It has been quite a week! We thought we would have Nala in the pregnancy stage a little longer but she decided to have her pups on 2 May starting at 1AM. The events leading up to her delivery were very telling of her whelping sooner rather than later. A few days prior, she did not have much interest in her food, she tried nesting everywhere she went to lay down, and she became very very clingy. We started taking her out for even more frequent potty breaks as the pups were moving quite a bit and she clearly needed to go out. On Sunday, 1 May, we took her temperature (no she was not happy about it) and it was 98.7. What?? Did we take that wrong? If it were true, the temperature dropping could be an indicator labor could start within 12-30 hours. Normal temp is 101 – 102.5. It was 3:34 PM and just for the heck of it, I took a picture of it and sent it to a friend (pretty much to say OMG! and I must have taken that wrong). Nala was within her window, but we didn’t expect her to go into labor in the beginning of the window. 1 May was a Sunday. We had taken the day to ensure Nala’s whelping room was set. All potential emergency supplies were in place, tons of towels, and nanny cams running. Nala was up late (meaning we were up late also), she was very restless and clearly uncomfortable. Around 11:30PM, she was taken to her room where she usually just lays down and sleeps, no issue. But this night, she barked and whined and was very disturbed by being left alone. Nanny cam worked great, she was loud and we heard it. We went and let her come back to our bed where she quickly went into a deep sleep and must have felt safe. Around 1AM, movement at my feet and a loud slurping sound woke me up after just falling asleep 15 minutes prior. Quickly jumping out of bed, we could see Nala delivering her first pup. Family and friends kept laughing and saying she was so pampered she would have her pups on our bed – our response was no way as we watch her like a hawk. Okay, so just one got born on the bed. Thankfully, there was barely any evidence and after she cut the cord, we all took off to the whelping box where we would spend the next 8 hours having puppies. Each pup that came out, I helped with holding back legs, tail, and about an inch of umbilical cord so she could cut it without taking off any important parts in the way. When we went to the Vet for the puppy count x-ray, the Vet told us there were 8-10 pups. Puppy 1 came at 1:03, #2 at 1:14; #3 at 2:08; #4 at 2:54; #5 at 4:09; #6 at 4:44 and #7 at 6:02AM. We waited 3 hours after the last pup and no other pups were born. Around 9AM, we took her for a short walk (keeping towels and supplies in-hand in the event of another delivery). She was done. Very exhausted, very attentive to all her new babies, cleaning them, nursing them and trying to stay awake. We were the same, very exhausted and watchful to ensure she did not lay on one and to make sure everyone was eating and stayed warm. After each pup was born and we went thru the umbilical cutting process, she licked her puppy, we towel dried the pup and quickly got the pup nursing. After drying each pup, they were weighed. Videos were taken of each delivery (some we may show on you tube) We also got the heat up in the room as it was around 75 and we knew they needed to stay warm and recommendations were to keep it around 90 for their first week. Wow, 90 was hot for us and Nala but the pups appeared to appreciate the warmth. During delivery, Nala enjoyed ice cubes between contractions. She also just wanted to eat ice cubes the next day. She started eating wet food again on day #2 and each day she ate more. On day 3, she was ready to throw all unnecessary towels and blankets out of her whelping box. She even decided to bite a hole in the towel wrapped heating pad causing us to go to a heating lamp.
Amazing moments: 1) Nala’s first interaction with her new pup – she finally got to find out what all those body changes were about. 2) How quickly blind, newborn pups can find their mom and instinctively start nursing. 3) How blind pups smell and know when mom is in the area. One by one, they begin to stir, whine, and give little squeaks before finding her. 4) How quickly blind pups can make it across a 5’ whelping box when they know mom is near 5) At one week old, how much they have changed, grown, and are determined to eat their fill whenever mom is near. #6) Trust. This was Nala’s first litter and she trusted me completely to help her, help her pups and keep everyone safe at such a vulnerable time. She continues to allow us to handle the pups when we need to and she knows when she sacks out, her pups are safe and she can rest.
Can’t wait to watch all these precious beautiful babies grow. In another week or so they will have eyes open and their experiences will be amazing. We already know on puppy pick up day (25 June), it will be hard to say goodbye as they leave for their new forever homes. We are truly blessed to have been able to witness the miracle of life from conception to birth and now enjoy the growing stage.