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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Trouble Kindling

My heart has been in my throat for the last 24 hours.

My beloved "Catching Fire" was due with her first litter.  She made a gorgeous nest on the wire, so I worried mostly that the litter would be born there.  Yesterday morning I went out to find a baby dead on the wire, but it had the typical stretched out "first litter, wasn't alive anyway" look.   Oh well, it happens.

When I got home from work, I noticed her grumpily sitting in her nestbox.  I picked her up to look for more babies and found none, but she did show some swelling and had some diarrhea.  Great.

After an hour there was no noticeable change in her condition, that's when I really knew we had a problem.  She was having trouble getting that next kit out.

A friend suggested rolling her gently over on my grooming table in hopes of repositioning the kit.  I slowly rolled her over, then held her on her back for fifteen or twenty seconds, then allowed her to get up.  I followed this treatment up with several minutes of belly massages, then repeated it.   I also held her back end up like I was helping her breed and massaged, hoping that would help her.

Eventually, it was time to let her do what she could do on her own.  

Checks through out the night revealed a tiny pair of legs sticking out.  She had graduated from problems having her kit to a stuck kit.

Ultimately, I brought her in the house, along with food and her water.  I lubed up the legs on the baby and made sure to get some on her, then gave an exploratory tug- unfortunately the kit was stuck fast.  I was afraid to pull it out for fear of hurting her, or tearing the baby (which was obviously dead at this point) and killing Catching Fire.

For the next hour or so, I massaged her belly, or just sat stroking her back.  I filled up a small container with warm water and let her soak in that a few minutes.  She seemed to enjoy it and it helped clean off her messy bottom.

After she was dried off, I put more lubricant on her and gave one last gentle tug at the babies feet- they still weren't budging.  Catching Fire started to contract again right as I was headed to bed, so she got one last belly massage.

At this point, there was nothing left to do but pray she could get the kit out during the night.

I am happy to report that as of this morning, she had passed the kit.  No more swelling, no more diarrhea.  I am hoping she is done and there aren't any more kits in there.

What a night!


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