Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Apologies for worrying a few people... suffice to say I have not been dealing with Cami's loss very well at all and have been in quite a mood. It wasn't improved by a minor (but yech) infection, another flu which of course Laurent caught as well and then Nic, obnoxious amounts of contractions that amp up for 3-4 hours before going no-where and not sleeping more than an hour or two a night for the past few weeks courtesy of all of the above while attempting to keep pace and being majorly unimpressed with myself for not keeping up with training.

By this week things have leveled out and I had Sif, Jayne and Jen over along with their little people and an impromptu blessing way which was cheering. For those not familiar it's sort of like a baby shower but more to celebrate transition from one stage to another and represent support from the women around you. Also a bit different is that gifts are more symbolic than material which is nice given we've still got everything from Laurent's babyhood - ie everyone has a candle lit at the blessing way to take home to light once labor begins, everyone gets a bracelet to wear until the baby arrives safely or everyone brings a bead to contribute for a necklace to wear in labor representing their well wishes. So now I have a lovely lotus henna design on my bump, a red bracelet (left hand) and a jade lotus bracelet (right hand) which you can see here...

as well as the beads that will be a necklace once I find my crimp beads.

La was also very impressed with the whole event as A.) people were visiting, B.) there was a lovely banana cake and C.) Sienna was one of those people. I may be forgiven for this baby being human instead of canine yet given it heralded three things high on his awesome list in one day.

Other than that the pregnancy has continued to be boringly normal. Last MW's visit was Thurs. BP 120/80, bubs is happy, position is good, everything is ready to go. La having got the procedures down pat fished out the equipment and A had a "helpful helper" who 'took my blood pressure', used the Doppler to find bubs heartbeat and the placenta sounds after bossing her to 'put the cream on it' to make it work and turn the volume up.

In the meantime, time in the evenings that's too uncomfortable to do much is being invested in sketching and attempting to better my knitting. I'm still far from 'good' - just simple stuff which is dressed up a bit with embellishments but it's nice and rhythmic and doesn't require too much thought.

Last but not least... the last few days of La being an only child...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Vale Cami

Look at her. Puppy soft, milk breathed, sweet, sleepy little puppykins... even on the ride home after picking her up she curled up quietly. She was the cutest little poppet, a roly-poly little red teddybear with bright blue eyes. Toddling after us and pouncing on leafs in the garden, snuggling at every opportunity, quick clever little duckie. She reminded me of aspects of Sierra and Verity both.

Most of her babyhood was spent snoozing or being cuddled by one person or the other. She went to all the poultry shows and auctions from here to Euroa tucked comfortably in arms or snuggled in a sling when she needed a break from pats. Likewise she was toted to a number of poultry shows and snoozed her way through being carried around or at times catching a ride on a friend who is in a wheelchair. Most times dogs are not allowed around poultry sheds at shows/auctions as even well behaved ones set the birds off if they're not used to dogs, however she was so quiet she might have been fuzzy extension of my coat for all the birds cared. If I'd had clones, I could have sold her a thousand times over - no one would believe she was a little live wire at home! (A trait she maintained as she demonstrated at the few shows/trials she was at sitting with me in a camping chair sprawled on her back in my lap and sound asleep.)

(Typical baby views)

(At Euroa poultry auction, taking in the world from the comfort of the sling.)
She had absolute hero worship going on with Verity that never failed to make me laugh. If she could have spoke, "She's SO cool!" would have been her catchphrase. She trailed after her with adoring eyes, like a stereotypical pesky little sister. Mind you it didn't stop them from wrestling around like wild-things and both girls favored the rough-n-tumble style of play.

(Veri playing Auntie and wrestling gently with her.)

(Gembrook, near the market)

(Such a happy baby...)
Her name came from La... his third choice after the first two (Nibbles - which is cute till you consider he reverses B's and P's... and Pink Milk) were vetoed and in puzzlement when I asked, "What's her name La?" replied, "Cameron's Baby" which his pronunciation mushed into Cam..i. Like all dogs here nicknames quickly followed. Cami turned to Cameo, which La lisped as to Cami-jo, or just plain Jo, which spurred Joey, Josie, Jo-bird, Birdie, Cami in Red Jammies (Pyjamas), Cameo-meo-myoh etc etc

(Still good at snoozing anytime there was an offer...)
Like with Hopie, La and Cami were glued at the hip. First thing I hear in the mornings is, "Mum, it's time to get up! The moon is down and the sun is up - time for brekkie and let girlies out!" Where Hope is a tennis ball addict though, Cami's fav was the Squeaky Yellow Football and it was toted nearly everywhere. It's in the cupboard now, La found it a few days ago and I froze hearing it squeak madly all the sudden. Being a cheeky girlie and of similar disposition to La (both come with two speeds - 'on' and 'splat') she and La were also perfect - and frequent - partners in crime. All too often I found La perched on the counter, crumbs scattered everywhere, hand literally in the cookie jar protesting, "But MU-UM... Jo asked for bikkie!"

(Wet and muddy after playing at the dam, all four girls)
She loved the sheep. I would have seriously loved to see what a little dynamo working dog she'd have turned into. She'd have been a natural on cattle I think, gutsy little thing. Even from a tiny little critter she'd level out - a strong eyed little tyke - stalking up with slow steps toward the cows (on the other side of the fence!) with intent and concentration that looked out of place on a few kilos of fuzzball baby. When they stomped and eventually turned spooked, she'd puff up pleased as punch, clearly proud of herself. She had no use for the sheep until she was a few months older and realized they were essentially short funny looking cows and more importantly - available. Quirky girl, she flatly hated the tin sheds though and the way noise echoed in them. Not even sheep were worth a tin shed.

A "mostly clean" portrait shortly after a bath... still has to have that bit of mud in there though! She wouldn't have been Cami without a bit of dirt. This is my favorite portrait, it is very 'her'.
When it ended up that she wasn't going to be going overseas, I don't think it shocked anyone that I was in no hurry for her to leave and found plenty of reasons for her to stay. She was just a fun little girlie, full of herself, cheeky and full of character.

(My other favorite, same reason - two cheeky little people running cheerfully amok at full tilt.)

I've sat to write and I just end up sitting and staring at the page and pictures, remembering funny little things she did. Writing it, seeing it in black and white, is too final.

I can't believe it happened at all. I can't believe it happened despite the fencing. When we moved here it was dangerous - barb wire and electric string. Good for cattle but not kids, dogs, poultry or sheep. So we fenced in the whole thing, with the idea of creating zones, so if ever a dog or child got out of one they'd still be stopped by other fenced areas. The dog's yard is enclosed between the paddocks (where it acts as a double against child being able to get to stock and dam) and the front garden and garage/driveway that opens to the road. So even if the dogs got out of their yard, they'd still be safe in the enclosed front yard should the gate to the drive get unlatched. We chose tallest fencing for the area. Hard to climb, too narrow to squeeze through, sturdy gauge, heavy gates. Hard to dig areas (lined by 80+ year old rhododendrons and massed agapanthus - both with large incredibly dense root systems) for fence lines. And it still happened in a few minutes when we couldn't have been a few hundred meters away.

I can't process the disparity of the images in my head from happy, healthy girls to her being hurt to being gone.

They tumbled through the gate into their yard, wriggling happily and panting light after I'd watched La and them play fetch the tennis ball/football. All four girls standing up at the gate cold noses nudging my fingers as I fastened it snuffling to see if there was any trace of treats left. I ruffled them on the head - the top sort of between/near the ears where it's all velvet plush... noted I'd need to trim Cami and Si's ears. (Hope and Veri's stay pretty neat, Si and Cami get wild-woolies.) Yeah, yeah silly girls, we'll take a walk in a minute.

Then coming back, waving to the neighbor, walking up, seeing Cami laying there. What on earth was she doing in the front!?! Sinking feeling as I took in the 'not rightness' of her rear posture. La and Nic were ahead of me. La had already dropped Nic's hand and taken off to go hug her. Shouting to Nic to stop La. How the hell did she get in the front? The ground is hard as rock, it's a nightmare to excavate - even the tractor guy drilling the fence posts griped and the bobcat guy doing the path had rocked forward a few times. But it'd been raining, maybe it softened the ground just enough if she squeezed hard? But if she dug, what could have happened in the front yard? I mean it's enclosed and the gate was shut. All this running through my mind as I'm ringing on the phone and trying to stay calm enough not to just jibber while my inner voice is shrilling, 'oh please please please let it just be a broken leg... please let me be very, very wrong... I'm not a vet, I could be wrong...'

Trip to the after-hours emergency vet. Flat out exhaustion... guh, still feeling like crap from being ill/back out/not sleeping. All the upset over the theft of the wallet and money, report bodge-up, flu, thrown-back are monumentally unimportant and insignificant - why the heck was I stressing about that when it was just STUFF. I mean it sucked sure but the world would eventually go on and we'd survive it. Compared to the really important stuff in life it's not important at all. Home. Phone calls. Report from the vet. Thoughts blurring through my head, uncertainty over what the next day would bring, praying the ultrasound didn't show bladder damage. Why the hell didn't I just lock them up inside in their crates is stuck on loop in my mind. I've griped about people leaving dogs in yards during the day while they work. I should have known there was a chance for some freak accident. I should have never left them without my eyes on them ever. Because it was just for a minute and a few hundred meters? Like I could run that fast even if I saw her get out even if I wasn't pregnant. How freaking horribly stupid am I.

She had been stabilized overnight and was on supportive care and pain medications on Labor Day. She'd had the radiographs and sonography. She had multiple, severe breaks throughout the pelvis and rear, nerve damage so no feeling. Someone I will not deign to call a human being opened the gate and ran her over, carried her up to our house, put her near the porch, refastened the gates and left her like that. There were no skid marks or anything, it must have been backing in and didn't see her? I don't know. It's better than believing they saw and just didn't brake. Not that it changes anything. No way she could have run a meter let alone up the drive and back into the yard closing gates behind her. In the days before, we'd had our new neighbors on the left give the wrong address to a water cartage truck who started to open the gate at the road before I read them the riot act because what if we'd been in the garage (which opens to the driveway) instead of in the yards! Freaking idiots, gates are there for a reason, honk your horn and WAIT.

I can't believe any human would run over someone, carry her, dump her and walk away leaving her in shock and pain not knowing how long before she'd be found. We couldn't have been minutes but what if we were like half the people around here who leave dogs in the yard all day while we work and it was hours till we got home! I won't print the words I have for that person. I wonder how they'd like it if the same was done to them and how they can sleep at night having looked into her eyes and turned away. I checked the mailbox the next day - maybe they just panicked in a moment of shock. Maybe they left a note. Something to show they were human. Nothing. I hate looking at people driving by and wondering if it was that person or that person or that one.

I brought her home and buried her in the garden. It is so quiet without her. That probably sounds weird because there are three rowdy dogs, a kitten and a 3 year old here along with geese, ducks, chooks and sheep but it's quiet. Miserable doesn't cover it. I've swung between wanting to bubble wrap everyone and never leave home again, bawling, depressed and sheer fury at the driver, at myself and at how one little thing different and all would still be well.

You can sort of accept illnesses... you do everything you can but when life becomes a burden and suffering outweighs enjoyment regardless of our help, we do what is right for them if not for us. With Cade and his brain tumor, Bella and her epilepsy and even further back Bria and her congestive heart failure there was simply nothing else to do or try. The reality was that as much as my emotions railed against reality and demanded there should be something more to be done... no human could alter the unchangeable. But how do you reconcile something like this with a young, healthy little girl full of life yet to live???

Sunday, March 08, 2009

I had taken a number of photos of good things in life and uploaded them but it was late so I decided to wait till that night to finish writing, then post. I'd intended it to be a sort of 'bad things happen but there's still a lot of good stuff to appreciate' sort of thought, as much a note to myself as anything. Like we've got belladonna popping up everywhere at the moment, beautiful pink flowers that have naturalized years before us and come up every year for a short time.

Saturday we had the birth plan meeting, then puttered here and snapped some photos. Sunday morning I attended a talk on training. Came home, watched La and dogs playing, snapped photos, put them in the back area. All the girls stood up as I latched the gate to their yard. Pats, fingers in soft fur, snuffles as cold noses looked for remaining treat-molecules on my fingers, happy girlies. We walked down the road toward the neighbors. Cami-jo found a spot still moist from the rain under the rhododendrons. Dug into the front yard. Front yard is also fenced. If that's all that happened we'd have had a shock when we came back and re-secured the yard but things would have been so different. Instead someone opened the gate to the driveway. They ran her over, carried her up to our porch and left closing the gate behind them. We found her a few minutes later. Calls, emergency vet, got back, heard update from them around midnight? one AM? More phone calls in the morning. La wants to take bandaids for Jo, so the doctor can make her better - "Hopie can find lots of big, good bandaids". Monday just after noon she went to the Rainbow Bridge. Tuesday I brought her home for the last time.

Past few days I tried to keep busy. ASCV meeting. Writing. Agility tonight, Hope is so lovely at it despite her handler. Now everyone is asleep and it's quiet. I'm sitting here looking at the photos. The ones that were supposed to be a 'bad things happen but there's still a lot to be grateful for'. True or not it's a hollow sentiment.

I will write more properly on Cami but right now every time I start looking through her photos it's just a bit much and I wouldn't do her justice. I've not really been online much lately either, just sort of flicking on and just not really in the mood for much of much or feeling chatty so flicking back off again so appologies everyone, I'm not ignoring you.