June was a whole bunch of hurry up and wait. Mainly we were waiting (and w a i t i n g) on puppies. We didn’t even realize Onyx was expecting until the end of May. Once we calculated the dates, we realized she would be due around the 10th of June so there was a mad dash to get all of our supplies ready and set up a whelping area. Then we watched and waited expectantly. Then Skylar left for camp. Then Onyx’s temperature dropped (a very positive sign in dogs) but nothing happened. Skylar called every morning and evening and asked, “puppies?” Nope. Nothing. Zero signs of labor. Lawsy. I was seriously convinced this dog was waiting for her human to come home from camp, because those two are so tight! I’ve seen it before in my doula mamas many times.
By Thursday, Google had me totally freaked out. The doula in me knew things were probably fine but canine birth is a smidge different than human babies. A week “overdue” in a human is no big deal. With a dog, this is a much longer time. Google said the placentas would “expire” after 63 days but the doula in me knew better. I was having to do a ton of research but there’s not as much as solid info as you would think. There were a lot of breeder message boards and, while I can appreciate their experience, it was a LOT of opinions and fear mongering. However, there is a legitimate condition called “uterine inertia” in dogs and that was my ultimate concern. Or that we had a small liter, which can be problematic in both starting labor and the babies getting too big, especially for a first time mama. So, not to be negligent, I had her seen by the vet. They confirmed 5-7 puppies via x-ray (normal liter size) and said it was unusual for her to be this “overdue” but her vitals and behavior were normal. They thought I was a teensy bit kookie when I mentioned her waiting for Skylar and said to call them back on Monday if nothing happened. This entire week was a hard balance between what I knew to be true against what I was unfamiliar with. It was a constant battle of trusting the process vs. intervening for safety sake (sometimes known as fear of trusting the process). So, I guess it’s not that different from human birth after all.
As predicted, and much to my relief, Skylar came home on Friday night, had a joyous reunion with Onyx, and we had 6 healthy pups rather quickly on Saturday evening (day 68). We LIVE streamed the birth on Facebook and were able to include everyone who had been following our extra long saga. We could feel the love for sure! I helped her deliver and it was such a neat experience. Several people commented about how calm I was. When you’ve been around birth as much as I have, I suppose I just felt in my element. I love mamas, birth, and babies, without a doubt!
In a surprising twist, Onyx was extremely protective of her pups and wouldn’t let Skylar near them. She would let me handle them briefly, mainly because I didn’t really give her a choice. I needed to be able to take care of her and that meant checking on them too. Skylar learned some good life lessons about patience and rebuilding trust over the next few days and by Day 4 all was well and they were besties again.
We have 3 males and 3 females and they are all gaining weight daily. Everyone had doubled their birth weight by day 8 (goal of day 10) and Onyx has proved to be a very nurturing mama.
We also held our annual Summer Solstice Party at the BFF and partied (without electricity, I might add) with 70 of our closest family and friends. A big storm blew through on Friday night and we didn’t get power back until Sunday afternoon. Mike made the executive decision to buy a big, honkin’ generator, which proved to be very helpful. It was pretty much extension cord city around here but it kept the fridge running and the fans blowing. I think everyone had fun, regardless. Food was delicious as always! My dad came again this year and surprised me by bringing Aunt Nita & Uncle Bill too! There are always some of our regular attendees mixed with new faces each year and that’s part of what makes it so fun. And the after party, of course –> you know who you are.
Last week had tickets to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons at the Nashville Symphony. It was unlike anything we’ve ever been to at Shermerhorn before and I loved it! I also had a hot date. Ok, technically our kid and our in-laws were there too, but still!
This month we have been hiking quite a bit at the various trails around Long Hunter State Park. On the very last day of the month, we made a visit to Fall Creek Falls with the Gainey’s. It was a moderately easy hike in (just have to watch your footing) but we were all huffing and puffing on the way out. #WeOld – LOL! But it was a beautiful park and I was so thankful to be outside. Can’t wait to chase even more waterfalls.
But, seriously, other than puppies I don’t remember a whole lot else happening in June. The puppy snuggles are pretty awesome though.