Monday, January 21, 2013

Cayla's Little Shelf

"But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me 
have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;"
Philippians 1:12

It's a new year.  2013.  I look at 2012 and come up with the above verse.  That pretty much sums it up.  And in verse 14 of that chapter it says, "And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear."  God has strengthened us through Cayla's life and death and in the process has given strength and confidence to other believers to live and be more of a witness for Him.  

What this year will bring is such a mystery.  Although some things don't appear to be.  Samuel graduates June 1st.  Yay!  He's so excited.  He wants so badly to join the Air Force, but feels even more strongly that it would be best to wait a year and get a one-year Bible degree.  He's only 17.  He can wait a year to see where God might lead at a Bible College and if God still calls him to the Air Force, I'll be behind him 100%.  There's even a possibility that he will get to spend 2 weeks in October on a missions trip to Brazil.  We are looking forward to seeing how God leads in Samuel's life.  

Here's a picture from last week of Samuel and Sargent Brown.  

This year is sending me back to work at least part-time right now.  Last year I was just working a day and a half at Basic Ingredients, but she has closed the store, so we will see what's next. I'm looking into tutoring since there's such a great need for this and I feel like I could make a difference in some children's lives.  I honestly have no desire to go back into a classroom or retail.  I really am open to whatever God has though, but I'm kind of hoping the tutoring works out.  We'll see. 

One of the shelves in our living room is our "Cayla shelf".  It just has some mementos of her life there where we can remember her and a have a few of her little things.  The shelf has her "box".  It's actually a jewelry box with the jewelry shelf removed.  It's covered in mirrors with a flat front side that's 5"x7".  So I tacked on a photo of her on the front and set a dried rose from her funeral on top.  There's also the angel holding a baby figurine that was in the flowers from Lowell's coworkers at Ken Forging.  The crystal bowl with the 8 dried roses from my Dad and Pat is on there too.  Then there's the yellow butterfly clip from Grandma and Grandpa Joe's flowers.  And then the memory candle with Cayla's picture and a saying on it from Baumgardner's Funeral Home, Lowell's cousin Jodi.   

Inside her little memory box are some Cayla things.  

I put one of her casts in there.  She was actually still wearing her last one when she died.  It was to come off July 3rd.  She'd already been fitted for shoes with braces to get at that next appointment.  We almost didn't take this cast thinking we'd just keep her last one when they took it off, but at the last minute decided to take it and grabbed it off the top of the trash can where Dr. Gurd set it.  It's in two pieces, so I wrapped her soft, velcro, hospital ID tag around the ankle to keep it together.  The casts were a big part of her life.  She had her first cast on at 3 weeks old and had it replaced each week for the next 5 weeks to straighten her club foot.  This first picture was her 1st visit to see Dr. Gurd, and her 1st cast... the before picture.

Then this picture is before she had her last cast put on.  Her foot was straightening out pretty good.  Her little foot and leg got to breathe a few minutes each week when they'd take the current cast off and let me take her up to 12th floor to have her weighed cast-free for an accurate weight.  Only to have to go back down and have another put back on.  This is also a picture of her little sock she always wore on her right foot.  I thought I kept the socks to put in her box since she always had one on, but  didn't find them.  Anyways, her last cast that was removed, we kept and have in her little keepsake box... this is her "after" picture.

There's also her pink stethoscope that the hospital gave me that was used every three hours to check the placement of her feeding tube that was in her nose before feeding her.  It was a pretty big piece of life with Cayla Joy, let me tell you.  Every time I fed her or gave her medicine, her tube had to be checked.  We had to take a small syringe, pull up some air in it and attach it to her NG (feeding) tube.  Then I had to put the stethoscope on and place the end over her stomach and listen.  Then I pumped the air into her stomach.  If I heard the "pop" sound, that meant I heard the air pop as it entered her stomach and all was well and ready to go.  If not, I either wasn't listening at the right spot on her belly or the tube had become dislodged and needed to be replaced.  Thankfully, every time I went to feed her, it was always there in its place although some times I had to check a couple of times before I heard the pop sound.  We also had to use the stethoscope when a new NG tube was being placed to make sure it made it into her tummy.  She pulled her tube out twice during the the 3 weeks she was home, but Lowell and I handled it like pros... they trained me well.   The 2nd time she pulled it out was during her 1am feeding.  So before we put the new one back in, Lowell grabbed the camera and took one of the few pictures we have of her without the NG tube.  Now to see if I can find it in all the pictures...  Yes, there's the sleeping beauty...  I had laid her on my bed to change her, turned around to grab a diaper and that's all the time she needed to get her little finger under that tube and yank it completely out.  She looks so innocent though...

Let's see, her salvaged hand cuff is in there.  :o)  Poor thing, having to be handcuffed even if it was with soft spongy stuff and hospital scissors...  I have to say, the NICU was so much better at controlling things like that.  They had these nifty little wrappers that kept their legs and arms propped up and came with little straps to keep little hands away from tubes and stuff (there's a picture below of her in one of them).  Although she was in one of those when in less than 10 seconds almost pulled her entire BREATHING tube out, not the little NG tube, and it took me 2 hands to pry her one hand off of it... But overall, I liked how the NICU handled her compared to the PICU.  I do wish they would take some advice on newborns from the pros in the NICU, but apparently there's a little competitive spirit between the two units... The next picture shows her little hand cuffs.  I did manage to find one laying on top of the trash one day and grabbed it for the memory... thus it made it into her box.  Ahhh... miss those precious kisses.

Wow, I'm going on and on here... her little green pacifier is in the box.  It's the only kind she'd take.  The hospital had little squeeze tubes of sugar water to squirt on it when she wouldn't stop fussing or needed to keep her still while sticking her with needles or something way too common like that.  I could've used some of those at home...

Let's see.  When I first found out I was pregnant, I stopped in at the little baby store in Jefferson and found the most precious outfit with matching shoes for $5.  I can't find the outfit (must have ended up with the stuff I gave away), just the shoes, so I put them in there.  They had little embroidered roses on the smocking.  That was the weirdest feeling... shopping for baby clothes.  For my baby.  I cried.  It was such a surreal experience that day.  I will never forget it.   I also put in one of her onesies since that is pretty much all she wore day in and day out.  :o)

The giraffe.  Lowell's giraffe.  He loves to show his love with gifts.  As Cayla was getting ready to leave the hospital, he wanted to get her something and found this perfect little giraffe, so soft and so cute.  I gave him a hard time when he was "presenting" it to her and she couldn't keep her eyes open and was not interested at all.  Thus the following picture.  

And lastly in this box is a bottle and a syringe.  Feeding our precious Cayla Joy.  I pumped gladly to provide the best milk for my baby girl.  She did nurse a little here and there, but it wore her out too much.  Even feeding from a bottle wore her out too much, thus the feeding tube.  But the bottle and syringe both evoke a strong memory to me of Cayla.

Well, I have gone on and on here tonight, so I will end here for now, but have enjoyed walking back through my life with Cayla tonight.  This afternoon I found myself rereading all the blog entries from June and July.  I cried, but it was ok.  So much I could write here, but sometimes there are things I just keep to myself.  Oh well, looking forward to 2013 and all that God will do in our lives this year.  Love to all!


  1. Linda, what a precious "Cayla Shelf" you have put together as a darling memorial tribute to your precious baby girl. I pray that your 2013 is filled with lots of answered prayers, unimaginable blessings, and many opportunities to share Christ per your verse!

    Hugs and Prayers,
    Susan Dean

    1. Thanks Susan. We have a lot to look forward to. :o) Thanks again for your faithful prayers and love. You, my friend have been a big part of our lives in 2012 even though you are down in Florida and we are here in Ohio! How does Paul say it... I thank my God upon every rememberence of you. We are also praying for your new little grandchild that all will go well between now and August when you get to see her!

  2. Carolyn Stirling (NZ)January 28, 2013 at 2:49 AM

    I was just thinking about you the other day Linda. I was very happy to see Pats link. What a lovely idea to have a box of Cayla's things.