Pregnancy Week 19: A growing, shrinking family

Today concludes Week 19 of my pregnancy, and may I say, Good Riddance.

Pregnancy-wise, things are going blessedly well. According to the creative souls who come up with these things, Baby #2 is the size of: A zucchini (I’m assuming your standard supermarket zucchini and not the neighbor’s garden variety from which you could carve out a canoe), a Gameboy, a hotdog, or a pair of sunglasses. Hmm… OK. In real terms that means it is about 6 inches long and 8.5 ounces.

My symptoms haven’t changed much; the heartburn remains a near-constant but still tolerable presence, and I have found myself getting winded more quickly when I climb stairs, but otherwise I’m feeling pretty good. This upcoming week we’ll have our anatomy scan, and the following week is my next appointment with my midwife, during which I will likely plead for heartburn relief of some kind.

(Incidentally, I saw a video on Instagram or somewhere from a mom explaining that pregnancy heartburn easily is eliminated by taking 100 deep breaths. I haven’t found the time this week to string more than five deep breaths together at a time, and I don’t mean to be a complete cynic, but… I expect this is bullshit.)

The real theme this week has been, unfortunately, loss (that, and toddler diarrhea, but nobody wants that recap.)

Last weekend, my beloved cat, Bills, died suddenly from an undetermined illness. In the span of 24 hours he went from seeming perfectly fine (he even hopped into The Toddler’s crib on Saturday morning to indulge in some tentative snuggling) to weak, with labored breathing that had me rushing, too late, to an emergency vet.

Soon after, I had to make the urgent and heartbreaking decision to have him put out of his misery. In the end, he was too dehydrated to have any blood work or to be able to get an IV inserted, so I have no idea what killed him, and I wasn’t allowed to be in the room when he was euthanized. My husband and I buried him under a white pine tree and sprinkled wildflower seeds on his grave.

I know that the price you pay for the unconditional love of a pet is the inevitable goodbye at the end, but God, it’s hard. Bills slept as my “little spoon,” with his head on my pillow, almost every night for the past eight years. He was the through line for every scene change, major milestone, disappointment and triumph of my entire adult life.

He wandered into the backyard of the first house I rented with my then boyfriend (now husband), who named him “Bills” in an unsuccessful attempt to deter us from taking in a pet we could hardly afford at the time. Bills reluctantly traveled with us through five moves, tolerated and eventually loved the second cat and the dog we brought home, let me cry into his fur when I had a miscarriage, and sat with me in the predawn Christmas morning hours while I started timing the first contractions that brought my son into the world. He was a steadfast, uncomplicated source of comfort, and that was the hardest part of losing him: He wasn’t there to console me.

So  that’s the bittersweet cloud that has hung over the past week, as my belly gets rounder and time marches on. My family shrunk a little even as it grows. Though we suffered a loss, we get to keep the memories. And that’s something.

Pregnancy Week 19: A growing, shrinking family

A beast of a week (and it’s only Wednesday)

The Baby caught his inaugural daycare cold, so the momentum I picked up last week fizzled out pretty spectacularly. Fortunately, his cold never evolved into anything worse than a whole lot of snot, so he’s going back tomorrow for a big chunk of time while I catch up on things. I managed to check a big job off my list this evening after putting him to bed early (because he took one. 30. minute. nap. today. you. guys.) so as a reward to myself, I’m blogging. (Also I had a beer. I earned it.)

The animal kingdom has played a fairly big role in this week’s chaos, on top of The Baby’s cold. On Monday, my brother and mom brought their dogs over to run around since our side of the property is less wooded than theirs.

We recently started letting our two cats outside during the day. Yes, I know this shortens their lifespans. Yes, I know cats spend most of their waking hours murdering for fun. But their yowling was yet another thing keeping The Baby awake, meaning their indoor life expectancy was already rapidly declining, and they wear bell collars to keep them from sneaking up on birds (so far pretty effective.)

I digress.

family-photo
Charlie is the confused one in the lower corner of the photo. This is always his face.

I knew one of the cats, Charlie, was still outside when the neighbor dogs arrived, and that the dogs sometimes like to chase the cats, but I hadn’t been able to find him to coax him inside and figured he was fully capable of making himself scarce if he didn’t want to be chased.

But he did want to be chased, so he went full Halloween cat and taunted one of the dogs until he took the bait. Then he chased that 15-pound furry meatball about 20 feet up a tree, where Charlie clung pitifully by his armpits to a branch and yowled.

Shit.

I handed The Baby over to my mom. My brother steadied an extension ladder while I tried to coax Charlie, just out of my reach, down from the tree. He calmed down while I was up there, but not enough to try to climb head first down at me.

Realizing I could just about reach him, but didn’t have the number of hands necessary to keep me from falling out of the tree if I were to grab him, I climbed back down, retrieved my Boba soft structured carrier, and climbed back up.

We both returned to earth completely unscathed.

And I had a beer, because I earned it.

charlie-cat-rescue
Ugh, of course this happened.

In other news, the saga of my unwillingness to sleep train my baby and, in response, his unwillingness to sleep, continues. Today’s second failed nap had me ugly crying on my bed with my head in my hands. The Baby thought I was playing a funny game and giggled hysterically, which made me quit crying and then want to start crying again because I’m such an asshole for getting so mad at my sweet, sweet boy.

Parenting is so hard sometimes, you guys.

(Coincidentally, my tale of cat rescue lines up with today’s WordPress daily prompt… Yay! via Daily Prompt: Tree)

A beast of a week (and it’s only Wednesday)