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Sebastian

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It’s taken me a long time to even be able to think about writing about our Sabbie here, but I’d regret it if I never said anything, so here it goes.

On a cold November day in the year 2000, Ed and I went to the SPCA to get our first pet together. We’d been caring for his mom’s cat for a while and she was taking her back, so we wanted to get a cat of our own. I was hell bent on getting a female orange cat–it was all I could think about. And then we walked in to the room full of kittens, and this tiny little boy cat, white and orangeish brown, scaled my leg and body until he was perched right on my shoulder. And there he stayed, even as we looked at other cats. He wasn’t what we were looking for, but there was no questioning that he was ours. He picked us.

For his nearly 15 years with us, he was my constant companion and who I always called my real first born. He started acting weird on a Sunday. By Tuesday we had him at the vet. An xray showed that he may have ingested something he shouldn’t have–maybe a tree ornament hook, but a sonogram was ordered to be sure. We had to decide then and there, if it was a foreign object, were we going to pay for the surgery to have it removed and have his stomach and intestines repaired. We decided to keep him there to run the tests to see if he was strong enough for surgery (old cat, heart murmur, hadn’t been eating) and to wait for the ultrasound to get a better look.

The initial news was great–aside from being dehydrated and having lost a good deal of weight, he was in great shape. No organs were failing. The vet wasn’t sure whether the ultrasound would be that evening or the following morning, so I kept my plans to have dinner with some work friends and tried to relax. We’d just ordered when the vet called to say that the ultrasound had been done and that the prognosis wasn’t great. Sabbie hadn’t actually swallowed anything but had a huge tumor in his stomach that was blocking his intestines. Cancerous for sure. We could have the tumor removed, have his stomach and bowels resectioned, and deal with recovery, BUT he’d also need daily meds and chemotherapy. All of this meant that if he even survived the surgery, he’d have maybe 6 months to live.

So, I finished my dinner and went to pick him up to spend a few days with us at home before we took him back to be euthanized. They were good days. He nibbled small amounts of tuna and had tons of snuggles. I slept with him on the couch for all 3 of those nights. He was exhausted and weak from not being able to eat much, but he was still happy to be snuggled up with either of us and to be loved on.

We took him in on that Friday morning, so, less than a week since it all began. Ed walked us in and said his goodbyes but couldn’t stand to stay. I sat with him while everything was taken care of, and sat with him for a while after. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

He was a really good boy. I still think I hear him, or see him out of the corner of my eye, or sometimes think I feel him laying on my feet. It’s weird that he’s not here. I will miss him forever.

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The End

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For years now, we’ve discussed the end; specifically when we were going to put an end to the possibility of more babies and who was going to, you know,  take care of it. I’d looked in to procedures for me. I’d even considered having my tubes tied after the twins since I was having a c-section anyway, but couldn’t have it done because we were in a catholic hospital. For years, we’ve danced around it, both certain we didn’t want any more babies, but not certain enough to go through with anything permanent. Until now, that is.  Ed is scheduled for surgery next week.

Which, you know, is great. I never thought he’d be the one to do it. Never EVER, and even though it’s a bit more complicated (he can’t have it in office; has to be put under), he’s still going through with it. I’m relieved to be able to say once and for all that we are done and not have to worry about it, but at the same time, I am very very sad.

I can say without a shred of doubt that I don’t want another baby. I don’t look at our family and feel like anyone is missing. We have 5 perfect children. I am certain that we are all here. I don’t want to ever be pregnant again. For the better part of 10 years, my body was not my own. Pregnancy was hard on me–especially the last 2 times. I don’t think I could handle being physically and mentally taxed that way again, even if I did want to. So, if I am secure in knowing these things, why is it so hard?

It feels like more than the end of an era to me. We will look back on the years of 2003-2013 as the years we were growing and having babies. 10 solid years. Putting a permanent stop to it just seems so final to me, and it kind of makes me feel like “now what?”. We keep raising these 5 kids obviously, but before we know it, they will be gone. Living their own lives and THEN what? We sit around waiting to die, I guess.

Ok, I don’t think that I really feel that way, but it’s hard to not feel like everything is bleak and dark and terrible. I think about the early phase of pregnancy where only a few people know, and it is just the best and most exciting secret ever. And then when everyone knows, and is caught up in the anticipation and waiting for the new baby: boy or girl, who it look like, what kind of small person it will be. And then to those newborn days…man I just love having a newborn around to snuffle and to be all consumed with their care. It is probably one of my very favorite things. And it’s just over now.

 I know that I’m done with that phase of life. By choice. I don’t want any more babies. But to make it official well, it’s just very hard to process all of the feelings that come along with it. Telling myself that we are all here now and looking at their faces is a great comfort. Really, it helps; so much so that I am going to say it here. Our family is done growing. We are all here.

I might need a little bit of time, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be ok.

That Time I Relied on the Herd

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00hannahFive years ago, we had a very sick baby. She wasn’t gravely ill, mind you, but sick enough where there was a lot of fretting on my part. Would she ever sleep? Would the reflux that usually goes away in infancy ever actually go away? Would the ear tubes make a difference and finally give her some relief? Would the medication I was leery about help? Would it present the scary side effects I’d heard about?

Hannah had chronic ear infections beyond anything I’d ever heard of. One on top of the other, never fully going away. A side effect of her ear issues was horrible acid reflux. Hannah didn’t sleep through the night until she was well past 3 years old because she was so sick as a baby that she never developed the good sleep habits. Even after we got her tubes placed, she required a year of medication to basically dry her up. I worried constantly about her during that time. I wanted her to be better right away without having to go through surgery and medications. I didn’t want to play a game of wait and see, but unfortunately, I had no choice.

As a result of her already compromised immune system, Hannah’s vaccines were severely delayed. I worried about so many things then, but it never once occurred to me to worry about her contracting measles or any of the other communicable diseases for which we are routinely vaccinated. Herd immunity wasn’t a term I knew then. It didn’t even begin to occur to me that she could be in danger. Why? Because people vaccinate! Duh!

Of course now we live in a world where we know that isn’t true. The anti-vaccination movement is in all of our faces. Multiple times a day on Facebook. Debates on Twitter. On both local and national news. Everybody is talking about it. Everyone has an opinion. Until now, I thought my role in supporting vaccines was to quietly stand by, share some articles on Facebook here and there, and just be glad that all five of my children are fully vaccinated. I thought to myself countless times “I’m not well spoken about science. I’m not great in debates. This is about all that I can do.” That is, until I remembered, and I went from being a quiet advocate to being really pissed.

MY BABY WAS ALREADY SICK AND SHE COULD HAVE GOTTEN SICKER.

I have a fury in my gut that I can’t even place right now.  I’m not angry at any one person or even anti-vaxxers in general. I don’t think that someone who doesn’t vaccinate their child doesn’t love them and I believe that most who are anti-vaccine have actually done a significant amount of research. My problem is that none of the research that supports the anti-vaccine movement has any basis in science, but so much of it is presented as such.

Thankfully, Hannah is 6 (and a half, she will remind you) now, is perfectly healthy, and as I mentioned before is fully vaccinated. I am grateful for the modern medicine that first got her well, and later gave her immunity to deadly diseases. I’m not going to be as quiet anymore. What we went through is not very uncommon and it pains me to think of the fear that parents going through the same thing today must feel. Vaccines are important. Herd immunity is important. I’m just a small voice. I can’t force anyone to listen to me, of course, but knowing now that things could have been worse, I have to try.

Nearly Six Months

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That is, since the last time I wrote here. I’m pretty sure that’s the longest I’ve gone without writing since I began blogging 15 years ago. Part of it is that the filters on my work computer have actually blocked my blog. I did a fair amount of my writing on my lunch break, and while I technically could open my personal computer then, it just hasn’t happened. I’m trying to figure out why.

Lots of things have happened since I last wrote. Hannah turned 6, Cait 9, and Eddie just turned 11. The twins will be 2 in like, 3 weeks. If anyone can explain to me how that is possible, I’d be ever so grateful.

Anyway, I’m dipping my toes back in tonight to see if I really miss this as much as I’m telling myself I do. To see if I want to commit to making the effort.

I…kinda think I do.

Protected: Let’s just say…

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Protected: How I feel about it/her/everything (Part 1)

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Quick Bits, Including Questions

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I have lots of small things on my mind, so it’s definite;y time for bullets.

  • We are having our lawn regraded and reseeded within the next week.  In the short term it’s going to suck because the kids and the dog won’t be allowed on the lawn for 2 weeks, but I am looking forward to even terrain and lush grass this summer. Our yard has been a mess because of the remodeling we’ve done over the last 2 years.  I’m sure the neighbors will be happy that the yard doesn’t look like a bunch of hillbillies live here too.
  • We have broken 3 scales in the last month. THREE. Not for any good reason either; they just randomly stop working. Our last one lasted like 8 years, so I don’t know what the deal is. Tell me, do you have a good scale? I need to know what to buy that is going to last because I’m going nuts.
  • Does anyone ever win the jackpot on the prize wheel in Candy Crush? I land on it frequently only to be bumped off. I think it’s a racket.
  • SPEAKING of rackets, I am so irritated with Cait’s dance company. First, we get a note home that dress rehearsal is at 4pm on Thursday, so I’m annoyed becuase my kids don’t even get home until 4, so I have to pull them out at like, 2:30 to have Cait in costume and ready to go to be at the venue (30 minutes from here) by 4pm. THEN! Yesterday they called and told me that I never paid for my rehearsal tickets, and that I needed them to get in the door for dress rehearsal tomorrow. I’m sorry, but what the actual fuck? I pay $50/month all year, whatever the costume cost, $15 per ticket for the recital itself, and now I have to pay for her to rehearse? I’m beyond livid! She’s not doing it again next year.
  • She’ll be cheerleading anyway. So will Hannah. The season including competition goes through November, so we are saying No to dance.  Eff that noise. Eddie is playing football too.  I have Feelings about this, but he has begged since he was little, and I’ve never seen him be so passionate about anything before. I’m super nervous about injuries and such. He’s a tough kid, but he isn’t invincible. I wish he was content to keep playing flag, but he’s not. And i know, we’re the parents and blah blah blah, but I have issues with not being allowed to do anything I wanted to do in my childhood (I had no extracurriculars until I was old enough to get myself there and back) and, well…anyway. He’s doing it.
  • Um, are you guys watching Fargo? We are and we are LOVING it. Two of the main characters are named Molly and Gus, so that’s fun too. It is so good though, and Billy Bob Thornton is fantastic.  Watch it if you aren’t already.
  • I had a super weird dream last night that Mike Rowe really liked a piece I wrote on my blog and shared it on Facebook. He was going to try and get me a deal with a publisher. I was super nervous that because of him, my mother would find my blog, so I declined and went to work as a secretary for one of Howard Stern’s assistants. It was weird, and given that I barely slept since Molly is sick and refuses to sleep, I think my brain must be going haywire.
  • I will update on my other blog probably tomorrow, but my program is going pretty well. I’m down about 13lbs overall which is pretty good for 3 weeks, I think. Of course Ed is down 25. Don’t worry, I haven’t murdered him. Yet.
  • I got new glasses to wear all the time instead of just for reading, and I’m still getting used actually wearing them. I definitely notice when I don’t have them on though. Getting old is a real bitch.
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