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The babies are here!

Well, our new little ones decided to arrive a few days early! They weren’t due until the 12th, which is this Saturday. However, I woke up Monday morning, took one look at Rosie, and said to myself, “This girl’s in labor.” At that point, I hit the ground running, cancelling several appointments for the day.

I checked in with the vet, who didn’t quite believe that Rosie was ready to deliver. Dogs rarely deviate from a 63-day gestation period, and 5 days early is practically unheard of. We ran down to Wilsonville Vet, where Rosie’s blood was drawn to check her progesterone level. If the level had dropped, that would indicate that things were moving, and quickly.

I took Rosie home, and had just gotten there when the vet called and confirmed that yes, she was laboring. We ran back in to have an ultrasound to assess whether the pups were ready to be born, so that we would have an action plan in place for any special care they might need due to being born early. The pups looked great- kidneys, intestines, lungs all checked out fine. Cleared for takeoff!

Relieved, I called Dave in Hawaii to give him the good news. He was feeling out of the loop, frustrated, and unable to help from so far away. Then I got in touch with Mom. My dad came immediately and picked up Pip and Paisley, so that the only dogs I had to care for were Rosie and the pups. Mom followed in her own car, planning to spend the night to lend moral support (as well as an extra set of hands during the whelping!).  Anna came home from school and was thrilled to death that it was Happy Birthday for the new litter.

Sweet Rosie in early labor- sleeping sitting up 🙂

Rosie spent most of the day in the first stage of labor.  This involves a lot of panting, trembling, moving around, not eating or drinking, and going in and out to go to the bathroom.  I brushed her, clipped her nails, petted her, and just tried to keep her as comfortable as possible.  Luckily, I had all of the whelping supplies set up and well-organized, so I wasn’t forced to rush through that.  Our dogs give birth in a kiddie wading pool, lined with soft fleece and absorbent hospital pads; I had only set the pool up the night before, thinking I had 5 or 6 more days before pups….Rosie knew better.

Four little red doodles

Around 10:30, Rosie started pushing.  I hustled her into the pool, and the first pup came shortly thereafter.  We were really surprised around 1:30 am.  I was holding a pup who had just emerged, waiting to tie its umbilical cord- I was bent over, close to Rosie, looking at the pup.  Not 20 seconds later, another pup popped out with a “whoosh”!  I jumped, then cracked up that I had been caught so off guard.  Weird!

The first pup was born around 10:30.  We delivered pups all through the night; Anna made it until about 3:30 am, and then headed for bed.  Mom and I thought the last baby had been born at about 4:30.  I cleaned up a bit, sent Mom to bed, and leaned down to check on Rosie.  I thought I could feel one more pup in her belly, so I called Dr. Calkins.  He was so sweet on the phone, but very groggy!  As he calculated the dosage and gave me instructions to give Rosie a shot of oxytocin to stimulate contractions, I could hear his wife in the background repeating back everything he said, as if to verify that he was getting it right.  What a team!

Around 5:30 am, I gave Rosie the injection, and 15 minutes later, out came our last pup!

So comfy on top of the heap!

We have 10 beautiful, healthy babies:  7 boys and 3 girls.  Most of them have what appears to be fleece coats like their dad, Jazz, while a few look like they’ll be a little curlier.  The smallest baby was 5.1 ounces at birth, while the largest weighed 10.3 ounces.  They’ve been hard at work, eating and sleeping, for about 48 hours now, and the smallest pup at this point is 8.5 and the biggest 13.3 ounces.  I check each pup’s weight every 12 hours to make sure that it’s moving steadily upward- this will continue for a couple of weeks.
The whelping pool is set up in our bedroom for the first couple of weeks; puppies aren’t able to regulate their own body temperature at first, so we keep the room very warm.  I check on the puppies every couple of hours, or sooner if I hear one of them fussing.  They fuss if they can’t find an open spot for nursing, or if they get separated from their siblings.  Needless to say I’m not getting the best sleep of my life 🙂  Goes with the job, I guess.

So, this hasn’t exactly been the week I had planned, but I am so thankful that we have 10 healthy pups, that it’s been sunny out and spring’s around the corner, and that I was prepared just enough that an early delivery wasn’t a problem.  Can’t wait to watch these cuties grow and change- what a privilege and a blessing!

Comments

  1. Congratulations on your beautiful litter of puppies!