Again with the unexpected...

I went in for an ultrasound today.

Routine check - Collen's delivery was 90% drama-free, but as we all know....I have a record for dramatic deliveries. The babies are's me that has the issues. So, because of that, my midwife and I decided to keep a check on certain things.

Our BIG ultrasound is on April 10th, but I knew that if there was a chance of finding out today, we probably would. They look out for me over there ;)

Unfortunately, Jeremy couldn't come to the appointment today, so I was on the fence about whether I wanted to know or not. Of course, I couldn't he asked me to call him if I found out anything.

As soon as I went back, the ultrasound tech said she was pretty sure we would be able to find out today. We chit-chatted amongst weight-check (yuck) and blood pressure check. I told her I was leaning toward this one being a boy because there hadn't been anything very different with this pregnancy. And really...I don't have much else to compare it, with it all being similar, I figured it was a good assumption. And let's be honest....I'm a little terrified of having a girl, so I was hoping for the familiar.

Well, as soon as she put the wand on my belly and got it situated, I saw it before she could get the words out.

It's a girl.

My exact words: "Oh, my, Lord."

Then I looked at her and said, "What am I going to do with a girl?"

Then I said, "I turned out alright. I guess I won't mess her up too badly."

Teaching middle-schoolers has really opened my eyes to a lot of things. The number one thing: hormones. #2: attitude. #3: impulsiveness. The list goes on and on, but I'll stop there. I butt heads most with my teenage girls. It is much easier for me to get through to the boys - most of the time. However, there are some girls that I have a wonderful relationship with. I know every parent has to face the teenage years. And I know Collen won't be a breeze during that time either. I guess...having been there myself...knowing everything a girl goes through....I just hope I can help her through those times in a way that is helpful and makes a positive, lasting impression.

I'm thrilled that we are adding another child. I'm thrilled that she is healthy and thriving. I'm getting used to the idea of a little girl. It's going to be brand new territory for me....especially if she's a girly girl. Boys are good for me because I was the tomboy...the one who loved sports and hated shopping (still do most of the time). There's some girly girl in me, though. It surfaces from time to time. I'm looking forward to a mother daughter relationship....and watching her become a daddy's girl.

God obviously knew she was just what we needed. With that, I find so much contentment and joy. After I made my phone calls/text messages, I kept having the feeling of, "There's someone I'm missing here." I knew immediately. The voice I hadn't heard, yet. My dad. I wanted so badly to tell my dad and hear him tell me how wonderful of a mother I would be to this little girl. To hear him gush over having a granddaughter - because I know how wonderful of a grandpa he would have been to her. I was blessed enough to have a father who was meant to have girls. That was obvious to anyone who saw him with us. Seeing him with my daughter would have been so incredibly special. Then I wondered if perhaps my dad had already met his granddaughter....had a hand in picking her for us - along with her big brother. I'm not sure what to believe when it comes to that, but it sure is a nice idea.

So, we embark on a new, exciting journey. A little girl. Whose name, by the way, is Charlotte Brooke. :)

Girl tips appreciated!

It's hard to say goodbye...

When Jeremy and I got married, we moved 4 hours away from home...our parents...our family...everything we ever knew. We were excited about living in the mountains and having a new experience. Well, for the most part, it was great. We loved the mountains, we liked the school we were working at, but I became incredible lonely. Jeremy spent a lot of time at football practice, and I would go home to an empty close family....a frantic first-year teacher who needed an outlet. So, one weekend while Jeremy's parents were in town, his mom and I went to the local Lowes where the shelter had all the animals out who were for adoption. I eagerly looked at all the animals, wondering if Jeremy would let me get one. I came across a beautiful, energetic black and white kitten who took to me right away. We left...without a pet...but as soon as I got in the car, I was calling Jeremy to ask if I could get her. It didn't take much to convince him. I called to find out if she was still available. Someone had already claimed her. However, they said her brother was still available. I vaguely remembered him, but I remembered another cat being in the cage and that he was very still...not very interested in anything else that was going on. I told the lady that I would take him! We went right away to pick him up. I knew that my first pet of my very own would have a unique name, and I was thrilled that I had gotten the male cat because that meant I could name him after my favorite singer - Sinatra. There was no changing my mind - from the minute I saw him, he was my Sinatra.

Here is Sinatra after we brought him home:

how precious!

He was so sweet, and so energetic! We weren't supposed to have pets in our apartment, but we figured a cat would be quiet enough. We didn't take into account how destructive they can be as kittens. We chose to get him declawed because being in an apartment, he would stay indoors. He quickly became a cherished member of our family. It took Jeremy a while to warm up to him, but he and Sinatra quickly became buddies....always have been. I always joked that I saved that cat's life, but he liked Jeremy more than me. He loved to sit up on the back of the couch, resting on our shoulders. He also liked to curl up in my lap when I was working on my computer. His favorite place to sleep at night was curled up in the bathroom sink. He got loose a couple of times, but luckily, we always found him.

We stayed in the mountains for a year. I got into grad-school at ECU, so we went back to Greenville with Sinatra in tow. He was a great traveler and loved riding in the back of the car. He quickly became a very large cat. We joked that since we got him in the mountains, he was bound to be a big cat....our mountain cat. When we moved to Greenville, we added a puppy to the mix...Tucker. Sinatra wasn't too fond of Tucker at first, but soon grew to love him. They became fast friends...chasing each other, sharing water (and food), cleaning each other, and sometimes catching a nap together. Sinatra loved being outside, so we let him out in our fenced-in-backyard whenever we could. He'd stretch out on the concrete and get nice and toasty in the sun.

The years went by....Ayden was born...and the pets dropped a notch on the totum per usual when a baby enters the mix. Sinatra was no longer allowed to sleep on our bed, but he still got his fair share of love. When Ayden passed away, our pets helped get us through. They gave us outlet for our attention. And because we needed a little bit of grace....and we wanted to give some as well...we adopted Gracie, our yellow lab, from the shelter. She was a new focus....someone I could "save." While Gracie stayed outside, Sinatra was still king of the house. He always has been.

Then Collen was born....and the cycle continued. We moved again to another with carpet. So, poor, shedding Sinatra was banished to the laundry room at night. But during the day, he had the reign of most of the house while Tucker stayed put away in the kennel. Again...king of the house. He gradually became bigger and bigger and we were always concerned about that, but we just thought he was a big cat. He had an episode with a rotten tooth, and the vet showed concerns about his heart at that time but said it could just be because of his size. There was a "shadow" on the x-ray, but he wasn't sure what it was. That was about a year ago. Since then, we had noticed him getting a big slower...a bit more lazy...but we attributed that to him being a cat. He was eating, drinking, being sweet and always seeking attention...he seemed fine.

Earlier this week, I posted about having him groomed. His hair gotten to be too much for me to handle on my own. I would normally brush him and cut out the matted parts, but it had just become too much. So, we decided to take him in to be groomed. Because he's a cat, we agreed it would be best for him to be sedated. He had preciously bitten someone at the vet's office when they were trying to give him a shot (umm...if you put a towel over my head and stuck me with a needle....I think I'd bite, too....), so they didn't want to take any chances. When we got him home from the grooming, he was still pretty out of it. He seemed to come around, though, and he was eating and drinking like normal. However, we noticed that his breathing was labored and rapid. We decided to give it a day or two and see if it would right itself...maybe a result of the sedation. Thursday morning, I woke up to find diarrhea on the rug and carpet by the door. He had no control what-so-ever. I cleaned it up...cleaned him up....and went to work. We shut him in the laundry room that day to be safe. We came home to more of a mess, and he wasn't eating. We decided to keep an eye on him overnight. The next day, it got worse and we found blood mixed in. Jeremy took him to the vet, they checked him out, told us that blood was normal (what?!), and they gave us some medicine to help. Well, trying to give a cat medicine is nearly impossible. We would have to pin him down and try to force it into him. That usually resulted in him spitting most of it out and him getting so stressed out that we felt it better to let him be so he could rest. He continued to extract more food mixed in because he wasn't eating. The next morning, Jeremy took him back in for an x-ray to see what was causing the breathing problem. The vet said he had fluid on his lungs. They had to gas him for the x-ray, and Jeremy says he remembers the emergency vet saying (when we had the tooth issue) that he would have gassed him for the xray (I believe they checked his breathing then, too, because they were concerned), but in case of a heart condition, they didn't. We were given meds to help pull the fluid from his lungs. During the day Saturday and into today, his breathiing seemed less labored. But he was just so tired and weak. We had been giving him baby food - pureed meat to help mix in the meds and entice him to eat. He did eat some of it, and we felt hopeful that he was getting his meds and would be on the mend.

This morning, we checked diarrhea since yesterday morning. Seemed like things were going better. We let him out to walk around and be with us....because that's where he wanted to be. He jumped up into his favorite chair (jumped! When I saw that, I thought...Yes!! He's improving!!) and slept there all afternoon. Collen kept going up to him saying, "Cat. Night, night." and bringing him his ball and books to read. Collen would walk up to him and rub his head or his tenderly and sweetly. Later, he followed Jeremy and I into another room while we put some boxes in the attic....stayed right there with us. He eventually crawled into Tucker's kennel, and we left him in there to rest.

Tonight, as I was putting Collen to bed, Jeremy was trying to get Sinatra out of the kennel so Tucker could get into it. I heard Sinatra just can never mistake that sound for anything other than pain. My heart broke, and I wanted so badly to be with him. Once Collen fell asleep, I went in to check on Sinatra. Jeremy was trying to get some medicine in him, and he wasn't having it. He took a little, and then Jeremy tried one more dose of the meds for diarrhea. He got it into his mouth, Sinatra took it...reluctantly...then began stumbling around. This wasn't unusual behavior as of late, but it was different. He had been walking fine this afternoon. He kept trying to scurry to the carpet, but we kept pulling him back onto the kitchen floor. At this point, he had expelled more blood. I told Jeremy, "I don't see why they would tell you the blood is normal. This is NOT normal." Before that, Jeremy told me he thought that Sinatra would die....I didn't want to hear that, so I admit, I became a bit snappy. I didn't want to believe that he would give up, but it certainly did seem like that was what he was doing. He couldn't fight anymore....he didn't have the energy or the will. Anyway, after he stumbled around, I got him to stay with me. I rubbed him and tried to calm him down. He got up again, then fell to his side. At that point, I lost it. I knew this wasn't normal....and it broke me to see him struggling so much. We decided to get him back into the laundry room onto his towel where he could rest. Moving him was more like sliding him because he just wouldn't move. As Jeremy slid/moved him into the laundry room, he let out the most heart-wrenching cries I've ever heard. I knew he was hurting. Jeremy immediately got on the phone with the emergency vet. I went into the laundry room to sit with Sinatra and rub him. I put my hand on his chest, and I realized he had stopped breathing. I waiting a few seconds to be sure, then I moved him foot a bit. It jerked back at my touch, and I thought...okay...he's just breathing too shallow. No, it was a reflex....he legs stretched out, and I saw his belly jump. I told Jeremy he had stopped breathing and when I was sure, that he was gone. And that was it. He died with me rubbing him, begging him to breathe.

I wrapped him up in his blanket, and when I saw his head lean back, I knew it was over. He just couldn't do it anymore. My assumption is that it was a heart attack. I don't know if it was a result of the sedation, stress from the sedation and grooming, or the gas....or all of it combined. I feel so guilty about it could have been prevented, but I know it isn't fair to think that way. We had no way of knowing, and we still don't know what caused it. It seems like it was inevitable, since we did know about his underlying heart condition, but that never prepares you. We had no idea something like this would happen, and it has torn us up to watch him go through this the past few days. Our every thought...waking and going to sleep...has been about him. Checking on him through the night, cleaning him up, begging him to eat, and praying so hard that he would pull through.

Losing a child and a father have by far been the hardest things I'll ever go through. But this still hurts. A lot. We cherish our pets because they give unconditional love....they bring such a richness to our lives that we often take for granted. Yet, they love you just the same. I've never watched anyone/anything die. I'm glad I was there with him as he went. I wouldn't change that for the world. I just hate that he was hurting. However, he went fast. He just went off to sleep. Although my perspective is different now that I am a parent...especially a parent who has lost a still isn't east to lose a pet. Yes, he was an animal. Yes, my children's lives and well being are more important. But, a part of my heart will always be with my first first of my very own. The one who saw ME as owner and friend.

Jeremy and I have both said that after Tucker and Gracie go, we don't think we could ever have another pet. It's just too, too hard.

Good many of them. Sinatra will always be with us.

Sinatra - May 31, 2005 - March 11, 2012

Love you, sweet friend.

Update on #3

As of today, I am 13 weeks along with #3. So far, I've had the usual 1st trimester symptoms. My nausea has gotten much better. It still comes and goes, but not half as bad as it did. It hasn't been any different than my 1st trimester with both Ayden and Collen. Although, with Collen, I remember the nausea being a bit worse.

This little one's heart rate is staying around 160ish, and he/she is measuring exactly on schedule. This pregnancy reminds me so, so much of my pregnancy with Ayden. Ayden was so laid back; his pregnancy was very easy. Collen wasn't a tough pregnancy, but he was different in the womb. His heart rate stayed in the 140s - 150s, and he was always very active. When I saw this little one on the 1st trimester screening ultrasound, it was like seeing Ayden all over again. He/she was very still....just hanging out while the tech was measuring. Ayden was the exact same way. Collen was jumping all over the place when I saw him at the same appointment! :) We'll see if this one continues to stay similar to big brother.

In other news in the Jones member of our little family has experienced a huge transformation! You have all met Sinatra, our fat cat. Well, Sinatra needed some grooming done...badly! I am usually very good about staying on top of his grooming...brushing him and cutting out mattes (he has longer hair). Normally, he is pretty compliant, but lately, his hair has just gotten out of control. I've done my best with it, but it was beyond what I trusted myself wish. And I sure wasn't about to put that 23lb cat in a bath tub. So, we got him set up with a different vet (we hadn't taken him to ours in about 2 years because each time we did, they would barely work with him because he was so skiddish. So, we would just get lectured about his weight....yeah...we know he's fat. We only feed him 1/2 cup of food a day....and we can't make the cat exercise), got him updated on his shots, and we scheduled a grooming session for him. Because of his nature (he tends to bite when agitated), we chose to have him sedated for the grooming. This was a good choice because he needed to be bathed and then shaved to get out the mattes. He was none too happy when he woke up, but I bet it feels better for him to have his skin breathe!

Here is Sinatra before:

Beautiful coat of silky, thick (shedding) hair

And here is Sinatra after the shave:

It took him a little while to get his balance. I think the sedation - and the fact that half his tail was shaved - threw him off kilter. He looks so cute; although, I'm pretty sure his ego isn't liking it too much. He keeps looking at me like, "Why did you do this to me? I am so embarrassed! My rolls are showing!" He's been pretty out of it since yesterday, but he is eating and drinking, so I know he's okay. The grooming and shave was pretty reasonable in price, so I think this is something we will continue to do. He is not able to clean himself like he should, and with 2 little ones soon-to-be running around, I know I won't be able to tackle it like I used to.

Have any of you ever had your cat shaved?? This was certainly a first for us!