Today is good day, yesterday not so much. Let me take you back to 3 months ago. I had bred OCRA Lacey with OCRA Cyberman in hopes to continue our pearls that are on the larger side in terms of length and size. We spoke with a few breeders that have often done pearl x pearl crosses with no issues other than smaller litters. We realized we may not get more than one or two babies, but they would be pearl and hopefully a good size. Unfortunately, Lacey reabsorbed that litter starting at day 17. Last month, we decided to pair her again but with one of our RED Mink dilutes, OCRA Barberry. The pregnancy didn’t seem to take as there was not much weight gain after 8 days. Yet, she never seemed to go back into heat. Then on day 15 she seemed to jump in weight and through the pregnancy gained 75 grams not a lot but a definite gain. Things were looking great for this line that was coming from the “Solving Mysteries Litter”
The wait began for Lacey.
Day 21 nothing.
Day 22 nothing.
Day 23 nothing but I can feel 3 babies.
Day 24 spotting.
[ Miss OCRA Tootie gives birth (on her due date) to 10 little pipsqueaks. One is very runty and another is pretty bruised otherwise all look great!]
Day 25 OCRA Lacey is still holding out. I have called the vet and said we may need to come in tomorrow to get a shot of oxytocin and/or c-section/e-spay.
At this point I am getting concerned but she is eating. I am watching closely for piloerection (puffy fur) since that is the first sign something is taking a turn for worse. I also am concerned because she is still bleeding. Not a lot but more than she should be. She had not had any noticeable contraction while she wanted to be out and snuggle with me most of the morning. At about 11 a.m., I decided to give the ‘smallest’ baby a chance with OCRA Tootie so I pulled 3 babies with the largest milk bands -weighed them each 6 g (2 boys and one girl).
I asked OCRA Lacey if she would keep them warm for a few hours. She was more than thrilled and immediately tucked them under her huge girth and began to boggle. That left Tootie with 6 for a few hours to give the lil guy a chance. The other reason why I opted to see if Lacey wanted to snuggle the babies was oxytocin. You see that is what we were planning on getting her when we head to the vet tomorrow.
- An amazing little fact - after delivery, mammals produce oxytocin while nursing. It helps the uterus to contract to expel any blood clots and to continue to get back into pre-pregnancy shape.
I figured that if the babies suckled – they may get a little more colostrum and it could help Lacey get some ‘natural oxytocin’ to help her start contractions.
Fast forward Day 25 – 3 hours after I gave Lacey babies to keep warm
I kept checking on both mamas and at hour 3 both were still content on their nests ‘nursing’. This went on pretty much all day with my alarm going off every hour to check on them. I know they got off of the nest to eat and drink but when ever I peek in they were very content nursing.
Fast forward Day 25 – Hour 4
I coaxed Lacey off to weigh the babies and was pleased that they had not only kept their weight but their milk bands were MUCH larger. Lacey had more bloody discharge but still was very happy to eat some yogurt and egg.
Fast forward Day 25 – Hour 5
I checked on Tootie’s litter and the little runt had passed away. ☹
Fast forward Day 25 – Hour 6
The natural oxytocin was working! Lacey had covered up the babies and was at the other side of the cage having contractions. I opted to put the babies back with Tootie at this time. More for their protection since Lacey was a BIG girl and I didn’t want her to accidentally step on them while in active labor.
Fast forward Day 25 – Hour 10
I had fallen asleep (no surprise with only 3 hours the night before because of checking on Lacey) but was awoken by the crazy wall of humidity that seemed to fall over SW Washington last night.
Lacey however, was busy while I slept those few hours. She had a baby that she had delivered and cleaned up. It looked like it was stillborn due to the composition of it. I weighed her and she had lost 10 more grams. The baby was a good size, the scale kept hovering between 6 and 7 grams. She still had a little blood spotting and I could feel 2 babies one in each horn of the uterus. I offered her some more food, which she greedily ate. Since she still looked good I covered the cage and let her rest.
Checked on Lacey 1st thing this morning. No other signs of babies but a bit more blood in the nest. She looked wonderful and didn’t have any more blood coming out either. I weighed her and she lost another 15 grams overnight. I let the vet know I was not coming in today but to keep me on for tomorrow, just in case she has any other issues that come up today/tonight.
I have had her out for a while this morning. Quite often, I found my self manipulating her belly to make sure I didn't feel any more babies. I just offered her the chance to go back into the Girls Sorority and she jumped into the cage with her ‘sisters’ . Having all the space to roam around will help her too.
I will keep an eye on her for the next few days. Hopefully she will be the most amazing nanny when the babies hit 3 weeks old and join the Girls Sorority with their mama for lots of fun and space as they grow from teddy bear stage to mini ratties.