Yesterday was a great day, and also a sad day. It was great because LeeAnn and I heard our baby's heartbeat for the first time. It was totally unexpected; we (okay, I -- LeeAnn probably had some inkling) were anticipating a weigh-in, blood pressure check.. probably some peeing in a cup. And, of course, there was all of that.
But then the doctor broke out the fetal heart monitor, and -- within seconds -- we were listening to this new life at work! The doctor said she'd probably have to hunt around for it, but nope: it's front and center, right where she first prodded.
LeeAnn and I agreed that the heartbeat sounded a lot like Pac Man. (Kind of a 'whooshy' Whawk-a-whawk-a-whock.) This led LeeAnn to (briefly) consider the possibility of naming the kid 'Pac Man Glass'. We'll let you know what we decide on that.
At this stage, the baby's heartbeat averages ~150 beats per minute. (if you've been watching your 'Lost', then you should know that the typical adult averages somewhere around 90bpm.) Somebody get this kid a Power-pill.
All in all, it was a good doctor's visit and I kinda walked around with a silly grin on my face for the rest of the day. In fact, the day was marred only by a small event that took place at the other end of the mortality spectrum: a squirrel died a long, slow and prolonged death in our backyard.
I discovered it when (our resident hunter) Polly took a headlong plunge into the shrubbery that borders our fence, and ended up in a tussle with it. I think it kinda freaked her out: she's spent most of her adult life chasing squirrels, barking at squirrels, and dreaming about squirrels: I don't think she ever, in her wildest dreams, expected to actually catch a squirrel. This one, she pulled from under the bush, and kinda.. dragged sideways 2 or 3 feet.
Something was obviously wrong. The squirrel fought back, feebly, before I barked Miss Polly back and off of her. (Dozer stood by watching nervously, and Kirby was asleep inside -- thank god. When he gets curious, he can be bull-headed and hard to control.)
I think it had crawled back in there to die. Had it been healthy, it could've run from Polly easily (they always do. Especially when they're by the fence. They usually scramble right up and out of harm's way.) I suspect that our neighbor Naked Jim has been up to his semi-yearly poisonings again.
So, to make a long story slightly longer.. we kept the dogs inside, but then watched this poor thing die over the course of the whole damn day. I swear I thought it had about 30 minutes left in the morning, but... it wasn't until 6pm that he finally gave up. LeeAnn was pretty upset, and .. I guess I was too. I hate to see any animal suffer.
Which leads to my irrational anxiety. Lately, I keep worrying ahead to a time when Kirby is too old to keep on going. (Remember, this part is totally irrational -- right now, he's healthy as a horse.) I just don't know how I'm going to deal with it. We've completely fallen for him, at this point. We're coming up on our 1-year anniversary with Kirby, btw.
I think the fear is partially coming from some coat problems he's having. What we thought was a normal seasonal shedding has since proven to be something else altogether: whole handfuls of his coat just fall off freely. He's going to the vet on Monday. (His regular vet -- someday soon I'll post about his ongoing dermatology visits for his never-quite-beaten ear infection.)
I don't know if it helps, or hurts, that we don't really know how old he is. We could have another 2 years with Kirby, or another 6. I suppose it's fruitless to worry about it. Whatever happens, I am so glad that we're giving him some long, lazy afternoons to lounge and dream.