Puppies...With a Price

At 1pm Kiki's "water broke", resulting in a green discharge. I called my vet who told me that he would call back in an hour to see if contractions had started; when he called, they hadn't, and we rushed her in to the clinic. Remember the ridiculous amount of monitoring equipment I set up? The clincher for me was the lack of blood pressure spikes one would expect with contractions. No changes. Normal constantly. That was my major clue. All of this took place, of course, in the middle of the first major snowstorm of the season, and we sped the 25 miles to the clinic at 45 mph. It was excruciating.

Kiki got prepped for surgery. During the course of the surgery, of of her uterine horns was discovered to be so friable that it tore in half in the vet's hands. I watched it happen; it was not the vet's fault in any way. There was no option but to spay her after the C section, so this litter will be her first, and only, litter. This is heartbreaking.

The vet's quick response meant that we received seven healthy, beautiful puppies; 3 boys and 4 girls. It also was clear that, had we waited longer, we would have lost everyone, including Kiki. The odd thing about this is that premature placental separation usually happens much earlier, such as day 49 or 50, when the puppies are too immature to survive. It was almost as if she had been held together by a sheer force of will or help from elsewhere. Some would call that a miracle. Everything about this litter has been a miracle from start to finish. As it turns out, all of the puppies are in fine health and condition; several are much larger than the rest, which corroborates the ultrasound scans and radiographs.

Kiki now has a midline incision about a foot long which was closed by staples. Since she didn't give birth naturally, but was instead presented to her pups as she came out of anesthesia, she hasn't fully bonded with them, but instead seems a little confused as to what these things are doing crawling all over her. Still, she lets them nurse, despite what must be a high degree of postoperative pain.

So today has been bittersweet; despite her unplanned and unexpected spay, Kiki and seven beautiful puppies have survived. It has been an emotionally and physically exhausting day, and it looks like tonight will follow suit. These photos are of the rest of the pack meeting the pups for the first time and wondering how the hell they got here.

At least it's over,

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