Wow. What a really long and sad/happy two days!
Tinkerbell began showing signs of labor about 45 hours ago, but then the symptoms stopped so we thought maybe we had a false alarm. Then, at a little after 3pm yesterday, she started showing the symptoms again, and they didn't let up. I had to sit up all night to watch her to make sure she didn't start giving birth while I was asleep. I was able to doze, with her on a pile of blankets in front of the couch, from about 1-4am.
At 4:10 am she began frantically digging and nesting, so I knew it was almost time! I moved her to her birthing area in the kitchen, and at about 5:05am she started having weak contractions, which almost immediately pushed out a water sac. After 45 minutes of weak contractions and no puppy, I called the emergency vet clinic and was told that she was not going to be able to push the puppy out herself and that she needed to be brought in to the clinic.
My fiance was at work and I don't have a car at the moment, so I called my mom, and she and my dad came over and picked us up and drove us down to the clinic. We waited while the vet ran some x-rays, and a few minutes later she came back and told me that my little Chihuahua was carrying SEVEN
puppies. I almost fell out of my chair!
The vet said that she couldn't see anything on the x-ray that would indicate that a puppy was stuck or in an abnormal position, but that she wasn't 100% certain of that because there were so many puppies in there. She said that because Tink had so many puppies, that her uterus was too stretched to have a strong enough contraction to push the puppies out. She decided to give her a shot of Oxytocin to see if she could stimulate a strong enough contraction to push out the puppies.
So one dose of Oxytocin, and still no puppies. She went back to run another x-ray and was possibly going to give her another injection of Oxytocin. She was able to see on this x-ray that the first puppy WAS in an abnormal position - it was coming out head-first, but its head had tipped towards its chest and it was trying to come out shoulders first. She went in manually with her fingers and tried to push the puppy back so it could slip in to the birth canal in a normal position, but this didn't work. I had the option of either them trying to pull the puppy out (which would most likely kill the one puppy, but would allow the others to slide forward and be born naturally) or I could opt for a c-section, which still had a high chance of the first puppy not making it. I opted first for them to pull the puppy out, because I didn't want to have to subject Tink to surgery if she didn't need it.
Pulling the puppy didn't work - they couldn't dislodge it, so they were forced to do an emergency c-section. I had a minor (ok, MAJOR) drama with almost not being able to afford to pay for it, which meant all the puppies AND Tink would have died. I applied for financing and was denied (which I shouldn't have been - my credit score is 765 the last I checked, UGH!). My mother applied as a co-signer and FINALLY I was approved for the full amout of the bill - with surgery and post-natal care of both mama and puppies, the low end is around $1600, high end $2000 depending on what has to be done. I would have found a way to pay for it even if I had been denied a second time - my dogs are EVERYTHING to me.
I went back and saw Tink before the surgery and then my parents took me out for breakfast. I think I ate maybe half of my food, if even that, because of how stressed and sick I felt. Then we drove around Annapolis Harbor for a bit just to burn some time, and after an hour we went back to the clinic.
They were just finishing up Tink's surgery (they spayed her while they were in there - there will be NO more accidental pregnancies for her! WAY too much stress!), and the vet came out to tell us that they lost four of the puppies - two were stillborn and could not be revived, and two more were malformed and stillborn. I was depressed about that and managed to hold it together until I called my fiance to tell him that four of our babies died, and then I just broke down. Is it really possible to feel so happy, but so torn apart at the same time? Because I really did at that moment. :'(
But we still have three beautiful puppies - two boys and a girl, and puppies and mama dog are all doing well. They let me go back to see the puppies before I left and I broke down in tears again, because I was so happy and they're so beautiful! I'll be going back later this evening with my fiance to pick them up.
Here is a picture I took with my Blackberry before I left:
The two on the ends have their mama's exact same coloring, except their tan fur is darker than Tink's. The one in the middle is a rare color - blue (which is rare to begin with) and tan. Awwww, none of them came out looking like their daddy, except they all look like they MIGHT have short hair like him (Tink is a long-haired chihuahua). I'll get a better look at them when I pick them up this evening.
DONE. Now I'm off to sleep for the first time in about 33 hours!