Tuesday, August 27, 2013

of dogs and babies, 23 weeks, 4 days

I’ve felt a little absent from the blogging world lately – things been have, umm, a bit frenetic here. While I try to relish the waning days of summer – baking berry crumbles, eating tomatoes like apples, biking and kayaking – amidst frantically preparing to teach my first law school class, going to court and handling all manner of client needs. I’ve been distracted and a bit scattered. And in the meantime, I’ve grown a bump big enough to get me a seat on public transportation and made it (almost!) to 24 weeks. SIX holy-hell-can-you-believe-it-my-math-must-be-wrong MONTHS. It all feels a little (a lot) surreal.

And in my harried chaos, I missed something – and it had nothing to do with Miley I-am-the-worst-nightmare-of-what-your-daughter-could-become Cyrus. Although it may not have made it to the front page of CNN – such is the apparent appeal of twerking – it was serious. You guys: I missed National Dog Day. I know what you’re thinking: COLOSSAL[1].

If you’ve been here before, you know that C and I have a dog – a black lab named Luna. Of course, many of us in the infertile set have pets, lest we go lacking in a substitute for our unfulfilled parental affections. We anthropomorphize our dogs and our cats[2], showering them in the helicopter parenting that will – if everything works out – soon enough smother our human infants.

And then, when we get pregnant, we begin to imagine how our future child will interact with the bundle of barking fur that has only recently been evicted from the foot of the bed. We read up on ways to introduce these two creatures – give the dog access to the nursery/don’t give the dog access to the nursery, let her smell the new furniture, bring home a baby blanket from the hospital with the newborn’s scent, put them in a crib together and let them work out their issues, seriously-Cesar-Millan-you-are-confusing-me. We (or is it just me?) imagine how they’ll interact with one another – all the extra food the dog will get as the baby shoves it’s dinner onto the floor, how one day we’ll catch the baby gnawing on a Kong, or the dog, sleeping soundly in the crib. It all sounds magical – and, you know, terribly unsanitary. Basically ALL OF THIS TIMES ONE THOUSAND[3].

When I was born, my parents had a golden retriever – a heck of a dog who tolerated as much tail pulling, ear tugging and attempts to ride her like a pony that toddler Sarah attempted. Of course, she had her revenge, too – routinely hiding every one of my toys under the couch. Sisterly love, etc.

And it was these memories – and C’s of his own childhood golden retriever – that we keep returning to. Because – I swear I’m winding up to something, this is just surprisingly emotional so, <pulls it together> bare with me – we’re not sure whether Luna will get to grow up with the baby.

A couple years ago, we found out that Luna – our spunky, stubborn, stuffed animal loving five year old pup – had a congenital kidney defect. So we paid for special food, cursed ourselves for not buying “doggie health insurance” (I can still hear how hard we laughed when the prospect was floated by our vet – so young! so naïve!), and dropped her off for a doggie ultrasound.[4] The truth is that she was doing remarkably well – until last month.

Last month, when we found out that her numbers were up, that we would need to give her IV fluids subcutaneously every other day[5], along with a cocktail of gel caps and pills[6]. We declined the gentle offer of a kidney transplant – because apparently yes, that’s a thing[7] – and we spent many nights snuggling with her, a bit lot teary[8].

And so here we are, hoping just that Luna gets to meet our baby boy. That they have a couple Kodak moments, a little romp, a little affection. We know that might be all we get, but we’d still be pretty psyched.

In the meantime, Luna has already established her impending jealousy and baby dominance[9].

(yes, those are what you think they are)

[1] Except of course, not. Because, you know, real news like Syria, Miley Cyrus, Egypt, Miley Cyrus, affordable higher education, Miley Cyrus, March on Washington anniversary, Miley Cyrus, etc.
[2] Please don’t make me write the words “fur babies.” It makes me cringe and picture a human baby to whom a bunch of bear fur has been glued. (And yes, I did do a google image search in a valiant effort to regale you with an illustration but no, the interwebs does not share my very warped brain. Bad internet!)
[3] Seriously, you should watch that. A giant dog licks a baby’s nose clean after it sneezes. Another baby gnaws on the face of a docile golden retriever, because, you know, kisses!
[4] Which was unsurprisingly distinct from the many wandings her mama had. She did return with a shaved belly though. So she had that going for her.
[5] Going to just go ahead and admit that jamming a needle into the scruff of my stoic dog was less fun than I imagined.
[6] Which C will not let me touch because Pregnant! Toxic! BACK AWAY.
[8] I blame the hormones. C has no excuse.
[9] Yes, I know, I’m totally double dipping with this photo for those of you PAILreaders. Forgive me.


  1. You're right: there's an alarming lack of babies covered in fur on the internet. I must remedy this!

    So sorry about your dog. I know it's selfish, but one of my first thoughts when we adopted our kittens was, What happens when/if they get sick/old?

    1. Ha. Please keep us posted on exactly how you are remedying this!

  2. First, I'm so sorry to hear about Luna. I really hope he gets to meet the bambino.

    Second, I have a whole post sketched out about this issue - I am terrified that my Golden Retriever will never get to play with a baby, and it makes ME feel bad for HIM. As if I needed more guilt in this shitty situation. It just seems like he deserves a small-ish person to hang out with, ya know? Like those dogs were made for kids.

    I sincerely hope you have many happy, healthy years of baby-dog bonding and plenty of photo ops.

    1. Thanks and great post about your own pups!

  3. I'm so sorry to hear about Luna's condition. I'm sending healthy doggy vibes her way and hoping that you have many days to come with her and the impending baby boy arrival/rival for affections!

    Though I gotta say, from the photographic evidence she looks like one dynamic dog.

    Finally, for the first time in...(counting on fingers)...SIX years, I will NOT be teaching a class this autumn, and I have to say it's an amazing feeling to have wrested my summer back from the evils of syllabus prep!

    1. Seriously - syllabus prep is no freakin' joke. I should have been much more appreciative of my professors...

      Thanks for the healthy doggy vibes :)

  4. Luna is so adorable! She looks a lot like one of my dogs, so obviously she's adorable. I hope her health doesn't get worse and she is able to enjoy many days of tail being pulled, face being grabbed, etc. from your little boy!

  5. This did not show up in my news feed. There is no way I would have passed on a post about dogs and babies, especially one as lovable looking as your dear Luna. I actually found a small bump on one of my dogs' legs last night and it sent me into hysterics. So, yeah. I'm pickin' up what you're puttin' down. I hope your girl holds strong for a great long while. And that you can share an adorable baby/puppy video of your own in awhile. (But not that long! Because YOUR FREAKING 6 MONTHS PREGNANT!!!)

    1. Ha! I know, right? 6 months. Oomph. (Also, p.s. no one tells you that pregnancy is like, actually, 10 months and not 9. Say what!).

      Sending good vibes to your pups and hoping the hysteria is just hormonal and not actually anything to be concerned about - your two dogs are going to have their work cut out for them. Each baby gets a dog partner in crime?

  6. Hey, I had trouble finding an email address. Would it be possible for you to email me so that I can ask you a question?