I remember when pregnant with the first of our six children and the midwife asking me, "What is your birth plan?" I didn't have a birth plan, as I had never given birth before and my experience with birthing animals I knew that it was best to go in with an open mind and I replied along the lines of, "I would like to do it as natural as possible, but I'm up for having every pain relieve known to mankind if needed." The midwife laughed and thought my approach a good one, telling that only to often expectant Mother's would produce several pages of A4 paper when asked about their birth plan with instructions to how the birth should proceed, to then have their first contraction and be screaming for every pain relieve known to mankind.
Don't worry this is not going to turn in to a blog describing in full technicolor the details of my births. I'm a believer in survival of the fittest and reproduction is part of that caveat. Birth though can often not be survival of the fittest, but especially with animals that have multiple births, survival of the luckiest. Birth can be down to the luck of the draw, not always about how fit you are.
Thursday evening Treacle's temperature had dropped and her demeanor had changed. I expected to see pups within 24 to 48 hours. Friday came and went and things seemed to be progressing with Treacle steadily showing more discomfort and bedding up. Saturday around midday I knew it was not long now and around 1 pm a water bag appeared and she did two big strains and I was prepared for a yelp any second from her and the arrival of the first pup. Panting and in discomfort for the next hour Treacle though was not straining and I then examined her, as this lets you know if the pup is presented and sweeping the cervix with the tip of the finger can help release oxytocin and get a bitch contracting stronger. I could only just feel the cervix and she was not fully dilated. After examining her I let her have another half hour to see if this had stirred things up enough to get her to progress. Nothing, so I rang the vet, giving him all the information and we got her in to the vets at around 3 pm.
He examined her and things had progressed a bit more, with the cervix now fully open and the reason why she was not getting on with whelping could be felt. The first pup had presented feet forward with his head turned back. A simple matter of correcting the positioning of the head and an injection of oxytocin saw this pup born around 4 pm, 3 hours after it's water bag had been produced. Being presented with the head turned back would of dramatically slowed up dilating of the cervix. Now it was waiting to see how much damage this slowing up of the birth of the first pup had done. An hour later another water bag appeared and half an hour later with no straining from Treacle she was given another jab of oxytocin and nothing. Treacle had unfortunately been worn out taking 3 hours to produce the first pup and I said to the vet to get on with a c-section. By 6.30 pm I was rang by the vet to be told that Mum and pups were all safe.
When birthing animals it is hard to really know when you are intervening to early and their is always in the back of my mind, "Was I worrying to much? Did I give the bitch enough time?" but I have lost pups in the past by not intervening early enough, so I have learned the hard way, that although you will never really know if you intervened to early, you will know when you do it to late. The one thing we do know though with the first pup being born vaginally, is that Treacle can give birth naturally, she just had a duff draw and the other thing we are seeing each day is how wonderful a Mother she is.
The photos below are from today and are some of the pups and some of the Poundlane pack.
“The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you,but he will make a fool of himself, too.”
― Samuel Butler
Me (Jane) with Puddin' and Teagol, waiting patiently to flush a patch of kale, December 2019
Hello, I am Jane!