We lost a family member this weekend… the girl kitty, whose age was not completely known as we’ve only had her since 2008 but we’re estimating 17 or 18, had a rapid decline last week. She was still pretty active at the beginning of the week, but has had a noticeable slowing-down over the last few months. Then Wednesday or Thursday she started getting more and more lethargic and acting a little weird. Eric took note and said that I may need to schedule an appointment for her if she didn’t perk up soon.
Then Friday he said, “see if you can take her in tomorrow” because she was sitting in his lap really weird and had been holding her head funny and had stopped eating – not even her most favoritest cat milk. I called and they said to bring her in first thing in the morning, which I did on Saturday.
When I arrived they told me they were hoping that I’d leave her there for the day for them to monitor, give her some fluids, and do some tests on her to see what was wrong. The doctor told me it was probably a kidney issue, but that if caught early enough many pets still could have another year in them. So I left her with them and we all went to Children’s to get our follow-up rabies vaccines.
While we were at the hospital the vet called and said that the tests came back very serious. She was at level five, which is the worst possible place. She didn’t give the cat more than a month to live, and made some recommendations around re-hydrating her and managing her pain through medicine. We agreed that they should keep her for the rest of the day and I would pick her up in the evening, and then bring her back the next morning for some more treatment.
That night she was so feeble. She just wanted to lie on the kitchen mat, but would move if you put food or even cat milk near her. She was so pitiful it was just heartbreaking and Eric was losing it at this point. I tried brushing her and managed to get a very low purr from her, but that was about it.
She did manage one girl kitty antic though – Eric put her in her cozy cat bed in the cat room near the litter box and food and water, and put a gate across the stairs so she wouldn’t fall down them. In the middle of the night he got up to check on her and found her downstairs. Somehow she had managed to slip past the gate.. we can’t imagine her having jumped over it so she must have squeezed through it somehow. But she wanted to be in the kitchen on the mat, which is somewhere she had never expressed interest in before.
Sunday morning I took her back and it wasn’t long before the vet called and said her temperature was dropping and she strongly suggested we come in and say our goodbyes before it was too late. They said she wasn’t going to last long, and this way we could be there when she went.
We packed up the baby and went up as a family and Eric held his preshkous kitty one last time while they put her to sleep. It was sooo hard on him. He loved that cat so much, for a number of reasons. One, she’s just the sweetest cat ever, has never bitten or scratched anyone and tolerates anything, including being cradled upside-down and carried around the house. Two, she’s always been ‘old’, for as long as we’ve had her, and has always acted rather feeble at times, like not always being able to jump all the way onto the couch, and it tugs at your heartstrings when she acts so pitiful…but other times she would rip and tear through the house at top speeds or attack toys with the vigor of a kitten… explain that one. Three, she was Eric’s – it was so obvious that she loved him so very much; she always wanted to be near him, would follow him around the house, would let him do anything to her, trusted him absolutely, and was his warm comfort when he was distressed. She was always there for him, and was perfect at making him feel loved and needed.
So he’s in a lot of pain right now. I was really upset too, but the hardest part was when I was holding the baby and crying about the cat, and the baby was beaming big beautiful smiles at me. It was the oddest feeling, not knowing whether to smile or cry, be elated or devastated. She did it to Eric too, and he had just as much trouble. I know Eric really wanted Aria to get to know the kitty too.. we both agreed she would be fabulous with kids.
Now Eric will have to get all of his preshkousness from Aria, and he’ll get ample opportunity now that I’m back at work and he’ll have her in the evenings before I get home. I honestly think God’s hand is in this, that while it was time for the kitty to go, He gave Eric someone to pour all of that love and affection into, all to himself for a couple hours each day. Today will be the hardest, as it will be the first day coming home to an empty doormat with no kitty welcoming him home with her soft little meow.
Rest in peace our preshkous little kitty.
The Bible study I go to started up again for the school year. It’s all women, but with a school-aged program, so there are kids there, but they’re old enough to be rationalized with. And they go to their own classes and stuff while the women have small groups then a lecture. It’s a really great Bible study – I missed it over the summer.
At the end of last year we were asked if we’d like to or be willing to be in a group of ‘mothers of infants’ where babies who are still immobile would be allowed. Normally the new moms go to the daytime BSF session, but they wanted to open up more options for working moms. I was so excited, but then never heard anything about it again.
When BSF started again and my small group leader, Erica, reached out to welcome me to her group I asked about the baby. She emailed the leader/lecture-giver, Jackie, who excitedly welcomed me bringing Aria (Erica forwarded the reply to me).
Even so, I was really nervous about bringing her. We’ve come a long way from inconsolably crying all evening long, but she still has a limit to the amount of ‘sitting quietly’ that she’s willing to do. I thought my best bet would be to nurse at some point as that makes her happy and sleepy. Plus the two hours plus travel would require at least one feeding, more likely two. Especially as we’d be meeting friends for dinner an hour before it even started. But I didn’t know if it would be acceptable, or even when or where we’d nurse.
I prepared by packing way more frozen milk than I’d ever need and no way to thaw it, pumping some fresh to take, though it wasn’t very much, and overstuffing my diaper bag with extras of everything she might ever require, excluding the kitchen sink.
When we arrived at the restaurant she was asleep from the car ride, but then awoke and maintained a calm and curious demeanor, silently watching her surroundings while manufacturing a plethora of bubbles. As soon as I finished eating she started mildly fussing and I gave her the little bit of fresh milk in a bottle, while she was still in her car seat on the booth. When it was gone she wasn’t thrilled, but surprisingly she let it go without a fight, and settled back into bubble-making.
Then we went off to the church, about five minutes away. As we walked in we got soooo many ooohs and aaahs and questions and congratulations. I went to claim a seat and join in the hymns but Aria decided she wanted to sing something else and started squawking. I picked her up to quiet her but she’d already drawn attention and was getting coos from the women around us.
Afterwards Jackie gave the announcements and to my horror said, “you probably heard the whimpers of a baby coming from the back – this is something new we’re trying out…” and as she explained it, and as everyone turned to look at us, it dawned on me that I very well might be the only woman in nighttime BSF who even has a newborn to bring. Last year in the ‘young women’s’ group, the group most likely to be of child bearing age, there were two of us pregnant. The other girl switched to daytime. Other girls had babies, but they’d all be ‘mobile’ by now. One other girl is pregnant and due in January… So unless someone new joins, I’m the sole mother-with-infant going to nighttime BSF.
Aria just became a celebrity.
Then, what I dreaded most – the prayer from Jackie before dismissing us to small groups. Aria made her contributions, as clearly someone needed to alleviate the quiet.
In the small group there were some new faces, but I was reassured no one would mind if we nursed. It was kinda hard to stay covered up with Aria pulling on the cover thing, maybe I flashed someone but they were too polite to say anything. The worst was when it would get really quiet and you could hear her sucking… That was embarrassing but again, no one said anything. No, they didn’t mind her one bit after the initial introduction and admiring her, until she finished nursing, made her audible burp which elicited some chuckles, then proceeded to fart. Loudly. Repeatedly.
She was quiet for the group time, other than that. She did get a little squirmy near the end, and I felt kinda wrong because during the portion when we share our prayer requests, which are often very serious and somber, like prayer requests for a family member with cancer, my baby was lying in my lap beaming big beautiful smiles at me. I had to smile back…then nod solemnly at the person sharing their sadness.
Before heading up to the lecture we made a pit stop for a much needed diaper change, and by now had a following. Lots of offers to help carry our vast quantities of baggage.
So here was the true test of whether she’d be invited back – the lecture.
We started off OK but rapidly began our descent into cranky, tired, and bored baby. Being held was no longer sufficient. I took her to the back of the sanctuary so I could walk and bounce with her, but she continued to bury her face in my shirt and make tired wimpers.
Then my brain kicked in… Lisa, what do you do when standing in line at a store or wherever and you need to keep her quiet? Oh duh. So I walked back up to the pew where I’d been sitting and grabbed her carrier, plunked her in it when we got back to the doorway, and proceeded to sway. That got her quiet, but she still didn’t go to sleep. After a while of pacing around swaying with the heavy carrier, and trying to pay attention, my brain decided to finally participate again.. Lisa, how do you help her to fall asleep quickly every night? Oh yeah… I turned on my cell phone, went to YouTube and started the video of white noise that was already open. I turned it just loud enough that only she would hear it and stuck my phone into the carrier.
It took less than a minute of the white noise and swaying and she was out. One of the ladies had brought me a chair, so I sat and rocked the carrier on the floor for another minute to be sure, then was able to focus entirely on the lecture from the entryway to the sanctuary. And all before the first principle that I would want to write down.
When it was all over Jackie came up to us and said, “I am so glad you brought her.” I questioned, “are you sure she wasn’t too distracting?” Jackie smiled and said that no she was great. So many women came up to us and commented on how nice it was to hear little baby noises, and how cute she was, and we got a bunch more questions about how old, her name, etc.
I am now expected to bring her back. Hopefully she’s just as good and easy to please, because she sure is cute to have as my little sidekick.
I’ve become rather accustomed to folks cooing over, complimenting, congratulating us on, and even seeking out our baby in stores – this has happened several times now when we’re doing fine shopping then all of a sudden she gets tired/cranky/poopy-pantsed/hungry and starts wailing and we have to expedite the shopping adventure, and someone will find us and say, “I knew I heard a newborn! I told (whoever they are with) that I heard a newborn and said ‘I have to find that baby!'” This is often followed with, when they are with their nearly full-grown daughter, “Can you believe you used to be that tiny??” It usually is quite impressive to imagine the robust person before me as a tiny little baby, but I suppose it was the case at one point in everyone’s life.
People love babies. Like really love babies. I’ve been asked about her, told how precious she is, and congratulated so much that I’m starting to feel pretty darn special and like Aria is a celebrity or somesuch.
However, the most interesting encounter I’ve had thus far was from an older, rough-looking gentleman who accosted me in a grocery store. He was incredibly difficult to understand, almost like he had marbles in his mouth. He asked, “boy or girl?” I replied she was a girl, which was hard to tell because she was in a bright pink outfit with a pink blanket on her lap. He said something unintelligible and I said, “I’m sorry?” He repeated and I got the gist was that she needed some “herrboos in her har so’s you cud tell.” I said, “Oh, yeah I ordered some headbands but they haven’t arrived yet.” He mumbled something, I looked at him blankly, he mumbled it again, louder this time, and I continued to stare at him slack-jawed because I hadn’t a clue what he was saying.
Finally he said a few times, “bubblegum! bubblegum! Y’know, jus’ stick at in ‘er har an’ stick a boo on it.”
Oh. Of course, why hadn’t I thought of that? I chuckled politely and calmly said, “but then it would stick in the poor baby’s hair..”
He brushed that off with “mos’ babies ain’t got no harr.” No.. but mine does and I’m not sure I’m ready to subject her to the whole cliche of beauty requires pain.
We started to walk away from each other but he had one other light bulb go off before we got too far apart, something about “well then toothpaste.”
(This incident is what led me to safety-pinning a bow onto her hat before we went out again)
Wednesday morning: Lisa and Aria asleep in bed all snuggly.
Eric wakes Lisa up with, “Lisa… You might want to take the baby and leave the room..”
Lisa, all sleepy and unperturbed, “why?…”
Eric, casually, “there’s a bat in here.”
Lisa, now awake, alert, confused, “what!?! …Are you sure? How do you know it’s a bat…?”
There it was, hanging from our black curtains, sound asleep at 7 in the morning as the sun was just beginning its ascent.
As I gathered up my little one and Eric searched for a container we pondered how it had gotten in, how long had it been there, was it even still alive… Eric caught it with minimal effort into a little bug container, and we snapped some pics and marveled at how weird it was that we had a bat in our house.
We took it outside, and I wasn’t brave enough to open the container so Eric let it go and we watched it swoop away. Then Eric went off to work and showed off his pics. We showed lots of people and never thought anything of it – you catch something in your house and take it outside and let it go.. Like the bunny I captured in our garage, or birds found terrified on top of a door looking down at the cat that dragged them in, or the armadillo Kristy and I trapped under the recycling bin in our driveway as kids. It’s what one does. And so that was our exciting event and then it was over and forgotten. I did wash all the curtains on super hot, however.
I kept meaning to share on Facebook but didn’t until Friday.
Saturday: Eric and Lisa kicking butt and getting all kinds of chores done. Aria was strapped to Lisa, and baby hand-offs would occur as needed to maximize efficiency between Eric and Lisa.
Then Lisa checked her phone and saw a notification of a Facebook text message from her aunt Sherry.
Sherry, written in a panicked sort of way, explained that bats in one’s home is not normal, or safe, especially with a baby, and we should check her all over.
To be honest, I thought she was overreacting but started looking online anyway. The first thing I found was how rabies symptoms start off like the flu, and once someone shows symptoms the disease is fatal and all that anyone can do is attempt to make the patient more comfortable and watch as it attacks and destroys their brain.
OK, so how do you know if you’ve been bitten?
The most common type of bat here is the small brown bat, whose teeth are so small and sharp it may be impossible to tell if you’ve been bitten.
“Eric!! Come here for a second please”
I share with Eric all that I’ve just learned and he quietly goes into the study and sits at his computer. He asks me to call our insurance nurse help hotline to ask what we should do, while he makes his own calls.
The nurse recommends some places to call, like animal control to see if rabies is an issue in our area, our pediatrician, our doctor or the emergency room. Everyone was closed except the ER who gives me the number to poison control. The lady there was awesome, she gave me numbers to the city, county and state health departments and advised I contact our on-call pediatrician instead of waiting until Monday. Then throughout the day she called me back to see if I’d gotten the info and help I needed and if not she made more calls. The health departments were all closed with someone just taking messages.. No help and no info to offer me. Actually, the county health department guy read some stuff but basically said I should just try back on Monday – later Eric tells me he found something issued by that same health department from last month about how rabies cases are on the rise in our area.. but that was much later that we learned that.
I called the on-call nurse for our pediatrician practice and she called a doctor and called me back with, “take the baby to Children’s Hospital ER. They’ll advise what you and your husband should do as well.”
We had been told now by poison control, the pediatrician, and the insurance’s nurse hotline (after calling back to see if they could tell if it would be covered, which they couldn’t) that we should be safe and get vaccinated, and after reading TONS of stuff online about rabies, bats, bat bites, and the exorbitant price of rabies shots, finally decided it was probably a good idea.
I was so hesitant because we didn’t know if we’d even been in contact, had no idea how expensive this would be, how it would affect our little baby, plus you hear about people getting bats in their houses with no issue. But one thing we kept reading was that if you wake up to a bat in your room, it’s much more dangerous. Especially with a little one.
So armed with all of our terrifying knowledge we fed the baby, gathered up her stuff, and headed to Children’s.
Surprisingly we were called out of the waiting room very quickly and, after being all checked in, her vitals checked, lots of questions asked, were put into our own room. Found out later they like to get tiny babies, especially those who haven’t had all their shots yet, out of the public areas. Very thoughtful. Also kept hearing about other families who had found bats and just had everyone vaccinated. After hearing that a few times I started to feel a lot better and less nervous. I also learned that a two-week old had had the shots and was OK. An entire family of five had been through it earlier in the week.
Once it was determined that Aria was going to be getting the vaccine they collected Eric’s and my information and said we could/should get them as well at the same time. Aria did pretty well while we waited. She wanted to be held most of the time, but was very alert, curious, and quiet. She refused to sleep, even after we nursed. We were there for over three hours because they were so busy, and also the vaccines take awhile to prepare.
Finally three nurses appeared with apologetic expressions and explained the shots were by weight. Aria would get two, one was the pre-thing, the other the actual vaccine. I got five.. Eric got seven. The majority was the pre-stuff which was super thick and burned.. They kept apologizing as they gave them, and offered to spread them out over our bodies. I got one in each arm, each butt cheek, and one in my leg. And was squeamish the whole time. Eric was a trooper and did all in his arms..same place he’d had his two allergy shots that morning. Way to make me look like a weenie, Eric…
We let Aria go last. Eric asked if we could wait outside, and we both fled. Then I heard my poor precious little baby scream in pain and confusion and broke down in tears. My poor little baby.. Eric held me until they called us back in. Her eyes were sooo red from tears and tiredness as it was now after ten at night.
A little more waiting as they needed to keep us to make sure no one had a bad reaction, then we finally got to go home. At this point Aria was pretty upset and would only angrily suck on her paci if it was dipped in this magical sweet stuff they gave us to put on pacifiers – apparently sucking helps take their mind off of pain.
So now we just have to go back three more times over the next two weeks for the follow-ups, which will only be the less painful vaccine stuff.
Yay for making new family memories. Pretty sure everything was covered, but even if it isn’t, it’s worth whatever price to know we’ll all live.
I’d kinda like to keep this little cutie, who was such a trooper.
She’s suuuuch a snuggle. So I’ve addressed the fact that I let her sleep with me, which is both beneficial and detrimental for sleep: no having to get out of bed to nurse her, or having to stay awake until she’s asleep to sneak her back into the bassinet (actually I usually do this at the beginning of the night but in the middle of the night she doesn’t go back), however I have to give up valuable real estate, sleep on my side until I’m sure she’s asleep enough to adjust her so I can lie on my back, and wake up periodically just to check that she’s OK and not smothered or something (she never is but I have to check anyway – this actually shouldn’t count because I check on her in the bassinet as well).
The biggest and cutest problem, though, is the constant and imminent threat of snuggle attack. It’s not enough that she’s sleeping in bed with me, or can nurse when she wants, no she also requires full body contact (her body). She turns on her side and smooshes herself against my side if I’m on my back, and sometimes I worry she won’t be able to breathe because her nose is also smooshed. Thus I feel obligated to stay awake until she’s sound asleep and roll her back on her back and move her away from me some.
But that never lasts long. In fact, usually before I can fall back asleep she’s wiggled her way up against me again, though often she’ll remain on her back mostly, so I’m not as afraid for her.
In the morning, after she’s woken me up to feed, I wait until she falls back asleep so I can slip out of bed and have a wee bit of time sans baby-in-arms to get a few things done.
This very very rarely works.
Here’s what actually happens: I wait forever for her to drift off then I oh so slowly and carefully pull away from her, inching backwards at a snail’s pace. I will have just managed to get out from under her arm that is always thrown onto me, and I think I’m in the clear….then she makes a little baby whimper, or morning stretch noise, and casually wriggles up to me again. She doesn’t fully wake up, but she does manage to get reinserted against me, with an arm thrown onto me again. Some mornings we are equally stubborn and this dance will carry us fully across the bed, before I reluctantly admit defeat and pick her up.
She may not be able to crawl, or roll over, or even fully hold her head up yet, but boy can this baby cover ground when snuggling is involved. Thankfully I don’t yet need to worry about her falling off the bed as that would be away from me. I do worry about myself failing out of bed, however, in my efforts to find room after being attacked by the snuggle monster.
I was perusing baby websites to see what milestones I should be watching for and a comment caught my eye. They said that they felt their little one finally seemed to be transforming from infant to baby.
I guess the same could be said for Aria. She’s been able to hold her head up since week one, but it’s getting more frequent and stable and less wobbly. She can also push herself up on her forearms for a bit.
Regarding cooing and making noises, she has made dolphin noises for as long as I can remember. I want to say she’s been “ulg”ing, “ack”ing, and “nga”ing for the last two or three weeks. I’m still not sure where baby noises fall on the timeline, because some moms were saying their babies were just finding their voices at six weeks.. But I guess Aria found hers a while back. She talks a lot when she’s happy. Also squeals.. But that’s usually a precursor to fussy. It’s like a yellow light or warning sign – warning, we’re approaching fussy-town if we don’t change courses soon!
She loves to hold fingers, and when an object is placed into an open palm she’ll grasp it but otherwise doesn’t much interact with objects… unless you count holding her pacifier in her mouth.
However, most importantly, she started smiling at her own thoughts a couple weeks ago, but over this last week started trying to smile at Eric and me. It’s sooooo cute!
Mine baby hath been exposed to the glorious history and nerddom that doth make up a Renaissance Festival. It woth Eric’s idea.
So yeah, we went on Monday and it was supposed to be pretty cool but ended up being pretty warm. I tried to make sure that the baby was dressed as lightly as possible and took a light blanket in case she was cold, but alas, it seems she acquired a bit of a heat rash. 😦
We were not exactly sure how nursing would work out so we took some milk in a cooler, which made it into the stroller, but the bottle did not. Fortunately, I did actually bring a bottle, it just did not make it into the park but it was in the car. Also, we did not consider that frozen milk in a cooler with freezer packs would not thaw. So the first time Aria was hungry we had to find somewhere to nurse. Upon researching, we discovered there was a first aid station where one could supposedly take an infant to nurse. When we got there there was a guy in a t-shirt and jeans, not typical garb for such places, who asked us what we were looking for and we assumed he was a customer, not an employee or whatever you call those folks. However, we did discover he was some type of security or something, which I suppose is above being required to dress up in silly costumes. He let us go beyond the fence to a tent that was set up that doubled as first aid and an employee respite spot. I felt bad because when we got there an employee was sitting there cooling off in front of the fan, but he left to give us privacy. Also, at some point during the feeding some other guys walked up with those great big costume things that you have to carry on your shoulder to make you look like a really big person and they looked really hot, but one said, “come on guys let’s go take a walk” which was really nice of them. It was really nice to sit in the shade in front of a fan that periodically misted us, it made me feel better about Aria.
After that we learned our lesson about the milk and got some out to thaw for the next time she got hungry, and I also went and got her bottle out of the car so we could actually give her milk.
If you were to ask my sister, Kristy, about my experiences at Ren Fests, you would learn that I somehow attract big burly men to my rescue. Many moons ago we went to one of these in Houston and had a funnel cake. I decided it would be a good idea to lick the powdered sugar off the plate, and she thought it would be a good idea to knock the plate into my face. Powdered sugar went everywhere, including my eyes, and I was wearing contacts. I started to panic and after rubbing my eyes for a minute I heard a deep masculine voice say, “hold still” followed by a moist cloth wiping my face. I looked up and it was a huge guy covered in black leather and tattoos. My first thought was wondering what made that cloth wet that he rubbed on my face…
This time I went to find somewhere to change Aria’s diaper as she was crying inconsolably about it and we were a long way from anywhere that might work as a changing table. We were, however, near one of the stages with lots of open wooden benches available. Eric stayed with the stroller and I ran up the hill with Aria and our changing stuff, and proceeded to set up on one of these narrow benches. Unfortunately, they were so narrow that I was worried about her rolling off, so was having a heck of a time getting her diaper and wipes prepared while holding on to her. All of a sudden a hand appeared on her belly, and a deep voice said, “I’ll hold her so you can use both hands.” I thanked the big burly man covered in black leather and tattoos, and got her all fixed up.
We had a nice day, as long as we remained in the shade, and we got some cute pics too.