Friday, March 31, 2006

Already Happening

It is already starting to happen. My little guy is starting to pick things up from other kids. The last day or two, he has been taking the back of his hand and putting it over his mouth and making waa waa waa noises. It is really very cute. I need to get it on tape before he moves on to something new. I’ve been thinking, where did he learn that? I didn’t think he came up with it on his own and he sure didn’t get it from me and the only TV he gets is a few times a week quick weather channel check and a few times a week a Baby Einstein DVD. I asked Naomi today when he was doing that if he learned that from kids at the park. She laughed and said yes. Wow. Who knew it started happening so young?

In other news, I’m thinking that maybe Max has a new tooth on the way. It would be his first and I can’t actually see any sign of one. It’s just that he has been a bit fussy on and off lately and he isn’t typically a fussy kid. And, the other night, had an elevated temperature of 99.4. Tylenol took care of it and no sign of a cold/cough or any other illness. And, his sleeping/napping has been erratic. Hmmm. Maybe just a growth spurt, but I wouldn’t be surprised. I guess time will tell.

I got a call from the crematorium asking me what I wanted to put on the plaque of the “urn” for Lucky. I ordered a Rock for the garden. I told them I had to think about it and finally came up with the following:

Thank you for the love, loyalty and devotion.
Until we meet again at the rainbow bridge.
March 26, 2006

For reference to the rainbow bridge, go to

I called them to tell them what I wanted and they said I had 3 lines with 22 characters per line including space and punctuation. What the hell can you say in that amount of space? Just about nothing.

I am so angry with Target right now. I’d like to say I would never shop there again, but I probably will. However, I am going to shop there less. I went to return a bunch of things (Diapers Max has outgrown, a pitcher I got to mix formula that leaks, and some dog treats I had bought for Lucky (Shadow does not and will not eat them). I had 3 boxes of CheewEz Rolls and 1 other Mighty Bone Treat. And, only 2 boxes of the CheewEz Rolls and the 1 Mighty Bone treat were not on “that” receipt, which was the only one I brought with me. The told me that they would have to give me a store credit and I could only buy something else in the same department. I burst into tears and said what sense does that make since my dog just DIED I didn’t want to buy anything else in that department. The girl (looked young enough that she had to be a high school drop out) walked away without saying anything to me and got what was supposed to be a supervisor who looked as young (and stupid) as the first girl helping me who asked “what seems to be the problem here? I explained the situation to which she responded, I’m sorry about your problem (in a voice that didn’t indicate she was very sorry at all), but that is store policy. I just walked away and left it there. I KNOW that I am a bit over sensitive right now, but still. Can you use some f’riken common sense? I don’t think I can shop in that store for awhile.

I spent more on Max and bought him more outfits today since the kid was born. I bought an Easter outfit and another summer type outfit at Target that I think I will take back just because I am still pissed off at them and get something at Carters. Plus, I think my mom may be getting him an outfit. Then, at Costco, I got him a PFD (personal floatation device), 3 swim suits with matching tops, a top/pants outfit, and a sleeper. Hey, the price was right and he didn’t have any swimsuits yet (and I have a pool in the back yard so we will be in it quite a bit). I have been very fortunate to have so much given to me that I have had to buy very little so far. It was kind of fun.

I’m meeting up with some SMC friends for a night at a family beach house for the weekend. It has been on the books for awhile and I debated about going after I found out Lucky was ill, then when she died. But decided last night, that it would be good to go and be around others rather than mopping around home remembering last weekend as Lucky quickly declined, sleeping on the floor with her Saturday night, and loosing her on Sunday morning. My dog walker is going to come on Saturday night and Sunday morning to walk Shadow; give Shadow her medicine, and make sure that Shadow and City Boy have food/water. And, my niece agreed to sleep over and give the animals some love and attention. Now that I am not in as much shock and coming to terms with the loss, I have really been watching Shadow and she is grieving in her own silent, stoic way. I feel bad and a bit guilty for leaving her, but I have made the best arraignments I can for her. I’m looking forward to going and being there, but not to packing. It is a heck of a lot of stuff to take for an overnighter when traveling with a kid. I’m tired just thinking about it.

TGIF! It has been a long, tiring, draining, emotional week.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Ten Hours

Well, actually it was 10 hours and 15 min., but that is how long Max slept in his crib last night without waking up. I got a solid 7, which is a full night for me, with the aid of Tylenol PM. I woke up at 4 and realized I hadn’t heard a peep all night so I checked the monitor to make sure it was on/working and heard Max stir and babble so I went back to bed wait to until he really called out and woke up an hour later realizing I must have fallen back to sleep and hadn’t heard anything else from him. Even though I figured it would be too tragic to lose my dog and my son in the same week, I walked across the house to his room to make sure he was still breathing. He was. He woke up about 15 minutes later.

This is new all time record for longest sleep by 3 hours.

I think the stars were just in alignment or something and am not anticipating a re-occurrence any time soon. He toys with me like this so I have learned. He usually sleeps terribly the night after a sleep athon.

Since I have only been breast feeding him in the night, I didn’t end up bf at all last night. I am really full and achy right now and was so tempted to bf instead of have Naomi give him a bottle. But, I didn’t.

I’m going to really miss breastfeeding.

I decided the other night that I don’t think 2 kids is enough. I think I now want 3. Now, this may just be the grief talking, but that is where my head is at the moment. I know this may seem very greedy of me, especially since I know many people who haven’t been able to have even one. And, since I am now over 40, the magical age where all fertility takes a nose dive, who knows if I will be able to have another.

When I have thought about trying again, my preference would have been to conceive one child, even though I know how much work and how insane the first few years would be. I know two SMC’s that have an older child and then conceived twins and their first child was much older than Max would be. And, I have a good friend that has twins. I have watched her twins for her (pre-Max).

Now, all of a sudden, I am thinking that wouldn’t be so bad. Since loosing Lucky, my family doesn’t seem large enough. Yes, having one dog instead of two is a lot less work especially when it is a lower maintenance dog (like Shadow) vs. a higher maintenance dog (like Lucky was). Yes, having two kids is more work than one. Yes, having three kids is more work than two. I never minded the extra work.

Like I said, it may be the grief talking. But, I don’t think so.

I am supposed to call the crematorium back and tell them what to put on the “urn” for Lucky. I got one that looks like a rock for the garden. I don’t know what I want to say and anything I can think of is not brief and would not fit in the space allowed.

I move sperm on Monday. Just finished setting it up. I’ll do it before Max’s appointment since I had to bet out that way anyway. Then, I just need to get Max fully weaned and get my period. I emailed my RE and he said we could induce a period with either BCP’s or progesterone. I need to get back to him on that.

I have so many things to do, like get my TAXES together to take to my accountant, but I just really don’t feel like it.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Dog Love

I have a confession to make. I coveted my friend’s dog today. Seriously.

Naomi had a dr. appointment so I decided to play hooky from work and went to visit a friend I haven’t seen much of lately. She is a stay at home mom and her kids are about a year and a half older than Max. Our schedules just have been off lately.

Anyway, we had a nice visit and I was going to leave and I wanted to hustle her dog Daphne out the door and try to sneak her home with me, before I realized that she would likely notice in a fashion and I have vowed not to get another dog for a few years.

The thing is, Daphne and Lucky, while very different in some ways, were so much alike in others. This friend and I actually met about 8 years ago when Lucky and Daphne were puppies at the dog park. Daphne and Lucky were both the alpha dog and the “high maintenance” dog of the family. Not surprisingly, they never really liked each other, but tolerated each other. The never mixed it up until this year when we met on a trail a few months ago and Daphne came over to say hello and Lucky told Daphne in no uncertain terms to BACK OFF that she tolerated her getting near me in the past, but Daphne was NOT allowed to get near her Max.

The thing with Daphne is that Daphne really loves me. She was always fond of me, but we really bonded several years ago when I would stop by and take her and Barkley out while my friend and her husband were going through some personal tragedies. Sometimes I would take out my two and then her two if I had time. Other times I would take all 4 dogs out. It was a bit challenging to get Daphne and Lucky in a car together, but once I managed that it was all good.

Yesterday, I realized that in addition to the devastation and grief of loosing Lucky, I was also feeling very lonely. It’s an odd feeling to feel lonely when you have a house full. I almost never feel lonely. Actually, I can’t remember the last time I actually felt lonely, but think it has to be at least 11 years ago before I moved to Southern California. This lack of loneliness is probably one big contributing factor to why I never married. Because while I don’t feel lonely very often, I don’t like it. Of all the emotions, it is probably one that makes me most uncomfortable.

Lucky was my constant companion. If I was working in the office, she was in the office with me. If I took a bath or shower, she moved into my bedroom. If I was putting Max down or playing with him in his room, she would come in. If the door was latched so she couldn’t push it open she would cry and whine at the door. She was a loyal and devoted dog. After 9 years of her company, to have it suddenly gone is a very big adjustment for me. I miss having her around.

I have known and raised Lucky since she was a puppy. I am the only owner she really had. She loved me unconditionally. When I saw Daphne today, Daphne is the same way. When I am near her, I am top dog. She follows me, wants my attention, and wants to be near me. My friend has never worried about her kids or any other kids around Daphne. She watches Daphne like a hawk when Max is around because she is afraid Daphne will get jealous.

It brought tears to my eyes when I realized that I had and lost my first dog love when I lost Lucky. Dog love is like no other love. It is different and in some ways stronger than a love a child has for his/her mom; a husband for his wife; siblings; etc. Dog love is so pure and unconditional and complete. Dog love is what inspired someone to coin the phrase “I strive to be the person my dog thinks I am.” In all other relationships, one party can see the others faults and loves them anyway. In dog love, you have no faults.

I don’t mean to discount or discredit Shadow in anyway. Shadow is very happy with me and the life she has with me. I don’t think she would want to be anywhere else, because let’s face it a dog in my house has a pretty darn good life. But, Shadow was already 6 or 7 when she came to live with me and probably 8 when my roommate moved out and left Shadow with me. I was the third “owner” Shadow had. I think when you change families once or twice, you tend to loose dog love a bit. While Shadow is keeping tabs on me a bit more than before (and is laying under the desk at my feet as I type this), she isn’t as devoted (read, I don’t have to be constantly in her sight) as Lucky. If it is a nice day out, she will go out an lay in the yard. When I go to bed, she will not follow unless I yell at her and make her come (which I only do when I have company and plan to sleep with my door closed). With Lucky, I just had to say, “Let’s go night night” and she was there.

Today was easier than yesterday. Yesterday was easier than the day before. But, it was still hard. We walked at the park this morning because it was wet and rainy. I have been going to the park since Lucky was a puppy and all the long time regulars know us. The first person I saw was “Where’s Lucky?” My cleaning lady came today. Ana has been cleaning my house since Lucky was a puppy. It was hard telling about Lucky. It was even harder telling her not to re-make Lucky’s bed after she washed the sheets. It was hard to offer Lucky’s toys to her for her dog (Shadow never was interested or played with toys the way Lucky did) before I threw them out.

All too quickly, everything is changing around here. Lucky’s blanket is stored away and her space at the foot of my bed is gone. Her toys and toy baskets are put away.

It is getting easier day by day, but I still miss my Lucky and the dog love she gave me.

Going through and posting those pictures yesterday was very therapeutic for me. I hadn’t noticed how tired and weary she had become until I looked at the pictures from the last week and compared them to pictures from a few years ago. That dog loved me so much that even in the end she was more worried about me than herself. There have been a few times since I lost her (including once earlier today) where I have a bit of a panic attack thinking that she really wasn’t that sick, that she could have gotten better, she could have rebounded, that she could have still been with me today if I would have tried harder or cared more. Then, I remember the pictures and her weary, tired eyes and how sick she really was in the end. I remember the vet saying that there was no chance she would rebound and that I could admit her and have a blood transfusion that would make her feel better for maybe 24 hours or 2 -3 days max, but that was it.

I wish she hadn’t gotten so sick. I am angry at the universe or God or whatever for cutting her life so short. She had half the life that Shadow has already lived. She was such a part of my life. She was the most faithful friend a person could ever have.

I guess I am cycling through the grief process – despair, anger, denial, and acceptance (I think). I am definitely not at acceptance yet, but I know I have felt the despair, anger, and denial.

I am tired. I am emotionally drained. I am talked out.

I am also chilled. I have been very, very cold lately. Physically cold.

It was a week ago this afternoon that I took Lucky to the vet and found out that she was likely out of remission. It was only six days ago that we got the results back. Five days since we saw the specialist. Three days since she has been gone.

How did my life change so fast? How did I loose her so quickly? Why? Why her? Why now?

I am lonely and I miss my dog. I miss the dog love and devotion and loyalty and companionship. I may get that again some day down the line. But, there will never ever be another Lucky. She was a one of a kind. No way, now how will I ever find another like her. She was unique looking and unique in character. Boy, could she make me laugh. She was so much fun.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Lucky - November 2004. Lucky stalking a squirrel in the backyard.

Lucky - July 2004. Showing her happy smile and her fun disposition.

Lucky - August 16, 2005. Determined not to be left behind when I went to the hospital to have Max.

Lucky - March 25, 2006. The illness was starting to take its toll and she napped on the couch for the last time.

Lucky and Max - March 26, 2006. A few hours later posing for one last shot for momma, who had tears of sorrow in her eyes.

Lucky and Max - March 26, 2006. The last time they played together.

Lucky and Max - March 22, 2006. Both distracted from play while momma snaps a quick picture.

Lucky and Max - March 22, 2006 Playing with a water bottle. A favorite toy for both of them.

Lucky and Max - March 21, 2006 The day I found out that Lucky was likely out of remission.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Lucky Remembered

God, I loved my dog so much. Words can’t even express the love, and respect, and admiration I had for Lucky. She was more than my best friend. She was my trusted companion. She had a zest for life. She had a spark. She made me (and Shadow) more fun. Even though I had talked about it, I am not sure I would have ever gone down the SMC path if she had not come into my life.

Max was having one of his nap boycott days. I lay down with Max this afternoon. He only slept for about 25 min. I didn’t sleep at all. I was about to doze off when I heard the squirrel using the roof as a track and racing back and forth across the room. I came fully alert waiting for Lucky to charge off the bed and demand to be let out so she could go put the squirrels in their place. Before I realized she was never going to do that again.

Shadow and I had to pick our own direction on tonight’s walk. Lucky was our leader. She always dictated which way we were going to go.

When Max and I got out of the bathtub tonight, I was surprised to find my bedroom door still closed. Lucky wasn’t there to barge in looking for me. When I put Max to sleep tonight, Lucky didn’t come in and whine when he was just about asleep.

She would great me at the door and grab a toy to play as soon as I opened the door. She was just fun to be around.

Lucky was truly my shadow. She felt her job was to keep my in sight and protect me no matter what. She was great at her job. In many ways, she was a high maintenance dog. She demanded attention and could charm just about anyone. Even at the end, she was more worried when I started crying and got upset than she was with her own failing health.

I miss her so much. It is going to be really, really hard getting used to life without her. I think Shadow is missing her too. And/or feels like she needs to be lead pack dog now and protect me because she came into Max’s room when I was putting Max down and followed me into my office and is lying next to me.

I am so blessed that Max is in my life. He has a zest for life and spark too. He is fun and happy and could even make me laugh and smile today when I was so sad to have lost Lucky.

Loosing Lucky is incredibly hard. It would have been much worse if Max wasn’t in my life.

Lucky was my 60 lb lap dog. She slept on the bed with me. When she was too weak last night to climb into bed, I laid next to her on the floor. Neither one of us slept much. I got up about 11 to go to the bathroom. She stirred and got up. Her signal that she wanted me to open the slider and let her out so she didn’t have to walk across the house and go through the doggy door. I followed her out just to make sure she was okay and to see if she pooped (she didn’t). While we were out there, Shadow came out and started barking at the fence. Lucky joined in for a second and then started swaying in her feet. Her mind was still there and she didn’t understand why she couldn’t make her body work. I knew then that the end was near for her. I cuddled and stroked her and said my goodbye for the rest of the night. By morning, she couldn’t move.

I thank God for letting Lucky be in my life. She brought me so much and made me a better person. We had such fun together. I’m thankful for the extra year I had with her. And, it wasn’t enough. It will never be enough.

I miss her so much. I want her back. I want to hug and kiss her one last time.

A friend came today from Central California to say her goodbyes to Lucky. She and I met through Lucky when Lucky was a puppy (and she lived here). We were going to take Lucky to the beach one last time and film her and Max together. Who knew Lucky would go so fast when we made those plans? Obviously, we never made that trip. But, she was able to be with me to say goodbye.

Have I mentioned how much I loved Lucky and how much I miss her?

I’m going to go crawl in bed and grieve for awhile.

My Lucky is gone

It is with deep sorrow and a heavy heart that I let you know that my dog Lucky passed away this morning. She was diagnosed with Lymphoma a year ago. We did a round of treatment (chemo and radiation) and she was in remission for 7 months. I found out earlier this week that she was out of remission and also had a severe auto immune issues that caused anemia and internal bleeding, likely caused by the Lymphoma. I saw a specialist on Thursday to try and make her as comfortable as possible in her remaining time left by trying to bring up her platelet and red blood cell counts. The treatment did not work. She deteriorated extremely fast. She collapsed on our walk Friday night and by this morning she was so tired and sick that she could barely move. She was a terrific dog…just the best. She made me a better person just by being in my life. While I am sad to see her go and her passing leaves a big whole in my life, I am glad that her suffering has ended

Friday, March 24, 2006

Long, emotional, crappie week

It has been a long, emotional, and mostly crappie week. I just put Max down. I’m on my second glass of wine. I feel like crawling in bed and just bawling my eyes out. Lucky collapsed on our evening walk. We were in front of the house directly behind ours and the dogs were out, but I didn’t know that. Lucky went and charged the fence. Because she is so anemic and her red blood cells and platelets counts were so low, they said to be careful of any pulls on the collar or extra activity because it can cause internal bleeding that could be fetal. I got her calm and past the house. She seemed fine one second so we started walking and she just crumbled and collapsed. It was so scary. I didn’t know what to do. I had Max in the stroller and Shadow with me on leash. I called a friend that doesn’t live to far in a panic and she came right over. When I started crying talking to her, Lucky got up and came over to me and she made it home. She seems okay now, unless I start getting really upset again and then she gets nervous and upset so I am trying to stay calm. My friend and I think maybe her blood pressure just dropped and she fainted for a second or something. It made me realize how prepared I need to be to loose her very quickly. This is so hard.

I got Lucky’s results back on Wednesday and my vet wanted me to talk to the specialist, but the specialist had already left. She called me Thursday morning telling me that the lab work looked like something else was going on because her platelets were low, but her white blood cells were high/normal. She said it could be something other than the Lymphoma that could be treated with steroids for 6 months and she would be fine. I was starting to get my hopes up until I realized/asked if she had seen the last report that showed stage 4 lymphoma (she hadn’t), but said Lucky needed to be seen by an internist right away. I explained that I couldn’t put Lucky through another round of treatment and that I was interested in finding the best way to ensure her comfort and happiness in the time she had left.

I get to the clinic and see the internist. He goes and consults with the oncologist (not the one I have seen in the past) and they explain that Lucky has this auto immune disease called ITO that is likely caused by the Lymphoma, but could be caused by other things (but since the treatment is the same it doesn’t really matter and no sense spending the money on the tests). They wanted to hospitalize her for a few days to stabilize her, and put her under anesthesia and biopsy her bone marrow and give a dose of chemo (which apparently will help both the ITO and the cancer). They keep pressuring me to go for aggressive treatment and it was so hard not to buy in. At one point when they were preparing another estimate, I called my regular vet to ask her opinion, but she was out to lunch. I ended up refusing to have her hospitalized, but did agree to the bone marrow biopsy and one treatment of the chemo. Probably a wasted $800 but I was there and couldn’t just do nothing at point. I was just bawling my eyes out. I kept trying to explain that I just wanted her to be comfortable and happy. They kept talking about treatment. They broke my heart when they said that if you are at peace with loosing her doing nothing is a valid option. I will NEVER be at peace with loosing her, but don’t want to put her through more trauma. I left with two sets of prescriptions (a steroid and an antibiotic). I’m so confused about proceeding and the benefits, but figured I would go this path for a week or two and re-evaluate.

It really hit me how sick she is when she collapsed. Yet, she isn’t concerned about her, just me.

What I know is that she would rather be at home with me dying than in some stinking hospital. She is my baby and follows me around the house. She has never spent the night away from home. When I leave, someone comes in and she is at home with Shadow. Leaving her would just break her heart. That, I could not do to her.

I also know that it will break her heart if I take Max and Shadow out without her. She would rather go out living life and smelling pee-mail than waiting to die at home.

I don’t know whether a quick death from the internal bleeding will be better or worse than the slower death of cancer.

My regular vet did call me back while I was still at the specialist clinic and she was very helpful in reassuring me that not taking Lucky through extreme treatment is the most humane thing for her right now. She has been Lucky’s vet since she was a puppy and knows how much I love her.

As hard as it is, think I am going to call her tomorrow (she said I can call anytime) and talk to her about death scenarios; like what to do if she dies at home (or on a walk), if it comes time to put her down (I know someone who was able to have someone come to the house and do it while her pet was comfortable in her own bed), etc.

I love me dog enough to let her go when it is time.

A good friend is coming on Sunday to stay the night and we are going to film Max and Lucky together so Max (okay, really me) will have memories of their time together. I am so sad that they are not going to grow up together and Max is too small to remember.

Gawd, this is so hard.

In other news, Max is fine. Growing heavy and tall. Cute as can be. One of the happiest babies I have ever known. I felt crampy and may have started spotting. Felt like my period may be coming. Not sure and feeling less crampy (after 2 glasses of wine). In some ways I am antsy and anxious to start trying again. In another, it will be another stress on top of Lucky dying, work, having a 7 month old, and other general life stresses.

I’m trying to decide whether to pour another glass or stop. Either way, I am going to close and go soak in the tub a bit and maybe take some of my sorrows and pain away. I am so emotionally drained that I almost feel numb at the moment.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Bad News Confirmed

Just had the bad news on Lucky confirmed. She is definitely out of remission. She is anemic; her blood and platelet counts are low, and possibly a clotting problem. She thinks it may be in the bone marrow. My regular vet said to call the specialist that took Lucky through treatment. I called and she has already left for the day. The receptionist said she would leave for her tomorrow to look at and get back with me. My gut tells me she will go really fast, especially since all of the lab work looks so bad. I just want to make her remaining time as happy and comfortable as possible. My poor Lucky. I am just so heartbroken. She has brought so much joy and laughter to my life in the time she was with me. I really can’t imagine and don’t want to imagine life without her. It wasn’t suppose to be this way. She and Max and I were supposed to have many more years together. It just SUCKS!!!

Internal Arguments

We are playing re-organize and shift the leadership team again at work so things are a bit slow. I have plenty of things that I COULD do, but I am not feeling that motivated. Normally, on Wednesday’s I am in back to back meetings all morning and into the early afternoon. However, a meeting that normally takes 2 hours was finished in 30 minutes. I could call a few people back or get caught up on things that have been on the back burner for awhile. Again, just not that motivated as I wait for the call back from the vet to tell me what I already know.

So, I guess I will write about something that has been on my mind for awhile. Something I have been having an internal debate about. Two things actually, one is CIO (cry it out) and the other is Weaning (and T42).

Philosophically, I have no problems or issues with sleep training and having them cry it out. I think it can be very useful, if not essential, in specific cases especially if you have more than one child and/or twins. I have been closely monitoring Max’s sleep habits and patterns for a few months now and trying to decide if I should go to a CIO technique or not. He actually sleeps pretty good I think most of the time. The biggest problem is that he is not able to fall asleep on his own. On the other hand, I can (and most of the time so can Naomi) sooth him to sleep in about 5 or 10 minutes. So, it really isn’t a problem getting him down. On the other hand, I think it is a very important skill to learn how to fall asleep on you own.

I tried a modified or moderated CIO technique a few times where you go in and sooth after 5 or 10 minutes, settle them, then leave again. I have decided that I CAN NOT do this technique. It feels cruel and inconsistent to me. I walk in and Max’s sees me and his face lights up and he is all smiles. I leave and he gets even more upset when I leave again. It just feels wrong to me. I have decided I need to do it all or do nothing. Full cry it out or stay on the current path of sooth to sleep.

Ideally, I would hire someone for a week, they would “teach” Max to sleep and then I could take over after the hard work was done. Okay, so maybe this isn’t ideal. It probably works like dog training. He would be trained, but for someone else.

I don’t really have a problem with Max crying when someone else is in charge and/or I don’t have to hear it. I just don’t think I can just leave and let him bawl himself to sleep, especially since I am not sure I even have a problem in the first place.

Plus, I usually have the time and enjoy the bonding time Max and I have when putting him down. I was thinking the other day as I was arguing with myself (since I have no spouse or other parent to argue with on the topic), that if Max died tomorrow (this was even before I knew that Lucky is likely out of remission); or if I never had another child; or if I had twins and couldn’t breastfeed or take the time I have now; how would I feel about how I am raising Max so far in general and in regards to his sleeping.

I think I would regret not taking the time I am now with him. He is growing up so fast. All too soon, he isn’t going to want to cuddle in my arms and snuggle close to fall asleep in my arms. But, I don’t want this decision to be about me. I want it to be about what is best for Max.

And so the argument goes.

I have talked to a friend about this topic. She said I will probably be one of “those” parents that don’t discipline their child and give in when they start fussing and crying. I could be wrong, time will tell, but I don’t think so. I had no problem suctioning and clearing Max’s nose when he was sick a few weeks ago. I think I could do it and tune it out if I really thought it was best for Max and needed. I’m just not convinced yet that it is.

Again, my biggest concern is that he can’t sooth himself to sleep and needs help. Just last night, he woke up when I put him in his crib. His eyes opened. I stopped. Told him I loved him, gave his back a quick rub, turned off the light and walked out of the room. He babbled and “talked” for a minute or two, then fell asleep.

I think he will get there on his own without CIO. But, then again, I could just be deceiving myself because I like the cuddle time.

And so the argument goes. In a circular fashion.

I have decided that I will do nothing different until at least April and then re-evaluate. Right now, I don’t think the problem (if it is even really a problem) is big enough for as extreme as CIO will feel to me.

I will have to save the weaning argument for another day since I am out of time. However, it isn’t really too different from the CIO except that I am torn between forcing a full wean to try for another and cherishing the time I have now with Max. Mostly, Max is completely weaned during the day and only breast feeds at night and/or first thing in the morning. We are slowly getting there. I just decided that I don’t want to force the issue because it is something we both enjoy.

Still no news from the vets office. I really wasn’t expecting the call until later today anyway. Of to another few hours of meetings. Joy!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


About a year ago my dog Lucky was diagnosed with Lymphoma. I was a few months pregnant with Max at the time. I was told with no treatment she would have only a few months to live. I just couldn’t bear to lose her so soon or worse, have her at her worst just when I was in the hospital with Max or just home with him. I elected to take her through a round of treatment (chemo and radiation). I was told before I started that there was a 25% chance she would not respond to treatment; 25% chance she would go into remission, stay that way and die of natural causes; and 50% chance she would go into remission for a period of time and then come out.

I had Lucky into the Vet today because her eye was really red and blood shot. She has been having tummy upset on and off for a few months now.

I think you can see where I am going with this…..

It isn’t confirmed yet. I will get the official news tomorrow. But, most likely, the cancer is back. The vet thought she was anemic. She biopsied her lymph nodes and it looked cancerous to her. She called it right the first time and my gut tells me she is right this time to.

I don’t have the emotional wherewithal, the time, or the financial resources to go through treatment again. Plus, when I went down that path, I told myself I would not put either of us through another round.

I am so sad. I am so not ready to loose her. Another year was not enough. She is the best dog. So sweet. A great personality. Max just loves her and lights up when she is around. He laughs when we chase her around the house. I want more years of them growing up together.

If Dr. C is right, and I am sure she is, it will go fast and be only a matter of months. It is a very rapid growing cancer.

I want more time. And, what I want doesn’t matter at all in this.

I’ll talk to the vet tomorrow about options and how to do this in the most humane and least painful way for Lucky. God, I love her so much. I don't want her to go.

Friday, March 17, 2006

7 Months (with pictures)

Max is 7 months old today. How did that happen? Time is going by so quickly. Gosh, he is such a sweet/great kid.

My cutie is already 7 months.

He does know his mind though. He is mostly weaned at this point, except for at night. I keep thinking that one of these days he will sleep through the night and that will be the end of that (lol), but that hasn’t happened yet. Actually, I (mostly) don’t mind getting up in the middle of the night, especially if it is only once or twice. The nights with many awakenings or long periods or awake are harder. Last night was one of them for some reason. Max was up at 11:30, 1:30, 2:30, and 3:30. Finally, I brought him into bed with me and by 5:30 he had pee’d through and soaked my sheets. I think maybe he kept squirming and moving to free gas and ran out of space and kept hitting his head on the side of the crib which woke him up? I would put him on one end and an hour later he would be across the crib. He is probably learning to crawl in his sleep. LOL. Last night ruled out my plan of trying a bigger size diaper with more absorbance to get rid of the soiled through problem. Someone mentioned putting on two diapers. Not sure how that would actually help, but think I will try it tonight to see.

Will he bypass crawling and go straight to walking?

Anyway, back on point…Max knows his mind. The other night I decided to try to give him a bottle instead of the boop the first time he woke up during the night. He saw the bottle coming (in the dark) and started batting it away. I held his hands and then tried to put it in his mouth. He blth, blth, blth’d it away while shaking his head. I had to laugh. And, then of course caved and gave him the boop. He sigh, ahh’d, quickly latched on, and “said” don’t even “think” about going there with the bottle again. lol.

Yes, Max will never have a sibling because he will not be fully weaned until I am too old and have no good eggs left. Sigh. I have decided not to worry about this. Slowly, we are making progress. I just can’t make it traumatic for either of us.

Within the last few weeks, he is sitting stabile and solidly by himself. He likes the excersucer and can spin himself around to see what is going on around him to see what I or one of the animals or Mimi (what Naomi has asked to be called) are doing or to play with the toy he wants. He isn’t crawling, but is getting his butt up and his chest up. Just not at the same time. One of his favorite things to do is to “walk” while holding on to mine or Mimi’s hands.

Introduced another solid last week – carrots. He still has the rash/hives from that attempt. Currently, he gets Chicken, Peas, Pears, Nutramagen Formula or Breast Milk. I think he is getting sick of these tastes. I’m going to try Beef next. His list of things tried and banned from intolerances/allergies is growing. So far we have ruled out Rice cereal, Enfamil (regular) formula, Good Start (regular and Soy) formula, prunes, and now carrots. Sigh.

I’m still behind on many things since being sick like bills and catching up with friends and TV shows I have recorded. In fact, I still have some Olympics including the closing ceremonies taped. LOL. But, it’s all good.

Happy St. Paddy's Day!!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Max is in his crib. Not yet asleep, but not screaming the house down either. He is almost completely weaned, but enjoyed a feast directly from mommy tonight (because for some reason I was engorged and leaking and it was easier and more enjoyable to feed him directly than to feed him a bottle and then pump). We both enjoyed it. He is mostly getting a bottle except in the middle of the night. I am going to start giving him a bottle then too if I can’t convince him that he should sleep through instead.

Actually, he can go 6 or 7 hours at a stretch, wake up for a quick snack, and then sleep for another 2 or 3 hours. However, there is a lot of variance in that. Last night he woke up after 4 ½ hours, 3 hours, then was basically up (at 4 am ish). He laid next to me an nursed and coo’d nicely until 5:30 ish when he convinced me that I should play with him. The guy is a charmer, what can I say.

Part of the problem was/is that he is drinking so many fluids now that he is pee’ing through at night. I may have to start changing him or go up a diaper size with more absorbency or something. Have to ponder it a bit more.

For the first time in weeks, I am not completely exhausted at the end of the day ready to climb into bed as soon as Max is down. I still have a bit of a stuffy nose and cough, but life here is almost back to normal. I almost don’t know what to do with myself now that Max is asleep (at 7:15 pm) and I am not ready to crash. (smile)

I can’t believe he will be 7 months old on Friday. Time is going by incredibly fast. Of course, with being sick and traveling and all, I still don’t have his 6 month pictures taken. Maybe I will try to do that this weekend and pass it off as 6 months. LOL.

He is eating baby food quite well these days. He doesn’t have a lot of variety yet…chicken, peas, pears, formula, and breast milk …are all that I have managed to find that he didn’t have a bad/allergic reaction. I tried carrots last week. He still has the hives from that attempt. It was his worst ‘rash’ reaction yet, but best gastrointestinal one. The prunes were the worst gastrointestinal reaction, but the best rash one. I still haven’t had a chance to reintroduce cereal. I have a box of baby oatmeal cereal ready for when the time is right, but since he seems to have not done well with so many things, I only introduce thing cautiously at this point. Too bad on the carrots, because he really like the tastes. He had a small jar down in no time at all. Probably cause it was new and different. I think once he is over the carrot rash, I am going to introduce beef.

Okay, got a phone call so got to run.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

On the mend

Finally, we are starting to get better around here. It has been 13 days since Max got the cold/cough that turned into an ear infection; 10 days since he has been on antibiotics; 11 days since I got the cold/cough that spread to an eye infection; 3 days since I have been on antibiotics for my eyes. It is our second full weekend ill. And, FINALLY, we are starting to get better.

I cancelled all of our weekend plans and we just stayed home and hung out for a change. We left the house twice a day to walk the dogs and that was it. When Max went to bed, I went to bed. When Max napped, I laid down to nap. I think I finally got enough sleep that my body is able to fight off this thing. I am still a bit stuffy and have a cough, but am feeling tons better.

In the middle of all of this, I had my first work trip and left Max in the full time care of others. I was gone for 3 days and 2 nights. It was REALLY, REALLY hard leaving. I started crying before I even left. Naomi was so cute. She kept saying “It will be okay. I love Max. I will take good care of him.” I was fine while gone, but so darn happy to be back.

I thought my ear drums may explode on the decent into Dallas. They didn’t clear until much later than night when I was asleep after one and half doses of a Tylenol PM/Benedyl. I went straight to the airport to a work dinner function. My ears were so blocked, I could hear, but every thing was so muffled and fussy.

Somehow in the time I left Dallas and arrived back in Los Angeles, I managed to get a raging eye infection. When I went to the doctor on Friday afternoon, she stayed on the other side of the room from me. I think she was trying to be subtle, but was sure she didn’t want any part of me and my germs.

Somewhere in the middle of this illness, last weekend I think, I managed to walk full speed into the middle of my bedroom door in the wee hours of the night and give myself a mild concussion. My head was so sore for a few days and I remember thinking that I can’t believe I have such a bad headache and that it is in the exact same spot from a cold. Then, I remembered running into the door in the middle of the night and how much it hurt. My forehead and eye socket are still a bit tender to the touch, but the headache finally left me on Friday.

Max seemed to do fine without me here. My sister said that he got a bit fussy from time to time and she could tell that he missed the boob, but there were no major melt downs. The biggest glitch was that the syringe the pharmacy gave us to dole out Max antibiotics broke and she switch to another one. The first one was in ML, the second was in teaspoons. Basically, she overdosed him by quite a bit for a day and a half. I guess the good news here is that if an overdose had to happen, Amoxicillin is one of the better drugs for it to happen with. I think my sister really liked it, but was feeling pretty darn sleep deprived and was happy to head home on Friday morning (after sleeping in while Max and I took the doggies out).

Today was the first day in a long, long time where I felt simi-normal (not completely and totally exhausted) when I woke up. Since then I have napped twice when Max napped. The second one I was sleeping HARD when he woke up and had to fight off the sleep. In spite of that, I think I am going to close this out and crawl back in bed. After all, tomorrow starts a new week.

I am glad this cold is almost behind us and I am glad my work trip is over. It is much harder to have a child, work, take care of the dogs/house, etc. when you are severely under the weather. Note to self: Don’t get sick again for a long, long time.

Monday, March 06, 2006

massive headache and other tales from the dark side

I’ve been having this killer massive headache that I just can’t get rid of these last few days. I’ve been thinking it was really quite odd that it was in the front top of my head consistently. Usually, if I get a headache it is stress related and on the back part of my head. This morning it occurs to me that the headache is probably NOT a result of this illness we have had around here. It is probably the result of walking straight into my bedroom door one night in the dark when Max started crying and I was going to get him.

I probably slightly concussed myself. Funny how I forgot that.

It really hurt at the time, but so did many other parts of my body. I am mostly feeling better now, other than the headache thing, and feeling tired. I still a bit stuffy, have a cough and last night I woke up drenched is sweat and changed PJ’s 3 times, but am definitely on the mend.

Other things I forgot was one night Lucky puking right in front of Max’s crib. She walks out of my bedroom and into his room and puke right in from of the crib. Was she trying to make a point? I was up for some reason at that time and heard her so went to investigate. City Boy also puked someplace that night. Don’t remember where exactly.

Then, one night in the illness blur City Boy puked 5 times. I vaguely heard one of them, but couldn’t be bothered at the time to get up and check it out. It could have been worse. One of the places he puked was on the rug on the way from my bedroom to Max’s. I did that trek several times that night. I could have stepped in it, but didn’t. He also nicely puked on the rug NEXT to my hiking boots, not on them. The other targets were on the kitchen table, on the tile floor, and on the bottom of the excersaucer. City Boy will be getting shaved soon. Upon discussion with his previous owner we think it is a result of hair balls because his fur is too long. City Boy is really a great cat if he would just stop puking so much.

I think I must be in denial about my trip. I have a billion things to do before I go. Haven’t yet done one of them. I kept hoping that it would get cancelled. I guess it is pretty unlikely at this point since directions were sent out for the dinner reservation tomorrow night. Sigh.

Boy, my head sure hurts. It hurts much worse when I cough. Oh, my achy achy head.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

House of Ill(ness)

Max and I have been sick. He got a cold and cough on Tuesday that turned into fever and an ear infection by Thursday/Friday. A few days of antibiotics and he is recovering. I was holding my own until Thursday, but after starting the week tired from my cousins visit and little sleep on Tuesday and Wednesday I went down for the count. I can’t remember feeling so crappy in quite a while. Poor Max had to sleep in his car seat for a couple of days because he had so much mucus that he started choking on it. I had a hard time keeping his fever down on Thursday night. Alternating between Tylenol and Motrin every three hours and keeping him stripped to his diaper kept it to around the 101/102 mark. Poor guy, by that point all he could do was lean his head on my chest and moan and cry. He would drift off to sleep, start coughing and crying…repeat. I have had the chills and sweats on and off all weekend, not to mention a cough, congestion, sore throat and body aches. We have spent a lot of time taking baths this week to ward off the chills and help break up the congestion.

It goes without saying that being a mom, especially a single one is much harder when you are sick. Yesterday was the hardest because I was feeling my worst and Max was starting to recover. We had a battle over his evening antibiotics. For the first time ever, I got really pissed at him and had to talk myself down. At 6 months, this kid can give me a run for my money. Good thing there is extra in the bottle because one serving was lost when he grabbed the syringe out of my hand and threw it on the floor before I could bat an eye. Another serving was lost as he spit it back in my face. He is a quick learner. He no longer opens his mouth to cry because that is when I would make my move. He refused to open his mouth. Little stinker. I have no idea how much he did or didn’t get on Saturday night before I gave up. Today, I came up with a new strategy that is working so far. Fill the syringe with the proper dose and put little bits of this on a baby spoon and feeding it to him. I figured it was worth a try and if he spit it out, it would be less lost. However, he has taken it well this way both times today.

While we weren’t on our death beds, it really was pretty bad around here. Yes, the dogs still did get their walks in, but it was sure painful. My hips and joints were so achy. We took it slow and got really, really late starts both days. Tonight, I wheeled Max in the stroller instead of carrying him in the Bjorn because his 15 lbs has been feeling like 50. The fresh air and change of scenery did us both some good.

While it is only 6:30, I am going to make another cup of hot tea; take a warm bath; and go climb back in bed.

I have to travel and leave Max for the first time in Tuesday. Boo Hoo. I hope we are both well on the mend by then.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Middle of the Night Musings

I’m up, again, in the middle of the night. Max is sick again. He caught the cold/cough his cousin James had while here. He woke at 2, which really wasn’t a bad run since he fell asleep at 6:60 pm (was up briefly again at 7) and then slept pretty solid until 2. Seven and half hours. He needed a saline suction treatment to eat anything. He ate off of both breasts, but didn’t seem to eat long. This means I don’t expect him to sleep long before he is awake and wants to eat again. While he was awake anyway, figured I may as well do a diaper change. Probably a good thing since he was soaked.

As I was dealing with Max (in my room/on my bed), I noticed that Lucky’s stomach was churning and turning again. I decided since I was up to try to give her some wet (can) food (chicken in gravy) with an anti nausea pill to see if that helped. Before I got there I hear her vomiting. I go find he in Max’s room barfing right in front of Max’s crib. I clean that up before I open the can food. She and Shadow hear/smell the can open and come running. I only gave them each a small amount. Don’t want to over do it for Lucky since she did just puke. I’ll try to give the rest in the morning, I mean LATER in the morning when I am supposed to be up, if this stays down.

Now that everyone else is settled again, I am wide awake. Sigh. I hope I am not up for the night.

I seriously thought about coming to the computer and blogging about how my cousin’s visit wasn’t all bad. I know I made is seem that way with my last post. It really wasn’t. However, it was much harder and more taxing on me than I expected. I was just wiped out physically and emotionally from having so many extra people around for that many days in a row. The thing is that when she comes, it isn’t just her and the kids that are around more. My mom is here almost every day. Both my sister’s that live in Southern CA were here a few times to see her/visit. And, remember my sister Cindy from Atlanta was here for a few days too at the beginning of the trip.

It was very cute to see James (Terri’s 15 year old) with Max, even if Max does now have his cold/cough that my cousin kept insisting was allergies because James was sleeping in the office on the dog beds. LOL. Yes, the same ones that were featured a few weeks back with Lucky and City Boy dozing away. Hey, it was either that or the couch. He slept on the couch for the first day or two then opted for the dog beds in the office (with a door that closed). LOL. James went on one hike with us and carried Max in the Bjorn for half the walk. Very nice for me and James was so proud. James would ‘hold’ Max for me and entertain him on and off for brief stretches. James would get this cute grin on his face that he would try to hide. He even put Max in his PJ’s for me one evening (under the guidance of his 8 year old sister as she eagerly told us). He also very willingly walked the dogs for me two evenings by himself which were huge helps each time.

Carolyn LOVED Max and was actually fairly helpful, especially by then end of the week. She could do a complete clothes, diaper change without guidance/supervision. He was like a real live doll to keep her amused and entertained. And, Max found her equally amusing most of the time. Carolyn also grew quite fond of Mimi (as Naomi has asked to be called by Max/children since it is easier to say). Carolyn headed off to the park with Max and Mimi every day and had a great time. She was so sad when the weekend came and there was no Mimi for two days.

I talked to my sister Julie very briefly yesterday and she said something to the effect that she didn’t know how I did it because she was stressed out and irritated after having lunch with Terri and my mom two day’s in a row. Terri, Carolyn, and my mom drove to the other side of LA to see my sister’s new place on Saturday while I had SPA DAY with a friend of mine which had been planned before Terri decided to visit at the last minute. Then, we all had lunch again for my birthday lunch on Saturday. It made me feel a bit better that it wasn’t just all me that had a hard time dealing with this trip.

SPA DAY!! It was great! My friend and I have been talking about doing it since I was out on maternity leave and just never got it scheduled. She is the friend that I inherited City Boy from and that recently got married. Her new husband watched Max while we had a day of pampering. A massage and a pedicure followed up by a nice size helping of frozen yogurt topped with Reece’s pieces was JUST what I needed, especially because of the break it provided me from the whole extra family visit thing. It’s funny. My friend got irritated with her husband because he didn’t give Max the bottle I left in the fridge because he wasn’t sure what or how to heat it up (or not). It was a lesson for me to be more specific. She felt he should have called and asked instead of letting Max cry on and off. I have to say, it didn’t bug me in the least. The fact that Max cry’s doesn’t really bother me as long as ‘I’ don’t have to hear it. LOL. Plus, I figure it is good for him to be around a guy and not be so catered to all the time. It really was nice to be away from Max for a bit as much as I love and adore him and spending time with him.

I liked it so much that I am even getting a baby sitter for Saturday night so I can go out to dinner with a friend. Okay, I’m not sure you could technically call it a sitter because I asked Naomi if she wanted any extra hours or if her niece (who she had mentioned was looking for a nanny position) would be interested. Naomi said she would like to do it. Easy hours/money for her since Max will be asleep probably the whole time, but nice for me also because I already know and trust Naomi. My boss gave me a “free” dinner on the town right before my cousin came. I told her about it and she really wanted to do it while she was here, but it just didn’t work out. I didn’t want to bring Max because I found out when I took him out on New Years Eve that it is extra stressful for me to take him out when I am having an expensive meal. He is still most often good in restaurants, but it can be hit or miss especially if he is tired or the place is loud. Terri wanted me to leave Max with James. James does baby-sit, but hasn’t for anyone so young and I just wasn’t comfortable with that. We had talked about trying to go to an early dinner while Naomi was still here, but that just didn’t work out either. So, I still have a dinner on the town that my company will pay for and I decided that I will pay for a baby sitter (which will be about the amount that I would pay for a dinner if I went to a normal dinner) and have a night out. There is this restaurant around here that I have wanted to try and heard was ‘pricy’ so here is my chance. I’ll have to call tomorrow (okay, later today) and see if I can get a reservation.
Good thing that I fell asleep early last night. Like I said, I thought about coming to the computer. Actually, I think I did come to the computer, but then got side tracked and realized I was wiped out so I climbed in bed and read for about an hour, ignored the phone when it rang a few times and was asleep by 8:30. I’ve stopped worrying about it being too early to go to sleep and put myself to bed early when I have the chance since typically I am up and down at night and up early anyway.

Can I tell you how much I love my son and how great the six month mark is? He is just so darn cute right now I can hardly stand it. He has started to fall into a better sleep routine with a morning and afternoon nap and a decent stretch of sleep at night. He is “talking” a lot more. Blowing raspberry’s was his ‘thing’ last week. This week he is babbling mama, maamaaa and baba, baabaa. It is so darn cute. He can pull himself up to a sit and stand almost effortlessly now as long as he is holding on to someone’s hand/finger. He is very close to pulling himself up to a sit or stand. Terri was really hoping that would happen while she was here. It didn’t, but I don’t think it will be long. All of a sudden, Max can basically sit up by himself. He will still topple over after a few minutes if you don’t catch him, but his trunk control just matured significantly within a few days. It is truly AMAZING to watch how quickly he is growing and developing right now (even with being sick the last 2 out of 3 weeks). Also, weaning has started to go better all of a sudden and he is eating a lot more at a time. I started giving him a bottle in the morning after our hike and before his morning nap. In just the last week, not only has he started taking it willingly and holding the bottle himself (he would push it away and cry a week ago and pull on my shirt for the breast), he has gone to drinking at least 6 or 7 ounces at a time from about 4 a week ago. He is drinking about 16 ounces of bottle (12 ounces of formula mixed with 4 ounces of breast milk) during the day. I am having to pump in the late afternoon and easily getting 8 ounces in about 5 minutes of pumping. I’m going to see how things go for both of us during my work trip next week. Maybe that will be it and I will just go for all bottle when I get back. I realize this will be hard for ME because I really do like breastfeeding, especially at night and first thing in the morning when we are cuddled up nice and close. I remind myself that I can still have that snuggle time and it will bring me a step closer to trying for another bundle of joy. We will see.

I just love this whole mommy gig even if it does mean that I am up in the middle of the night saline spraying and suctioning and not being able to go back to sleep.

Off to see if I can wind down enough to fall asleep for another hour or two before another day officially begins.