Being pregnant, I know it's more important than ever to avoid potentially germy things such as stray cats. After several days of bringing sustenance to the brood, the mother cat stopped hissing long enough to emerge from her hiding place as I filled her water bowl. I thought that I was making progress but I had no plans to touch her. She had her own plans, which involved marching up to me, scratching me and quickly retreating. I began to understand why no one was looking for her.
Earlier this week I was distracted from my feral-feeding duties after getting some frightening ultrasound results. (TMI alert here, folks.) At just 30 weeks of pregnancy, I am already starting to dilate. My obstetrician instructed me to avoid anything requiring exertion -- even the Aquafit course I recently registered for in a sad attempt to introduce exercise into my sedentary lifestyle. The doctor also made appointments for me at the hospital to receive Celestone injections to help the baby's lungs develop more quickly in case he makes an early appearance. Following yesterday's shot, I noticed no movement from the baby all day and just a few weak kicks in the evening. When I awoke this morning and still felt no movement, I proceeded to the hospital two hours before my appointment. By the time I was in Maternal Triage I was also in tears, fearing the worst.
In a hospital gown, laying on a bed with a fetal heart monitor strapped to my belly, I heard the most wonderful sound a paranoid expectant mother can hear: the rapid kaTHUMP kaTHUMP kaTHUMP of a healthy baby's heart. The on-call doctor then performed an ultrasound to show me that the baby was indeed moving, although I still couldn't feel anything. I had my second and final Celestone injection and went on my greatly relieved way, anxious to phone Scott with the good news. Well, the mostly good news. I wasn't thrilled to learn that, if I should go into labour early, there will be no attempt to stop it, as the baby has a "90-95%" chance of survival at this stage. I worry about his health if he is born prematurely, but all I can do is to take it easy, as per the doctor's orders.
Having had the distraction of the baby fright, I missed two visits with the felines next door. Scott and I bought a case of canned cat food this evening only to discover that the brood has moved on, leaving an empty plate, empty bowl and empty pet carrier. My great happiness from the morning's reassuring hospital visit was tempered by the sadness of knowing that I was unable to rescue the cats from joining the already large population of feral cats in our area. Priorities change when one is pregnant, and I certainly had to put my unborn baby's welfare above all else, but that doesn't prevent me from feeling like I let down the little ones next door.