|"Just hold me."|
|Ready to go|
Shortly after dinner, about 7:00, the report came that Jackie’s water had broken. All right! Now it was time for the fun to begin! Excitedly, we called our mentor Debby Kay in West Virginia to share our exciting news—it was kind of like calling “Grandma” since Bailey and Jackie came from her kennel. Expertly, she briefed us on what to expect, the supplies we should have, and shared in our enthusiasm. Thankfully, Hannah had done an excellent job preparing for the births, and we had everything Debby mentioned (perhaps Hannah will do a future post on supplies for birth).
With Debby’s encouraging pep talk, we were ready for a night of labor. Of course, everyone in the family was anxious for what was to come. So, we decided to let the littlest Becker be the first birth attendant, and promised the rest that we would wake each of them up one at a time to witness the miracle of birth.
Little 4 year old MJ quietly watched from the chair while Jackie experienced her first wave of powerful contractions. Just as Debby predicted, you could watch the contractions cause her sides to “heave”, and then after a few moments, they would relax and her panting would ensue. This continued for about thirty minutes before a black form, encased in a sac, emerged nose-first from the birth canal. At Debby’s recommendation, we jumped to work aiding this little creature in experiencing its first breath of life. Carefully, we broke the sac and immediately suctioned any fluid from its mouth using a bulb syringe. Unfortunately, the placenta did not deliver and the cord was already torn from it, but we still tied what remained of the cord roughly 3/8” from the pup’s body, and then cut the excess with sterilized surgical scissors. After drying it vigorously with paper towels, we weighed the little guy, put a blue ribbon around his neck and then put him back in the box with Jackie. However, Jackie was very wary of this little creature and growled as we introduced him to her. This went on for several minutes until she reluctantly consented and allowed him to latch on and begin to nurse. This behavior concerned us; perhaps she would be one of those who didn’t take to mothering naturally.
Second, Third, and Fourth Pups
About half an hour later, JJ got to witness his first pup being born, another black female that came out back feet first. The “nursery” was growing!
Following these deliveries, part of the team decided to sack out on the floor. At 1:AM, Jackie had a drink of water and shortly began another series of contractions. Unlike the previous births, her pushing didn’t produce anything. Unsure what to do, I checked the birth canal to see if a pup was “stuck”, but felt nothing. Growing concerned that something wasn’t right, we woke up Jeremy to get his opinion. She didn’t seem distressed, but the clock was definitely ticking and nothing was appearing for her efforts. We thought a trip outside for a “break” might help. When we returned, Jeremy did a “check” and could feel a tail at the entrance to the canal. At 2:20, we called our friend who is a vet to get his counsel (thanks so much, by the way for the middle of the night consult). Still no pup. Finally at 3:30, before calling the emergency vet in Fresno, we called our breeder Debby since it was 6:30 in West Virginia to get her advice. She highly discouraged any kind of checking in the canal due to the introduction of germs (oops!), and helped us realize that our only viable option would be transporting Mom and pups the hour drive to Fresno to the ER Vet for a c-section. Most likely, we would lose the pup, but in an attempt to preserve the remaining three and Jackie’s health, this seemed like what we needed to do.
With #6 safely out of the way, the remaining three pups got busy and made their way into the world. A nice 30 minute pattern developed, until finally, exactly at 6:AM, #9 made her appearance, ending the eight hour delivery of nine healthy pups.
A much slimmer Mama happily enjoyed a bowl of kibble mixed with yogurt. After sharing the final delivery status with Debby, she recommended oatmeal with a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses to help restore some of the minerals Jackie had depleted during labor.
Thankfully, Jackie had adjusted to the concept that she was now a Mama and these puppies were hers to protect and nourish. No more growls, well, except when the pups first latched on to the tender “nozzles” as one of the kids calls them. But ANY mother of ANY species can understand that!!
|The full line-up|