Three years ago, my entire life changed.
I remember thinking to myself in those final moments, that though I had read up on it. Though I had studied my little heart out constantly. I remember thinking. . . .
Oh my God, I can’t do this.
What am I talking about?
Helping to birth puppies.
Anyone who followed me on Facebook three years ago may remember that day well. I didn’t tell anyone just how petrified I was that I would pass out; that I would not be able to handle it; that I would fail. I was scared most of all, that I would fail. That I would end up harming one of those puppies, or that I would worse . . . kill one.
Of course the vet had prepared us for one of them possibly being stillborn too. The one that was up in momma’s (Kendra’s) ribcage. I was so incredibly scared. I didn’t know if I could handle one of them coming out dead. With every one that came out, I grew more afraid that I would find that one the vet had warned about.
With the way Kendra adamantly refused to obey ALL rules and laws set forth, I thought she would have damaged them. As in rule one, and the biggest of all: NO JUMPING KENDRA!!!!
That didn’t work out so well. She would crash through any gates we set up, any cardboard areas blocked off. She was determined to go against all rules we placed. Mostly that jumping one. I don’t know how many times we found her on the window sill after we blocked it off completely. Even going so far as making an ugly gate of cardboard that was taller than Sabrina.
Simply a pain in the tookus.
Then it started. One after the other. One update on Facebook after the other. Not only a great way to chronicle, but letting all my friends know because I was SO happy, and so incredibly proud of that mother.
The vet was on call for us at any second. My brother was downstairs receiving updates as fast as I could send them. My mom was outside the room. I didn’t leave my room for anything during those few hours, and then beyond that, I only did bathroom and quick food breaks.
I had my set up all ready. Sterilizing tools, cleaning items to clean up everything after I touched one, washcloths to clean the pups, help momma out with them, a sucker (NAME?) to remove fluid from nostrils, sterile scissors for doing the umbilical cords, as well as string to tie them off. A notepad and pen to record the time, the happenings, the weight, the color, the sex. Camera. Did I mention cleaning and sterilizing items? It looked like a mini hospital room.
And I was alone with her.
My mom and I had decided that it best for me to do it alone. Because Kendra and I had bonded, and she trusted me. I put her at ease.
I’ve helped her raise Shih Tzu pups (breeder) from when I was young. I wasn’t entirely new to the process, but being that I was young, I don’t remember a lot of the process, except waking in the middle of the night to help one pup get back on the momma for sucking. It wasn’t anything near as intense as this. I was petrified. There were moments that my hands were shaking so bad in between each birth, but somehow once underway, they became steady.
Then it began.
This is what I wrote after I detailed closing the curtains, shutting all lights off to provide her a dim cave to birth, and silencing the room as much as I could:
Water broke – 10 am Temp 99*
10:09 AM beginning to show
1 – 10:25 am B&W small girl
Cheyenne was born. I even detailed the fact that her placenta didn’t come out with her, but remained within. I called down to brother when I got her settled, he called and dealt with vet, then called me back within a few seconds. Said that as long as the puppy was okay, the placenta may not come out with that puppy, and in fact would remain until another came out. IF the cord was long enough, I could cut it, but with Cheyenne, it wasn’t. The cord remained at two inches. I needed just ONE more inch to safely cut and tie off. So she remained in her position until the third puppy came out. She could reach the lowest breast to suck, but she had a bit of a difficult start. Poor girl shows it in her life. Weight of the world on her shoulders being the oldest. Our beautiful beauty queen.
A powerhouse. She belongs next to a gazillionaire, on a plush pillow to be adored. But . . . she’s a meanie. In a good way, and yet not. When she decides you are to play with her, you are to play with her. Hold on. Because she will launch herself at wherever you do NOT want her, and then when you squeak, say no, or otherwise point out that is not nice to nip? (Never enough to do more than a quick little pinch.) You will see this sparkle of happiness cross her face (evil happiness), and she will try another place that you do not want to touch, and then can’t defend against because you’re too busy defending the other. She also loves to act like a wrecking ball. You’re walking down the hall, enjoying your day, and out of nowhere a thousand pound ball slams into the back of your kneecaps, and you almost tumble. “Cheyenne!”
That’s when you see the evil glint of happiness in her eye and she does her deep, “roof!” at you. As though telling you that you are a big ol sucker! Then she runs off. We have had to train that out of her because my mom being older, can’t handle that sort of treatment. Now it’s much better, but she’s also figured out who she CAN do that to, and who NOT. As I stated: they are too intelligent.
Sometimes being a beauty queen who lays around being worshipped gets old, I guess.
2 – 10:41 am B&W girl
Kaley was born. Beautiful sweet sensitive Kaley. She is the little mini momma to everyone. Also incredibly intelligent, and has to tell everyone off for everything. She is a talker. Also attached to Kona more than the rest of them.
An intuitive and intelligent being. When we took her to get spayed, we had a lot of problems with her reacting to the stitches they used, and more. The vet who fixed everything told me: I can’t explain it. I have never met such an amazing dog. Very intelligent, and so calm. When I had her lying on the table, she just remained upside down, and let me do whatever I wanted. I told her, that sounds like Kaley. Though Kaley is a talker, so she tends to whine through her haircutting, or grumble through her nail trimming, she seems to know what you need her to do, and does it. She loves to take care of everyone in the house. And she has an interesting quirk. She is very particular about kisses. All the other dogs will clean your face and kiss you any time. Kaley? You ask, she’ll tuck her head. You ask, she’ll turn away, or just smell you. SHE decides when she will offer you one lick on your forehead, or if she’ll clean your eye. Not you. Her.
3 – 11:14 am Brown and white girl
Lucy was born. The baby doll of the house. Don’t let that trick you, though. She is a little devil child. Because she gets babied by Chewbacca (her daddy), she thinks she has a right to do anything she pleases, and believes it is HER duty to rule the house. She is the tiniest at 9 lbs I believe. But boy, she doesn’t know that at all. Near identical color to Kendra now.
Such a sweet girl. And rambunctious. I can’t get her to leave bows in her hair. I can’t get her to stay clean. She likes to creep around the back yard and get into everything she shouldn’t. She likes to tackle Kona and Cruz. Cruz she tries to pull his ear off, Kona she knocks over and kills (Kona rolls himself over for her). Being so little, she tends to bark at the others when they are playing, and not including her. If my brother does something she doesn’t like, she will adamantly refuse him love for lengths of time. Once it was 3 months. Then it was 6 months. Don’t ask me how a dog can do something like that. They are extraordinary. It’s still amusing.
4 – 11:59 am B&W boy butt/feet first
Kona was born. The love of my life. This was the only puppy that made Kendra utter ANY noise. Kona came our breech. He came out with his backend first, little back chubby feet up against his stomach. (Side Fact: If you hold Kona’s back feet up against his stomach? He’ll start falling asleep. When he IS going to sleep, he’ll try to pull them up so he can tuck into that little ball he came out as.) He was a BIG boy, too. Kona got stuck halfway out. I got a leeeeetle up close and personal with that birth. As in, I had to reach in, and make sure that Kendra had help. I didn’t do anything until I felt her contraction and push. Then I helped slide him at an angle the same way the rest came so he could come smoothly out. I provided backup, but wanted to make sure she tried on her own.
Once Kona came out, she started working on the wrong end of the sac. So I had to help her remove the sac. Let me tell you, those things are MIGHTY when they want to be. My nails struggled to hold and cut. Once I did, I went about cleaning him with Kendra’s help, then he had some gunk trapped in his little mouth so he required a bit of siphoning to get him clear and breathing okay.
Oh my Kona. A happy little helper for me. I can be gardening, and if they are outside, I call out, “Where is my little helper?!” Kona will come flying across the yard, laughing, to find me. And that is a sight that always makes me smile. I am grateful every day of my life to finally have met this guy. We share a bond. That’s for sure. He’s a little Hercules, and such an amazingly intelligent little guy. Just like them all.
At this point my mom crept in, and I think that she sort of stressed Kendra a bit. Because like clockwork, you can see the above, they came out about 30 minutes apart each. I told my mom to leave the room out once we hit the 30 minute mark, and I noticed Kendra. . . . Well, I don’t know how to explain. I just sensed her stopping herself. It was a feeling I felt within. And that was a danger point because we’d reached #5. The one the doctor felt wouldn’t make it. I wanted everything to be as calm and perfect as I could get it for that one. To give it the biggest chance possible. My mom left, and sure enough, 30 minutes later Kendra started contracting. I believe that because of Kona stretching her more than normal, that it helped that last one to come out much easier. Gave it that extra bonus it needed.
5 – 12:51pm B&W boy
Cruz is born. Our little Professor and lady’s man. He came into this world with no expectations of survival. We were going to call him Cooper (after my mom’s favorite Anderson Cooper) and then I suggested him to have strong name. He needed all the help he could get. He was the smallest and the weakest, and a smidgen of a thing. So we thought of Tom Cruise and all his action movies. Cruz was a strong name and we said: perfect.
Cruz was the first one to walk, and not just walk, but run. Them little wobbly legs waddled and managed to move across the huge world (two foot wide nursery bed for momma and pups), to the other side to do his first tinkle! He was so excited he tried running. Up! Step step, plop. Up! Step, step. Plop.
Now he is one of the biggest and healthiest, and the most happy guy in the world. He loves his grandma a little TOO much, hahaha. My mom laughs because he has this adoration that knows no bounds for her. He likes to just sit and watch her. He also loves music. I used to help them go to sleep by playing a Silent Hill music box sound. Now when he hears certain commercials he runs around the living room wagging his tail, and trying to bring people toys. He loves music, and offering toys to people.
We had plans to sell them, and then through time realized that it was a huge risk. For multiple reasons. Eventually we decided not to because we could give them the home they needed, and I am glad we didn’t. Because they brought something to my life that I didn’t realize I needed. I discovered a different side of myself with them needing me to sacrifice to put them first. I noticed a deeper peace fill me with their birth. Most trivial things stopped mattering and I grew even more as a human being. Moments here and there I grow exhausted. But 100% of the time, I love them, and wouldn’t trade them for anything.
I would play with them all day if I could. But then that wouldn’t buy them food.
When they all clamor to snuggle me (forgetting I don’t have THAT much lap space), I feel at peace. There is something special about looking at them and acknowledging that I was there at the first moment of conception, to the birth, to the raising of them. Kendra has chosen to deflect to me many more times so I know she trusts me as a sort of “surrogate” mom, and she too has been my baby since we got her, so even she tries to snuggle with me. She gets her time every morning when she comes up and lays her neck over my neck.
We couldn’t have asked for better dogs than these guys, or better parents to them. I laugh and I tear up with every single one of these memories. I bust with happiness, pride, and love for them as I do the rest of our animals. It is amazing the way they are. My hope is to see them grow up, age, and remain with me every step of the way. I will be ever grateful for each day I have with them long into the future, as I have been. And I will definitely continue to share their adorable pictures and stories.
Happy Birthday to The Gremlin Gang pup pups!
Cheyenne, Kaley, Lucy, Kona, and Cruz.
Love you all.
And today they will be getting a special doggie cake made for them. ❤
Come back off and on. I will be adding pictures as I can. Some videos, too.
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