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Cricket's girl took the hard route from day one. The result of a Transcervical Insemination (TCI) she was delivered 3 days past her due date via C-section by Dr. Janet Lowery at Mid Peninsula Animal Hospital in Menlo Park. We were allowed to watch the whole operation and film it . The folks at the clinic were wonderful to us. We had arrived that morning around 10:00 after having spent the night at the home of our dear friend and mentor, Dee Dee Anderson. Cricket's temp had dropped the day before but since that time, no other signs had been forthcoming and our comfort level for waiting was getting lower and lower. At 11:00, we made the decision to go ahead and do the surgery. We had to wait quite a while for access to the surgery unit and we were a nervous wreck when they finally had the other surgeries before us finished and they were able to begin work on Cricket. In the meantime, they were so great to us. They kept Cricket and started her on fluids while we quickly grabbed a bite to eat and then just gave us an exam room to camp out in with Cricket for a couple hours. And I mean camp! We had blankets and pillows, laptop and camera gear! We were quite a sight, let me tell you! I had my wireless modem and was updating the website on the fly and emailing friends to let them know what was going on.
They finally were ready
for us at around 2:30 and we began the process of getting Cricket prepared for
surgery. Terry and I both went in with her. I was given a surgical cap and mask
while I got my video camera ready. Terry helped with giving Cricket some oxygen
to enrich her blood during the procedure. Then up on the table and they began
the process of putting her under. We had just recently had our 17-year-old cat,
Keisha, put to sleep, and seeing Cricket go through this was a little close
to home for me and I'm sure for Terry. It was hard to separate the two scenarios
in my mind and it was a very emotional moment. I was much more relaxed after
she was safely under and I could see her breathing easy. They continued to prep
her, Dr. Lowery came in and began donning surgical gown and gloves and things
progressed very quickly from there. The goal was to get in and eject the pup
as quickly as possible to minimize the exposure to the anesthesia. Terry had
already kissed Cricket and left the room to wait out front. She thought I was
nuts for wanting to watch but I really needed to see this. I'm so glad I did
Dr. Lowery began her first cut of approximately 5 inches in length and then continued to make progressive cuts through the muscle tissue of the abdominal wall. I was already very concerned because we had been feeling a great deal of movement from the pup earlier in the day and then while they were scrubbing Cricket's freshly shaven abdomen, I could not discern any movement at all against the now taught skin of her stomach as she lay stretched out on her back. I was beginning to feel we may have pushed our luck too far and waited too long. We had been told that 24 to 36 hours after the temperature drop is as long as you should wait for nature to take it's course. With a single puppy, that time frame becomes a very gray area and we were two days past the day our fertility specialist, Dr. Cain, would have liked to have seen a C-section done and 24 hours past the temperature drop. So now Dr. Lowery was making the final cut and reached in and quickly had the uterine horn exposed and completely externalized. I gasped when I saw how large the puppy appeared to be thinking that this whole object resting on Cricket's abdomen was indeed the puppy itself. I remember saying, "Oh my god, we made the right decision to do a C-section because she could NEVER have whelped that sucker herself. It looked like a four pound monster. I remember Dr. Lowery murmering something I took to be agreement but now realize it was probably something more like, "No, this would be the...uteris!" I soon found out that the pup was only a very small part of the mass, most of it being fluid and other tissue making the uterus look so large. In fact, it was only a one-pound pup. She made a cut near the end that the head was at, reached in and extracted a still and lifeless little pup. I was now almost in tears because again, I thought we had gambled and lost. An assistant quickly took the pup and began working on it and it was only seconds before we heard the first cry and my world was suddenly very bright again - though blurred with tears. "It's a girl!", assistant said. "Cricket, you've got a daughter!", I choked.
By now there was a crowd of staff at the door with their faces smushed against the window smiling at the new little puppy. I remember thinking, "For Heaven's sake, they MUST have seen this a hundred times before!" But the sight of a newborn pup had called them like lemmings to the sea. They had come to see the little puppy. The little SCREAMING puppy with HUGE lungs! I thought Pepper was loud when she was born. She put her Aunt Pepper to shame. We had nicknamed Pepper Mona because she was a moaner when she was born. We should nickname this one Mimi. Screaming Mimi. They took her down the hall to meet Terry and get the pup some oxygen, and Terry later told me she heard them coming from quite a ways. I'm sure she groaned inwardly, "Oh not another loud puppy!" I stayed and watched Dr. Lowery carefully sew Cricket up and was very surprised how long it took. I had no idea there was so much tedious work involved in closing up. In the end, she used a type of technique the name of which I'll never remember but it leaves the closed incision with no external stitches. It was a remarkable job and she was deservedly very pleased with it.
After getting Cricket unhooked from everything, they carried her down to our encampment--better known as exam room 3--and we began another long wait for Cricket to wake up and meet her new daughter who was already "belly up to the bar" and slurping mother's milk. At 6:00 that evening, we were finally ready to pack up and say good-bye. I have to tell you, I was so very impressed with this hospital. I know they can't possibly be this nice to every single owner they see but they sure were nice to us and I got the feeling they try to do the same for all. This was our first visit to their clinic, chosen partly because they were so close to where we were at the time and mostly because Dee Dee likes them so very much.
Her first night was a pretty easy night. Lots of milk and we didn't try to restrict her from drinking too much. She's now on a diet. Cricket was totally out of it and simply lay there with almost unseeing eyes, which disturbed me greatly. I took the first watch as I had had more sleep the night before at Dee Dee's than Terry had. I spent the night sitting and laying next to the whelping box, giving Cricket water, which she drank happily. Her pup, whom I'll from now on refer to as Little Pink Girl was VERY active. Mimi doesn't fit her anymore as she's actually been very quite. So I'm falling back on our tradition of naming the first girl Pink. Pups from our previous litters would eventually play mountaineer and try to scale mom - up and over the top but never on the first day. Pink Girl was climbing all over her mom! By morning she was using her hind legs to stand up and drink at a nipple that was too high to reach while laying down. Did I say she's now on a diet? She gained four ounces her first 32 hours. She now has diarrhea but not badly. Cricket is also experiencing this, which we are not too concerned about as it's not severe in either of them and they both are now thriving in all other aspects. So here are the pictures I took yesterday. I'll add more as I can and, like the last litter, continue the journal of our third--albeit small--Coppertop litter.
Click on any of the pictures below to see larger versions
This page was last updated on 05/12/00
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