Thursday, July 26, 2012

The post I have needed to write...

Warning: this post is very sad, about my dog. That is all I can say.

It has been a little over a year since we brought our babies home from Ethiopia.
And so it has been a little over a year since we said goodbye to our original boy, our dog Pablo.

Pablo was ill when we left. Two years prior he had been given only months to live but miraculously had hung on and remained fairly healthy.

We even left our dear pet sitter and vet instructions on what to do should he take a turn for the worse while we were on the other side of the world. This is the same lovely pet sitter who emailed us photos twice daily of our sweet Pabbies while we were on our long CCRM vacations. She was ecstatic that we were finally going to become parents when we left for Ethiopia.

We were not prepared for what we found when we came home.

Pabbies. Emaciated. Sick. Nearly gone, but hanging on.

We saw him right after crossing the threshold of our new lives with our babies in our arms. After laying our babies down for their first night in their new beautiful nursery we just held him and sobbed. We knew what we had to do.

I decided it needed to be me. The next day, still sleep deprived and shaky and terrified and overwhelmed and elated at being home, I called our vet. They booked us--me and Pabbies--into the last appointment of the day so we could have some privacy.

Somehow I left the mister with the two babies, who were still feeding nearly constantly, who were crying quite at bit at their new unfamiliar surroundings, ripped apart from every single thing they had ever known, and put Pabs in the car with me. I took a bunch of his favorite treats and sobbed on the twenty five minute ride to the vet, feeding him treats and petting him the whole way.

When I got there I was a basket case. I could barely take him out of the car.

And things only got worse.

They couldn't get a vein. They couldn't start an IV. He was crying, howling in pain.

All those treats I thought he was happily gobbling up on the way there were just sitting in his mouth. He was too weak and sick to swallow.

I had done nothing to ease his pain.

The vet had to make a decision to inject him in the stomach.

It was horrific. I could barely stand to hold him, to have me see my face associated with this horrible pain we were causing him, all while trying to end his life in a pain free way.

The vet was young and inexperienced and not our usual vet. She was crying too. The tech was crying. I was shaking and sobbing.

Pabs did not go quickly.
He did not go peacefully.
Every single thing that could have gone wrong did.
And I held his sweet body until he took his last breath.

We buried him with his favorite toys under a tree in our yard, and I look at that spot nearly every single day and wish I could have done more for his last moments in this life. I have never--will never--forgive myself for failing him in his final moments.

Oh Sweet Pabs. It's been just over a year since you were gone. You waited until your brother and sister got here and then you asked us, with those beautiful but old and sick eyes, to take you out of your misery.

I will never forget.

And it is shaping the way I think of many things which I will have to write about here soon...about the way we treat animals in this world.

But I have needed to write this for a long time, to get it off my heart. Thank you, for letting me share it here.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Bullets (I know...) but packed with stuff....

It's not really true that I only have time for a bullet point post.

However, it is the most efficient way of articulating a few of the things swirling around in my brain or documenting some of the things we've been up to. Every time I think I will just stop blogging altogether I remember that aside from all the great things I love about blogging this will at least serve as little snapshots in time of our lives.

Here goes, in no particular order:

  • I've been baking/cooking/trying new recipes plus cooking some old favorites which I had forgotten about. All of this brings me great pleasure, I only wished I weren't so rushed when doing it (I still cook ahead for the following week so evenings run a little smoother). Some items include: avacado nutella muffins (yes, yes, and YES), Indian samosa pie, homemade vegetable pot pie (not really a summer food but it still hit the spot), Bakerella's key lime layer cake, quinoa broccoli casserole, Mexican vegan eggrolls, chocolate mint brownies, and these little peanut butter pretzel chocolatey things that just made my heart go pitter-patter.
  • I am running more than ever.
  • I am severely anemic. Hmph. Trying to get to the bottom of this currently and it involves more testing, which is annoying. I suspect my useless uterus is the culprit but am not allowed an ablation because of my higher cancer risk given my sordid uterine history. Hopefully I will know more in the next few weeks but I'd really like to avoid surgery. 
  • I am contemplating running an ultra marathon. On trails in my hometown. My Dad ran a shortened version of it fifteen years ago with my DH so that one feels like a good one to try.
  • We keep talking about moving to Ethiopia for a year or two. Seriously.
  • Of course we also still want to move to NYC--Brooklyn?--but Ethiopia is in our hearts.
  • But yet we both love our jobs. OK DH might not love his but I seriously love mine. Love it. I feel so lucky to work there, with incredible colleagues. One of my sweetest and most favorite coworkers asked me the other day how I felt the parttime thing was working out. I immediately said "Perfect. On Sunday night I am so ready to be back at work and on Wednesday afternoon after I close my last chart I am so ready to be home again." I know how lucky I am, and I think the tod-bots benefit tremendously from this balance. I think they'd be sick of me seven days in a row, week in and week out :)
  • I am trying/hoping to write an article to be published in a medical journal about this incredibly complex patient I have been seeing. The thing is, none of us can figure out what genetic issue he is plaqued with...and I've got the top lipid genetics guys working on it. I never thought I'd just pick up the phone and start calling journal authors to get help but that's what I did and now I've got several intrigued brilliant minds trying to help this guy out. All I'll say here is he's a skinny young guy with a total cholesterol over 700 and it was coming out in his skin. It's hard to write an article when so far all you can say is "dude, we really don't know what's wrong with you."
  • I am hoping my running will improve when my anemia improves but alas the doctor told me yesterday that a whole month's worth of iron therapy will be gone with one measly AF. Another doctor told me I need iron infusions but I seriously do not have time for that.
  • I have been contemplating going vegan. I am happily vegetarian but feel a strong pull to go to the next level. I have a whole post in my head about this and might just write it out one day, but it will be one of those that will likely offend a whole host of folks so maybe it's better to keep it in my head? At the very least we are going to start buying our dairy locally from a cruelty free dairy farm. And yes, I know chocolate is not vegan. And I know vegan baking is tough.
  • I am so happy to be raising vegetarian kids. So happy. We do allow them to eat some of the soy meat substitutes (yes, I know these would be out the window with veganism) and I need to quit saying things like "here is your chicken!" when at the same time I am telling them we do not believe in eating animals.
  • The toddlers are thriving. They are talking up a storm--a few two or three word sentences every now and again. Our son is especially interested in learning his letters right now. I get what people meant when they said this was a super fun age. The learning explosion is crazy to witness.
  • I am now running in minimus type shoes. I don't think I can go Luna Sandals or Vibram Five Fingers only, but I do feel like this is a much, much better way to run. I am really trying to work on technique, too, but some days it's just enough to get out there and cover some miles.
  • Yes, I still get up at 3:45 am to go running. I just keep saying my day is shifted. I'm in bed by 8:45 at the latest but it works for now so why change?
  • I am still drinking Diet Coke. Maybe if someone told me an animal was harmed during the production of my chemically syrup I could give it up no problemo....?
  • My Dad is the same overall but sometimes takes pretty bad turns, and I think "this is it." My mom is suffering the most, I think. It's hard to know what will happen next.  
  • My twentieth high school reunion is next month. Ugh is all that comes to mind.
I feel simultaneously old and young at the same time. Better/more running makes me feel young but my approaching twentieth high school reunion makes me feel O-L-D. Having toddlers makes me feel young and old at the same damn time...young because they are so delightful and it is so much fun to delight in their happiness but old because my God do they demand a lot of energy.


What have you been up to?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

One year home.

I cannot believe I am typing those words as a post heading.
But it's true. One year ago today, we landed in the United States, after a 16 hour flight that is still traumatizing to think about, but at least I'm maturing to know that it was far more traumatizing for my babies than it ever could be for me. A good friend asked me if we could laugh about the flight yet and I have to admit...not yet. Not quite.

One year ago we came home, as a family of four. Presto magic we went from two to four. Of course I kid using the term 'presto magic'--you all know it wasn't like that at all. And you will never hear me say (see me write?) the words "gotcha day" because those make my stomach turn.

But here we are.

Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes.

How do you measure a year in a life?

Of course, as a Rent lover this song resonates with me on multiple levels.
And yes, we could measure it in sunsets, and midnights, in laughter and in strife.

We could also measure it in diapers (hey that's actually in the B lyrics!), and sweet little slobbery kisses, in sleep deprived nights and days, in tantrums, in high chair meals (it seems we are forever getting in and out of high chairs!), and Brown Bear, Brown Bear readings.

The days can be long, but the year has been short but I am trying--always trying!-- to measure my life in love.

While 'Seasons of Love' is probably the most popular song from the play, my favorite is 'Without You, Finale'.

These words have been in my head since the first time I heard them.

There's only us
There's only this
Forget regret or
Life is yours to miss

There's only now
There's only here
Give in to love
Or live in fear
No other path
No other way

No day but today.

And today, is one year home.

But because I don't ever like ending all drama-esque, I'm going to publish a photo that is sure to make you smile. I don't think I ever put it in the blog before, and if I did, forgive me for the re-share. This photo was taken after we'd been home about three days. We were out walking the babies because most of the time we didn't know what to do with them and strollering was one of our many ways to 'change the environment' when said babies started getting cranky. We were both so tired we were literally stumbling.

Oh bless their hearts. They didn't know what they were getting themselves into when they got us as their second parents, did they?