It has been sixteen days since 10 little labradoodles appeared in my living room.
I haven’t really talked too much about whelping here because…well just because. But, it seems like you guys really love seeing pictures of the doodle-brains so I will try to a few updates. I will try to write one every two weeks for the 8-10 weeks before they go to their forever homes.
The day of the Pittsburgh Marathon, Cinco de Mayo, and the doodles birthday! It was the day we hoped and thought the doodles would come. (Dogs have a fairly typical gestation period – around 60 days. Based on our calculations, she would have been 60 days on Monday.) We knew that Hallie was in labor based on a few things: she was digging around in the bedding of the whelping box, she was panting off and on, and she was having visible contractions (her skin was twitching). The first doodle didn’t actually appear in the living room, but in the bedroom closet, around 4 a.m. Long story. We were elated to find out that he had white tipped paws and a white bow tie coloring. In 45 minutes, she had 4 more all-black puppies. Everybody was doing latching well and doing great, including mum! Around 7 p.m. that night, she pushed out the afterbirth and we were please with our 8 puppies. Then, about an hour later another puppy started crowning. Not good. We went into triage mode at that point because he had been in there for about an hour with no amniotic fluids. He about gave us a heart attack because he was so lethargic at first, but he ended up being fine. The following day, a giant puppy was still born. We are pretty sure that she was so big she got stuck.
Despite losing a puppy, Hallie was a rockstar. I kept joking that she was a Scientologist because she delivered those puppies so quietly, with such ease that she didn’t even make a peep. She is a natural. (This is significant because Liberty, our lab, is not a natural. In fact, I think she would prefer waterboarding to whelping.)
May 12 – Week One:
Hallie is still rocking the motherhood role. Everybody seems to be adjusting fine except for one. He’s looking malnourished, not putting on weight. Although he does latch on and seems to eat until he falls asleep, we are worried that he’s not getting enough. His brothers and sisters have doubled their birth weight, yet he is half their size. We are putting sugar syrup on his tongue hoping to give him more energy to nurse. His temperature is low. So, we keep him either under a heat lamp or on a heating pad set to low to try and raise his temp. We begin dropper feeding him using powdered Esbilac Goat Milk Formula reconstituted with sugar water. He seems to perk up for a few days, putting on just a few ounces of weight.
May 19 – Week Two:
On Saturday, May 18th at 4:00 a.m. the very first labradoodle,with the little white tipped feet and the white bow tie, passes away in Christina’s hands. He just didn’t have any fight left in him. There was nothing more that we could provide him. “Parti Boy,” as we affectionately referred to him, was the first puppy that we had ever had fade. Fading puppy syndrome is the diagnosis given to a puppy that fails to thrive. A full-term preemie who never develops the strength to live without intervention. We are both devastated to lose him, Christina moreso because she is the one who got up with him through the night to patiently nurse him. She is so nurturing and has such a big heart, she took his loss pretty hard. Hallie hasn’t really been affected by his absence and neither have the other doodles, which is a good thing.
And now, 8 healthy and growing labradoodles continue on their first and best adventure.