I have never before set up a whelping station as quickly as I did that day!
Fortunately, Majestic a seasoned mom, took to her box right away. The first of her contractions came around 3pm. I turned on some tunes as I always do- watched and waited. As we were approaching the two hour mark that's her norm I began to become a little concerned. Call it a feeling... call it those voices. She wasn't exhibiting any signs of distress... but something had me setting up a box for the possibility of pups arriving during transport. I double checked the back-seat seat protector and placed it in it's designed sling position. Upon my return to Jess I found no change. But... I thought her contractions seemed a little weak. Better safe than sorry I called UF Gainesville to discuss her course. They informed me they generally recommend 2-3 hours of active contractions before recommending a trip in. This is what I've known to be customary... my local vet pushing the envelope a little to 4 hours. I made the decision at two and a half to take Majestic in. On exam they agreed, her contractions probably too weak to bring pup. We discussed a trial of Oxytocin and had consult with the surgeon. Jess was given the dose of Oxy which did increase the strength of her contractions but only temporarily. After lab work, ultrasound and X-rays were complete and reviewed it was decided a C-section would be performed. Majestic's and my first. And uneasy I was. Surgery always comes with risks and I've read and have knowledge of too many occurrences, even during scheduled C-sections, that loss of pups is somewhat common. While I could feel her pups kicking within I was preparing myself for loss of half the litter. My thoughts, even knowing she was in good hands with state of the art equipment available, were with Jess. I was told the section itself is a quick process... the time of anesthesia to the time pups are out only about ten minutes. From there they work on mom, checking and closing. They would come out and talk to me after mom and pups were stable. They expected my wait to be about an hour and a half. That wait seemed an eternity.
Fortunately around 10:30 my wait was rewarded with the absolutely best possible news! Jess and all pups were doing well. The Doctor answered the questions I had about nursing after a C-section and gave me the needed post op instructions. Jess had lost quite a bit of blood and would be groggy and maybe a little weak but nursing wouldn't be a problem. They assured me they would get the pups nursing as quickly as possible in order for them to get full effect of the earliest milk and the beneficial colostrum it holds. All was well in the world and in the land of pups! I was relieved and one happy girl!
But the wait continued. I was told by the surgeon Jess and the pups would be transferred to medical... her part of the job complete. I could expect to pick them up around one am. One am came and went but finally around 2:30 I was presented with Jess who was very obviously happy to see me. Along with her came a box full of squirming babies. Official date of birth May 3rd 2018.
I finally got everyone home and settled around 3:30 and kept them under a watchful eye. Jess was in fact groggy and at one point I was a little worried about her. I rousted her up and took her outside which brought forth some pep. From there I rested a little more easily. With each outing the spring in her step has increased and her color is improving. She was alarmingly pale. The pups are nursing well and Jess now tending to them as I've known her to with past litters. Yesterday was pretty much a wash... I hung out in the room with them, exhausted... dozing off and on for brief intervals.
Today I'm happy to report things are basically back to a normal with a caring, attentive and gentle mom caring for a beautiful litter of black and rust pups. I've had a chance to get some rest with a full nights sleep and finally completed the task of speaking to each on Jess's wait list. From here we will progress.
Unfortunately we were a couple pups short to complete those most recently added to our list but there will be other pups and other litters. I was pleasantly surprised to hear both families want to wait... proud to hear waiting for one of my pups worth it to them.
My apologies for the late announcement and post. Here's your first glimpse of your babies!
Click on photos to enlarge...
Welcome to "The first eight weeks". Weights have been posted.