Monday, December 5, 2011

Plus One/Minus One: the Birth of Our Son, Henrik; the Loss of Traveler

On October 10th, 2011 Sarah and I welcomed our first son, Henrik Finn, into the world and he arrived epicly, to say the least.  To give you the brief version: 27 hours of labor, followed by an unplanned c-section, followed by Sarah hemorrhaging and needing a blood transfusion due to losing half her blood volume (had it been a different era she would have died during childbirth and if not then, from the hemorrhage for sure).  I am lucky that she is still here.  That was scary beyond words.  All in all we stayed in the hospital for a total of 6 days (we were camping at the hospital in Fort Henrik as we deemed it).  I have never seen anything like the labor that Sarah went through; it was mindblowing!  She could have easily moved a mountain with the amount of energy that she put into it but for some reason our little 6# 13 oz son wouldn't budge.  I have never seen anything like it.  The word does not exist to describe just what it was. 

and mother of the year...

A few days after returning home Sarah just was not recovering like she should have been and on top of being sleep deprived, recovering from major surgery and producing milk she was still anemic.  Really anemic, needing a second transfusion and a second, this time 2 day stay, in the hospital.  This same day we had made the difficult yet right decision to euthanize our beloved, rescued Alaskan Malamute, Traveler, after a battle with neurologic degeneration in his spine that caused him to have difficulty walking but did not affect his brain one bit.  For those of you that knew him, I don't need to say much.  For those that didn't I could go on and on as I have never met another dog like him.  I will be brief and use what the author Jon Katz calls the "lifetime dog" that he describes as "a lifetime dog is the one that enters your life at a particular, critical point and changes or affects you in ways no other animal can or will.”  He made our life better and his love of his family, or pack if you will, was paramount to him.  To say that this love was human like sells it short.  Words cannot describe him.  Our life will never be the same without him and we are so happy that he stuck it out to meet Henrik.  A friend of mine told me that animals have that amazing ability to know when it is time to move on or out of the way to make room for the new arrival so that we can focus on what needs to be focused on.  I have talked to so many people who have lost pets just as they had a baby.  To describe it in human terms it isn't to say that they don't want to be around anymore because of the baby or are jealous and can't possibly compete but rather that they love us so much that they move out of the way so as to allow us to focus on the baby.  I wish this was not the case but it certainly is a beautiful perspective. 

The timing of losing Traveler could not have been worse because we were torn between sheer joy in Henrik, and sheer, and ripping loss in Traveler.  It was odd to be so distracted from losing him that it made it easier.  I still haven't fully realized that he is never coming back.  Maybe I never will and perhaps there is something to be said for that.  He doesn't feel gone, but rather in the other room, outside or at my parents house visiting with them and gram.  If every day feels like this her will never be fully gone.  It does wash over us periodically and to say that we miss him does not do the feeling justice.

Welcome home Henrik Finn!
Goodbye Traveler.  Thank you for making our life better while you shared it with us.

How things balance out don't they.  Plus one.  Minus one.

Traveler's final resting place in a park like setting in our front yard, amongst a grove of maple trees.  Every morning and night I say good morning and goodnight to him.

ps-this arrival has TWO legs...and the chickens don't count!  Below, Henrik in a carrier meets our pig, Morgan Sophia Beasley for the first time!

1 comment:

Fiona Palin said...

Eric, What a wonderful post. I have tears rolling down my face. So much joy and sorrow from the most profound life experiences - birth and death. Henrik Finn is one lucky little guy to have you and Sarah as parents. Love to you all.
PS - Is a Traveller 2 in your near future plans?