At some point during the course of this blog, there have been pictures of Kaia (our dog) and Maile (our cat). We refer to them as Charlie’s big sisters. Charlie had another pet-sibling named Skylar. It is time that I wrote about Skylar.
Skylar was a bunny. A French Lop to be exact. She was litter trained, played with the cat and dog, and binked during sprints across the floor. We had fun building her enclosures, making salads for her, buying her toys, and creating her box mazes.
Skylar like to have her head rubbed and hopped into our laps. The cat used to clean her and vice versa. She loved tunneling through boxes and burrowing in the shavings. With each box she destroyed, we said she was building her dream home. She was a picky bunny that would only eat botanical hay. We had a voice for her and clichés that we claimed she spoke.
Two days before Charlie came home from the NICU, Skylar got sick late at night. I knew the day would come (bunnies are fragile) that she would get sick. I was prepared to nurse her back to health when it happened (bunnies often need syringe feeding and sub cutaneous fluids when ill). I knew I could do it and she was bonded with us (which improved outcomes).
However, I never imagined that Skylar would get sick two days before bringing home a twenty six weeker.
Upon finding her ill, my husband and I rushed her to the 24 hour vet. I sat with her in the back seat as we rode in the car. She leaned into my hand to be pet. I was hoping it was just a nightmare.
When we arrived, the vet took her back to be examined immediately. The prognosis was not entirely poor. She had a reasonable chance of surviving with intensive care.
My husband and I were already exhausted from Charlie’s three and a half month ordeal. Things were only going to get harder once Charlie came home. We were struggling as it was. As many people who said, “If you ever need anything…” there were very few people that actually followed through with requests. The sad truth was… we were on our own.
I knew it would not be fair to Skylar to draw things out while failing to provide our full attention. Similarly, it would not be fair to Charlie for us to be distracted. We had to make what felt like an impossible decision.
Skylar was peacefully put to sleep in my husband’s arms.
It was horrible on so many levels.
I hate that we were forced by circumstance to make that choice. Losing my bunny was another thing that premature birth had taken from us. I felt like I had just picked myself up from the blow of being a NICU parent and I had been kicked to the ground again.
We had to mourn in silence. We only told a few people about our bunny’s passing. I could not stand to hear anyone say that “it was for the best” or that she was “just a bunny”. If things worked out for the best, Skylar would still be with us.
Even now, I rarely talk about her.
I still feel guilty. It is like I let Skylar down by not trying. I feel I failed her. She needed me and I was not there.
At our new home, we have wild bunnies that live in our back yard. I see them frolic and play almost daily. Mostly, they remind of all the good memories I have of Skylar. Once in a while, I leave out a veggie in her honor.