It all started (or so we thought) yesterday morning when our daughter, who had been having sleepovers with Charlotte in the downstairs bedroom, banged on the ceiling (our bedroom floor) at two o'clock. We hustled downstairs to find Charlotte nesting furiously, whining and panting, etc. But after an hour of hoopla, she up and fell asleep, the stinker.
The next morning we decided my daughter could go to work like normal.
But then Charlotte refused to eat her breakfast ... hmm, interesting.
She did, however, accept an egg ... so, never mind.
And then she threw it up ... Oh. (!!!)
So my daughter decided not to go to work after all. She spent the morning reading beside a panting, panting, panting Charlotte who could barely be persuaded to leave the whelping box to go pee and poop (diarrhea! progress!).
And then at 2:30, a mucus plug! Pacing! Whimpering! Brief bouts of pushing! Forty-five minutes later, a couple (semi-terrifying) shrieking howl-barks, and out slipped a ball of black and white wrapped in plastic, or so it appeared. Charlotte licked away the membrane, chewed off the umbilical cord, scarfed the placenta, and woosh—out into the world slipped pup number two, wheee!
For the next several hours, that was the routine. My daughter jotted down the birth times and sexes. The kids took turns calling friends with updates. There was much (poorly) suppressed squealing and jostling to get the best view. The first puppy squeaks and whimpers may have inspired a few ecstatic tears of joy. The cousins came and got to see pups four and five come out. Another girlfriend watched pup seven emerge. My friend and her four kids made it from town in time to see the last delivery. What a party!
Could we possibly get any closer?
Blocking the distress sounds.
Three down, five to go.
Charlotte, it turns out, is a champion mother. Except for the time she was licking one puppy’s head while scream-bark birthing another and visions of her jaws clamping down and decapitating the helpless critter flitted across my mind, she has never once shown any signs of ineptitude. In fact, so committed is she to her mothering duties that we have to carry her outside for potty breaks, after which she immediately races back at the door and whines to get in.
I was sightly flummoxed to see all these black and white pups, I must admit. Did Mr. Tiny not fulfill his duty? Was there an imposter? But then I Googled the markings of newborn beagles and was relieved to see that black and white is what they’re supposed to be. It will be fun to see their colors change over the next few weeks.
As for me, I have a new lease on life. That night I made myself a cocktail to celebrate (lime, triple sec, vodka, and seltzer) and this morning I slept in.
It’s good to be on the other side.
This same time, years previous: chocobananas, white icing, of a sun-filled evening, strawberry daiquiri base, and grocery shopping.