27w5d (BO)bama

Yesterday President Obama won a second term as President of the US (duh) over Mitt Romney.  J and I both work near Democracy Plaza, so we were able to witness some of the excitement first-hand.

Without getting too much into our personal political beliefs, we’re just excited to see more of First Dog, BO OBAMA for the next four years!   Maybe because Bo bears an uncanny resemblance to a certain spoiled First Dog in the Z family….

It just occurred to me that Obama will be the first U.S. President in Baby Z’s life.  Maybe he will be sworn in again on the same day as Baby Z’s arrival – hey, it can happen!

Here’s to new beginnings!

25w0d Big Baby Henry

Your baby’s the size of a head of lettuce!

The network of nerves in your baby’s ears is better developed and more sensitive than before. He may now be able to hear both your voice and your partner’s as you chat with each other. He’s inhaling and exhaling small amounts of amniotic fluid, which is essential for the development of his lungs. These so-called breathing movements are also good practice for when he’s born and takes that first gulp of air. And he’s continuing to put on baby fat. He now weighs about a pound and two-thirds and measures 14 inches (a head of lettuce) from head to heel. If you’re having a boy, his testicles are beginning to descend into his scrotum — a trip that will take about two to three days.

(Source: The Bump and Baby Center)

The reason why I’ve been behind on posts is because last week, our dog Henry (aka our first born, aka Big Baby Henry) dislocated his right hind leg and needed to have an emergency FHO surgery.  FHO is a surgical procedure that removes the head section of the femur bone and the joint is allowed to heal and develop its own fibrous scar tissue so that the joint is no longer bone−to-bone, which is supposed to relieve future bone rubbing and continued pain.

It has been an exhausting and scary week for all of us.  We were first notified of his hip dislocation by his groomer – apparently Henry’s leg slid out from underneath him during grooming and he had been howling in pain.  J and I immediately went to pick him up and tried to keep him immobilized at home, hoping that it was a temporary sprain that would go away on its own.

This was the look on Henry’s face when we picked him up.  He was so sad!

But it was clear to us by the following morning that he was still in a lot of pain, and even the smallest movements sent him into a whining frenzy.  We frantically hailed a cab (not an easy feat during morning rush hour) and hurried him to our vet, where our vet had to sedate him in order to take x-rays and examine his hip.

24 hours later, an orthopedic surgeon performed the FHO surgery.  Our vet said that Henry’s hip was unfortunately already prone to dislocations, and this would have happened eventually – it was good that we caught his condition fairly early because he is still young, and he should make a full recovery from the surgery in several weeks (possibly several months)although there is a chance that he may have a permanent limp in his gait.

I won’t lie,  I probably took the news of the surgery – and the surgery itself – a lot harder than our dog did.  When we were able to finally pick him up two days after we first dropped him off at our vet’s office, I burst into tears as soon as I saw him hobble towards me.  We rushed toward each other like the scene in Forrest Gump when Forrest and Jenny ran through the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool facing the Washington Monument.

Maybe I was being a tad over dramatic…but I literally could not stop crying.  Blame it on the damn pregnancy hormones.  I probably scared the shit out of our vet (who offered me a box of tissues and then rushed the hell out of there).  I’m surprised that J didn’t ask the vet to spay me.

Whatever – I’m not ashamed to admit that I love my dog like he’s my child.  (Sorry Baby Z, your big brother Henry will always be Mommy’s first born!)  Seeing animals in pain is the worst because they don’t understand what’s happening to them.  Seeing my own dog in pain?  Forgeddit.  The vet may as well have taken my femur instead.

We couldn’t find a cab on the way home, so my poor husband had to carry our 30 lb dog nearly 20 blocks back to our apartment.  I don’t know who looked more exhausted afterwards – Henry or J.  At least Henry had the benefit of being high on morphine pills and antibiotics.

This was the look on his face the entire way home.  Now I know what a doped up puppy looks like.

I worked from home for the next couple of days to make sure that Henry didn’t tear his stitches and didn’t need, like, I dunno, me to donate my femur to him or something.  Thankfully, he’s been recuperating fairly well – he’s still limping quite a bit but he’s starting to put some weight on his injured leg.  His appetite was nonexistent at first, but after mixing in some of his favorites (boiled chicken, cheese, wet food), he’s been doing much better and is now eating more regularly.  He’s still a bit sluggish and is more subdued than usual, but our vet said that it’s to be expected since he’s still taking pain killers and antibiotics twice daily.  J and I are optimistic that he will make a full recovery.  He still loves snuggling with us in bed, following us from room-to-room, and plopping down onto our laps as soon as we sit down.  The surgery may have taken away part of his femur, but definitely not his sweet, loving, and slightly stalkerish nature.

Feel better soon Henners!  Daddy and I can’t wait until you have your joie de vivre back.  We love you!

16w6d new mattress is here!

Our new memory foam mattress arrived last night!  It arrived in a box – bed in a box!  How cool is that?

According to the instructions, we had to unfurl the bed and wait 24 hours for it to fully inflate.  By we, I mean J because I was still recovering from the amnio and afraid to lift anything heavy.  But J had a little helper!  As soon as he pulled out the bed from the box in our living room, Henry the Nosy went to investigate…

“Hmmmm….nice density, good springiness…”

“Seems pretty comfortable…”

“Huh?  Oops, I accidentally fell asleep.”

 “I LOVE MY NEW BED!  Thanks Mom and Dad!  You really shouldn’t have.”

13w4d Henry

Dear Baby Z,

It struck me last night that I’ve been horribly remiss on this blog by neglecting to introduce you to a very important member of your future family – our dog, Henry.  Although I’ve mentioned Henry before on a few posts, he plays such a major role in our lives that he deserves a special post of his own.  After all, we’re hoping that the two of you will become the very bestest of friends!

The story of our dog starts two years ago, when your Dad and I were vacationing in Chesapeake Bay over Memorial Day weekend; it’s our little annual family tradition to take a road trip each Memorial Day weekend to wherever the wind blows us – and that year, the wind was blowing your Mom towards all-you-can-eat Maryland blue crabs.  We were staying in the quiet, quaint little town of Oxford, Maryland (where reportedly, there are more benches in the town than there are people to sit in them); we had just finished dinner and were strolling down the street towards our bed and breakfast when we saw an elderly couple sitting on a bench (where else?) with the cutest, fluffiest dog that we’ve ever seen.  He was a Coton de Tuléar, a breed that your Dad and I had never heard of at that point, and he took a sudden interest in licking every inch of your Dad’s face.

Afterwards, I slyly looked over at your Dad, who was still dreamy-eyed from his unexpected face bath, and asked him, “Do you want to get one?”

Your Dad never stood a chance.

When we got back to the city, your Mom was on a one-woman mission to find the perfect apartment dog.  First, our future hound had to be no more than 30 pounds (our building restricts dogs to under 35 pounds).  Second, we wanted a dog that did not shed, or shed very minimally, because we weren’t sure if your Dad was allergic to dogs since he’s never owned any growing up.  We figured the less doggy dander, the better.  And lastly, he can’t be too much of a yapper or a guard dog because we lived in an apartment building and we didn’t want our neighbors to complain of barking.  With these restrictions, we ruled out adopting a shelter puppy, which was what we originally wanted to do, because it was more difficult to determine a shelter puppy’s eventual size and temperament.

After weeks and weeks of research, I finally found the perfect breed for us – a cross between a cocker spaniel and a poodle – or more commonly known as, a cockapoo.  According to several breed websites, cockapoo are smart (like their poodle ancestors), small to medium-sized, affectionate, loving, playful and score low on both the barking and shedding scale.  And best of all, they are HOLY FLUFFY AND ADORABLE.

I won’t bore you with the crazy details of my subsequent search for a reputable cockapoo breeder, but fast forward two months and, on August 22, 2010, Henry the cockapoo puppy joined our family!

Your Dad flew out to Indiana to personally pick our then 9 week old puppy up from the breeder.  This was the two of them at the airport:

In the meantime, your Mom prepared our apartment for our newest arrival.  I laid out blankets in Henry’s crate, hid all our cords and wires from view, elevated anything small and/or breakable to higher shelves, and carefully laid out food and water bowls in the kitchen area.

Come to think of it, this is not unlike what Mommy and Daddy will be doing for you in six months time.

I will never forget the way Henry bounced into our home for the first time.  As soon as your Dad put him on the ground, Henry made a beeline for me down the hallway and jumped all over me as though he’s known me his entire life…and promptly peed all over me.

But it was love at first pee.

Baby Z, it’s only fair to warn you now that our dog is not the best-behaved dog in the history of the land.  Despite the many, many doggy obedience books Mommy has read and puppy training classes he has attended, Henry still pulls on the leash, jumps on strangers, and can’t catch a ball in his mouth to save his life.  He’s also incredibly lazy, a terrible swimmer, a slow runner, and a picky eater.  He gets startled easily for no reason, growls at invisible objects, and hates getting groomed with a deep and abiding passion.

Daddy and I love him dearly.

   

It’s now hard to imagine our lives without Henry in it.  My favorite part of every day is when your Dad comes home from work, and both he and our dog greet each other as though they haven’t seen each other in years.  Henry does a silly paw and tail wagging dance – and your Dad does a human version of basically the same.  Even Mommy doesn’t get that kind of welcome (from Henry or from your father). Geez.

A few people have asked us “what we’re going to do about Henry” when you arrive in this world, and to be honest, your Dad and I are always a little confused when asked this question.  To us, Henry is a part of this family now and always, just like you will be.  When we made the decision to get him, we made an unwavering commitment to his lifetime care.

That said, we really, really hope that you will love our dog just as much as we do.  And of course, Mom and Dad will make sure that you will have lots of time to adjust to each other.  But we’re not worried.  Just look at this face – this is a face that’s super eager to do a paw and tail wagging welcome dance for you, just like we are!

We can’t wait for the two of you to meet for the first time in six months.  Be prepared to pose for a lot, a lot, a lot of photos – your Dad has been preparing his camera for this moment for years.

Love,
Mom

9w5d Happy July 4th!

Today is July 4th, and J and I thought we’d try to take our first born to the lake to do a little bit of swimming.  Being a true city pup, Henry has never been near large bodies of water for us to know whether or not he knows how to swim.  Before you say, “But of course all dogs can swim!” – you would not make that assumption if you knew our dog.  For the two years since Henry has joined our family, he has never once demonstrated any proficiency at any doggy activity.  He can’t find his treats unless we put them right under his nose (bad sense of smell), sometimes he runs into the walls of our apartment (terrible eye sight), both J and I can out run him (slow runner), the pigeons on the sidewalk all know when he’s coming (zero hunting skills), he doesn’t bark at all unless it’s the pizza delivery man (not a guard dog), he can’t catch a tennis ball in his mouth to save his life (not an athlete), and he looks at flying frisbees with bafflement (Um, what do you want me to do with that?).

So given all the evidence, J and I were not very hopeful that our metrosexual dog could, much less be interested in, swimming.  But since it was so hot today and we had already rented a car for the week, we thought we’d give it a shot.  Plus, I love hiking.

We drove up to a dog friendly park in New Jersey and hiked an hour to the lake.  As expected, Henry sniffed around the edge of the lake and showed no inclination for getting in, even when dogs all around him were happily fetching balls and sticks from the water.  J, not one to give up easily, finally decided to pick up our dog and wade in with him in tow.  Pic below.  (Note the Labrador Retriever in the background swimming with a stick in his mouth while our dog needed to be carried and escorted out by his father).

As I watched J wade out while murmuring words of encouragement to our wimpy dog, I thought to myself:  Is that what we will be doing with Baby Z in a few years?  

The thought brought sentimental tears to my eyes. (What, I told you I cry easily these days).

Anyway, about four feet out into the lake, J gingerly lowered Henry into the water and we held our breath….

And Henry swam!!  Our baby can swim!  Granted, he swam a total distance of maybe 3 feet and it was back to the shore, but he did it!

We couldn’t have been more proud.  Congratulations Henners!  Daddy and I are so proud of you. We can’t wait until you can teach your new little brother or little sister how to “doggy paddle”.  Har har.

Happy fourth of July!