My goodness, was that an interesting weekend! A real baptism of fire, much harder than I ever expected. After 59 days of pregnancy, Coco went into labour on Friday night. I hardly slept a wink worrying about her and at about 4am I heard the yelps of the first puppy! The first two were out before I could get to her and the third appeared while I was with her. She seemed to know exactly what to do and cleaned them while she carried on with labour. I couldn’t imagine that there could be more… they are each about the size of my hand and she is not such a big dog so where did they all fit in?! An hour or two later another appeared and by mid-day another… then there were five! I thought surely that should be it. I made sure that they were all suckling and put them in a nice warm spot on the front veranda. She was so attentive and loving towards them that it made my heart burst with pride at my baby who has grown up to be a mommy! There are three girls and two boys. Perfect little tricolour Beagles – definitely Roger’s progeny!
If that were the end of it, it would have been a breeze, but unfortunately there were some complications. Later in the day I realised that Coco was still in discomfort. I thought it might just be her uterus contracting or problems with the afterbirth coming out. I was alone at home and totally inexperienced so didn’t know what to do. On the whole she was not in bad spirits so I gave it more time. By the time I realised she needed help, it was already late and we could only see the vet the next morning. So she struggled through the night experiencing ongoing contractions and desperately trying to tend to the puppies. I was up with her the whole time and made puppy formula to help her keep the babies fed. By now she was severely dehydrated and not eating. My heart broke. First thing on Sunday morning we rushed to the vet who helped immediately to clear the blockage. Instant relief, but alas, we lost the 6th. We went home with a bag full of medicine and lots of advice on how to keep Coco healthy and producing optimal milk. I spent the rest of Sunday hand feeding her to get her strength back up. She didn’t leave the puppies once, except reluctantly to go outside to relieve herself. I also continued to supplementary feed the puppies their homemade formula to make sure they were getting enough food. By the evening she was eating greedily from my hands. I made her a special “super smoothie” packed full of goodness to disguise the dry puppy pellets that she didn’t want to eat. We all had a peaceful night with mother and babies set warmly in front of the Aga. This morning the puppies don’t seem interested in the formula I offered them so that hopefully means she is producing enough. From now on my job is to make sure that Coco is healthy and happy so that she can get on with the business of looking after her extremely cute and adorable babies. I am so incredibly proud of her!
So, it’s been a weekend of intense bonding for me and Coco. Bonding on many levels, because I will be having my own baby in January 2014 and this just seemed like such a foretaste of what’s to come. Yes, that is correct, I am four months pregnant with a baby girl and finally able to share the news! It has been so hard not telling for such a long time, but we had to make sure that everything was fine. In February I wrote about the trouble we were having conceiving and our prayers were answered much sooner than we could have imagined (see Keep Calm and Be Patient). It has been a long road to here, but under the considered care of a doctor who really took the time to understand my issues and some small changes to my diet and lifestyle we have done it! I didn’t believe it at first, but it’s starting to feel more real and this past weekend was certainly a big eye opener. Bring it on, I say, but first I think I need some more sleep!