Wednesday, November 18, 2009

In Memorial: Rachel

Last night, we put Rachel to sleep. She stopped eating a week ago, though it took us a few days to realize that she was in fact not eating and not just being finicky. We realized it Thursday afternoon and our Vet is closed Fridays and the weekend. By Monday, she was barely conscious and her temp had dropped. The Vet tried on Monday to rehydrate her and raise her temp. He called us Tuesday to let us know that her kidneys had failed and that he recommended we put her to sleep. She went quickly and surrounded by love. We even got to hold her before she died - the only time we actually got to hold her in our 5 1/2 years together. It was a really nice way to spend our last moments together, almost as if she wanted to give us a gift. We buried her in the yard next to Paul with her laser pointer and a fresh catnip toy, then poured the rest of the half-and-half over her.

This picture, I feel, really captures the essence of Rachel. She was loving but also vindictive and a bit of a b*tch (in case you can't tell, she's deliberately planted her anus on the mouse). She had a rough exterior that hid a heart of gold. It took her many years to warm up to us. She really warmed up after Paul died, which was surprising to me - instead of becoming a recluse, she reached out to us for love and affection. Though I think not having Paul here once she became sick is what really did her in. We tried to cuddle with her, but we just never sat still enough for long enough. And I think she just really missed him.

Like with Paul, there's now a Rachel sized hole missing from our lives. The house feels very empty today.

Jason pointed out last night that her passing is an end of an era - the Paul & Rachel era. We adopted them 5 1/2 years ago - our first pets together. We went through so much - moving several times, getting new pets, then the baby. They taught us a lot. Me, specifically, they taught a lot about unconditional love - how to love someone as they are, not who we'd like them to be. They also helped me stop and take a moment to share love. And they gave me a glimpse of what it will be like to be a parent of a teenager.

I am grateful for the time we had together and the life we shared.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Month 1

I'm going to try to get this written while Aggie is giving me a moment of freedom.

Pictures are HERE.

Things are going great - truly. I can't believe she's already a month old - on one hand it seems like we brought her home just yesterday and on the other it seems as though she's been a part of the family forever. I think everyone has adapted nicely to her arrival - the pets pretty much ignore her and Jason and I have fallen into a good routine. While she was pretty mellow the first couple of weeks of her life, once her grandparents left town, she got grumpy. Not all the time - generally if I hold her, she calms down. Having gas seems to be at the root of her grumpiness. I'm trying to cut out dairy and we're going to try a different formula to see if that can make her gas easier for her to pass (we're doing a breast feeding/bottle combo).

What else? She travels awesome in the car - just falls right asleep, just like me. She and Bella sit in the back together - very cute. She also likes riding around in the Baby Bjorn, which is especially great, because I can strap her in and then putter around the house or go for a walk.

Many have asked how Motherhood is going but to be honest, I don't really feel like a mom yet - I feel like a very special caretaker. I equate motherhood with having to impart wisdom and guidance - right now, I just change diapers and outfits, feed and sing to her. But I enjoy doing those things, except when she's screaming at me. We have had talks about the screaming - I tell her she can be as loud as she wants, but she shouldn't scream or yell at me when she's upset. So, maybe I am mothering.

Things I miss from my old life - being able to go to the bathroom and shower when I wanted, and to run a quick errand. Let me tell you - if you're pregnant or thinking of becoming so, run all the errands you can! Once the baby's here, you have to pack the diaper bag, feed, change and put the baby in the car seat/stroller/carrier before heading out, which can take an hour plus. It can be worth it just to get out of the house, though.

My favorite things - when she falls asleep on my chest; her smiles (which mainly happen when she's asleep); kissing her neck; her big blue/brown eyes; when she reaches out for me; when one eye crosses and she looks like Jerry Lewis; when she sticks her tongue out; listening to Jason talk to her; and getting 3+ hours of sleep in a row. Oh, and this genius invention HERE.

Her nicknames: Muffin (Jason calls her that); Punkin (I do that); Fuss Budget (me again); and Aggers (both of us).

Who she's met: her great grandmothers; her paternal grandparents; 2 of her 3 maternal grandparents; her great uncle Carter; the Workmans; the Wests; the Bailey-Osborns; and Jason's co-workers.

My favorite picture: