We often find life flying by. Hours into days, days into weeks, weeks into months and before you know it, you’re blowing out birthday candles you swear are still warm from the year before. But then come the moments that stop you in your tracks and slow time down to the length between your own heartbeats. This week we experienced such a day. Twenty four hours in time that changed our life as we knew it.
*Before you have your own heart attack wondering if the babies are ok, I will assure you now, YES, they are great. Still in there growing strong.
Monday, February 20th we were at home wrapping up a very busy 3-day weekend. Nick had the day off for Presidents Day and we were running errands like mad people. Burgers on the grill..Nick playing fetch with Tex. It was a great night. Then, the contractions started. I didn’t think much at first as Braxton Hicks are common with Twins. That, and we had done a lot that day. After dinner, I sat on the couch, put my feet up and drank lots of gatorade/water. A few hours passed however I still noticed the pesky contractions. By midnight, I was still awake and starting to worry. They were actually coming every 20 minutes on cue. I tried to convince myself it was nothing but considering my past (pre-term labor and subsequent delivery at 26 weeks) I was starting to freak out. (I’m sure this didn’t help matters) I tried to lay down / calm down but by 3am, they were still there and I couldn’t stop thinking…If this is IT and I don’t get to the hospital to try and get them stopped, I’ll never forgive myself. I also knew delivery at 25 weeks was bad but it was even worse if the mother didn’t have time to get the series of steroid shots to help the babies lungs mature quicker. The shots have to be given a day apart and won’t help until 48 hours after administration. For any woman facing early delivery, steroids most certainly might be the difference between their baby living or passing away.
With all this running through my mind (like a freight train) I got up and told Nick I was driving myself to the hospital for monitoring. By 4am, I was admitted and hooked up to fetal monitors. And it was true, I was having mild contractions. The great news though, was that I was not in labor. Internal exam revealed no change in cervix. Store front bars still locked up. Yea. Two shots of terbutaline, uterus calmed down, and a warning from the nurse that I was dehydrated and doing too much…I was home by 7am. First panic attack of the day over. I laid down on the couch to catch an hour or two of sleep before Kailey needed breakfast.
About 10am, I noticed Tex was not in his usual “relaxing” spot outside. Glanced at the food bowl..still full. This was not normal. I called him inside and within 30 minutes, the first collapse came. He couldn’t get up so I stayed on the floor and watched him for about an hour. I was sure it was a seizure, though he had never had an episode before. Panicked, for the second time today, I called Nick and we agreed to keep an eye on him and see if his condition would resolve itself. When he tried to stand again, the second collapse happened and I knew something was VERY wrong with our dog. I prayed he could make it into the car as I am in no condition to lift 90 pounds. It was a miracle in itself that he could but he did. Within minutes, we were on our way to the animal hospital.
By 4pm, and many tests later, we had the results. It was not his brain. Spleen. Ruptured. Never had I hoped for a mere seizure diagnosis as I did at that moment. A seizure we could treat with meds. This, we could not. In fact, it was a tumor on the spleen that caused the rupture. And, she believed other tumors were present. Cancer. He needed emergency surgery-splenectomy, and a blood transfusion just to make it through the night. His recovery though was in doubt as cancer seemed to be the bigger underlying problem. We had to decide quickly. He was in a lot of pain.
About 6:15pm, I held his paw as he passed from this world to doggie heaven. He held on long enough for Nick and Kailey to get there and say goodbye. We knew Kailey should not have to watch her dog die so Nick took her home and I stayed to the end. I wanted him to know I was with him and to not be scared. He lived a good life. Our life had been better because of him. Only 8 years but I guarantee he had the best 8 years a doggie could hope for. Adopted from the shelter at 6 months, he was my buddy long before I was married. We would go on trips to Texas together and run the trails of Louisville. Fiercely loyal. Always gentle. He would literally love you to death. And we loved him to his own.
As you can imagine, I was spent. In less than 24 hours we had gone from enjoying the day and grilling burgers to a hospital scare for me and having our beloved dog pass away. I can tell you…that day felt like it lasted an eternity.
Of course, the day did come to an end. With a heavy heart we all drifted to bed only to wake again and see that life does in fact…go on. And in that, you also see the beauty of life. The good and the bad. For as bad as the day was before, it was now Wednesday. Which meant, I had made it to 25 weeks. The babies were doing fine. Still warm and safe, and growing. Contractions had stopped. Sipping some coffee (caffeine free), and missing the morning habits of Tex, I found a smile crept across my face. It was time to take the 25 week photo..which meant…all was still right with the pregnancy. Against all beliefs that I could find joy in the day, I had. And that is why we do this crazy thing called life.