Thursday, August 11, 2011
If there is any alternative way to achieve that after-birth euphoria without actually giving birth, it would definitey be by acting as a dog midwife.
I was happy with the labor play by play given via texts regarding niece doggie, Macy. Then I got a more panicked text, instructing me to find someone to watch the kiddos and get there before Sarah barfed. I tossed Ruby in the office with an orange and some trail mix and headed out.
I do well in these situations, although admittedly, I do get a sort of panicky-induced rush, but you can't deny the miracle of birth. I stationed Eisley in her doorway jumper, went to assess the situation, and shortly thereafter, Macy started doing her best Chewbacca impression. Sarah said this was a new development, but it reminded me of my own velociraptor tendencies during birth, so I thought she may be close. She was noticeably pushing, Sarah was noticeably holding back vomit, so I did what any good friend would do, and I asked her to look to see if anything looked weird.
"Um, yeah, there's something sticking out."
Sure enough, a tiny white foot hung out. I got really nervous upon closer inspection. Breech baby, sac broken, mom not pushing quickly. I thought out loud for a second, and Sarah said, "Just do what you need to do." So she took Macy's head in her hands, and I pulled on the puppies legs. My efforts were met with pitiful dog cries, but after four hearty attempts, the puppy was pulled free and everything in the world was well again (for ten minutes).
The first one cleared the way, and the next one came soon after. Two boys, with a few white hairs separating them in terms of appearance. With a small break in between, and various stomach handling to determine what we might be in for, and the answer came in the form of two more puppies, born close together. Two girls.
Nearing an hour after the fourth puppy, I encouraged Sarah to take her outside, thinking she may be done. Somehow, in all of this mess, we juggled tag-teaming babies, phone calls, washing dirty rags, and puppy catching. I'm fairly positive that the phone was answered, "Animal hospital, how may I help you?" at one point.
We contemplated a shot of oxytocin by the vet because one puppy came without a placenta. It was mostly a just in case sort of thing, and certainly not an emergency vet call.
Until things got really scary for awhile. Shortly after Macy came back inside, I noticed her pushing again. Fifth puppy, baby boy numero tres, came out rather quickly and by the time I decided to tie off the cord with dental floss, Macy had all but swallowed the puppy itself, and I panicked. We decided to cut the cord as far up as we could which meant Sarah held Macy's mouth open, and I pulled. The next few moments were like something out of a horrible hospital movie scene. After I cut, blood shot everywhere. You know the scenes where blood goes flying in tune with the pulse? Airborne. Blood. Everywhere. Sarah yelled to clamp it.
I spent the next hour and ten minutes holding onto that miniscule cord stump as hard as I could. Babies cried, phones went off, and Macy had another one. I barked orders like some superior, egotistical surgeon when the sixth puppy was born. Sarah was simultaneously holding Abbi and rocking Eisley when I noticed Macy doing something odd. Sure enough, baby number six had arrived. Babies were tossed on recliners, and the puppy was suctioned since Macy seemed far too tired to bend back there again, and dodge the other four puppies in the way.
I felt paralyzed with fear that I had killed that chubby brown puppy. The vet was unreachable, naturally, and I rocked this squirming puppy while my fingers went numb. Eons later, the vet arrived, and walked in on a scene that probably deserved to be laughed at. He took one look around and said, "Wow, lots of babies in here." It was sure nice of him not make any comments on the tension in the air or my disheveled appearance. We explained the cord situation and he took one look at it before saying, "Oh, I'll just clamp that." I could have cried, but instead, Sarah and I just looked at each other in shock. He came back in, got it to stop bleeding, and that was it. I was so sure he would take one look at that puppy and tell me that it would die, I thought I surely hadn't heard him right.
I had no idea I would be acting as doggie doula today, but I'm sure glad I got to experience the miracle of life. Even more, I'm glad that all six babies are okay.
Hindsight is 20/20, but next time, we are totally setting up a video camera. I think I could laugh off some pounds if I were to replay the day from a safe distance.