Sunday, May 13, 2012

Life is a Miracle...

WOW. What an incredible suprise of a day did I have a few days ago.
Let me give you a bit of an update...

As a vet student, I love being around animals. It feels almost necessary for me to surround myself with a variety of furry creatures. I love keeping pets and caring for my animals as a way of "fuzz therapy"- reminding myself of the innocent passion that made me fall in love with this profession. 
So what better way to do that than with my two furry guinea-pig roommates, Scotch and Soda.

I aquired Scotch in October last year. A sweet little guinea pig with long hair and a fiesty personality. He was a blessing to have around but the more I researched caring for guinea pigs the more apparant it became that guinea pigs are social creatures that cherish furry company.

So on the 1st of April I purchased Soda-an adorable bedheaded guinea pig to befriend Scotch.
Scotch and Soda... my guinea pig collection was complete, or so I thought.

As a vet student, I am obviously well versed in the reproductive realities of keeping male and female animals together. But as a responsible pet owner and vet student, I had Scotch go in for the big-pig-snip well before I bought Soda.
In my mind, there was no way that I wanted to allow my pets to even have the possibility of breeding. And knowing the various medical risks of reproduction, I believed that I had done everything necessary to ensure no future guinea-piglets.

So yesterday morning, I was sitting chatting with my mom and we had the guinea pigs cuddling with us. She was holding Soda. My mom turned to me and remarked,
"Is your guinea pig not getting a little fat?"
Yes, I had noticed Soda's belly expanding somewhat, but I was feeding my pigs very good quality feed and Soda seemed to have quite an appetite, often bullying Scotch for his food. I had been feeding them more than the recommended amount of food to ensure that both pigs got enough, so it seemed logical that she was getting a bit tubby.
"Robs," my mom continued, "her spine and ribs are prominent so she cant be fat, but her belly is very expanded. Are you sure she isn't pregnant??"

Of course I was sure, I had done everything to prevent that...
 But as my mom said the words, it was like my eyes had been opened. My guinea pig was definately pear shaped, a classical sign for pregnancy in guinea pigs. Frantically I consulted a vet who confirmed the diagnosis- not only was she most likely pregnant, but she was likely very far along. 
How could this have happened, and how did I, as the responsible vet student, not pick up on the obvious?
The gestation period in pigs is 2 months, and having had her for only one month, it became obvious that she had probably been doing the hanky-panky at the pet shop. 

Knowing the risks for a young guinea pig to go through pregnancy it came as a shock and huge concern for me. I hadn't prepared for this and it seemed a bit of a disaster to my "perfect plan".
Dystocia, death in labour, rejecting the babies, having to wean and rehome up to 6 baby guinea pigs- my concerns were mounting and I felt a dreaded guilt at not realising the situation sooner to provide better care for this poor little creature. 
5 years ago I wouldve been over the moon with excitement for this new adventure, but 3.5 years of vet school has hardened me to the harsh realities of life...

So that evening I was sitting in my lounge cuddling my very fat pig. I had my hand under her enormous belly, gently stroking her up her back while she "giggled" in only the way that guinea pigs can.
Then I felt it... the strong kick of life coming from within Soda's belly. And then another, and then another. 
It was the most magical feeling in the world...
Feeling the absolutely amazing miracle that is life, the cynisism within me slowly melted away.

So yes, sometimes I plan things supposedly perfectly.
With my knowledge and experience, I can ensure that things won't go unexpectedly- no suprises and no room for mistakes. 
But God has other plans- and at the end of the day the things that are least expected are often the greatest of miracles.
Yes, the risks are still very much there, but at the end of the day I am certain that whatever happens, God is still in control. 
This little adventure has turned into a beautiful reminder from God that despite the cynicism that my studying and that the stress of this world may throw at me...
...Life is truly a miracle.

  I wrote this post about two weeks ago.
On monday evening I was sitting in my res room cramming some work for a test I was due to write when Soda started making some soft guinea pig noises.
When I went to check on her all was well and so I got back to the books.

About fifteen minutes later Soda was still quielty "talking" and when I went to open up her house to give her a cuddle I was encountered with 2 little adorable, fluffy baby guinea pigs.

Mom and baby pigs were both fine, my fears had been relieved and the beautiful little creatures have wormed their way into my heart. 
God truly is amazing and I am grateful for His work.

To some these creatures seem small and insignificant, but when I watch them, running around and eating and playing, it is just a small reminder to take a moment to appreciate God's signature that is beautifully written in the world around us.