On Wednesday, I was called back to work because there was a pug coming in who had been struggling to give birth for a few hours. Generally, if mum has been struggling to deliver for 1-2 hours, it’s an emergency and usually the puppies will be dead. The mum had had one stillborn puppy in the wee hours of the morning and we saw mum at about 3pm. The caesarean was only really being performed to save the mum’s life at this stage.
I was pretty much freaking out. I was excited, SO excited but also freaking out because *I* was in charge of the operation. Little old me. The other much more experienced nurse was out the front, handling the rest of the consults… and then I was out the back. Not only would I be monitoring the mum under anaesthetic but I would have to attend to any puppies that came out. Luckily it’s the vet that I’m friends with and she gave me the lowdown on everything and I was so glad she was the vet and not my boss vet because I would have been so nervous if it had been him and would have flubbed everything.
I was starting to feel really anxious about it all and one part of me was hoping that the puppies would be stillborn so that I wouldn’t have to deal with anything else. As the vet made the opening incision into the dog, I don’t know why but the scalpel wasn’t cutting as it should have done and she had to rip the layers of tissue and muscle which made the grossest noise and I then started to feel really faint. My head starting getting all fuzzy like the last time I almost fainted, but I just concentrated on monitoring the patient and it went away. She opened up the uterus and found the puppy that had caused the blockage. She opened up the placental sac and as she did, she felt a movement and promptly passed it to me, saying “This one’s alive, it’s yours”.
Such a little bundle, it fitted snuggly inside my hand and I feverishly rubbed it’s chest, trying to bring all the amniotic fluid out of its mouth. My one was the one that had been stuck all day and his poor little head was a very odd shape. I hadn’t felt any movement, so I stopped. No movement. I opened the mouth to try and see if there was any more gunk inside, there was. I cleared it some more and as I did, the puppy opened its mouth and wriggled its front legs. Still alive! So I kept going. I don’t know how long, I worked on this little puppy. I was praying the entire time too! Every time I stopped to check for signs of life, there was no movement and then he would slightly move after what seemed a lifetime and I’d get back to rubbing the chest, trying to stimulate some more movement and life. I even gave him mouth to mouth to blow some of the gunk out… which then got in my mouth. Ick!!
While I was working on this little guy, there were two more puppies inside that came out and were resuscitated enough to be left alone by the other nurse. Mine still wasn’t crying. I kept working and working and the other vet came out the back. He had literally just said to me “You want to have them crying because then you’ll know he’s going to be ok” when my little guy let out this pathetic little mewling noise. I seriously nearly cried myself! And then he wouldn’t stop :)
But then I had to go and monitor the mum, who’d taken a bit of a down turn while the vet was finishing the operation. However, she pulled out of the operation fine and now I present you with some pictures. They’re not the greatest but (unfortunately!) the owner turned up to collect the dog before I could get my camera.
Mum and her hour old babies: two girls and a boy
And then this next one’s not great either but you can see the mum’s feet compared to the babies feet so you can get an idea of scale.