Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Whole Kitten Ordeal, Part II

...continued from the other day...

The receptionist at the vet told us that it was going to be a long day. They would try to induce Iive, but then it would just be a waiting game for hours, hoping that she would "produce" the kittens. She suggested we go home and try to enjoy our holiday.

We took her up on the suggestion, and headed back for home. We stopped for fast food on the way since we were rather hungry, and, I suppose, wanting some "comfort food." It was hard to make ourselves do much once we were home, as we were worried about Iive and worried about all the money this was going to cost. There was also a bit of excitement thrown in, at the prospect of three more kittens to come. Our sincere expectation was that we would get a call and be headed back to the vet in a few hours to pick up the happy family.

Not so.

We had a family cookout to go to at 5:00, and decided to check in with the vet before we left. We said another quick prayer to St. Gertrude of Nivelles, and made the call. They said they had given Iive four hours on the oxytocin, and nothing had happened. Still no contractions. They were about the start another round, and said they would get in touch with us later that evening to let us know how things were going.

We still went to the party, but I can't say our minds were entirely on the festivities. Tom, especially, was having a tough time handling it all, since Iive is his beloved baby girl. At various points, Tom and I separated ourselves by hiding out in a bedroom or going for a short walk. We needed to discuss the issue, or make phone calls to our moms (fellow cat-lovers) for advice. We knew that if this round of induction didn't work - and neither of us felt at all confident that it would - we would be faced with a tough decision: come up with another $1000+ that we didn't have for a kitty c-section (from which neither Iive nor the three unborn kittens were guaranteed to come out alive), or...have her put to sleep.

Before this whole incident, I didn't believe I was one of those people who would even consider spending thousands of dollars on a cat. No matter how much I might care for a pet, I thought, it's still just an animal - not a human. If desperate and expensive measures should be called for to save one's life, I had determined that I would just have to steel myself and let it go.

But that was before we actually found ourselves in such a situation. It wasn't that our cat was old, and at the end of its life. She was young and otherwise healthy...and the lives of her two born and three unborn kittens were also thrown into the equation. Now it wasn't just my emotional attachment to the pet I had to be concerned with - it was my husband's.

Another call to the vet confirmed the worst - the second attempt at induction wasn't working. The only hope now was a c-section. They said they'd put together an estimate and call us back. We were already hundreds of dollars in this thing. The c-section, they said, would add an additional $1300 or so to our bill. This is when we really started agonizing over the decision. That's a LOT of money! Tom's mom had told us earlier that they would be willing to cover half the cost of the c-section (knowing how much Iive means to Tom). This was certainly a generous offer, but it's always hard to take so much money from someone. The vet told us that we could have the operation that night, or wait until morning, and take Iive to a different vet. Since she was at an emergency vet center, they told us, the pricing there was a bit higher. Waiting until morning might save us money...but did we want to take that risk?

At this point, we had already missed half the party anyways, separating ourselves so often to deliberate over the cat situation. Everyone in the family was starting to gather for the walk up to the high school, where they'd have a great view of the fireworks. Tom and I decided we would just head home instead. We really weren't in the right spirits to watch fireworks anyways.

At some point on the short drive home, Tom suggested we just go to the vet in person to talk with them and get all our questions answered. That way, too, we could see Iive before either surgery or...the other thing. We called to let them know we were coming, and started heading there. Stupid us, we had to drive right through the city just as downtown fireworks were starting, and the streets were jammed with people! We were slightly late, but at least we got to see a few fireworks on the Fourth of July.

We met with the vet, and she laid out our options again. Iive needed a c-section to survive. The unborn kittens may or may not be alive - there was no way to tell for sure. She could do it that night for $1300, or we could take her home and bring her elsewhere in the morning. The vet assured us that it would be "several hundred dollars cheaper" if we went to a regular vet. She also said that Iive and the unborn kittens would probably be "about the same" in the morning. She did seem to be pushing us toward the latter option, and we decided to take her up on it. If we could save some money on the c-section, and have Tom's parents helping us out with the cost, we figured we should go ahead with expensive as it still was.

Iive and her two babies rode home with us that night, and we put them back in our bedroom. Iive seemed happy to be home, but didn't look too well. Her belly was still large with babies, and there was blood and mess down under her tail. We looked up the phone numbers and opening hours of a few local vets, so I could call them as soon as they opened the next morning.

To be continued...

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