We always thought we would have kids. We started trying when we believed we were ready. A month went by, then two months, six months, a year. Nothing happened.

Something was wrong, but nobody could tell us what - and they still can't to this day. We tried IVF three times but our results were not good. We were devastated.

Eighteen months after our last IVF cycle, we knew we would not be having our own children. And, somehow, we have moved to a life that is much different to the one we thought we'd have.

This blog is about what we do now we know we won't be having children - the thoughts, dreams, realities, sorrows, and joys that have become our new life path.

I hope you will enjoy what I will be sharing, and I hope that if you are at the point where life without children is a reality for you, that you might find some hope and inspiration here.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

My Minerva...

I haven’t written a blog entry for almost two weeks. My heart, soul, and mind have been inundated with sorrow and confusion.

Helping in the garden...
Just a month ago my cat, Minerva, would chase me down the hall, carry her blue mouse toy to me so that I would play with her, had an excellent appetite, followed me everywhere, helped me with the gardening, and loved to play hide and seek.

Just on two weeks ago I noticed a difference in her. She was vomiting up some funny clear foamy liquid. She seemed more tired than usual, and she wasn’t eating much. I took her to the vet who did tests which showed that her kidneys are not working very well at all. I was given tablets to lower her blood pressure so that her kidneys would be able to work better and I have changed her diet to include less protein and more wet food than dry.

About a week ago her breathing seemed to be more of an effort for her. It was labored and when she took in a breath her head actually wobbled. Kirby and I took her back to the vet and he did more tests and found that her heart wasn’t working as well as it should and fluid had built up around her heart and lungs. We were given another lot of medication to remove the fluid from around her lungs and help her to breathe easier.

She can have the new medication mixed with food that she likes which makes it easier, except her appetite is very low. She isn’t even interested in her once favorite food – yoghurt. So, we have to wrap her in a towel and administer it to her using a syringe into mouth. She hates it and cries and scratches. It breaks my heart and I can’t help but cry every time I do it – which is two times a day. We have to keep going though, because she may improve and her appetite may come back – we just don’t know at this stage and all we have is hope.

She had to be in our wedding photos too...
The weirdest part of all of this is that last year I had a premonition that Minerva was going to die while I was on my trip to Thailand. I leave for Thailand in a few weeks. At first, when Minerva became sick and I thought about the premonition, I believed she would definitely die while I was away, but I think about it differently now. Perhaps the premonition put me on alert, more than I might have been, to changes in her health, and now that we have her on medications she might improve and live longer.

I hope so.

Kirby and I have talked about what he will do if Minerva gets very sick while I am away and needs to be euthanized. One of the things we have agreed on is that he will not tell me should Minerva be euthanized until I return home from Thailand. The other thing is that we don’t want her to suffer. I have read of people whose cats have renal conditions and they need to have injections every day to prevent dehydration. I couldn’t do that to Minerva as she would be too stressed every time. If it came to that point then it would be time to let her go. It would also be time to let her go if she became very underweight, couldn’t control her bowels and bladder, couldn’t walk properly, or was in pain. Our vet is wonderful and we would discuss all of this with him and/or his staff as well.

I am so confused – one minute I have so much hope and the next minute I am full of fear and despair. I guess I am in a bit of shock as she has never had any health issues before and she has become sick so quickly.

I feel angry that she is sick now, when I am not going to be with her for a fortnight. I even feel angry at her sometimes. That seems cruel I guess, to be angry at her, but I’ve realized that this is part of grief. I am grieving even though she is still here. I am grieving the loss of her playing, her constant companionship, and her bundles of energy. I have tried to bargain that if she is to die that she doesn’t die while I am away, but when I am back and that she dies in her sleep lying next to me at night.
At nine weeks of age...

She might not die while I am away, but the chances of her dying in her sleep next to me, I know, are not great. Being a cat, she is hiding herself away – which they usually do when they are ill and when they are close to dying.

Minerva is fifteen years old and she has been my companion through the end of a five year relationship fourteen years ago, episodes of depression, meeting Kirby, our wedding, moving house four times, going through IVF, and grieving for our children. For two years it was Minerva and me against the world when I had my apartment before meeting Kirby.

My gorgeous girl...
She is my friend, my gorgeous girl, my Minerva Mouse. She is my fur baby. I am going to miss her more than I can put into words. 

How long have we got?


Illanare said...

I am so very sorry to read this. My own darling little cat (who will be 20 on 6th June if she makes it) is also sick - she has to be on phenobarbital twice a day for epilepsy which was brought on by an allergic reaction to meds for her (now untreated) hyperthyroidism. I treat every day as if it might be my last with her and it breaks my heart a little bit more every day.
Sending good thoughts and warm wishes for your beloved girl.

Kate Bettison said...

Illanare - thank you so much for your comment, and I'm sorry to hear about your little one too. It is heart breaking. I love my girl so much and go through such a roller coaster of emotions each day. Like you, though, I treat every day as though it might be our last together - I sit with her, talk to her, pet her and love her with all my heart. Big hugs to you and your girl x