Sadness! Hope! Major lack of sleep!

Okay, Kenya was due to have puppies this coming Thursday, right? And I know the exact due date because, along with all the other enormously expensive things I did to ensure a decent litter of top-quality puppies — I would be scared to calculate what proportion of my actual income gets spent on the dogs — I ALSO did an LH test as well as progesterone tests to make sure I would in fact know.

Instead, she had an emergency c-section this past Saturday. You will notice that that is five days early — six if you count the Saturday. The gestation period for a dog is nine weeks, so you can see that five or six days early is VERY early. Usually puppies that premature do not survive. There was one survivor at the time of the section, a nicely marked girl puppy. Happily, she does not look quite as premature as expected given how early she was. She weighed 4.25 oz at birth and has been gaining a little and then losing a little ever since, so she is now 4.375 oz. Maybe she’ll keep going up. Maybe she’ll make it. And, of course, maybe not. Kenya’s milk has come in, I would say finally except actually having the milk come in this fast when the section was that early isn’t bad at all. So maybe the baby will start gaining better now. It would be nice if I could stop tube-feeding her every two hours around the clock. She’d be much more likely to thrive if she proved strong enough to nurse adeaquately on her own, especially since her mother’s milk is just much better than any formula, and why is it that we don’t seem capable of developing REALLY good milk substitutes, anyway?

I’d add a picture, only do you know how slow the connection is from my house? Slow enough that I have to try a dozen times or so to pull up the wordpress login page — if I can get on at all. It took (literally!) an hour this afternoon to sign in. So if this puppy lives, I’ll add a picture or two later, but right now pictures are just out of the question. In the meantime, just take my word for it that she is very small and looks more like a little hamster than a puppy.

So! What with the feeding every two hours and the constant hovering to make sure the baby doesn’t get chilled and that Kenya doesn’t step on her, it’s not much use trying to do anything actually creative. However! This also means spring break just started a week early for me. So the odds that writing will occur is VERY high as I get more and more bored. Unless I get more and more stressed instead, but I will optimistically hope that the puppy starts to thrive and that I start to trust Kenya to take care of her. Then I will definitely be bored rather than stressed, which would be GREAT.

In the meantime, I’m rereading Lois McMaster Bujold’s Sharing Knife quadrilogy. I’ve read it several times and it’s just one of those comfortable series that I can enjoy with part of my mind while really thinking about other things, so it’s perfect for days like these.

Okay! Posting will be light what with the connectivity issues, but hopefully the next post will sound more cheerful!

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2 thoughts on “Sadness! Hope! Major lack of sleep!”

  1. Tube feeding every two hours over 24 hours! that’s exhausting – worse than when I was a mom to a newborn. And being a reader I remember McKinley’s scene of such puppy feeding in DEERSKIN. Messy, and exhausting. do you count the two hours from start to start or from end of last one to start of next? I don’t suppose anyone is working on inventing a teat pump for dogs the way human mothers can pump their milk and cows theirs. ?

    I hope the puppy starts to thrive and Kenya does well.

  2. I wish puppy milk was available instead of just formulas! Preferably a version with real canine colostrum! THAT WOULD BE SO USEFUL so maybe there are really major storage issues, because let me tell you, breeders would pay top dollar for real colostrum and real milk. You can actually strip milk from your female and tube feed it to your puppy, but the problem is, if you do an early section, her milk won’t really be in. Then, of course, there’s no way. I really don’t know if this puppy of mine got enough colostrum, so I’ll be holding my breath re infectious diseases until she is vaccinated.

    But for a puppy that’s just weak with a mom who’s got a good milk supply, I will take milk from the mother and give that along with Esbilac. Much better than Esbilac by itself.

    Anyway, a real feeding tube is MUCH easier to use than McKinley’s straw. You slip it right down into the puppy’s stomach and slowly inject the formula through it. Zero chance of choking and it’s very fast. Though it’s important to pay attention to what you’re doing every single time, which gets progressively more difficult as the sleep deficit accummulates. But it’s so quick when you have only one puppy that you can just do it at the top of the hour and not worry about adjusting the next feeding time.

    I found this puppy cried so reliably every two or two-and-a-half hours that I didn’t have to set an alarm. Not that I actually slept for the first twenty-four hours.

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