Thursday, December 13, 2007

Just so you know

I just put up new pictures on the flickr account from Ella's 4th Birthday Party and some new pics of Baby Cate. Also there is a new (by new I mean I wrote it Monday) below. To check out the pictures go to

love yall

Monday, December 10, 2007

Hard to Believe

As I sit and listen to the noise of a baby swing going back and forth and the sound of little feet running upstairs, with the occasion scream, both from my wife and my other two deliquents, trying to wrestle them into the bath tub, my heart is at peace with the world. Well, Baby Cate turned a month old on Friday. It doesn't feel real, since she has only been home for 2 weeks. She is adjusting FINE to the craziness in our house. Yesterday (Sunday), I was cooking some deer meat for my family to feast on and she was in the kitchen in her swing screaming, at the top of her little lungs, nothing was wrong, she was crying, hungry, dirty, nope, just screaming for the sake of screaming, all DNA testing that I thought about went out the window at that moment, I knew that that was a "pure D" Cantrell kid. She really has been doing very well, she is eating well, sleeping well, well any parents out there know that the word "well" is completely relative and changes tremendously when you become a parent. She seems to be gaining weight, don't know for sure, just because we do not have a scale here, who needs one, they just stress you out anyway. She really is just a great baby, the kind of baby I like, can't move, sleeps alot, doesn't talk back, and eats whatever you stick in their mouth, without complaints. I wish all kids stayed that way, till 21, now there's an idea, I might start a novena for that one. But, seriously, Cate is really doing well, it seems. We go back to the Dr. next week, so I will be updating you on her condition again soon. Ok, so what most of you come here for besides Cate. I seriously get so many comments about our family, and I do not make any of it up, it is to good to make up, and I am a pretty creative person.
The other night we were at a surprise birthday party for a friend of Ali and mine, when Ella asked if she could go to the potty, I said sure let's go. We are sitting in the bathroom, Ella, taking care of business and I am sitting on a stool, when she looks at me and said, " You know Dad, I love these shoes, this skirt, and this shirt together" at that moment I realized that I was going to broke in the next few years, I have a daughter who is EXTREMELY fashion conscious, at FOUR, and another one who came out costing more than my house, just kidding.
Dude, has taking a liking to his sister, one that we must watch CAREFULLY. He has this wooden sword that my mother-in-law, GOD BLESS HER, I love you Cheryl, bought him at the ripe old age of 2. Now, I realize that the many books I have read on raising boys and the masculine heart are true. We found our son the other day, stabbing his ONE MONTH OLD sister with his sword, saying, "I kill Baby Cate," people, we don't watch violent cartoons or movies or regular tv for that matter, I have never threatened to "kill anyone," I might say "damn" every now and then but, I have not been known to threaten to "kill" people, so I have NO idea where he gets this stuff.
Dude was running through the house the other day with his toy gun, yes he has toy guns, he is a boy. Going BANG BANG, Ella and I were sitting on the couch watching this fiasco and I asked Ella, "Ella, what do you think he is shooting at?" She responsed saying, "Deer, daddy, he is shooting deer. I like to eat deer. Sure wish you would kill one soon" Yes, my four year old gave a serious shot to my pride as a deer hunter. So this past weekend I finally killed a deer, brought the head, only the head home. The kids come running to the back door to see the spoils that daddy has brought home. Daddy, is proud of his kill, to which my loving daughter says, "Daddy, that is a small deer, sure wish you would kill a big one" Typical woman, NEVER SATISFIED, they are hard wired from birth, just like little boys.
Final one, then I have to call it a night. I get home the other day and am greeted by the usual screams of, "Daddy's home!" Give hugs and kisses, they go back to playing, Ali and I are chatting in the kitchen, when I see Dude pass heading towards the laundry room, no big deal, nothing sharp, deadly, poisoness, or bone breaking in there, so Ali and I continue talking, after a few minutes I notice its pretty quiet in there. I proceed to the laundry room to find our cat eating quietly out of her bowl and our son, laying down on his belly, licking the water out of her bowl. To which Ali and I did the good responsible thing, laughed, to which he thought was funny, therefore it will happen again! Well, my wife just yelled that my son is peeing down the stairs.
If Baby Cate can survive here, no heart defect will even have even the remotest effect on her! Well, until next time, thank you again for the continued gifts that have flowed into our house and all the thoughts and prayers. We love yall!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Dr.'s Appt Update 11/30/2007

Good afternoon to all! Well, Baby Cate had her first cardiologist appointment on Wednesday as many of you know and were praying for. She is doing great! She gained 5oz in a week which Dr. Dalal was pleased with. They did an EKG and the results came back good. They did not do an echocardiogram because the dr. did not feel it necessary because of her progress. Her blood oxygen levels were in the mid to high 90's with a 100 being the highest it can be. She said that Cate's heart seems to be adjusting well as she continues to grow and that we would not have to go back for another visit for 3 weeks, as long as Cate behaves herself. The visit was a big relief for her mom and I, just to know that after being home for a week, in our crazy house, that Cate was doing well. It is surpising that she is doing as well as she is due to the fact that she is constantly harrassed by her older siblings. Her brother stood in front of her swing yesterday in his spiderman halloween costume screaming at her to see if he could get a rise, but he eventually gave up and went on to terrorize our pour cat, who is going straight to kitty heaven for all she puts up with so patiently from him. Just a couple of funny Cantrell kid stories, mainly cause they make me laugh. Our parents were at the house for thanksgiving and my mother-in-law was tell us the story of when they had taken the Ella and Dude to Seasame Street and then had a picnic afterward. Ella and Dude were running around playing chase and Ella tripped and fell. She quickly responded, "Awe Damit" my mother-in-law very calmly repsonded, "Ella, that is not a very nice word for a pretty little girl like you to say," to which Ella quickly fired back, "Well, Nana, sometimes when I say that word, people laugh." Well, the sunday after thanksgiving was the typical lazy sunday around the Cantrell house. The kids were watch cartoons and Ali and I were in the kitchen having coffee and chatting. I yelled in to the kids, "Five minutes and the TV goes off," then we hear a sweet little voice say, "Awe Damit," to which Ali and I did quietly laugh, I called Ella into the kitchen and said, "Ella, you really should not use that word, its not very nice," and she said, "Well, Dad, neither should you when you are talking on the phone." I said well, your right Daddy shouldn't say that word. KIDS! I picked "Dude" up from the Babysitters on wednesday afternoon, he loves to ride in "Daddy's Big Truck." He rolls the window up and down, up and down. He had gotten quiet back there so I turn around to see what he was up to and he had my cd case open on the side of him and was pressing two cds tightly to his ears, I would guess to see if he could hear them. When he realized that they were not working, he quickly decided to despose of them and flung them both out the window. Now, I don't know how many "broken" ones he had found before I notice what he was doing and rolled up his window and locked it. That's my boy, if its broken, throw it away! Well, yall stay tuned more to come. Until next time, watch what you say on the phone and don't let dude near your cd collections.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A little Reminder

Good Afternoon to all who are still tuned in to the Baby Cate blog. I wanted to remind everyone that tomorrow is Baby Cate's first Cardiologist Appointment. And to ask all who have loved her this far in prayer, that you would continue to pray for her and that everything goes well tomorrow. Our hope is, well for a complete miraculous healing, but will gladly accept that she is growing well, her heart is continuing to balance itself out and that she is gaining weight. As I look at that little girl with those big blue eyes looking up trying to figure out what that blurry blob is in front of her, I can't help but wonder, as any concerned parent does or would, is she going to be alright? It is not a matter of having faith, but just the human element of life, the experience of fear, concern, and the genuine desire for the well being of our little girl. On the outside, there appears to be nothing wrong, she eats well, she looks pink and beautiful, she sleeps, poops, and cries just like any other baby. It’s just the mental fact that we know something is not "normal" that causes me to look at EVERY little thing she does and ask, Is she ok? should she be breathing like that? Why did her Eyes get big like that? She only at 2 ounces and not 3. That was a BIG poop, is that normal, are you tired now? So many questions and concerns fill my big ole head, things that I NEVER paid attention to with my other two children, but now I feel the need to watch her like she is on the verge of flat lining at any second, which she is not, so take a deep breath. Take a deep breath, that's it, that is what I and we all, must do as we are faced with situations like this or one you might be facing right now. I don't want to be some freakishly overly protective parent, I feel bad enough that I am the wash your hands police, when people come to my house. I don't want Baby Cate to grow up thinking she is breakable, I want her to grow up strong, determined, and unafraid. Unafraid of obstacles and challenges that life throws in our path, notice I said life, not God, I don't believe that God gave Cate this heart condition, it just happens. I want her to eat dog poop like her brother, I want her take off her clothes and play rain puddles, I want her to run around the back yard singing songs to people who no one else sees, except her and have cool names like schocakan. But it all must start with Taking a Breath, not being such a worry wort, but just letting her be. She will learn how to face life from me and her mom. I want to teach her that with God’s grace we can face anything, we peace and true joy. I want her to know that she is not in anyway an underdog or weak, but even more to instill in her that she has fought valiantly since the day she was born. To be honest with or without a heart condition if she survives our house, and by house I mainly mean, her older brother and sister, she will be FINE! So, as we prepare for her first Cardiologist Appointment tomorrow at 2:30, please pray for her, and for her mom and dad, that we can relax, let her be the beautiful baby that God has created her to be, and to know, one day, she will eat dog poop, and be a better kid for it. I will update yall after the appointment tomorrow. Until next time, don't forget to breath.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Sounds of Joy 11/14/2007

Good Morning to all, I have gotten a couple of "complaints" that there has not been a blog in a few days, so I thought I would give you guys an update on the Cantrell Family and their newest addition. Yes, the sounds of little cries fill the house as Baby Cate makes her prescense and her needs known to us. These little cries are usually followed by the sounds of little footsteps running to "meet" her her every "need." Ella and "Dude" have adjusted very well to their new little sister. They have taken on the roles of "provider," well I guess you can call it that. They want to hold her OFTEN, but it is kind of nice, because when they hold her they are STILL & QUIET, actually quiet. A feat I thought impossible for these two usually crazy kids. Dude, is the one that we have to watch the closest because of his constant "concern" for his little sister. He makes sure that the little ducks on her swing are CONSTANTLY spinning, he must have an internal alarm that goes off when they stop, because the moment they do he comes running from where ever he is in the house to minimize the time that ducks are not spinning. Now, with that said, we must keep an ever so close eye on our eager little servant. .In the span of one hour on Thanksgiving day, I found a large wooden Tonka wrecker truck hanging from her spinning ducks, RIGHT OVER HER LITTLE HEAD, I guess he thought, she might want something different to look at. Next, the swing had stopped and he knew how to fix that problem, by pushing her swing as hard as he could, because, according to him "she likes to go high." And finally I found him standing on a bar stool, leaning over her swing, fiddling with the buttons on the top, because they weren't working to his liking. Ella, on the other hand, is simply enamered by her little sister, and just thinks she is, and I quote, "darling." The two of them have really been such a joy to watch as they get acclimated to their new little sister.
Ali and I are doing well. We also, have been getting used to the sounds of little cries and many dirty diapers. Cate is truly a great Baby, she is sleeping about 3 to 4 hours a night and eating very well. We got more good news on Thanksgiving morning. Dr. Dave, Baby Cate's Neonatologist called with her chromosonal tests and they all came back normal. So, all questions of Down's Syndrome or Turner's Syndrome have been answered when her chromosonal test came back with no abnormalities. So, the only thing we need to focus on is the issues with her heart.
Ali and I again want to reiterate our gratitude to all of you have cooked dinners, sent gift cards and other financial gifts. It has truly been overwhelming to see the love and support outpoured on our little family. And just a reminder we are in the planning stages of something to celebrate Baby Cate's life and the community that she has been born into. I hope that for all of you, your Thanksgiving was filled with joy, peace, and happiness, this year will be one I won't forget for a long time to come. I am thankful for all of you and will be updating the Blog soon, so I do not get threats again. We love you and thank God for you!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Enjoying the Moment 11/19/2007

Good Evening to All, although at this time in the evening most sane people would be snuggled up in their beds, which I am, just not sleeping. I just got off the phone with Baby Cate's night shift nurse, as we do every night around this time, just to check in, see how much she weight she gained, how much she ate in the afternoon. But, that is the last time I will have to make that call. Tomorrow, our little girl wll be home. Home for Thanksgiving, truly one of the most thankful thanksgivings we have ever had, I tear up as I am writing this because of unbelievable beginning of this journey and the indescribale the outpouring of support and love we have had on our little famly, and the fact that tomorrow, our little girl will be home, home to be loved, physically by her Mother, Father, Sister, and Brother. I got two comments on the Blog today, from two people who do not know us or the journey we have been on, but who God has allowed to stumble upon the path that so many of you have joined us in walking on. I do not know how to put into words what it feels like as a Father to hear the outpouring of such love and compasion for your child. I am not really sure if I have ever felt or experienced such an event. It has truly been for myself and my wife a life altering experience, and to know this is only the beginning is inexplicable. If you will humor me, I want to share with you all something that I felt God put, said, placed, however you want to say it on my heart as I sat in Mass yesterday. The Gospel reading spoke of not worrying about the future and what is to come. The priest began his homily by saying, "If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans." He proceed to go on to tell the congregation that we, as human beings, spend so much of our time worrying about the "future", our next vacation, our children's college funds, our retirement and that we so often lose sight of the moment. The moment, is what God is so present in, the moment that is right now, because truly that moment is what we have. As I reflected on Baby Cate's short life, that began not even two weeks ago, I think of all the scenerios that have run through my head, and how I am already planning for her first, second, and third heart surgeries, when she is not even home yet. We have not even begun to experience life with her here, in our own home. I was reminded so gently, to slow down, enjoy the moments that we are having with her, whether it is just her and I in the quiet morning NICU snuggled face to face or just sitting beside her and Ali, as she cuddles close to her mother as she nurses. These are the moments that past, unbenouced, unfiltered, yet unforgetable. Its in these times, that I am not worrying about her college fund or how we will pay for heart surgeries, its the other twenty-two hours a day that I need to bring my heart back to the fact that we are under the watchful eye of our God, who loves us emencly and knows our every move, thought, concern, and fear. The communion hymn in Mass yesterday, "Be Not Afraid," the refrain is, "Be not afraid, I go before you always, come follow me, and I will give you rest." As I heard these sweet prophetic words I was brought back to the day Baby Cate was born and the words that God spoke to my heart, "Do not be Afraid." It was an affirmation, or more of a reminder, that He has Baby Cate in His hands and that He knows that plans that he has made for her, and that we, Ali and I, must not worry about the future, but enjoy every moment that we have with her, our other two beautiful children, and each other. With that being said, on the eve of our little girl coming home, we begin a new journey, a one of embracing each day, not in fear, but in the peace of knowing that our loving God is with us, in our family, and with us in the community He has blessed us with in all of you. Our other two holigans are very exicted to meet there new little sister, and we are excited to bring her home, home to a family that is ready, as much as we can be today, to embrace this journey, and home to a community that has been lifting her up to the throne room of God. This journey is not over, it is only a new chapter in story of Baby Cate, a chapter that we are eagerly waiting to turn the page and to see what is in the pages to come. This is not the end of the Blog, and I hope you will stay tuned, believe me, the Cantrell family has always been interested, we just have never really publicly pronouced it as we have over the past two weeks, but even more now with a new little one, who will bring her own story and flare to our already crazy lives, I can only imagine it will only continue to get funnier. Baby Cate weighed in at 7.1 lbs tonight, her original birth weight, thats my girl!!!! As I said before Baby Cate already has her first Cardiologist appointment scheduled and Dude, her big brother as already tried out her baby swing and realized its not as cool when your feet drag on the floor and that the little ducks that hang over your head, really do not taste that great. We have some plans in the making for all of you who have continued to follow Baby Cates progress to join us, her family, in the celebration of her life, and as I said, this Blog is no where near over, only a new chapter, so please keep reading because there will be news very soon, on how you can be a part of Baby Cate's life. We love you all an are extremely grateful for each and every one of you. God Bless and Good night and remember, enjoy the moments, becuase its all we have.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A little bit of Back Story

As Ali and I talked over coffee this morning about Baby Cate's Blog, Ali mentioned that many of you have joined the story midway through, in a way. She said that she wanted you all to know what a journey and what a fighter Baby Cate has been since her conception. So here is a little flash back for you to the beginning of this story. It has been a real journey of Faith for our family. When Ali was about 12 weeks pregnant we went to the Dr. for a normal check up and ultra sound. As we stood looking at the alien like figure on the screen, our hearts filled with joy, its little hearts was beating, Ali and I squeezed each others hand and smiled. The ultrasound tech then asked us if Ali had been sick or if our kids had been sick. Either one of them hadn't been, the ultrasound tech told us that the baby appeared to have "high drops" which is a condition that occurs from the baby being exposed to a virus. Fluid had gathered around the brain and she told us that babies who had this condition typically terminate or miscarry around five month. Our joy turned quickly to sorrow. We went that day to see a specialist who confirmed that there were some issues and at around 16 weeks we would be able to see have an amniosentisis to determine more definitively what was going on. Ali and I left the Dr.'s office and cried, talked and prayed. For the first time I think I began to truly learn what surrender meant. I had talked about it time and time again, but I never really could wrap my head around what it truly meant. That day began our journey into embracing surrender. A dear friend that we had talked to brought over a third class relic, a prayer candle, and a novena book of Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos. I had never heard of him, but our friend swore by his intercession. Ali, being a very devout person to the Saints intercession began asking Fr. Seelos to pray for our unborn child. Blessed Seelos worked as a redemptris priest here in Louisiana at a parish in New Orleans and there is a Shrine where his bones lay in repose there. Our friend Andrea said that we had to visit the shrine and pray with the cross that holds a relic of Blessed Seelos, so we did. It was an amazing experience and we continued to pray for his intercession. God spoke to Ali and I telling us that the amniocentisis was not necessary, that we must believe in his providence for us and our baby. So, we did, we declined to have the amnio and continued praying. With each Dr.'s visit the baby grew and things looked better and better. Around five months the dr. told us that the baby no longer had a chance of miscarrying and that the fluid around the head was gone and that we would be welcoming a little girl into our family. The last visit six month, everything looked Great! Even the Dr. said, "Guys, we may be looking at a Miracle here!" It has been a journey for sure, one I don't think I would do any other way. I have learned to truly trust in God's voice in our life, marriage, and even as he spoke through our children. I have also learned the powerful intercession of the Saints in heaven, who are there to pray on our behalf. We will name the baby Catherine Francis, after Fr. Francis Seelos. I encourage you to look up info on Fr. Seelos, and ask his intercession for your intentions. He was an awesome humble priest who used to sleep on the pew of the Church in case anyone came during the night for assistance he would be there to help them. I thank all of you who have prayed for us and continue to pray for us and our little girl and I thank Fr. Fancis Seelos for his constant prayer for our little girl. Below you will find the regular update for today titled "Oh Happy Day." Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos, Pray for us.

Oh Happy Day 11/18/2007

Good Morning to all! As I tiredly sip on my cup of java (homemade, aint no starbucks in Rayne, Louisiana folks) there is something that is bringing my heart indescribeable joy. Baby Cate will be home soon! It was bitter sweet news that we received because it was accompanied with the results of an Echocardiogram of Baby Cate's heart which discovered a third hole in her heart. Her Cardiologist was not all too concerned with the findings. She said that this is why Cate needs to be monitored so close because as her little heart grows they will be able to see more of what is going on with her development. All that being said Ali and I are both THRILLED that our little girl will be home soon, we are ready, the kids are ready, its time. Ella, our 4 year old, walked up to Ali the other day with her fairy god mother magic wand and told Ali that she wanted her to take the wand to the hospital and take a picture of Baby Cate with the wand. It was as if she was testing Ali to see if Baby Cate was real, "take my toy and i wanna see my toy in a picture with this suspected baby, mom, yall might be trying to pull a fast one on me." Everynight around 10pm or 11pm we call the ICU for the evening update. This is where we get her weight gain for the day, how many ounces she took in the afternoon feeds. The past two nights she has consistently gained weight, she is now up to 6.14lbs only 3 little ounces from her birth weight. Cate already has her first Cardiologist appointment scheduled, which will be a weekly affair for her in weeks, months, and years to come. I have to run right now because we are going drop the kids off at a friends house so we can go visit Baby Cate this morning, I did get to see her yesterday, it was opening day of Deer Season, look,I know what you are thinking, HOW COULD YOU GO DEER HUNTING, but I am following Dr.'s orders, her Dr. told me to treat her like I would treat any of the other kids, I didn't see them yesterday either;) We, as a family, appreciate everything that yall have done for us, our fridge is full, and not to mention our stomachs, our hearts are peaceful from your prayers to our father, and a that faith is strong because that is what God is asking and giving to us right now. Ali and I offered our Mass and Eucharist this morning for all of you and your intentions, who have prayed for us and Baby Cate. I put some new pictures on our flickr account of Baby Cate with Ella's magic wand.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Awe and Amazement

As I sat in the ICU this morning holding our little girl, just enjoying the peace and stillness of her presence, I couldn not help but think of the the many many people who were thinking and praying for Cate at that moment. This little girl, who has not done anything, by the worlds standards to "deserve" love, is so loved by so many people. I got an email yesterday from a friend of mine in Houston saying, people who we did not know read about Baby Cate and wanted to know what they could do to help our little family, besides pray. So, they are coming over Saturday to rack my yard, I am just kidding...I will totally let them use my mulching mower. As I drove back home yesterday from the middle of nowwhere I teared up, NOT CRIED, because my heart was truly overwhelmed by all of your love and support. Please now that it does not go unoticed, in the craziness of these times, if we forget to stop and truly show our gratitude, its NOT at all because we do not appreciate everything yall have done, are doing, and will do, in the weeks and months to come. Now, lets get to the real reason you are here, although I am funny, you want to know about Cate.
Oh that little girl is something else. She is eating very well and they are now letting her eat on her own terms of when she wants to eat. She apparently has ALOT of her mother in her, because she seems WAY more interested in sleeping than eating. But when she wakes up its like FEED ME NOW! She will suck down an 80cc bottle in less than five minutes, close her little eyes and go right back to sleep...little stinker. She has lost a little weight over the past two days, but the nurses are not concerned at all with that, she is still only 5oz from her original birth weight, so hopefully she will start packing on the pounds before long. We are truly hoping that she will be home for Thanksgiving, her Dr. has had his week off this week, so we won't know anymore until he gets back on Monday. All the nurses in the ICU comment on how pretty she Baby Cate is and what a good baby she is, to which I am like, she gets that all from her mother, man, thank God I married up!
Ok, a couple funny Cantrell stories, our kids provide hours of entertainment and stories to tell. My wife always gets mad at me because I will either write or include stories in talks that I give about stuff that either she or the kids say or do. I will often get the disclaimer, YOU CANNOT USE THIS IN A TALK! I did get a in a little bit of trouble about Ella talking about Ali's "elbows" but I was willing to take one for the team because that was funny. I will go on an embarass Ali's sister now and I will leave it a mystery to which sister it is, but this morning my house phone rang at 7:00am I was like ARE YOU KIDDING, but it ended up being worth it. One of the readers of the blog called to tell us that when one of Ali's younger sisters was a small child, Ali's family had gone over their house to visit. The lady was breast feeding her child to which Ali's younger sister commented, Wow, Miss so and so, your "elbows" are soooo big. So apparently our family has some anatomy issues we need to work out, if any of you have diagrams that could help us, it would be appreciated.
Charlie Thomas, aka Dude, has now become very familiar with Ali's pump. The other day Ali caught him with the pump attached to his belly button saying, "Mommy, I make milk for Baby Cate, She my best friend." Later that evening as I was trying to herd both of them upstairs for bathtime, I walked in the kitchen and he had the actual pumping mechanism in his mouth and was blowing it like trumpet, but everytime he blew it, the actual pump flew out, to which he thought was cool of course, and realized he had now made a weapon out of Ali's pump.
Oh our kids, they really have been a source of comfort and fun during this crazy times. Well, I am going to get some work done, but I thank you all for staying up to date on Cate's progress and our sanity, or lack there of at times. We love you all and appreciate you more than words.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Atta Girl

Atta girl, is all I could think all day today. Last night we called the ICU to check on Baby Cate and her nurse said that she had gained 2 ounces. It may sound like a just a small thing but when she has daily lost weight over the past week for her to stop losing and start gaining is step one. We went this morning and I got to feed her morning meal of mommy's milk, yum. She ate 57cc's which is almost 2 ounces! I then had to go to work, but Ali stayed and they said that Baby Cate nursed for twenty minutes and then took 11 ounces from a bottle. I stopped by this afternoon and on my way home from work and they had taken her feeding tube OUT! Your PRAYERS ARE WORKING, keep them coming. Ok, that is the progress of Baby Cate since yesterday, but I do have a couple of funny Cantrell family stories that are caused by Baby Cate.
The other morning before the kids woke up Ali dedcided to go on and pump as to not to do it while the kids were around because she did not feel the need to begin to explain breast feeding to our 4 year old and 2 1/2 year old. Well, of course they woke up and came downstairs while Ali was in full stride of pumping. The proceeded to walk around her, checkin out the situation. Charlie Thomas of course felt the need and the ability to fully assist in the this matter. So, there my wife is sitting on the floor with two curious georges starring in wonder. The Ali proceeds to explain that this is milk that Baby Cate eats, but its nasty to kids like you, we have to make that disclaimer or Charlie T. will give is a shot. To which Ella responded, Mom, your "elbows" are big and they keep moving. Ali, thought to herself, I don't mind if she goes to school and says that Mommy has big elbows.
Today was one of those days that I am glad I don't have low self esteem. I got home from work Ali and I were catching up on the days events. She tells me that Becca, who has been a huge help during these crazy times and Ali's little sister, told her that a friend of hers at school said that she had joined Baby Cates Facebook page. Jenny, Ali's middle sister who has been our medical translator during the past week, said that she had heard at UL about Baby Cate's Facebook page. I was like Baby Cate has a facebook page, wow so of course I checked it out. And to my shock and a good blow to the old ego, my little girl had more friends that me! People that i have not seen or talk to in YEARS. She truly has people praying in almost every state! My daughter who has been alive for 6 days, who has never left the ICU or seen the outside world has more friends than her old man!
Well, we are going to be hitting the sack in the next little while, to all Baby Cate's prayer supporters, please keep it up. You prayers are working and we are truly awed and amazed!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Oh Baby Cate 11/12/07 Update

Well, the kids are in bed with thoughts of sugar plumbs dancing in their heads...uh sure, daddy and mommy feel like dreaming of good bottles of wine, hehe. We went to see Baby Cate this morning, she was WIDE awake and attentive, I talked and talked to her and she just looked at me and moved her arms and legs excitedly and then quickly suck down the bottle i gave her in less than five minutes. Daddy then had to go to bring home the bacon, what a silly cliche, bacon is bad for you anyway. I, as a dad, would rather bring home rice and gravy or jambalaya, cause that makes me happy. Ali stayed with Baby Cate till about 12 when my stepmom and my dad showed up to snuggle with our precious little one, and then we got taken out to a free lunch, THANK YOU...BABY CATE! I will take a free lunch any day of the week, hint hint, wink wink, nudge nudge, to all you blog readers. Ali then came home to put her ankles, I mean her feet up, because they have now reached her knees, can yall please pray for those things, I mean really, I thank GOD EVERYDAY that I am man. Kudos to all you women out there who have bore children, you have my utmost respect. The things that yall go through in order to bring life into this world is absolutly stunning.
On a more serious note Ali and I sat at out table this evening and cried and shared tonight and talked about this journal and what we felt was most important for our friends and family to know. Now, this will be a little raw, but its real and its what we are going through and we want you to know, not for the sake of knowing, but for the sake of praying. The honeymoon is over, is the best way to put it. Yeah, Ali and I are some real marathoners uh, a whole two days home and our hearts are sagging deep inside of our chests. We have not tried to make it look easy, we have tried to make it look real, and this is where we are tonight and this is why we share this with you, because we need you.
Tonight, I called a dear friend of mine Aaron in California, I sat on the back step of my house and cried like a little boy who had just lost his puppy. I cried because i was tired of thinking about Ali's pain, tired of trying to create a "stable home" for our other two kids, tired of thinking about health insurance and are we covered or will be be dead broke in a year, tired of thinking about what Cate's life would be like over the next few months and years to come, and the fact the Got dogit, I want her home! I miss her, I want to hold her when I want to hold her, not when I can make it to the ICU. I want to give her all her food, not just the one feeding i can make a day. The only thing I can relate it to is the first time I had to travel for work, for the first week it wasn't that bad. Yes, I missed my family, but I could do it! Come week two and three, I was like this STINKS. Aaron and I prayed, well he prayed, I mostly cried and nodded on the phone and a little peace settled in my heart. The image that has been in my heart for the past few days is of Moses with his arms held up but he needed help to keep them up and it was his brother in the Lord who held his arms up for him when he just could not do it anymore.
This is what Ali and I felt most needed to be said tonight, we need you, our friends and family, to continue, as we know you have and we have felt those prayers, but to pray for us, especially as a husband and wife and a mother and father. We want to face this challenge that this world is bringing to us with peace, patience, selflessness, and fortitude, but we are really leaning into you our beloved friends and family to hold our arms up.
I know that this might sound heavy or kind of depressing, but that is not how Ali and I are looking at it. It's real, many of you have asked what can you do. More than dinners, flowers, stuffed animals, rake my yard, well if you want to rake my yard, just call me and we could work something out, ok just kidding, Ali and I are truly relying and leaning into the spiritual support of our family and friends, yes for Baby Cate, but for her mom and dad too. Maybe that seems silly to ask for, but it is what we truly need. We love you, we thank you in advance for the prayers that will go up to throne room of God on our behalf, for it is that simple act that what will truly hold our arms up during these difficult times! With love and appreciate...Good Night.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

11/11/07 Update

Good Evening to all! Well the sounds of craziness returned to the Cantrell house this evening as our two other holigans returned home. Its funny how the sounds that could make your blood boil and make you feel the rope you thought you were at the end of was somewhere near the city limits, now can bring peace to you. As Ali and I watched our two children, Ella and Charlie aka Dude, play it was such a joyful blessing, in these unsettling times. Ella set up a "Princess Nursery" to welcome Baby Cate and dude proceeded to ravage the nursery like a viking, appropriate I guess. Ali said, that today was the best day she has had since the section, its nice she is beginning to feel better. I forget to tell yall yesterday about what happened to me. I was hungry, once again, a shocker for a Cantrell, so I ordered breakfast from a little diner across the street from the Hospital. I had orginially ordered it to go, but once there just wanted to sit and eat my breakfast in a place that did not smell like disinfectant or her nurse so and so being called over the loud speaker. They recognized me as new dad by my "cool" bracelet I was wearing. They made a big deal, congratulated me, offered me a beer, just kidding, and I proceeded to eat my breakfast at the bar. There was a gentleman a little older than myself, sitting next to me, who as I finished my breakfast asked me how many kids I had, we got to talking about kids, work, etc.. I asked what he did, he told me that he owned a heart surgery center, I laughed out loud. I told him it was pretty ironic that I sat down next to him and I proceeded to tell him the plight of Baby Cate. As I was readying myself to leave, he said, I like you, to which I said, thank you. He dug in his pocket, pulled out his phone, fiddled with it then showed it to me. He said this is the best cardiothorasic surgeon in Lafayette, he is the smartest man I know and my best friend. This is his cell number. I want you to call him, tell him you are friends with me and that you want him to develop a plan for your baby. He will find the best doctors in the country for you. He then said, I feel like God brought me here today to meet you. He grabbed my ticket and said call him today, congrats, and have a great day. I was amazed and awed, just another way that God has seemingly stepped in and assisted his lowly travelers on this journey of life.
We, ali and I, had a restful nights sleep in our own house last night and this morning woke up, ready to see our little girl. We got to the ICU at 10:59am, dr.'s rounds end at 11 and were pushing the button as the clocked flipped 11. We got to hold her and love on her for 2 hours, it was AWESOME! She has been being bottle feed all on her own now and either tonight or tomorrow they will remove the feeding tube and they took her IV our today. She is steadily improving. We got to talk to her Dr. and he is very pleased with her progress. She is now up to 1 & 1/2 oz every three hours, but they are beginning to let her eat as much as she wants. Ali is providing a buffet of milk, which, if she knew I were writing this would kill me. They told her today to please just start freezing it, cause Baby Cates bins were all full, (hehe don't tell her this or I will hunt you down). All her vitals are great, she gets a little tired eating , but her blood oxygens levels stay within a comfortable level for the dr. She lost a little bit of weight, but apparently that is normal for babies, I did not know that, you learn so much when your baby is being watch so closely, rather than when you just bring them home and they don't see a dr. until their three or six month check up. The Cantrell's are doing well, we have been leaning into all the prayers and support we have recieved from all of you. I will continue to update you on whats going on, thanks for your comments they are so good to hear! Love yall, until next time...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

11/10/2007 Update on Baby Cate

Well, I have to be honest with yall, I never thought my couch would feel so good. Ali was discharged today and with heavy, but trustfilled hearts, we came home without our little girl, for now. She is doing great though, she is now eating from a bottle, she eats one ounce every three hours. The nurses say that she sucksem down. As if they had to tell me that, she is a cantrell, when Dude our second child came out of the womb he will literally looking to nurse. Our kids don't shy from food and so we are not really concerned for Baby Cate in that regard. She still has her feeding tube in because she can get tired out from eating and so that give her the rest through the feeding tube if necessary. Yesterday they did another Echocardiogram on her and everything remains the same, which is what Baby Cate's Cardiologist had expected and hoped for, nothing new going on in her little heart! Her Neonatologist came in yesterday afternoon just to talk and update us on her status. She continues to improve, she lost a little weight and is weighing in at 6lbs 13oz. We got to hold her ALOT yesterday and it was awesome, I found myself just wondering down that way at any chance I got just to sit in her little presence, often just falling asleep in her chair. I truly felt that God wanted us to Baptize her now, not because I was afraid she was going to die, but because of the healing power those holy waters contain. I talked to Ali, and called Fr. Mike Delcambre, he came to the ICU after lunch and we prayed and he let the water flow over Baby Cates head and our newest little Christian entered the world. Father Mike headed out, we stayed and held our little girl for a while longer and then it was time to go, my wifes feet had swollen to the size of two nice size Cantelope, so I told her it was time to go. With teary eyes and heavy hearts we went back to the room to load everything up. I have to be honest, it is good to be home! Do we wish Baby Cate were here, yes, but we know she is in the loving, gentle care of the Doctors and Nurses in the NICU. I am putting some more pictures up on this account and my flickr account, if you would like to check them out. Again, thank you for all the love, support, and affection that is constantly spilled over on to us. We are grateful for every single word uttered to the Father on our little girls behalf, I told her today, I said, "Baby Cate, your pretty famous, I don't know if you knew that" Until the next update We love you all for you relentless love of our little girl.

Friday, November 9, 2007


Good Morning to all! After another wonderful night sleep on a folding chair "bed" I wanted to update you all on our little girl. Last night the ICU called the room and asked if we wanted to hold Baby Cate before they bathed her. I thought my wife was going to hurl herself out of the bed. It was like they had called and told her there was a winning powerball ticket down the hall and she had five seconds to get to it before it vanished. This would be the first time we would we would be able to hold Baby Cate. A friend of ours Fr. Mike Delcambre was with us and tagged along for the event. We went in and Ali sat right down eagerly waiting the feel and smell of our new little girl to be placed in her arms. Baby Cate looked great, she was still breathing on her own and all her bloodgas levels were good. Your prayers are working, keep them coming. Ali was able to hold her for 10 minutes or so and the Daddy's little girl was placed in his arms for the first time, as her little weight sank into my arms, my restless heart came to a quiet peace, this was the feeling we had been longing for, the feeling of our loving arms wrapped around our little girl, her little breath on our face, it was a grace filled moment, that I don't think I will ever forget. The nurse then asked Ali if she wanted to help her bath Baby Cate, Once again Ali hurled herself out of the chair with an eager yes. Before her bath Fr. Mike laid hands on her and we all prayed, with her and for her and then she recieved her first bath. Now all clean we were able to hold her for a few more minutes and then my tired little bride needed to hit the sack. I went back to the ICU about 11pm and sat by her crib until finally the nurse asked if I wanted to hold her her. I left the ICU about 12:30am exhausted but with a still heart. We got up this morning and we to see her again. Ali got to try to nurse her and she caught on, I mean really, do our kids ever have a problem eating? We then had to head out for her echocardiogram, which we will get the results this afternoon from the Cardiologist.
It seems that so far her multiple heart defects are offsetting each other, how appropriate, Cantrell's we are all a little crazy, but somehow we balance out. She is being feed through a feeding tube right now and seems to be taking to food well, as soon as they can tell the normal feeding will not wear her little heart out, she will try to start doing that more regularly. The Dr.'s are saying that everything fall into place, meaning she gain weight and remain stable, she will have her first heart surgery around 6 months. Well for now thats the news of the day, the most exciting is that we got to hold her, that she is holding her own on breathing, and oh yeah the Dr. said if she continues progressing at a steady rate she may not need to stay in ICU for two weeks. Thank you all for your prayers, support, phone calls, and text messages. I told Baby Cate this morning that she had people all over country praying for her and that she was very loved by ALOT of people. Please know that we love you all, whether we have met you or not, because you love our little girl! You can check out more pictures of her and the two other wild children at I will be updating these too. Love yall

Update 11/08/07

With Tired, but joyful eyes I wanted to update you all on our newest arrival. As many of you may have read in my previous blog, "Using your Resources," we have been anticipating the arrival of our newest daughter Cate. Well, she arrived yesterday at 1:55pm on November 7, 2007! Weighing 7lbs 1once and being 20 inches long. We had gone in for a regular appointment and the Dr. said that Ali was 4cm and the Cate was butt down so they where going to have to do a C-section. Because of our previous knowledge that Cate could be a baby born with some abnormalities there was a Neonatal ICU team on hand to exam her very carefully. The head nurse quickly noticed that Cate's breathing was not very good and that her little heart was beating very hard, so we got to kiss her quickly and the whisked her away to the Neonatal ICU unit for more test and evaluations. About an hour later a nurse practitioner came back to tell us that Baby Cate was not getting enough oxygen and that her heart was enlarged. Later that afternoon they did an echocardiogram to determine with more clarity what was causing little Cate's heart to be enlarged. They discovered that she has 3 areas of her heart that did not form properly and that she was going to have to be monitored very closely and that she would be in ICU for a week or two, pending on how she fairs. Wow, that is not what were expecting to hear, we were prepared for alot of things, just not that, but our hearts have not been troubled, well, maybe in moments, but I have felt like God has been saying, "Do Not Be Afraid, I am with HER," so, we're not. This little girl has had to fight everyday since her conception and now the fight continues, and believe me if she is anything like her mother, brother, sister, or father she will be a bit stubborn, and a bit of a show boat, theatrics always make life more interesting right:) By 10pm last night they were able to take her off the breathing machines and she has been breathing on her own since, with no support of oxygen. This morning she ate her first meal, two whoppers and a milk shake, ok just kidding, it was 10cc's of milk. The Dr. is very encouraged by her improvements and will keep her under a watchful eye as the days go on. We thank everyone that has prayed for us, for her, and we ask now more than ever, continue. We have won a battle, she is HERE, but the war is not over. Please ask Blesses Francis Xavier Seelos to intercede on her behalf, this is who she named after. He was our intercessor to get her here, now let us intercede to heal her heart! Thank you to all who have called and texted messaged. Your love, concern, and affection is amazing and Ali and couldn't say thank you enough. I get emotional sitting at my computer thinking of how much we are loved by you all, I have gotten phone calls and emails for all over the country today, and I don't know how some of these people found out, but thank you, my wife, thanks you, and my precious daughter Cate thanks you! Please check this Blog for updates in the days and weeks to come. It's easier for me to right down what's going on once, than to tell it over and over again. I am putting some pictures up of Cate and will put more as we get them. I am not spell checking this I only have a few minutes in my office so please excuse any misspellings or sentences that do not make sense, I am a little tired. We LOVE yall so much and words fall short for our gratitude. Please remember that battle is won, but the war is not over, your prayers are needed and appreciated.