A couple of pieces of good news right off the top related to previous blog entries:
· My feet were only swollen for two days after the flight. Now they’re my feet again. Hurrah!
· I’ve pretty much stopped coughing. At least I’m not waking myself up at night coughing, anyway. The humidity in Beijing doesn’t help, but I’ve decided to consider this cold KICKED (after five long weeks)! Double hurrah!
Now, onto the harder stuff…
I arrived back to Beijing to a sick cat. We took him to the animal hospital where they immediately put him on intravenous for six days. He had to get drips twice a day for three hours a time. After the sixth day, they said there was no hope for him.
Now he’s home and hiding under the couch constantly. He won’t eat and hasn’t eaten (himself) for about two weeks. We’re feeding him with a syringe and I’m willing him not to give up.
And it’s breaking my heart.
People say that all creatures have their destiny. Perhaps his was this liver disease, but here I am pregnant and already paranoid about my ability to be a good Mother and here is my furry baby on death’s door.
Husky (the cat) is the first cat that I’ve ever really had as an adult. All the others have been my ex-partners’ cats that I’ve adopted and loved but never raised. This little one came to us from his litter a bit too soon and so, there I was in 2008, bottle feeding him several times a day until he was big enough to take solid food. It was my first experience with the responsibility of feeding an “infant” and I fell head over heels in love with this kitten.
Fast forward three years and he’s now so ill that he looks lost. And I’m lost too. I spent the last three days trying to keep it together and just keep up with the regular feedings, keep a rational head and love him as tenderly as I can, but last night I completely broke down. There I was, sitting on the floor with him in my lap after having tugged him out from under the couch, tears falling on his head while I gurgled away in my human language to his sad little eyes.
What’s making this worse is the constant pressure from extended family to control my emotions. All week while Guo Jian was away, my Mother-in-law has been in town and she was an amazing help with the cat. She left yesterday afternoon. Throughout her visit, I kept it together. Then, back in town, Guo Jian forgot that he needed to help me with Husky and wasn’t back home until well after midnight last night. I was exhausted, unable to do the feeding on my own (someone needs to hold him, someone needs to squirt food into his mouth) and I was incredibly bitter and angry that my partner hadn’t even thought about our cat and was missing in action.
What if this was our child? Is he going to put his work issues above our child’s issues? Would he be there to nurse our child back to health? Would it all be my responsibility?
These were the questions that were haunting me when he came home and found me a bawling mess on the floor with the cat. Of course, this wasn’t met with apologies or compassion or open arms as I would have liked. Instead, it was met with chastisement and warnings. “You have to control your emotions!” he barked, “You’re going to hurt the baby. Get it together!”
Well, this just made me angrier and cry more, of course. Nothing like pressure to put a cap on emotions to bring out a Cancerian’s claws. What’s more, what about release? I have been carrying this grief for over a week. Can’t I get it out? It infuriates me that my natural emotional response is considered unhealthy for the baby. This baby has to know love and grief, joy and sadness. And what about me here? Don’t I count anymore or am I just a human incubator? Is my heart’s state now rendered irrelevant?
So, the breakdown became a fight with my partner (who did help with the feeding, by the way) and then an extremely late night and fitful sleep. The good thing about Guo Jian is that his initial gruffness is usually temporary. He eventually did put his arms around me and show me and the cat the gentleness that we needed.
But this morning my heart is still weary and the cat is still hiding.
And, of course, there's the contrary voice in my head that wonders if I am hurting my baby by being upset about this. I'm sad about one baby being ill and I may actually be damaging the development of my other baby, the one growing inside of me? I've scoured the internet for information about negative emotions felt by the Mother and fetal development and what I've learned scares me. And there's another one I'm adding to the list: fear.
So, if I am hurting Little Spark's development by feeling what I'm feeling, then everyone will blame me when the baby is born. I'll be a bad Mother before I'll have even given birth.
And what kind of a Mother am I going to be anyway when I can barely keep a cat alive?