Monday, July 25, 2011

The Puppies are here! The puppies are HERE!

I don't think I've ever been through such a whirlwind of a labor.

It started quietly enough - sometime around noon-ish I heard an odd squeak come from the kids' bedroom. Mikeal heard it too, but I gave him that "If you dare say a peep with your sister sitting there beside you or you so much as even THINK puppy I will KEEL YOU" look, so he stayed where he had been on the couch. I stole away quickly to the bedroom to see what was up.

The first baby was born, right there in the corner of the kids' bed, roughly 2 inches shy of being on Mikeal's pillow. I can't keep the kids from going into their room so I gently & quickly moved LugNut and the baby to my bedroom closet.

LugNut finished up with the first baby, he latched on & started nursing like a champ...and then nothing.

No contractions, no pushing, no wimpering, no nothing from LugNut.

Roughly an hour after the first puppy was born LugNut moved from my closet to my pillow, on my bed.

At this point I was getting a little worried, but this is her first litter and dogs are known to take up to 4-6 hours even between each puppy. She didn't seem to be in any sort of distress, just looked at me like I was crazy once in a while...

Around hour 4 I called the vet. I explained to her the situation, no signs of labor or distress - she said to either bring her in & they'd do an x-ray to see how things were going or I could just wait. The vet's office was closing in 30 minutes though and Brian didn't get home from work for at least another hour after that. There was no way I was going to bring my (maybe) ailing dog, her puppy, and both kids to the vet's office by myself.

I searched online between the pleas from Mikaila to go see the puppies NOW for information about laboring dogs (or whelping bitches)...Yea, I'll be surprised if LugNut talks to me at all for at least a week. With the information I'd read, paired with my own birthing experiences of having assisted cats, cows, goats, & horses give birth I figured I could do some vet work myself. I don't know about everyone else, but I really don't have $500+ just laying around.

I was able to feel the rib cage and one leg of the next puppy. Not good. Not very good, AT ALL.

I called the on-call vet back to let her know what I'd found in regards to the stoppage of labor - one puppy was in the birth canal - sideways. She told me that she was out on a call assisting a horse, so would not be in town for another 1-2 hrs. We discussed the cost, payment plans, etc of LugNut having to have a well as my plans of trying to turn the puppy. We agreed that either she would call me or I'd call her in an hour or so to check the status of each. She also gave me the name of another after hours vet in the area. I called them - they're complete expensive asshole douchebags.

I worked to turn the puppy, giving LugNut about 20 minutes of rest time between each 5-10 minute session. Nature sucks in the aspect that every time I'd get in far enough to move the puppy LugNut would have a push contraction. Neither of us made any progress.

I called the vet back after our agreed upon time and decided to bring her in.

Brian and I made a very tearful decision. Due to the way our finances have been lately with him being first out of work due to an unexpected layoff and then out of work again for shoulder surgery we just could not afford to pay for a $500+ vet bill, even with it broken into three payments. We were going to just have her put down and bottle feed the one living baby. It completely tore our hearts out to have to make that decision, but we couldn't let her suffer either and when it come down to making sure the kids are taken care of or the dog the kids take priority.

I hoped and prayed that in the very least maybe the vet would be able to straighten the stuck puppy out & the rest of the puppies would come out on their own, thus saving us the $500 surgery I called my landlady to ask her if I could borrow her crate, JUST IN CASE such a miracle was in our deck of cards. She agreed to meet me at the vet's office.

I loaded LugNut & her puppy into the car; Mikeal came with us to help keep LugNut calm in the car. On the way to the vet's office I told Mikeal that LugNut was likely to have to have major surgery and it was possible that she may not live through it, but we were going to at least try. I wasn't about to tell him about mine & Brian's conversation in regards to LugNut & the unborn puppies.

We get to the vet's office, I get out of the car & talk to the vet before letting Mikeal & LugNut out of the car.

I told her about the situation and she understood and was willing to do what she could to prevent the surgery. My landlady showed up as I was taking LugNut out of the car and went back to the exam room with us. Mikeal sat in the front lobby area.

I choked out to my landlady the situation and she understood, then she offered to help with the immediate vet bill & said that she would work with us on the rent & us paying her back the money she paid on the bill, etc. So I called Brian, gave him the short story version and approved the cesarean. The vet did try and try to move the puppy but she had no more luck than I did.

What seemed like an eternity later I heard the first few squeaks of living puppies! I was expecting LugNut to have between 3-5 puppies.

She ended up having 6.

The vet assistant brought us out three very active wiggly warts, one that looked like he could miss a meal or two and still be alright, even as a newborn, the other two were a wee bit smaller, but not by much.

We were up to four healthy wiggle butts and all of them look like Mini pug puppies. A little bit later the vet assistant came back out again with another one and told us that the puppy that was wedged in the canal did not make it. I expected that. But she was also holding a 6th puppy. Roughly half the size of her siblings and barely hanging onto life. She not only is the runt of the litter, but she was wedged up against the stuck puppy, with three meaty siblings pushing against her. I think she'll do alright, so long as she makes it through this first night, she was looking fairly rough, but was getting the hang of latching onto momma the last time I looked at her.

About 30 minutes or so after bringing us out the final living puppy we were being released. LugNut came out of the anethesia quite well, a bit loopy, but she was getting a bit distressed hearing her babies yelping from the box beside the cage, until we got them in with her.

At this time LugNut and her 5 babies are in my bedroom, squeaking and squawking, resting and eating. And unlike the cats I've seen end up having to have a cesarean LugNut is very attentive and is taking great care of her babies, even now, just two hours out from surgery. ♥

There are three very big boys and two littler sisters, the runt being about half the size of her siblings. I hope each are able to live very long lives and each take on the temperment of their mother. She's one of the best dogs I have ever known and I can't even express how much it killed me inside to think that we even had to make the decision we did. But very grateful for awesome friends and a very competent vet!

LugNut will be 4 years old on the 10th of October. She's been a part of our family since the 11th of November of 2007. I really couldn't imagine our family being the same without her. <3 Love you dear LugNut!

**Updated to inform that the runt baby did not last through the first night. <3


  1. I'm so glad that things worked out for you all! It broke my heart to hear of the decision you guys had to make and it was wonderful to see prayers answered as your landlady came through to help out. I was glad to go to sleep on a happy note, knowing that things worked out as they should have. :)

  2. oh my gosh! What a story! Other than tweeting with you about the first puppy, I had no idea everything else that went on yesterday! GOSH! How scary... and wonderful! I'm so glad it had a happy ending. I'm so glad your LugNut is OK and that most of her babies ended up being ok too. I can't even imagine how awful it would be to being considering having her put down. I'm so glad that it turned out the way it did. Hooray for good friends!