This morning, we all piled into the ultrasound room at the OB’s office: Tony, Bryan, and (obviously) myself. The goo was squirted, the machine whirred, and we all stared at the screen.
And there it was, plain as day.
“Congratulations!” the tech chirped. “Aren’t you guys excited?”
Bryan and I tilted our heads both ways. We had seen many ultrasounds in our day, and yet.
Tony was unfazed. “Is it a male or a female?” he asked stoically.
“It’s a boy!” she announced. And then we could breathe.
Really, my main goal with every visit is to just to ensure that there’s just ONE baby in there.
He’s a dancer, this much is known. Last night, Bryan felt him kick for the first time, which I’ve been having the pleasure of for a few weeks now. What were initially flutters now cause me to stop and take pause, which freaks the engineers out constantly. I’m clearly not having the baby, guys, I’ll soothe them. But he’ll let me know when he’s displeased or pleased or energetic or feeling Michael Flatley. He’s quite the mover.
Okay, fine, this is the REAL ultrasound.
Yes, clearly that’s a boy. (?!?) I’m sorry, but that looks like a TSA screening of a bowling bag.
He measures perfectly, as do I .. except for the weight gain. Oh, I knew this was coming. I don’t know WHY I’m gaining so much, so early, because it’s not like I’m gorging. In fact, I rarely eat sweets anymore. I eat full meals, three times a day, and it turns out that my body likes to keep those meals around. Namely on my hips and thighs. Make smarter choices, my doc coached. (I love my doc, I really do. He’s a good guy.) Don’t be deceived by liquid calories. He says this like I have not monitored every stupid bite and sip I’ve ingested since I was 18 years old.
“Oooh, great idea!” I replied. I’m an actress.
Bryan was supposed to leave for Columbus, Mississippi, after the ultrasound, where he was staying until Saturday, but we were hit with a freak ice storm that left all of us homebound. Roads and bridges were closed pretty quickly and I had flashbacks of snOMG of 2011. Tony indulged in some Shaun the Sheep for a few hours while Bryan and I worked from home, then we all took a nap, and when we woke up, the sun was shining. We have not seen the sun in – literally – over a week and a half. Maybe two weeks. It’s rained for WEEKS on end.
The most maddening part about the constant rain is the many times we’d glance at our floors and say, “Oh. God,” because, you know, we have three dogs who constantly run in and out. We tried mopping daily, but within fifteen minutes – no lie – it was as if we never did anything.
Mabel, who we affectionately call Little Dog, was the worst. There is nothing she loves more than being out in the inclement weather. We’re not sure why, but she’s always been this way. We have to lock the dogs in when it rains, or it’s a guarantee that she’ll be out there, just sitting in the rain, surveying her yard.
Even today, as ice and sleet were pelting the city, she was out, wandering in it. She stayed out most of the morning, only inside when we locked the dogs in.
It was her way. It’s when she was happiest. Well, I take that back: her happiest involves the boys out in the inclement weather with her.
We got home from dinner tonight, after most of the ice had melted off, to find fresh mud and dirt tracked in the house. Belle, our youngest dog, was particularly covered in sludge. What in the hell?, I chided her. It hasn’t even been raining. What made you this dirty? Beau was also covered. We went about our bedtime routine with Tony, and when he was in the bath, Bryan mentioned that we hadn’t seen Little Dog in awhile.
He went out in the yard to look for her while I checked on Tony in the bath. He met me in the hallway.
We lost her.
On the one end, she truly was happiest outside. I firmly believe that she went painlessly, and in a peaceful way. On the hand that will bother me for awhile, she was alone when she passed.
Until we realized.. she wasn’t. The dogs were covered with muck because they stayed with her.
And maybe we should all be so lucky, you know? That’s love.
Mabel was my first baby, adopted when I lived in Louisiana in 2000. I would often call her our oldest child, because she was. She was every bit a mutt – deaf, squatty, one ear permanently raised – and had been returned to the shelter several times before I found her because her owners called her a “behavioral challenge”. She wouldn’t respond to their commands. I soon learned it was because she couldn’t hear them.
She had the sweetest disposition of any dog I’ve ever, ever owned. She was fairly grumpy in her old age, but only with the other dogs, and only when they would bother her. She was incredibly gentle and sweet with every child she ever met, an amazing “training” dog for the boys in particular. In fact, she was of such a great temperament that I often debated training her as a therapy dog.
She may have been sweet, but she had TONS of personality. For being a deaf dog, she could communicate marvelously well. For instance, she could talk. I know. I KNOW HOW SILLY THAT SOUNDS, but really! She would howl when you came in the door, and it straight up sounded like Mrs. Doubtfire saying “HeelllOOOOOO.” And she had no idea she was any smaller than our 60 lb lab. She was, in all ways, a spitfire of a dog.
I am sad to have lost her, just because now I have another baby boy for her to train.
Tony told me that it’s okay. His teacher’s mom died, too, he said. She will take care of Mabel in heaven.
And as she had for me, for many years – Mabel will take care of her too.
So it’s been a day. Highs and lows and everything in between.
They say there’s a season for everything.
I think typically they don’t all collide in one 24-hour period, though.