Friday, October 28, 2011

Beta #3 Results - October 28th, 2011

I had beta #3 drawn this morning, and already got the results back!  My RE's nurse really is awesome.  Today it was 395, which is fantastic!  That means it was just a little higher increase than doubling in 48 hours.  Woohoo!  I do have to go back again on Monday though (boooo).  And once it gets over 1100, they will schedule the ultrasound.  If all goes right, it will be around 1200 on Monday.  I thought they would wait until I was 6 weeks along to do the first ultrasound, because then they would have a higher probability to see the heartbeat.  So I'm not sure when they will schedule the ultrasound for - if it's the next day or a week out or what once it reaches that 1100 mark.  Because last time was so filled with uncertainty and fear of miscarriage and then ectopic, everything was just a whirlwind to me.  This time it feels much calmer, much more scheduled than last time.  At least it has since Wednesday.  Heh.  I am feeling so much more confident now though - I am no longer overcome by fear of losing this pregnancy.  I feel quite confident at this point that sometime around the first week of July, we will be meeting one healthy little baby (c'mon boy!).  This IVF process sure hasn't been what I expected it to be and it didn't feel like I expected it to feel, but we are on our way to the end goal.  And that feels pretty darn good.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Beta #2 - October 27th, 2011

Beta #2 came back much better than I expected.  185!  I was so worried it wouldn't go up at all, and it nearly doubled in 48 hours!  So, this little bugger is sticking in there so far!  Woohoo!  I do have to go back for one more round of bloodwork tomorrow - repeat quantitative beta and progesterone.  So I'm feeling much more confident now.  I can't wait to get past this phase and to the part where we see the little bugger on he ultrasound and then later feel her/him moving around.  First comes more exhausting and puking though.  heh.  I'll take it!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Beta results and onset of symptoms - October 25th, 2011

Teh interwebz ate my post!  I posted this morning, but I don't see it here now.  Hrumph.  And there isn't even a draft of it.  Phooey.  I'll recap what I had written.

Beta came in at 96.5.  That is pregnant, and not terrible, but not great.  With RoBet it was 233 at this same point (14 DPO).  233 was very high for a singleton though, so 100 isn't bad for just one bun in the oven.  What bugs me is that I got such an early BFP, that my levels should be higher now.  Some of you may want to tune out now - it's about to get technical.  The sensitivity of the tests that I used (Clearblue Easy Digital and Wondfos (also known as Amazon cheapies) is 25 (units aren't really important for this discussion).  Beta levels are supposed to double every two days.  So, if we assume that my level of hcG was 25 on Thursday, it can be assumed that a double was 50 on Saturday and 100 on Monday.  Since my level was slightly under 100, it HAD to be at 25 on Thursday for everything to be OK and doubling appropriately.  But what are the chances of it being exactly that and being picked up on the test?  Wouldn't it make more sense that it was 35 or 50?  If so, I am clearly not doubling my levels every 48 hours.  *sigh*  End result?  I absolutely hate this part of the process.  My levels did not double with RoBet (for reasons I can speculate on at another time), and it caused me no end of fear and stress.  If my level that they draw tomorrow (I'll get the results back Thursday) doesn't double, I'm going to ask that they just not do any more betas for a few days at least, hopefully for a week.  I just don't want to keep doing this every 2 - 3 days for two weeks like last time.  I don't want to over analyze each number and what it could mean.  I don't want to expect to miscarry - if it happens, there is nothing that will stop it, even if I know it's coming.  So, let it just happen then if that is what is going to be.  I don't want to worry that it might be coming for weeks on end.  Let me just be happy being pregnant, and if it happens, so be it.  For now though, I can still be optimistic, because I'm having symptoms!  Yay for feeling like shit!  Yesterday I was so exhausted that I took a nap during the day and went to bed early.  That is unusual for me - I prefer to be awake and doing things for as much time as possible.  I try to get 7 -8 hours of sleep a night, but that's usually enough.  Not yesterday!  And then, RoBet woke me up crying again last night (she's teething again) and I had to cut my time that I sat and rocked her short, because man I had to puke!  And I did.  Lots.  At midnight.  So, exhaustion and morning sickness are here.  Last time they waited until about 8 weeks to set in, so this is a bit on the early side!  But, hopefully they won't last as long this time, assuming the pregnancy is viable.  OK, that's the short version of my earlier post.  Off to bed for me!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Well - October 21st, 2011

My in-laws are coming to visit this weekend, so I was doing some cleanup yesterday after I put RoBet to bed.  My husband has been working second shift all this week, so I was on my own last night.  Having all of your evenings alone tends to make one a bit stir-crazy and do things they might not otherwise do.  So, around 8:00, I decided I needed to pee on a stick.  I took the test and after about 2 minutes, looked over and didn't see a second line.  I went about organizing some stuff and got some laundry out of the dryer and looked again.  I saw what I thought was a very faint second line.  Very faint, but there.  For sure there.  I took some pictures and tweaked them and really felt that second line was there, so I wanted to follow up with a digital test, which is pretty sensitive and says "pregnant" or "not pregnant", so it's a pretty sure thing.  But, I had dumped my concentrated urine out of the dixie cup, so I had to wait until I had to pee again.  And drinking lots of water to make yourself have to pee is no good, because then it will be diluted and might not produce the same result on the test at this low level of hcG in there.  So, I waited.  Finally about 9:45 or so I was able to work up enough to test again.  And the digital test flashes a little hour glass while it works.  It was working, and working, and working.  I swear, I started at it for like 3 full minutes before leaving the bathroom and folding some laundry.  I came back in and the damn thing was still working!  Arg!  So I impatiently folded some more laundry (I'll tell you, impatiently folded laundry looks and awful lot like patiently folded laundry).  After about 8 minutes total, I came back in and finally it popped up - "pregnant".  Well.  So much for not feeling pregnant.  You just never know, I guess.  So, I am now 11 days pregnant.  heh.  My due date is July 5th, 2012 - perfect for a little 'firecracker'.  This whole thing just feels surreal, it really does.  I cannot believe I have a little sac of cells burrowed into my uterus right now and growing.  I look at my daughter and try to remember what it felt like when she was just a little sac of cells burrowing in.  It feels like so long ago, even though it was just over 2 years ago.  I'm going to be a mother of 2, and that just kicks ass.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I sure don't feel pregnant - October 20th, 2011

So I sure don't feel pregnant.  I feel like I remember 'feeling pregnant' by this point the first time around.  I'm probably just psyching myself out, but I am just feeling like this didn't work.  I will be testing tomorrow morning.  That will be 7 days past 5 day transfer (7dp5dt) or the equivalent of 12 days past ovulation (12dpo).  I testing with RoBet at 11dpo and got a negative, then tested again at 13dpo and got a positive.  So, tomorrow is right between those and should hopefully give me a big fat positive result.  I hope.  I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Progesterone Results - October 18th, 2011

My nurse gave me a call this morning with my progesterone level results.  They want it to be over 15, and it is 32.6, so we are good to go with that this month.  We will continue the progesterone in oil shots at the same level for now.  If we do wind up being pregnant, this will continue until December 8th.  Fun.  My butt sure is sore on both sides at this point, so it will be a long few months of soreness, but it's worth it if it works out.  For now, we just keep waiting and hoping for the best.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A little blue - October 17th, 2011

I'm a little blue today (as are my embies that remain).  All 8 were going strong as of Saturday, so we had high expectations for how many would be able to be frozen.  Of the 7 that we did not transfer, only 3 made it to freezing.  We lost the grade 3, which we expected, but then also 2 of the grade 2s and one of the grade 1s.  It is the loss of the grade 1 that hits me especially hard, because if one of the perfect embryos wasn't strong enough to make it to be frozen, how likely is it that the single one that is inside me will make it to become a baby?  I am seriously doubting my decision to put back only 1 embryo, and maybe I'd even go so far as to say I am regretting it.  I'm trying to stay hopeful, but I am a worrier by nature, and am very worried right now.  I had my blood drawn to check my progesterone level today, so I should know what that comes back at tomorrow morning.  Hopefully it is nice and high.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I'm PUPO! October 15th, 2011

So as of shortly before 10:00 today, I am pregnant until proven otherwise (PUPO).  It was another challenging experience at the RE's office.  My RE was still not in today, so I had the same doc that I've had for the last few appointments do the transfer.  We arrived at 8:55, as we were told to be there by 9:05 and our transfer time was to be 9:20.  So as 9:05 came and went, we were getting anxious.  I had chugged 20 ounces of water between 8:25 - 8:30 so that I had a nice full bladder for the procedure.  They do an on-the-tummy ultrasound for the transfer, and the full bladder helps them see the uterus better.  Needless to say, the urge to urinate was very strong by 9:20.  We were finally called back to the room at 9:25 - 20 minutes after we were expected to be called back and given the report on our embryos.  We then proceeded to wait another 15 minutes, and by then, I was getting really upset.  I needed to pee very badly, and I expected my embryos would be in me at 9:20 exactly.  These things are usually a science right down to the minute, so waiting was very unexpected.  The doc finally came in and gave us our report on our embryos.  Hubby and I had a very lengthy discussion last night over sushi about what we would do in all sorts of scenarios.  When that report was put in front of me, all my planning went out the window and I was just stammering and uncertain.  Here's how it broke out:

  • 1 grade 1 blastocyst
  • 1 grade 1 early blastocyst
  • 1 grade 2 early blastocyst
  • 1 grade 1 morula
  • 3 grade 2 morulas
  • 1 grade 3 morula

What I did not expect was that so many of them would still be morulas instead of blastocysts and that all 8 would still be growing and dividing.  I had thought about putting back the top embryo and the bottom embryo.  In fact, as of going to bed last night, that is what we had planned to do.  The doc said he would recommend putting back the top 1 or 2 embryos, either decision would be fine.  So what did we decide?  Well, picturing my pregnancy, delivery, and the future of our family, I picture just one at a time.  I picture having one baby to add to our family in 9 months.  I also picture not doing this process again, so sacrificing the extra 12% chance of success was difficult to do, but in the end, we opted to transfer our one top-of-the-line blastocyst.  We hope most if not all of the others make it to be frozen (well, they will not freeze the grade 3, so that one is a loss), but we really have all of our eggs in one basket.  Err, all of our eggs in one egg I guess.  So now we wait.  I have my progesterone level checked on Monday to ensure that the progesterone in oil shots that I am receiving are doing the trick.  If not, they will probably up my dosage.  That would not be fun.  These shots hurt!  And, if I am pregnant, they will continue until December 8th.  Lovely.  heh.  OK, well, that's my update for now.  Now I lay on the couch and rest for the next 2 days so that perfect little emby can settle in.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Transfer tomorrow, sushi tonight! October 14th, 2011

Transfer is tomorrow at 9:20 AM!  Eek!  It feels like this week has been so long, but now it's almost go time!  To celebrate, we bought a Groupon to a restaurant in a nearby suburb that we used to frequent for some great sushi.  If all goes well, I won't be able to have it again for nearly 2 years (can't have it while breastfeeding either), so we're going to live it up!  We still don't know if we'll be doing 1 or 2 embryos - it really all depends on the state of our little embies in the morning.  I'll update you all tomorrow sometime with the results - then it's just 9 days wait until we know if it worked!  Seems short now, but it will feel loooooong when we're in it!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Updated Fertilization Report (Day 3) - October 13th, 2011

Sorry for the delay in informing you of what has been going on!  These past few days have been Codeine-induced blur!  So, first the update.  As of this morning, here is the day-3 update:
1 10-cell grade 2
3 8-cell grade 1
2 8-cell grade 2
1 7-cell grade 3
1 6-cell grade 2

If you count those up, you will see that all 8 are still growing and dividing!  That is amazing!  Based on the reports yesterday and today, we have decided to do a day-5 transfer, which will be Saturday.  We still don't know how many we are going to transfer, as they certainly won't all make it to be frozen.  On day 5, the embryos become known as blastocysts and the grading scale changes.  The criteria for freezing are more rigorous than the non-blast transfer criteria.  So, right now I'm leaning toward transferring one top-quality embryo and one low-quality embryo that probably won't make it to freezing.  I'm not sure if that is what is going to happen or not, but that is how I am leaning today. We really won't be able to make the call until we are at their office on Saturday with the final report.  What a nail biter!

Another update, is that Tuesday night I woke up in a ton of pain - like a 9 on the 10-point scale.  I woke up Hubby and he called Dr RE's pager, but couldn't get in touch with him for awhile, so we decided to head to the hospital.  While we waited for my Mom to come over (it was midnight!) to be here in case RoBet woke up, Dr RE called back.  He said do NOT go to the ER, as they would take one look at my ovaries and put us through tons of very expensive and unnecessary testing.  Instead, he wanted us to come to his office at 8AM Wednesday morning.  To get through the night, he OKed the use of a heating pad (which is off limits otherwise) and to take 2 of my Tylenol-3s, which have codeine in them on top of the one I had taken at bedtime.  As it turns out, it was just the size of my ovaries causing the pain.  Normally, an ovary is the size, roughly, of a golf ball.  During stimulation, they become the size of grapefruits.  After follicle aspiration, they collapse back down to almost normal size.  Then, the follicles fill back up with fluid and actually grow larger than they were during stimulation!  I didn't know they grew even LARGER!  Well, my ovaries were bigger than the size of grapefruits - up to the size of small cantaloupes!  And because of the strange location of my left ovary, and the suddenness of the swelling, it really moved other stuff around inside causing the intense and sudden pain.  Several T-3s and much bedrest later, I am on my way to feeling better now.  Thankfully it was not OHSS or an infection, and all is getting better now.  

Tomorrow I will be getting a call from my nurse to set up the time for our transfer on Saturday and to give me the details of everything I need to know about transfer day.  My embie(s) are almost home - I cannot wait to be PUPO (pregnant until proven otherwise)! 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fertilization Report - October 11th, 2011

The fertilization report was called to me this morning.  Apparently the count of 10 eggs was not just the mature ones, but all eggs retrieved.  =(  There were 2 immature eggs, leaving 8 mature ones that they could try to fertilize.  Fertilization rates are normally around 70%, and slightly less with ICSI.  ICSI is where they inject a single sperm into each egg and is done in case of male infertility, such as ours.  So, with 8 eggs, we could expect 5 or maybe 6 to fertilize.  The bit of good news is that we had 100% fertilization, meaning we have 8 fertilized eggs, or 1-cell embryos as of this morning. 

What happens next?
Our nurse had said she expected us to do a day-3 transfer because of the low number of eggs we retrieved yesterday and the expectation that only 5 or so would fertilize, and that several would arrest in their development between fertilization and transfer.  However, the embryologist that called me this morning advised that we would probably be a go for a day-5 transfer since they all fertilized.  Only time will tell how many make it, and thus what day we do the transfer and how many we transfer.  We will be getting a call each morning for the next several days to let us know how many embryos are still dividing and viable.  I'll keep you posted, dear readers. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Egg Retrieval, More details - October 10th, 2011

We drove RoBet down to a suburb nearby where our reproductive clinic is, to my sister's house.  My mom had been caring for my sister's two girls while she and her husband were on a short getaway this weekend.  Since we had to report no later than 8:45 this morning, we left plenty of time to get to this suburb and then into the city to the clinic.  We arrived at 7:45 and got to see both of our nieces before they headed off to school, which was nice.  At 8:00, I took a Xanex to get me 'relaxed'.  Then at 8:10 we said goodbye to RoBet and headed to the clinic.  We arrived there around 8:25.  Hubby and I had to first report to the office next door and fill out some paperwork.  I then left and he stayed to make his 'deposit'.  This same office is where the embryos are cultured and stored, and frozen if we make it that far.  But I get ahead of myself.  I went next door to my clinic and signed in.  It was 8:30.  As I sat in the waiting room, at least a dozen other clients (couples and singles) came in and were called back.  Hubby joined me at about 8:50.  We waited and waited as the entire waiting room filled and emptied.  I was getting more and more worried the longer we waited - why were all of these other people going back and we weren't?  Were they there for other purposes, or is something wrong?!  Finally, at 9:15, half an hour after I was instructed to be there, we were called back.  We were taken to a recovery room and told that our room wasn't ready yet.  Peachy.  The nurse came in with a dose of some medication and I was told to drop my pants so she could inject me in the hip.  Joy.  She said it was a narcotic that would help me get through the procedure.  Well, I was less unhappy about it then.  After that, I was instructed to empty my bladder and clean my external lady bits with 3 wipes.  I went in and did as I was told, but struggled to open the third medicated wipe.  I don't know why it didn't want to open, but it really just didn't.  I had to use my teeth to tear into it.  Finally, with that task complete, I went back into the adjoining recovery room and sat.  And waited.  About 10 minutes later, our room was ready.  We went in, and I undressed from the waist down.  And we waited.  At 10:05, the doctor finally came in.  I asked if I should feel loopy or something, because I was fully alert, and was told that the drug would kick in later and I would forget what was happening.  The doc had me sit back and inserted various items to clean out my vaginal canal and cervix.  It wasn't that bad.  Then he injected a local anesthetic to numb the vagina.  That hurt quite a bit.  I thought that was going to be the worst part.  I was very, very wrong.  I help Hubby's hand and turned to watch the monitor.  Doc put in the ultrasound wand, and then tried to move one of the stirrups that my foot was in to make more room.  The stirrup would not move.  I lifted my foot in the air, with the other foot in the stirrup and the wand sticking out of my hoo-ha.  He struggled for a minute, then asked the nurse to do it.  She struggled with it for a few minutes mumbling about where it should fit, but it wasn't going over there.  Hubby really wanted to jump in and help - he is an engineer after all - so finally they let him, and he had it fixed in about 30 seconds.  My leg was getting very tired.  After all that was over, I was feeling slightly amused and hopeful.  That ended very quickly.  Doc said, "Now, I've never had this done, but I hear it feels like pressure, then a pinch, then more pressure."  OK, I thought, I can do that.  Sure.  Instead, what it felt like was a jab, stick, and holy hell that hurts and burns and good lord, why?  Why, why, why?  He began to aspirate each follicle, and I figured I could take my mind off of it a bit by watching and counting how many he emptied.  That worked for the first 10 follicles (all on the right side).  He then said he had 4 more to aspirate on that side.  I was no longer watching.  I was gripping my Hubby's hands like my life depended on it, and desperately wishing that I would just pass out.  I would have given just about anything to pass out at that moment.  And it just kept going on and on and on.  All in all, I think this part of the procedure took about 10 - 12 minutes.  It was the most horrible 10 - 12 minutes of my life.  Seriously, I was gripping my husband's hands harder than I did during labor.  I was whimpering and crying on the table.  I was whispering, "No, make it stop, help" in between soft sobs and whines.  It was simply awful.  And it went on and on.  My left ovary gave at least 6 follicles, maybe a couple more.  After it was done, doc and nurse tried talking to me.  I don't really remember what they said, but I just didn't care.  I remember thinking that if I could talk, I would tell them to fuck off.  They, of course, didn't deserve that, but it was all I could think of in that moment.  Maybe it was good that I couldn't talk.  I'm not sure how long I laid on that table whimpering and sobbing softly after they left.  I nearly threw up several times and was given medicine to keep the nausea at bay.  I was given little sips of water to help with the dry mouth caused by the pointless narcotic that did nothing.  I was in excessive amounts of pain for several hours after the procedure.  I'm still in quite a bit of pain, but it is manageable now.  In all, they aspirated at least 20 follicles.  When the nurse came back, she said we got 10 eggs.  It is normal to have a couple of follicles not hold eggs, but for half or more to not hold eggs is very strange.  I don't yet know why this happened to me.  My guess is that it has to do with how quickly the follicles jumped in growth, but I am certainly not qualified to make that judgement at this time.  I will have to have a talk with my doctor in a few days to try and understand why this happened to me.  Meanwhile, I await my fertilization report tomorrow morning.  What we hear tomorrow will tell us whether we do a 3-day transfer or a 5-day transfer.  We were certain, until after the procedure, that we would be doing a 5-day transfer of 1 embryo.  We had so many mature follicles, how could we not have enough embryos to do that?  Now, we are nervous that we won't have enough to even make it to a day 5 transfer, and that means we will not know the quality of the embryos we transfer.  So, I am just in a bad way today.  I am depressed and expecting the worst now.  This process just sucks all the way around.

Egg retrieval - October 10th, 2011

What a rough day. The egg retrieval (ER) did not go well today. I will post more details later, but it was horribly painful and I was way too alert. I was whimpering and crying as it went on and on. They aspirated 20 follicles, but only got 10 eggs. I'm not even sure if those were all mature eggs, or if they will take those out of the count before the fertilization report tomorrow. :( I am very bummed today.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Wish me luck tomorrow - October 9th, 2011

Egg retrieval (ER) is tomorrow morning.  The retrieval is at 10:00, but we have to be there by 8:45.  We have to do some crazy maneuvers to get RoBet to my Mom, who will be at my sister's house in the morning, since we cannot bring RoBet to the ER.  That means that we have to leave here around 7:00 instead of 8:00.  Meh.  Oh well, we'll live.  I'm super nervous about the procedure tomorrow.  I am really not looking forward to being awake while they puncture the walls of my vagina to extract the eggs.  That sounds really not fun.  Hopefully I can distract myself by watching the follicles deflate on the screen.  Maybe I'll be 'high' enough to tell the lab technician to be sure to pick the boy sperm.  You know, the ones with penises.  heh.  OK all, wish me luck and I'll update tomorrow with the total egg count!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Good results - October 8th, 2011

I got some good results at my checkup today.  My follicles went from 11 - 14mm to 17.5 - 26mm!  They doc was looking for at least 3 to be 18mmand we have 16 ranging from 17.5 - 26mm!  He was pretty surprised that so many grew so fast - he even called the biggest ones 'monsters'.  haha!  So, we will take the trigger shot tonight (which is the same as the trigger shots that we did for our IUIs) and the egg retrieval (ER) will be Monday morning.  I cannot believe how fast the stimulation phase went! 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Some good news - October 5th, 2011

This morning's appointment went well.  The blood draw was uneventful.  I had to wait a bit longer for the ultrasound than before, but it still wasn't too long.  When the doc came in to peek at what was going on, he found that my uterine lining was a 7 already.  It needs to be at least a 6 at transfer - and that is still at least a week away, so that's great!  He then looked at my left ovary and saw 4 follicles right away.  The ovary was being difficult to get into view, as always, so he though there were more but didn't feel a need to push around to view it better.  They both measured in the 13 mm range.  Then he looked at the right ovary, and it was full of all sorts of follicles, all of a similar size.  They were between 11 and 14 mm, and he did a quick count of 7, again without probing or moving the wand around.  So, we have a minimum of 11 good sized follicles, all growing at a nice rate.  The doc wants at least 3 follicles of size 18 or larger for trigger (HCg trigger shot) and they grow at an average of 2 mm per day, so there is a good chance that we will be given the order to trigger on Saturday after our appointment putting our egg retrieval at Monday.  That is nearly a week ahead of schedule!  I guess we're making up time that we lost in suppression.  haha!  I then got the call about my E2 levels this afternoon.  They were at 733, which is great for where we are in the process!  So we will continue with what we've been doing until Saturday, and from there we'll probably be able to know the rest of the schedule.  Exciting! 

Off topic - Maggie - October 4th, 2011

One of our sweet dogs, Maggie, died Monday night.  She was 9 and was my husband's first dog of his own.  He got her when we'd been dating for about 6 months and she and I fought and fought over those first few years.  Heh.  She was a Scottish terrier, and they are all about being at the head of the 'pack', so she wanted to make sure I knew my place.  She let me know that she was above me by ripping up my expensive fancy bras when I slept over, chewing my CDs, books, DVDs, just about anything she could get her teeth on.  She proceeded to cost us thousands in damages on my husband's first house from tearing up carpet, chewing drywall, chewing wood steps and baseboards, and peeing all over the place, forcing us to replace all of the carpet in every room.  But I wouldn't have traded her for anything.  Around age 3, she calmed down and was the best dog anyone could ask for.  She was loyal, loving, and had that 'sixth sense' some pets do about when to cuddle with us, when we were hurt or sad, etc.  She was so much fun and loved to play - she would run after toys and give them the 'death shake' when she caught them.  She was so tolerant of RoBet even though she is a rough-and-tumble toddler.  Maggie would run after us when we'd be pushing RoBet in her Cozy Coupe car and RoBet would laugh and laugh.  I have so many good memories of Maggie, and I already miss her so much.  It's strange how in a house with a toddler and 8 pets, the loss of just one can make it feel so empty.  Feeding time is the worst time.  Maggie loved feeding time.  I would get so mad at her because she'd stick her giant schnoze in and try to (often successfully) steal some of the other dogs' food.  I would bop her on the nose with the scoop and she would love it because it left a dog-food powder on there that she would lick off.  I wish so much that she was still here to steal their food.  I wish she was here so I could give her extra food.  I'd make her whatever she wanted if she could be here for just one more day.  It's hard in a house with so many 'people' around, because you never feel like you've given each of them enough attention and love.  I just hope she knew how much she was loved, and that her death wasn't terribly painful. 

It caught us fairly off guard.  About a month ago, she had suddenly become severely lethargic and turned away from food and water.  She wouldn't move, eat, or drink.  I called the vet and got her in on an emergency appointment that same day.  The docs found that she was anemic, but the physical exam showed nothing.  Further bloodwork showed nothing out of the ordinary other than the anemia - no cancer or anything.  So, we had 2 bottles of pills to give her.  She was eating a little that night, and like normal the next day.  Within a couple of days, she was moving around almost like before, though a bit slower and less lively to be sure.  We helped her up and down stairs a bit for the next few weeks, but she seemed much better.  We figured she probably was getting some arthritis due to old age, so we ordered some glucosamine online.  It didn't make it in time.  Monday night, again very suddenly, she took a rapid turn for the worst.  Just before 7:00 PM, she pooped on the floor right next to RoBet and I as we were playing.  Hubby cleaned the poop and I took Maggie upstairs.  Hubby took her out, and I didn't think much more of it as I watched RoBet.  Hubby called down that she was laying outside and not moving, which is exactly what she had done for me a month before.  I told him that, and went online trying to do some more research.  He called me upstairs, and I saw Maggie trying to walk across the floor, but stumble and fall down, panting and gasping.  Hubby ran down to get the vet's number.  It was about 7:05.  After a few calls back and forth to the vet and waiting about 15 minutes, we knew it was bad.  Maggie was nearly catatonic.  We took turns petting, hugging, and kissing her and trying to sooth her.  RoBet picked up on our anxiety and was screaming and crying.  I put her to bed, and I called the vet back, tired of waiting for their return call.  They said the on-call vet was on his way in, and we should bring her in.  Hubby did so, but we knew it was the end.  I kissed her one more time, and he took her off.  She stopped breathing a few times on the way in.  Her heart nearly stopped when she arrived.  The nurse massaged it to bring her back, but that didn't help.  The doc gave medicines to restart her heart, but they didn't work.  By 8:15, Hubby was home without Maggie.  In an hour and 15 minutes, it was all over, just that fast.  She was only 9.  The doctor thinks it was probably an enlarged heart and lungs that resulted in a heart attack.  She had had a perfect annual checkup in June.  No issues.  Lively, healthy, full of energy and spirit. 

Maggie is gone, and the rest of us are left to go on without our 'pack leader'.  I could go on even longer about how sad we are, but I guess I've vented enough.  Next post will be back on topic, I promise.  Thanks for letting me get this off my chest.  Goodbye Maggie.  We love you and miss you more than you will ever know.