very well under the pressure of being tied down to his hospital bed by IV fluids and such.

The next morning, the doctor came in, said he’d looked at the CTU scan and x-rays and asked if my son had a large head when he was born. I said, “Well, of course he did. That’s why I had an emergency cesarean.” He said, “That explains it, then. There’s nothing wrong with him. He’s just sick and doesn’t want to eat.”

Turns out, my son had a very sore throat and didn’t want to swallow. The doc told me that, if it happens in the future, buy my baby a milk shake at McDonald’s and call it good. Caiden would get the fat content he needs and enough calories to keep him alive until the sore throat passed.

The things we learn, as first time mothers. Getting ourselves scared witless to learn about the benefits of a cold strawberry McDonald’s milkshake.

Shortly after this, my son gave me a second (or third, fourth, fifth?) scare. He was at daycare and the lady called me, telling me my son was broken out all over his face and chest. I reminded her that he had excema and to not worry overmuch about it. She thanked me and hung up – only to call me about 5 minutes later to tell me my son was throwing up all over the place. I asked what she fed him and she said, “Applesauce.” I raced over to her house while calling daddy and snatched up my boy. He was mid-way through an allergic reaction and we rushed off to the emergency room.

While waiting there, we determined he had to be allergic to apples. We waited to be seen about 30 minutes and finally gave up, called his doctor in the “other” town and headed up there. He was past any serious danger but the marks were evident – he was allergic to Apples. The doctor pronounced him fit and we went home and all was peaceful until …

He started pooping his pants and it was applesauce poop. He ended up with open bleeding sores all over his backside. We had to let him go with no diaper for nearly 2 days while it all healed. It was terrible and my heart broke for him.

Since that time, he’s had random apples in his life – not on purpose and his reactions are still there. Diarrhea and breaking out in hives. So, we’ve limited the exposure to the best we possibly can and have made sure he gets no solid apple of anything.

And I thought that was going to be the worst scares out of him – I was wrong.

On another side note, they didn’t warn me about all of this when I went through their “Baby Preparation” class!

We had so many hopes and dreams while I was pregnant and we decorated his baby room and daddy made him a toy box!

The shirt says, “Happiness is a full tummy.” This was a struggle for him – getting his belly full and being content.

His face is pretty clear for this picture but it will get worse, yet again. It was a constant battle until roughly January of 2008. I was pregnant but I took him to Salt Lake City Primary Children’s Hospital to finally get some answers. I was 5 months pregnant with Brendan and had had enough of Caiden’s awful face. When it cleared up, he was so beautiful!

There’s Part 2 – look for more as the day progresses!

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Categories: Family | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Caiden (Part 2)

  1. I read this then had to go and let it sink in. good lord what a total nightmare your little mans early days were. I am so sorry you both had to suffer like you did. welldone mum in holding on and keeping your head above water somehow.

  2. It was a nightmare for him. He was a very happy boy, despite all that happened with his health and whatnot. You just couldn’t tell behind the screams and cries. Honestly, though – he was a very happy baby boy.

    Thank you again,

    Naia.

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