Tag Archives: Family

Goodbye Lila Hello Rupert

It’s been a while since I last posted. Over the last 2-3 years as I’ve processed and evolved there has been less for me to write about and more time spent just living. But with living has come some rough times few tougher than earlier this spring when we unexpectedly and suddenly lost Lila. There have also been some amazing times when we welcomed Rupert into our home. It’s been the roller coaster of life continuing at high intensity.

For those of you who have followed this blog or know me from other Social Media outlets Lila was our rescued Greyhound. We met and adopted her on August 12, 2012 at a time when we were TTC a few months before we found out that I’m not able to have children. I’ve written before and it is true that had I been able to have children that we likely never would have adopted Lila. The day we adopted her she was the third dog we met that day. What sealed the deal for K is that Lila leaned on K when she walked her.

When we adopted Lila she was a five years old and a shy reserved dog who had been previously returned because it was said that she was always sad and hungry. As we came to learn the sad part was just her being reserved and needing time to come out of her shell. The hungry part was definitely true as she could eat until she exploded. The first six months to a year were rough as she dealt with separation anxiety and confidence issues. But once she came out of her shell she showed the world what a sweet dog she was.

Lila was with us during our darkest days of finding out about my infertility to our journey to parenthood ending. No matter how dark the day she always made us smile. She became a part of the family that everyone loved. Her calm demeanor helped my MIL overcome her fear of dogs leading my in laws to get a dog of their own. If not for her I am not sure K and I would have made it through infertility and being childless after infertility.

When Lila turned 10 in 2017 we knew she only had a few years left. She began to slow down not going up and down the stairs as fast as she used to and began to pant more often. She also did not get out of bed when we immediately woke up as she used to. Though when we took her for what would be her last vet check up in December 2018 all of her blood work came back good. We figured she’d be around for a while though we’d still try to enjoy every moment we had with her.

Saturday April 27th, 2019 started as any typical Saturday for us. K & I both did our routines of waking up going to do our workouts and chores around the house along with taking care of Lila. Then there was the debate about what to do. With it being a beautiful Saturday afternoon we decided to take Lila out with us to go to the local Farm Store as we needed propane for the grill and Lila needed treats. After heading back home we then decided we’d go out for ice cream. Lila knew exactly where we were and as soon as she got out of the car began to pull on the leash excited for ice cream. She quickly scarfed down what would be her last mini cone of ice cream. On the way home we stopped at another pet store to get treats. For Lila it was the perfect day.

After dinner that night K took Lila out to go to the bathroom while I cleaned the kitchen. While I was washing dishes I suddenly heard K scream. I quickly ran outside to find K holding Lila in her arms saying she collapsed. K handed Lila to me. I was in such shocked that I fell backwards into our bushes with Lila. K rushed to get the keys to her car while I carried Lila into the back seat of her car. Carrying her was like carrying dead weight and her tongue was dangling out of her mouth. But she was still breathing.

On the car ride on the way to the E Vet as I held her in my arms I told her to hang in and that I wasn’t ready to lose her. It was the longest 20 minute car ride I ever have had. I felt her breathing slow down for the first part of the ride. As we got close to the E Vet I felt her breathing and all movement in her stop. I knew we’d lost her. It took every ounce of energy not to scream and tell K as I didn’t want to distract her. Once we got to the E Vet I carried her for what would be the last time through the doors into the facility handing her off to the Vet team. They asked if I wanted them to try to revive her and I said yes. I was brought into a waiting room waiting for K as she parked the car holding out hope that Lila could be revived but knowing deep down she was gone.

It took about 5-10 minutes for the Vet to come back to the waiting room to let us know they tried to revive her but she was gone. We were told it was likely either a massive heart attack or stroke. We were in shock. Just hours earlier we had been having a great day with her and now she was gone. We couldn’t have planned a better last day for her if we knew it was going to be her last day.

We couldn’t go home right away so we stopped at my in laws for a bit. Both of them were in just as much a shock as we were. When we finally got home I went over to Lila’s downstairs bed and collapsed breaking down completely. K joined me and broke down as well. Her bed and blanket still smelled like her. The bone she had been chewing on just hours earlier was there but she was gone.

The next day we spent in our bedroom crying most of the day taking calls from family and friends offering their condolences. We only went downstairs for water and food. It was appropriate we spent the day doing that as Lila was extremely lazy and would spend most of her days sleeping and laying down in her beds. We both took off from work the next day to spend time together morning the loss. The intensity of the pain for me was greater than anything I have dealt with in my adult life including infertility and our parenthood journey ending.

In the upcoming days and weeks life was very different. I never realized how much of our lives and routines were because of Lila. Purposely we both did everything we could to stay out of the house as much as possible with so many things in the house reminding us of Lila. Unlike Infertility where for a long time I grieved by myself with losing Lila I made sure to grieve with K as this was our loss.

We had Lila cremated and a week later picked up her remains. I always thought it was weird when people kept their pets remains but now understand. They’re family and give so much to us. I can never repay Lila for all the love she gave us and taught us. She lived everyday without a care in the world living it as though everyone was her last.

Before she passed I wasn’t sure if I wanted another dog as I wanted Lila to be the only dog and wasn’t sure if I could love another the same way. K was always sure she wanted another and told me to take my time grieving that she would be ready for another when I was. We began to look at Greyhounds available for adoption as we loved the breed and with so many coming off the track with Florida in the process of phasing out Greyhound racing. There were a few that caught our eyes so we submitted a new adoption application to the agency we adopted Lila from.

A few days later I spoke with the woman who runs the agency to go through our application and I asked about one dog in particular. He was a brindle male who was on the smaller side for males. He recently came off the track with his last race on April 9th. I was told that he had a great outgoing friendly personality but on the trailer ride up from Florida he had sustained a cut on his leg so he was in the prison program to heal. The prison program is just that it’s where prisoners help train rescue dogs as part of their rehabilitation.

Due to scheduling we weren’t able to meet him for a few weeks but knew that when we met him we’d likely come home with him. Unlike with Lila where we had nothing for a dog and had to pick up beds and supplies on our way home we were prepared. On May 23rd we finally met him at the prison signed the Paperwork and headed home with a new member of the family.

The car ride home should have been a sign of things to come. He couldn’t get settled and tried to climb into the front seat with us. We had to stop the car a number of times with one of us getting in the backseat with him to keep him from climbing into the front of K’s car where less than a month earlier Lila had died in my arms.

Once we got home our new family member explored the house as this was the first time he had ever been in a home. K found some old toys of Lila’s that she never played with and he instantly took to them. Since I named Lila K would pick the name Rupert for our new family member. In the first 24 hours Rupert would show more personality than Lila did in the first six months we had her.

Here we are almost two months later and Rupert has managed to take over our house and lives in ways Lila never did. He’s gone into every room in the house including bathrooms which Lila rarely did. It took him until his second day with us to manage to get his way and get on our couch after us giving up on trying to keep him off it. Lately we’ve been fighting the battle of keeping him out of our bed at night. It’s the one place we don’t want him. After all he has four other beds to sleep on whereas K and I have to share a bed lol. Whereas Lila always found a way to make us smile everyday Rupert finds a way to make us laugh everyday.

Outside of them being Greyhounds and Brindle Lila and Rupert couldn’t be more opposites of each other. Though Lila was sweet there were only four people she was extremely affectionate with: Us (though K was her favorite person), my mother and my MIL. Rupert loves all people and wants to meet everyone. His tail goes nuts when we met new people or they come over. We’ve had to work with him on not jumping up at people which he does out of excitement not being vicious. Overall he’s a happy friendly dog with a ton of personality.

He’ll never replace Lila as she was our first and will always be special to us. But he has brought light to us in a time when there was darkness. Kind of like infertility and while the loss of becoming a parent can never be replaced there are things in our lives that bring joy and hope.

Below are some pictures of Lila, her boxed remains and Rupert being Rupert. I hope everyone is well.

Lila when she first came home.

Lila in her old age.

Lila after she crossed the rainbow bridge 4/27/19.

Lila’s boxed remains on her bed with her favorite blanket and last bone.

Rupert’s first night in his new home

Rupert being Rupert (he’s a bit of a weirdo)

Rupert where he’s not supposed to be.

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My Views on the Childless Before Infertility

After almost 7 years since my initial diagnosis I’ve thought back to times before infertility and how different my perspective was then compared to now. Back then I was innocent and ignorant. I thought that everyone who wanted to become a parent could. I thought that if we tried hard enough we could become parents. And most importantly I had a completely different view on those who never had kids than I do now.

Growing up I had a number of relatives who didn’t have kids. My mom has cousins that weren’t able to have kids. My Uncle (Mom’s Brother) and Aunt (Dad’s Sister) never wanted kids for different reasons. I was never that close with either though I learned recently my Aunt was always fond of my brother and I. She passed away last August after a battle with cancer.

In the weeks and months prior to her passing I did contact her. I thanked her last June when she sent me a birthday gift. But looking back I regret I didn’t reach out to her more than I did. Let me be clear my Aunt was a loud know it all who had a sense of entitlement that rubbed me the wrong way. But when my Great Grandmother had dementia and when my Grandfather needed someone to care for him she was always there to step up. I’m not sure if it was due to her caring nature or it fell on her because my Dad had kids and other responsibilities.

My Mother who though I love her and wouldn’t be where I am without (beyond giving birth to me) shaped and influenced my feelings on my Aunt. She would always say that my Aunt didn’t have the responsibilities my father did and that she should take care of my Grandfather. It was painted that my Aunt was a selfish person which she may well have been.

Because of that my feelings on those without children were selfish people and I viewed them as being not as important than those with children. I viewed that not having children was leading a life not as valuable as those who had children. I viewed it as strange not to have kids. It wasn’t until after I found out we would be unable to have kids and when our journey to parenthood ended that we became the people I harshly and unfairly judged growing up and even in early adulthood.

Based on all of this I’ve become a hypocrite and have projected a lot of my own criticisms of those without children on myself. It’s led to me resenting myself and a lot of the insecurities I have as a result of my own thoughts and prior feelings. It’s led to me taking so many things personal when it comes to parenthood and viewing my own life as less than.

The challenge moving forward is now that I recognize what’s behind these feelings is what do I do about it to break out of this way of thinking? How do I stop comparing my life and what value it has to others? I’ve always been stubborn and my toughest critic. I’m a creature of habit and getting into a new way of thinking has always been difficult. I’ve always had a chip on my shoulder feeling I have something to prove.

Is what I have to prove that I was wrong and that our life without children can have value? But how do I know if and when I’m able to prove that? I know this is a lot of rambling and hope it makes sense.

Role Reversal

For the past 14 months my wife has been there for me as best as she can. She has listen to me open up as to how I am hurting. She has been there to comfort me. She has been there to let me know she’ll be there for me no matter what. It has not been easy for her putting up with me while at the same time dealing with her own grief from our infertility and what will never be.

But now there are more pressing issues in our life and especially her life. Over the Thanksgiving holiday my MIL was diagnosed with cancer. She had it removed but now is beginning Chemo. The prognosis is good but the chemo treatments are not going to be pleasant. My wife is very close to my MIL. This woman is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. She is the typical Italian mother who is sweet and with a great heart. Needless to stay my wife is struggling with the situation. Anyone in her position would.

What our roles were the last 14 months have now switched. As my wife was there for me, I need to be there for her. That’s the way it’s always been for us. One of us has always been there for the other in our times of need. Be it her being there for me when I had a dead end job or me being there for her when we found out her father had cancer it’s helped us navigate through the tough times in our lives.

It’s a weird place to be in right now. With the exception of this situation I’m in a good place and pursuing adoption and remaining childless forever is the last thing on my mind. But make no mistake about it this is a very serious matter that brings us down. The only thing to do is be there for my family because that’s what families do. They’re there for one another on their time of need whether there is a biological connection or not.

What I am Thankful for

If you would have asked me 10 or even 5 years ago what my life would look like at 33 it would be very different than what it is. I would have thought my wife and I would have conceived a child and we’d be working through the grind of being two working parents. I would think we would be getting ready to host Thanksgiving this upcoming Thursday and preparing to buy Christmas presents for our child. But what you think your life will be down the road is very different than what it actually becomes.

My life is very different than what I pictured it would be. Instead for the second year in a row my wife and I will be vacationing this Thanksgiving together. We won’t be preparing to buy presents for our child and instead it will be another ho hum Christmas as we watch our friends and other family members post pictures of their children on Facebook. It’s just depressing especially with this being the first set of holidays since our infertility diagnosis. This time last year we were making an appointment to see a Reproductive Endocrinologist trying to find out why our attempts to conceive a child after 18 months had been unsuccessful. Within a matter of weeks we would find out the worst case scenario. Actually I take that back, the worst case scenario would have been something life threatening to either my wife or I as being the reason for our infertility.

Despite the disappointment of what our lives aren’t there are things that I am thankful for this Thanksgiving. First is my wonderful wife who I care more about than anyone in the world. She has hurt and gone through just as much if not more grief than I have this past year and yet our bond is as strong as ever. Second is our dog Lila who brings us so much joy and love. My favorite part of each day is when my wife comes home from work and Lila goes crazy because she is so happy her mommy is home. It brings a smile to my face. Third are our close friends and family who for the most part have been very supportive of us. Fourth are the many people on line in the infertility, adoption and donor conceived communities that have taught me so much and have engaged with me despite me being a pain in the ass at times. I’ve never met any of you in person but I feel like I have at times. And lastly I am thankful for the therapists I and my wife have worked with in 2013. If not for them I don’t know where we would be emotionally individually and as a couple.

We are still not sure how we will proceed either becoming parents through adoption or continuity to live a childless life. There are certain things that we need to figure out and work through first before making that decision. To be honest I’m very scared in making that decision especially if it ends up being continuing to live a childless life because I have no idea what I will do to fill that void. But either way I am hopeful we’ll make that decision sometime in 2014.

I am thankful that we’ll have that opportunity and thankful for the people and support in our lives that have helped us work through a shitty 2013 and hope 2014 is a better year.