Friday, November 16, 2007

loss and birth

A close friend (a homebirthing doc) called me last night when I was on the road. She was in tears, telling me that her dog (who had been ill over the past few days) was dying and if I wanted to say goodbye, I should come now.

I drove straight over (fortunately I was close to the house) and entered their home. She had this dog for 13 years, since she completed her residency. Over the years I've known my friend, this dog (loudly) greeted me and our friends at gatherings in their home, she accompanied us to the lake picnics year after year, and hung out in her office for patients and staff to love on.

A couple times we watched her dog while her family went out of town. She was an amazing, sweet, beautiful dog.

Seeing the family around this dog was hard. The children were crying, my friend was crying. The dog was laboring with every breath. They cut hair from her as she lay in her bed. My friend told me that the vet had given them the medication to put the dog to sleep. She then asked if I would administer it. Just being asked to do this was intense. I agreed.

The family gathered on the couch, the dad lovingly held the dog in his arms. We unwrapped a bandage on her leg, revealing an IV start. In a slow, smooth motion I pushed the pink fluid into the IV port. Seconds later her labored breathing stopped. She left this world surrounded by those who loved and knew her.

They buried her last night out in their garden. The kids put some treats in the grave along with her bowls (of food and water). The stone with the children's footprints and the dog's handprints, made years ago, was placed atop the grave.

It reassured my friend to hear that a baby was on the verge of being born as I left.


Remember the client with no due date? The one we thought was due October 20th? She had her baby this morning, her fourth baby, third home VBAC with me. Beautiful girl, 9lbs, born in to her mother's hands in the water. Called at 4.30am, baby born at 7.39am. Her last baby was born in my apartment!

My apprentice estimated gestational age around 41 weeks. What's funny is that every pregnancy with her has been like this: nursing, no regular cycles, no idea of conception date, etc. She has an amazing sense of humor about her due date - and even when she's way over our guess date, she's still good natured about it all.