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My Last Baby Girl, and My First

Maybe I want my baby to be a little bit like my dog.

Two Fridays ago, I found out that I’ll be having a baby girl. Just moments later, as we were leaving the doctor’s office, I also found out that I’d be losing my other “baby girl.”

This other baby was a Brussels Griffon pup with a red-blonde coat and a sassy personality to match. She came to us on a plane from California 11 years ago, and as she scooted her little self out of a cargo cage and into my sister’s arms, the four of us collectively acknowledged finding something we didn’t know we were missing: a baby sister to dote on.

She stole my clothes (socks, mostly) as well as my friends, and her incessant “talking” was the stuff any older sister would balk at. But she was also cuddly and sweet, a complete show-off, a bit of a snob and a bigger bit of mischief. Audrey Hepburn had a beloved dog she named “Mr. Famous,” and we found it appropriate to name ours after him. With her trained prance and funny way of holding her chin, it was a moniker she didn’t even have to try to live up to. Aside from being a total character, she could make even the most small-dog-averse dude friend come to like her.

About a year ago, Miss Famous got a cough that never left. In short, her trachea was collapsing and she was having difficulty breathing. We knew she would struggle, but we didn’t know when it would be time to say “when.” Her time came two Fridays ago, when my mom could no longer bear her suffering though she was still active and relatively spry which made it only harder. We put her down just an hour after I left the doctor’s office, and it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to be part of—and certainly not just because I’m pregnant.

But I have to say that watching something die, while knowing another something is starting inside you turns a bitter experience into a bittersweet one. I felt hopeful, like I’m a creative impetus in this thing we call the Circle of Life, or like my body can make someone I can love just as much and even more than the one I had to leave behind. It’s a pretty cool thing.

2011 has been an even harder year than the one Famous arrived in—and boy, did we need her then. I think I’m hoping that my baby will give my family some much-needed hope in the same way a four-legged one did, nearly a decade ago.

So, will I name my baby girl “Famous” after our beloved dog? Probably not. But do I hope that she’ll be reincarnated as my baby? Maybe a little.

Though she would be a total handful.

Take my pets … please! I used to love my dog and cats. Then I had a baby.

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