August 4, 2010

A Disconcerting Year

In January, I found out I was pregnant.

In April, I left my job because I wanted to be there for our two young children.
In my office at home, I wrote down, "2010 The Best Year Yet."
I was going to start writing more, I was going to take care of the baby and be there for our daughter, I finally had enough courage to leave my job without feeling guilty. I was ready and excited for a change.

In May, we found out the baby's bladder was blocked. The urine somehow helps produce the amniotic fluid so with his bladder blocked, I didn't have any amniotic fluid for the baby's lungs to develop. I remember the last words the doctor said that day as we were leaving, "I wouldn't have much hope."

We started having a bunch of tests and we were sent to a specialist in Chicago. We were ushered to a room with a conference table as a team of people filed in: a social worker, a doctor, a nurse and a chaplain. We were told there wasn't any chance. Our baby was going to die. I was 5 months so we could either have a late stage abortion in another state or the baby would end up stillborn or die after a day. Those were the choices. There wasn't a reason why, just a fluke of nature.

Ghost, his last month
Around that same time, another one of our cats started losing weight, Ghost. This time it wasn't as simple as a thyroid problem like with our other cat. For several months we did every test the vet could think of. After about six vet visits, $1000 dollars and many months of worrying, Ghost died on July 8th. He waited until I came home from a trip, I brushed him for a hour (his favorite thing) and I held him as the light went out of his eyes. We were never able to find out what was wrong with him which was the hardest part. A cat that sat on my computer desk for 10 years while I did my writing, a cat that looked at me like I was everything was suddenly gone without any explanation.

In June, a stray cat came up to our front porch when my daughter was watering the plants and he stayed on our porch for three weeks. He wouldn't leave and if he walked off the porch he would run back as soon as he could as if he found his home and that was it, he wasn't budging.

My daughter named him Cutie Pie. We didn't want more pets, we had enough. But by the third week of him trying to get in the front door and his health going downhill from being outside, I finally gave in. When nobody will do anything it is when somebody has to step up and do the right thing. We took him to the vet and they told us he has FIV, Feline Aids. People and other animals can't catch this, it's a species specific disease. Other than that, he was quite healthy. Cats can get this who roam outside. It's from a cat biting another cat, usually males protecting their territory. Cats with FIV shouldn't really be with other cats which meant I wouldn't be able to keep him. More bad news because now I was attached.

The vet told us we should probably put him down given the circumstance. It's hard to adopt out an FIV positive cat. For a moment I thought about putting him down. I was tired of everything bad happening and I couldn't take anymore. How would we find a home for this cat and I didn't know much about FIV. But clarity came back and I told him no, my baby was dying, my cat died and this cat deserves to be saved because he can be.

So my 2010 Best Year Yet on my dry erase board is still there in my office. But I can tell you, this will not be the best year yet, this will be the worst year. Life has a way of showing you that you are not in charge of it, it is in charge of you. The only thing you can control is your response to the events that happen. So I am waiting. Waiting for the last bad thing to happen in September, when the baby dies and hopefully, we can hold him for a few hours and tell him goodbye. That we held out and let God take him rather than deciding his fate early on. I wasn't going to be the one to end my child's life.

We all have bad years. Someone said we see people everyday, pushing carts in grocery stores, walking past us at work, but we never know the tragedies they've had to deal with in life or the ones they are dealing with at the moment. The best thing and the only thing to do is to wait it out and put one foot forward because the one thing that gets you through it all is time.

Cutie Pie, the saved cat

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