Monday, December 31, 2012

catching up

I have a baby sleeping in her bassinet.
I have a baby resting with her (sleeping) father on the couch as they watch Toy Story.

So, perhaps I should take this opportunity to update the blog.


Cagle- party of four.  Woah. Those words are slightly surprising.

But, man oh man- are they great words to say.

A family of four.

Turns out that due date of 12/21 was accurate- just the time was a little off.

Friday found us at the doctor's office with the knowledge that we were heading to the hospital. Friday being December 14- not December 21. My blood pressure was up, my platelets were down, and I was beyond ready. Turns out, I had "white coat syndrome" -- which meant that my blood pressure was up with the anticipation of it being up.


More blood work and a second appointment on Monday- December 17. If my BP was still high and platelets still down, then I would be heading to the hospital. Monday morning was hectic. LMC and I had a battle of wills. I broke down and knocked on my neighbor's door and asked if she could keep her. I cried. This pregnancy had to cease. Literally, I was on the losing end of the sanity battle. Greatest Neighbor Ever graciously took LMC.

Off in traffic I head. Out in the cold air, cutting off cabbies, and heading to the downtown office, with the knowledge that with what my morning had been like... there was no way my BP would be down. I was heading to the hospital.

My blood pressure was normal.

I sobbed.

The nurse looked at me and said, "No no-- that's a good BP."
"I kn-kn-kn-knowwwwww," I responded.

Walking back out into the waiting room, 15 pregnant women stared me down wondering what kind of bad news I had just received as a hot flash set in and layers had to be shucked... until I got down to my black "unitard" and tennis shoes. Needless to say, I was a sight.

My phone rang. It was Husband. I cried again.

Seriously, I was a sight.

After an ultrasound and a bill of perfect health, I head out to lunch for one.

Wednesday....  December 19. I have to drive over to Sibley Hospital (45 minutes and 8 miles away) for pre-admission blood work. My head was light and I was seeing spots. All those false alarms with a packed bag-- here I was, bagless and husbandless. After getting my blood work done, I head up to L&D to ask if they could check my BP (totally normal in Georgia). The nurses said I would have to go through the ER or, at the least, be admitted before they could do that. Seriously? I just needed to be hooked up to a machine and have my arm squeezed.

The doc took a little pity on me and lead me into a room ... where, yes, my BP was very high. I was admitted. I was going to be monitored for several hours. Husband is on the other end of the phone and a $52 cab ride later-  by my side. Those several hours passed and the prognosis went from there would be a delivery today... to there would not be. Then, there would be. Finally.... no delivery.

I cried, but only before telling the doc, "I'll cut you."
"What?" she asked.
"I trust you," I said, changing my tune.

Husband and I got in the car and later he told me that I looked defeated and sad. And he knew that there was nothing he could do to change that.

Wednesday night wrapped up four doting (and very nervous) grandparents with two anxiously awaiting parents and one clueless toddler. Thursday night found those two same parents back at the hospital with an announcement of labor and a delivery at 3:49am, December 21.

This girl high fived the nurses when they announced labor and that I would be delivering shortly. Classy. They told me to walk to the OR. I asked if this bus had wheels.

The nurse said she liked my attitude and popped the brake on the bed. We were wheeled down to the OR. Four sticks for the epidural and... I was crying again... telling Husband that I was scared. I started shaking- a lot. My BP started going up and I kept crying, telling Husband over and over again that I was scared. The anesthesiologist looked over my head and asked how I was doing.

"I am scared. Please knock me out."
"No can do. The drugs can cross the placenta and effect the baby."
"Please. I'm scared. Please knock me out," I said between sobs.
"I can't. But as soon as the baby is out, it'll be the first thing I do."

Thirty seconds later...

"Dude. Seriously. KNOCK ME OUT. I am really scared and I can't stop shaking." (as if he couldn't see the tremors)
"Dude. Seriously. Anything I can give you to calm you down will effect the baby."
"Honey, I wish I could- but I can't..."

back and forth- me begging Pusherman for drugs and Pusherman saying no.

I look back at him, square in the eye, and with everything I have, I say (okay, scream), "Knock me the f... out." (classy, right?)

"Honey, I'm from the Bronx and have been screaming at pedestrians since before you were born. You don't scare me. I promise, I've got the drugs and will give them to you the second I can."

Fair enough.

I start noticing the tugging and pulling on the other side of the drape. The anesthesiologist says to Husband, "Hey- look- here she comes," and flips the drape for him to see... my uterus on my abdomen, sliced open. Thank God that he's not squeamish.

As soon as MB came, the drugs were in. Pusherman asked me, "Are you still scared?"

"Yes... but I just don't care anymore."

The first person we called was Brother. Thank God for technology- at four thirty something, or five fifteenish... somewhere in the predawn hours Facetime allowed him to see his newest niece when she was minutes old and he was eight hours away.

Good grief, I miss him so much sometimes. But am eternally thankful that he is here for me to miss.

So, here I sit- with so many other things to say, all of which will have to be tabled for now. I'll get my writing legs back underneath me soon enough. In the meantime, we are all doing great and adjusting to this new life we have.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Not my best angle, but keeping it real.

No kidding, I'll be the first to say that this is pretty bad. But-- let's keep it real, child birth ain't pretty.

And I had just dog cussed the anesthesiologist. Who wasn't intimidated by this little thing in pink and white polka dots.

And my dashing husband, with our newest.... He handles childbirth much better than me:

I'm going to write more soon

I feel bad that this blog is not well thought out, but I do feel like I need to let ye few but faithful out there know the following vital information:

(1) MB is here. She came at the crack of dawn to a very scared mother and a very calm father. I actually cussed at the anesthesiologist in the minutes following getting into the operating room- where I was laughing... and then crying, only before cussing.

(2) Brother has a name to go with the problem with his kidneys. FSGS is the burden he now carries. More on that later, but know that he has forward motion and forward motion is about as wonderful as you can ask for these days.

(3) We got home yesterday and I ....overdid it.... just a little bit (lot).... Today, well, today I have been sitting on the couch, intermittently napping and letting my mother and my husband carry the weight of Christmas. LMC opened presents and presents... and more presents. Over two hours later, we were still opening presents. This was the first Christmas that truly felt like our first family Christmas. We have had Christmases together- just the immediate Cagles- and those were wonderful and had the buddings of traditions, but this Christmas with LMC asking about Santa and cracking into presents all the while kissing her baby sister and saying, "Don't cry MB, I'm your big sister," really made my heart warm and spirit light.

(4) LMC has taken to MB like a fish to water. She adores her, wants to hold her, and give her kisses. She is enamored with the little baby, even if she doesn't understand why Mommy can't do so many things and cries when she jumps or hits my stomach. Let's just say- ouch.

(5) Um, Husband went above and beyond again this year- as he always does. Mackerel upon mackerel- he found a beautiful sterling water pitcher in the buttercup pattern. It. is. Stunning. Breathtaking. I love it. I love him. It's awesome. I can't wait to upload pictures.

I can't wait to upload pictures of everything.

It's been a wonderful few days, filled with the greatest of ups and the smallest of downs. The emotional roller coaster of post pregnancy hormones makes me both laugh and cry. But the love- the love I hold for my family is overwhelming and humbling.



When I have a computer, internet (it's been out now for a few days, I'm a little sad), and time. Those are the top three things I need to update more... soon.

Scout's Honor.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Not a Baby Post/So Much for taking a break

Brother and I grew up going to a Catholic school. When Brother was in eighth grade, I was in... fifth? sixth? Maybe fifth. Pointless to the story, though. Brother was in eighth grade and the church was being renovated. Because of the renovation, the school had to get creative with First Friday Mass. One month we had it in the cafeteria. Another, we went down and had mass with the inner city Catholic school.

But this was May! This was the last First Friday Mass of the school year. This was a beautiful day and Fr. Costigan, straight from Ireland, and Sister Kathleen decided that Mass could be held, not just outside, but on the front lawn. On the front lawn. Where every Augustan would drive by and see the beautiful little Catholic children praising the Lord. Oh, it would be divine.

Or would it?

It was May. In Augusta. It was hot. The one speaker hooked up to Fr. Costigan's microphone did not project far enough into the very large crowd of our school. It was right before lunch and we were all hungry. And whispering. For all of Augusta to see us, meant that we were on a well traveled street. People drove by with the windows down blaring Sir Mix-A-Lot and Kris Kross (those went over really well with the nuns).

It was hot. And humid. In Augusta. Really humid. For Pete's sake, it is Augusta. We have three seasons in Augusta- Hot, damn hot, Holy mackerel can it get hotter?... and then two-ish weeks of "hunh, it's a little chilly out here. Perhaps I should grab a sweater." Okay, four. We have four seasons in Augusta.

Me and my little fifth grade girlfriends sat quietly, picked daisies and made daisy chains. We whispered to each other about summer plans and tried not to get caught. Like I said, it was hot.

And, forgive me... it was a little boring.

My brother, on the other hand, sat on the other side of the large crowd- equally bored in his equally drab blue and white uniform. This was the last run at private school for him. This was his last run before attending The Academy. He would be going to high school in a few months. But first, he had to survive the never ending Last First Friday Mass.

He and two of his equally devilish counterparts sat with their eighth grade class... on top of the valve box that operated the sprinkler system for the front lawn of our school.

And another car drives by with Boyz II Men playing.

Preston lifts the lid and looks around. The teachers were fanning themselves in the shade. Jeffrey grabs the valve and twists it really fast- on ... and then off. Brother takes a turn. On... and then off. Preston takes a turn- on... and then quickly off. And so goes the rotation as they think that this must not be the valve box to much of anything.

But, all this while- pressure is building up in the pipes. Until a fateful hand grabs the valve, turns and the familiar chick-chick-chick of the sprinklers started up. Whoever it was (to this day, we don't know), flipped it back off and dropped the lid back down and all three tried to look inconspicious. But, the pressure had to release itself through the sprinkler heads and the second Baptism of half the school took place thanks to Fr. Brother, Fr. Jeffrey, and Fr. Preston.

In the retelling of this story, I swear I heard Fr. Costigan say "damn" and throw his notes in the air... but I doubt it.

That's my brother.

As you know, a few months ago- my brother had a stroke. Husband, child, and Wife caught the next flight to our hometown of fair Augusta to be by his side. As he mended, we wrapped him in prayers and good faith. What you might not know- if you have been living under a moldy rock in Westchester- is that a few weeks ago, he had two seizures. What the doctors discovered is that the stroke was much more severe than they initially thought and they were quite surprised at the leaps and bounds he has achieved with what he has been through. It just goes to show what a man can accomplish when he puts his mind, no matter the condition, to determination and can succeed.

Strokes can cause scar tissue on the brain and seizures are common. The scar tissue "tickles" (it is a much nicer word than 'agitates') the brain tissue and a seizure ensues. To what degree and what length depend on nothing more than a twist of fate.

Up in DC, I cried. His personality, his love, his faith, and all things Brother were there. But his BODY, his damn body was failing him. He has so much life in him, but his body was whittling away.  I wanted to be with him, I wanted to take care of my incubating one, I wanted to do everything and yet- I wanted to curl in a ball and let my husband hold me while my sweet LMC kissed my face- which, in the end, is what happened. Her two tiny paws grabbed my cheeks and she sweetly said, "I kiss doos tears, Ma-Mee."

The seizures exposed some things we did not know. The steroids, which are helping his kidneys do their job, have caused his face and neck to swell. From the neck down, he looks great, but his face and neck are that of a Steroid man with acne. The swelling was causing sleep apnea (for which he had surgery for years ago). Sleep apnea helped kick those seizures along. Prednisone was ravaging other parts of his body- causing steroid induced diabetes.  There is such a fine line between helping and hurting and Brother is dancing on both sides of it.

But, this is not the story that I came to tell. Rather, it is what is happening tomorrow.

Tomorrow, Brother comes off the Coumadin (blood thinner) that he has been on since July and will have a kidney biopsy. This is something that we knew he needed but had to wait until levels could level out, healing could take place, and time could just pass to put the stroke further in the past. He will spend 23 hours back in the hospital while he goes under the knife and is then monitored to see that he remains on a healthy and steady path.

This is my brother. This is my baby whisperer, my daughter's godfather, my hero, my champion, and he is all things to me. This is the man I seek solace in, advice from, and wonder how I can be more like him.

People either love him with all they have or they don't. More people are in the first category than the second. But, he is my brother. And my only one.

I adore him. Tomorrow, Husband and I go to the doctor to check in on this pregnancy that is slip-sliding into home base and Brother goes under the knife. Normally, he would be on my speed dial to hear his niece's heartbeat. Normally, he would be the person I called with whatever news I had to share with my family from the doctor. Normally is a word that we don't use much anymore, because nothing is normal around here.

What we know is that there is a Higher Power. I get mad at Him sometimes. I often ask Him questions, to which there is no answer. But, there is a bigger plan than just me and Brother. There is Higher Hope. And it is where I am putting my faith, because that Faith will trickle down to a doctor's steady hand, a nurse's kind word, SIL's strength, and patient caregivers for my crazy niece and nephew. I can't be there in the waiting room tomorrow for this short procedure. I probably won't be able to spell what he is diagnosed with, but I can Pray. And hope. And be there soon enough.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Pregnant Pause

Sigh. It's a sad day in the Cagle household.

I killed my computer.

I mean, like I killed it- dead. In the words of some famous movie-- "D-E-A-D-E"

We will have private burial in the backyard, and somewhere- in the distance- "Taps" will play. She and I had a good run at three years of fun, but we will move forward.

So, Life Of Cagle will have to take a short, pregnant pause while I ship off the hard drive to get it out and bring it back home. Like ashes for an urn.

In other news, we are scheduled to have a baby next Friday. Sweet! 12-21-12. The fun with numbers was not planned. Thatttttttt being said... my blood pressure has been on a pretty steady rise the past thirty something weeks, starting at obnoxiously low to now... high. Spilling proteins, triple digits, warnings of headaches high. My recommendation is not to put that 12/21/12 in stone just yet.

Doc saw me on Tuesday (my water had not broken, contrary to popular belief- you can do that embarrassing math), on Friday (scheduled, with a sonogram- I still had plenty of amniotic fluid), and again on Monday. The Monday appointment revealed a staggering three pound weight gain from Friday AND a BP of 140/86. Now, I am not savvy when it comes to systolic and the bottom number, but even I knew that was high. They drew some blood to check my liver enzymes and something else. We moved my last appointment up from next week to this coming Friday to see where my BP is and go from there. Fingers are crossed that both MB and I are healthy, as well as progression to the finish line continues at a rapid rate.

In other incubating news, carpal tunnel 2.0 has reared her lovely head and I now wear braces on both my wrists. It's sexy. Almost as sexy as the fact that Husband has been sleeping on the couch for longer than I should admit to. There is a reason for that.

I now... snore.


So loudly that the last time we slept in the same bed, I woke myself up from then noise. I thought his phone was vibrating. He had not fallen asleep yet. Sorry, honey. Nothing says love like a comfortable couch.

Humble pie, please- Table 4.

Speaking of our couch... it's a little, uh, low to the ground. MB has gotten so large (read: The incubator has not gotten large, rather the incubatee), that it has been ... um... difficult to get off of the low rise beauty to make the 18 trips to the bathroom- each time getting harder than the last.

We head off to the Shady Home Depot. We buy wood. We ask the nice man to slice the wood into eight 5 inch pieces for stilts. The Home Depot guy says he can't make cuts smaller than a foot. Husband tells him it's for me and that I can't get off the couch. My mouth drops and my eyes get wide.

Home Depot Guy agrees.

I die laughing, both from the truth and from embarrassment. Whatever, I can get off the couch with ease now, no complaints.

This pregnancy has been a tad more humbling than the last one-- at least in the superficial aspect. We all need grounding every once and a while. It's safe to say that I have been completely grounded.

Hell... Waitress! Just bring that whole Humble Pie over to Table 4. MB and I will be eating it. Grab some chocolate milk, too. If we're going down- we're going down in a blaze of glory.

Between the spiked blood pressure, the lost computer, and the impending baby- we're taking a breather. Not from want, but from necessity. It you see a post on Friday- you'll know something is up and plans are changing. Otherwise, next blog... BABY!

Let's get this show on the road! :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Birthday and Trains

That husband of mine. That baby of mine.

LMC picked out an ah-mazing birthday present found in a blanket that is warm, cuddly, and perfect for snuggling with toddlers on the couch. I woke up on my ...thirty-second... birthday to LMC bringing in presents and saying "HAPPY BIRFDAY, MA-MEE!"

Oh, Husband. That husband of mine. He pulled out all the stops and bought me a new lens for my fancy schmancy camera. Now, let's be honest- I can take some pretty good pictures. I can also take some really bad pictures. I am more of a trial and error photographer than a studier of books. But, one thing I have learned- a good lens can make anyone a better photographer!

So, after a birthday on Saturday, a devastating loss for Georgia (four yards. four), a fabulous dinner at Liberty Tree Hill, and Husband letting me sleep in until after 9 on Sunday morning, LMC and I packed up on Monday and headed to the Botanical Gardens to see the trains. The high was in the mid 60s. It was a perfect day to be outside. Or inside a garden. What kind of 'benture could we find on this perfect Monday?

her face KILLS me!

There is something just adorable about little girls and how they hold hands. 
I got to play with my camera, LMC ran into a school buddy and got to play with her. We got to wave to the trains as they came and went, and we had a lunch date- just the two of us in the back of the gardens at a teak table, surrounded by the medicinal herbs that were on display for people to admire.

Peanut butt and jelly sandwich, lunch of champions!

only after a snack, of course.

After we bid adieu to our school friend, LMC wanted to take her hand at the camera and take a picture of the "caterpillar train" -- her very favorite. As she snapped, she screamed, "HELLO Cadderpelar train! I LOVEEE you!"

"Hello Little Fairy! I LOVVEEEEE YOU, TOO!"

She politely returned the camera and ran through the fairy tunnel, with a little Superman action.

And then, she took on some serious twirling abilities. She has some crazy, mad skills when it comes to twirling- thanks to Miss Heidi and the Holy Moly I Had No Idea Expensive ballet lessons.

Like I said, crazy skills when it comes to twirling.

Eventually, she grew weary of the trains, of Thomas, of the fairies, and other kids and wanted to go on an 'benture and then a "berry secret mission. SHHHHHH."

First, she found the frog? The dog? The topiary...

Then, she found her "E" and wanted to show some more ballet steps she had learned from the famous Miss Heidi.

I asked her what that big, pointy thing was over there.... "Wash-ENG-ton Mom-u-memnt" (yep)

She tore off to the Washington Mom-u-memnt... and then took off towards me. She loves to run and jump into your arms with a great big bear hug as a reward. It knocks us down. We love it. We just have to be ready for it to truly love it.

 As we continued on our 'benture, and started making our way outside-- I saw this:

And thought it was a pretty good idea. I really liked how they recycled their red wine corks. What a way to save Mother Earth... Mother Earth will fall in love with me all over again soon enough.

As we made it outside to find a maze, she continued to run, jump, twirl, and play- as if every December day has a high in the mid 60s. Complete with a Christmas dress.

However, she is still who she is... I looked down at my camera to adjust an adjustment and looked back up to see my perfect little lady doing something that, obviously, her father taught her...

But, she quickly went back to being my little lady and playing like a little lady should. You know, playing in a fountain. In DC. In December. Splashing.

And she was really having the best time, until she forgot where she was and put her leather shoed foot in the water to reach for something. She was unimpressed with herself and lots of tears ensued. She walked barefoot back to the car, with only the occasional carrying from the [very pregnant] mom.

Good Day.

Monday, November 26, 2012

It's Christmas Time in the City

The good news is that we only had one accident... and really, I was expecting many more with the three year old that was beyond excited to be helping us decorate the tree. 

Yep, that three year old: 

And, let's be completely honest... the Cagles were pretty excited to have our first real tree in, well, ever. Don't get me wrong, we've had trees (in Augusta). But, they were teeny, tiny trees because we were "livin' on love" and had to go to the short stack at the back of the lot. I placed the tree on a very large box and covered the box in burlap. It worked. 

And, let's be even more frank- this is the first Christmas since Cagle Christmas began that Husband will not have to work. He has either been on call or post call every single Christmas since we have been married- caring for those babies that could not go home. That's quite a few Christmases. Husband moved hell and high water to not have to work this Christmas. And, by the way, did you know that we will have a newborn? Being a Doctor's Wife is more than just manicures and hair appointments. Like I said- he had to move hell and high water to get the day off.

But he got it. And that's all I care about.

So, we decided to go big and grand. We bought a real tree. No rosemary bush for us. No vase full of twinkle branches. We are going obnoxious and decorating as if we had money to spend. After dropping  my parents off at the airport on Friday morning, we were the very first sale of the very first Christmas tree at Eastern Market. The eight foot fir was strapped to the top of the Tahoe and away we went.

 I did save a good bit of money on ornaments. Sterling forks, spoons, butter knives, and bon bon spoons are tied to hooks with brightly colored grosgrain ribbon. All from around the house. No money spent. Sweet.

Last year, when the Christmas decor was on sale after the holiday and they were getting ready for summer, I bought a bunch of sequin and sparkly sticks to stick in the tree (or whatever concoction I would come up with in 11 months) to make for a bold statement. Husband was not excited. They were $.10 each- I was elated.

The 40 ornament box of glass ornaments were on sale two weeks ago and we snapped up a box of those puppies before heading over the light department and picked up 750 white twinkle lights. They were the most expensive thing on the tree at a $15. Back in Augusta, we'd go to the scary Family Dollar store and pick up Christmas Lights in the shady part of downtown for $1. There's a new definition of shady after moving to DC... and that definition does not involve packing into the family sleigh to save $13.

The tree was assembled and LMC put on ornament after ornament- being so very careful to not break any(more). The three of us hung ornaments and sparkly sticks, and silver. It's a very... colorful tree.

It's a very ...youthful... tree. And it is our tree. Our eight foot wonderful Cagle Christmas tree complete with presents underneath.

Lots and lots of presents. LMC and I have been wrapping presents in craft paper and grosgrain ribbon since October that have been accumulating at the top of my closet since June. LMC has been a huge help holding ribbon, unwrapping ribbon, running ribbon down the hall and back again. pushing presents around the room, and otherwise just directing traffic.

Such a help.

I cleaned out the kitchen hutch and made it our mantle with greenery behind the little white houses. We hung our stockings on knobs and handles.

And took last year's twinkly lights and placed them throughout the greenery on the top, next to a vase full of plastic ornaments from last year. We used plastic ornaments last year to fill the same vase that was the base of our Christmas tree. It was tacky. And I loved it. Husband had other ideas.

Next year, we will have a traditional red and green Christmas tree with no sequins, no funky colors, and probably no silver hanging on the tree. But, this year-- our last year in the city-- we are trying to make the best with the budget we have.

It has been so wonderful to make this place home. And even more wonderful to have our Christmas up and out on the day after Thanksgiving for us to love, admire, and enjoy for a long time.

It really is the prettiest tree I have ever seen.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Well Set Table

I've said it before and I will say it again:

 I love a well set table.  

It's just one of those things in life that I enjoy making, seeing, and sitting at. I use a ruler and coordinate plates with clothes with crystal and the things that make a table pretty. My husband thinks I am crazy, however, he fully accepts my craziness and let's me spend time with my ruler to measure the place settings and polish the silver again. 

I couldn't do it this year and was very, very fearful that Husband would get called in and have to work, so my gracious parents packed up and came for a Thanksgiving visit. 

So, allow me to show my handiwork as my mom continues to cook our turkey and fixin's:

Even Eileen has her own place setting of silver with toddler sized goblet.