Thursday, July 21, 2011

Are Miracles for Dogs Too?

We have 2 dogs.  Both of them are pugs.  We weren't looking for a pug when we set out to find a dog during our second year of marriage.  We went looking for a shelter dog.  Tucker was the first dog we saw and he was so cute.  I didn't even know what kind of dog he was or anything about pugs.  We picked him out and took him home and thus we became pug people.

He definitely looks older now than he did 10 years ago but he's still adorable

After we moved to our current home 5 years ago I was ready to start our family.  Unfortunately I had a health issue that delayed that process by a year or so.  So what does one do when you want a baby and are told to wait....Get another dog.  This time we went looking for a pug but still went looking for a rescue.  We found a rescue organization about 2 hours away and went down to pick out our new pug.  I wanted the playful one and Ryan wanted the one that just looked sweet.  She had been used as a breeder for the Amish and was sold at the farmers market like produce to someone who gave her to the rescue.  She was six years old and we knew she had lived a hard life already.  We didn't care and we brought home Libby 5 years ago.

Who couldn't love that face?

She doesn't like strangers too much but she loves people she knows.  She's much more typical pug in look and behavior.  She's about the sweetest thing ever and she became my baby.

Well, until we had a baby.  Then Libby and Tucker took their place on their beds and have been living out their lazy comfortable life like good dogs do.  That is until this spring.  We took them in for physicals and the vet said that Libby's stomach seemed tender.  2 weeks later I took her back to the vet because her abdomen had swollen to twice the size.  An x-ray clearly showed a tumor the size of a football growing from her liver.  The vet said that it would be quick since it was a rapid growing tumor and gave us signs to look for that it was "time".

I went home devastated.  I texted my family that we were going to lose her within weeks or maybe days.  We tried to prep Ainsley for the loss of another animal (chicken deaths have been plenty this summer!)  And the tumor did grow.  It stretched her loose skin to the point we thought she might rip open.  She struggled to climb the stairs but that was the only sign of discomfort.  We were just watching and waiting.

We went to the beach and had 2 different people split the week watching her.  She did great at the first but by the time we came home and picked her up from the second I thought I was going to have to take her right to the vet.  She had gone WAY down hill.  Her stomach looked like she was a snake that had swallowed a mongoose.  She couldn't breath.  She was throwing up every time she ate.  But I brought her home so Ainsley and Ryan could say goodbye. 

3 hours passed and she seemed to perk up.  So we decided against any decisions.  Then about a week later Ryan asked me if her stomach was smaller.  Sure enough it was.  It was shrinking daily.  And about 2 days ago we really looked at her.  The tumor is GONE.  COMPLETELY GONE!  I called the vet.  She stammered through a conversation telling me she was shocked and happy and yet had not even an inkling of a guess to what had happened.  She assured me it could not have ruptured or she would have died almost immediately. 

So today we sit amazed at our little miracle dog.  She's fine.  She's eating.  She's happy.  She's climbing stairs.  She's very much alive.

Miracles can happen and not just to people.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

So Far

After having the miscarriage in November, I thought that being pregnant again would be the best thing ever.  And while we are very excited, it hasn't been the best thing ever. 

Ainsley's pregnancy was so easy.  I was naive and just assumed everything was fine at every turn.  I never got sick and had very little symptoms.  Although I didn't feel her move until 20 weeks, I didn't know any different.  Each checkup brought excitement and wonderful anticipation. This pregnancy has been 100% the opposite. 

From the day that I found out I was pregnant, the anxiety hit.  Actually, I knew I was pregnant a good week before I took the test.  I am an early tester but this time I was determined to wait until I was sure I would get an accurate result.  So at 4 weeks and 2 days, I took a test.  If you know anything about pregnancy tests, you know you are supposed to do them first thing in the morning.  Feeling like I had already waited an eternity, I didn't wait until morning and took my test after I got home from work.  Before I could even put it down, the test came up blaring positive.  I started to laugh but immediately the fear set in.

I told Ryan the exact same way I have told him each time.  He got home from work and he met me in the kitchen.  I handed him the test without saying a word and the look on his face was awesome, as it has been all 3 times. 

But from that moment on, the anxiety has just grown.  With each trip to the doctor, I have major panic and fear.  It usually starts 2 to 3 days before my appointment.  I start to doubt the pregnancy and fear the worst.  Then the night before I usually end up not sleeping and feeling like a hot mess.  My wonderful husband has been a rock star and continually lays hands on me and prays over me.  It's the only thing that puts me at ease at all.

I have felt sicker this pregnancy than with either of the other 2.  It seems to have hit at night around 4:00 to the time when I go to bed.  This vegetarian could not stand the thought of cooked veggies.  Not the ideal situation for sure.  But through the sickness and shear exhaustion, I was able to thank God for signs that this pregnancy was indeed different.

We were able to go in for an ultrasound at 7.5 weeks and then heard the heartbeat at 10 weeks.  I was scheduled for another ultrasound on July 11th.  After a relaxing week away with family, I came back that Monday morning to another appointment and another round of anxiety.  Ainsley and I were about 10 minutes away from getting to the doctor's office when my cell phone rang telling me that my appointment had been postponed a day. 

Sounds like not a big deal but then I looked at the calendar.  My ultrasound was now scheduled for what should have been my due date.  This seemed to double the anxiety.  I was already dreading that day but now I had the pressure of an ultrasound on top of it.  What if something went wrong.  Could I handle that on an already hard day? 

There are 2 ultrasound techs at our doctors office.  The one who told me we were miscarrying and the other one who has the sweetest heart.  I schedule my appointments with the other one just out of fear.  The one that told us we were miscarrying is fine and good at her job, but that image is permanently ingrained in my head.  When the appointment was rescheduled I didn't even think about it.  We got to the office and I saw her right away.  I looked at Ryan, who seemed to be clueless as to what I was even talking about and asked him to pray again. 

And everything was fine.  And now I am not feeling as sick.  I'm getting bigger by what seems to be the hour, although not according to the scale (which is awesome!).  But I'm not feeling the baby move yet.  And so the anxiety remains. 

Looking back at the past year, I realize that my life is not in my control.  I've lived my whole life that way.  I say that I trust God but really I trust myself.  And now I can't do that.  I only have one option.  Prayer and Faith in a good God.  But a God who promises trials.  A God who stretches us and helps us grow.  A God who loves us and carries our burdens.  And that's enough for me.  I'm not responsible for carrying this burden and this anxiety.  It's not mine to hold, just like this baby isn't mine to hold.  It's His. 

And that is a relief.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Past, Present, and Future

Today I am mixed with emotions.  When you think about your life, it easily breaks down into the past, the present, and the future.  Lately when I think about my life, I think about it in those terms but how that relates to our children and our family.

When I look at the past, I am thinking about the baby that was lost.  Today was my due date.  I think about what could have been.  I can't help to think about the lessons and the growth that I have experienced as well.  In times of great struggle, there is always room for great growth.  I feel blessed to have the people in my life who continually have pointed me to the cross during this time.

When I think about the present, I can't help but think about the child that I have in this world.  Ainsley turned 3 last week.  It's hard to believe that 3 years have already passed.  She is sweet.  She is loving.  She is sassy.  She is funny.  She is full of innocence.  She is pure-hearted.  She is the greatest gift that I have ever been given.

When I think about the future, I am now full of hope. 
 (Apparently I can't scan straight!).

Praise God from whom all Blessings Flow
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