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News and Events

By David Ralph

Shortly after moving into our

BRAND NEW …starter home

we thought we would be true to

our catholic vow of:

no birth control.

The “experts” say newly married couples are

supposed to wait to have kids:

“Take time and grow together.”

We weren’t trying to have a baby

but we weren’t opposed to the idea either.

She came from a big family

and I didn’t have much of a family

so the idea of

having a family of our own

made us




Two months!

I danced around our bedroom

with a towel wrapped around my neck

and boxers on my head


“Dah Dah Dah, Super sperm!”

We heard stories of all the couples

that couldn’t have babies

even after years of trying.

Even after specialist

after specialist

and test

after test.

They just were incapable of


My wife and I on the other hand

only took two months.

“Dah Dah Dah”



 “Mom, Dad guess what?”

The first kiss.

The moment you know love.

The first time.

Telling your parents that they are going to become


These are feelings that cannot be faked.

Feelings that cannot be duplicated

or accurately described.

We told everyone

We told anything really

Our excitement just couldn’t be contained.

I went out and bought


the Cliché

baby gear:

“Baby on board” suction cup car window sign

“World’s #1 dad” coffee mug

I even made my wife her own t-shirt

“no womb available”

Get it?

Womb?  Room?

She thought it was cute.



Experts also say you shouldn’t tell anyone

you are expecting a child until after

the third trimester.

It’s too risky

We didn’t know.

Our doctor said it was typical

To lose a baby.

It was hard to get our minds


the idea of ‘losing our baby.’

We didn’t misplace it like

a set of keys or

accidentally throw it away

as if our baby was a grocery list.

We didn’t know.

Our excitement evaporated.

The hardest part was unraveling

the joyous chain of communication

and replacing it with mourning.



She was “cool.”

It’s hard to picture a puppy as


But she was.

All the other puppies frantically scurried

around the old recycled

baby playpen

seeking attention

but not her.

She sat back.



When one of her brothers or sisters would

scamper by attempting to play

she would merely


stick out her paw

as if trying to say

“Hey man, slide me some skin.”

When my wife picked the pup up

The tiny glob of black fur

rolled into a ball and feel asleep.

From that moment on

she had us.

She was a bright idea of mine

A temporary fix to our overwhelming loss



The first couple months of raising a dog

Is hell.

No one really tells you that a puppy

is actually worse than a baby.

At least with a baby you know where

you’ll find poop and pee.

Puppy’s have Freudian oral fixations just like babies.

Hands, feet, door trimming, or whole roles of toilet paper

All must go in the mouth.

If raising a pup was anything like raising a kid then maybe

we weren’t ready for parenthood yet

but this thought was forced back

since shortly after adopting our puppy


my wife became pregnant again.

This time we didn’t tell anyone.



I bought a doghouse for Annabelle.

too mechanically declined

to build one myself.

She had started getting used to the


of sleeping inside

but with my wife pregnant,


we had less time to worry about a


Annabelle’s eyes were a deep speckled gold

and the epitome of sad puppy eyes.

She would lie on the back deck

starring up at me through the worn French windows

while my wife and I planned for

a baby room,

the safest crib to buy,

how to baby proof the house.

Annabelle just wanted someone to play with

someone to love her

It didn’t seem fair to me that she would have

to be ignored

for the next several years while we raised a child.

Plus she was a lot more work than we had


An ad was placed to try and find our Annabelle

a better home.



 Losing one baby is tough.

Losing two is unbearable.

We didn’t have anyone to


this time.

All the grief was placed on us


All the blame.

We doubted ourselves

How could we not?

Natural they say.

This didn’t feel natural.

We felt



Dismissed from the idea

that we would ever become parents.

We became

opposed to the idea.

We stopped trying



Thankfully no one we liked

answered Annabelle’s ad.

Maybe there was no one

We could have liked.

After our second

Lost baby

we started to


everything we had left

into that black lab.

My wife,

always the picture taker,

started taking massive amounts

of ‘Belle pictures.