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On Puppies & How I Was Inspired to Be a Mom

So as if having a baby wasn't exciting enough, 
Saga got pregnant the same week that I had Svea! 
We had been so looking forward to having puppies, 
and I was especially thrilled to be a part of helping Saga in any way that I could.

When I was about nine years old
my chocolate labrador, Bou Bou, 
(short for Queen Sylvia's Marabou Chocolate - yes that was really her name)
got pregnant by our male chocolate labrdor, Spot, 
(short for General Lee's victory at the Battle of Spotsylvania - yes that was really his name) 
and I could not wait for puppies. 

I vividly remember coming home from getting groceries with my mom, 
and the ice cream truck pulling up. 
My mom never let us buy anything from him, 
but this was the one time she caved. 
I picked a Tweety Bird popsicle
and Kaj (my little brother) picked a Ninja Turtle popsicle. 

My mom told me to go check on Bou Bou 
and so I skipped into the backyard with popsicle in hand. 
As I walked outside I braced myself for the inevitable slobbery kisses I would recieve. 
But...
no kisses. 

I looked around in confusion. 
No Bou Bou. 
I called her name. 
No Bou Bou. 
I walked around the side of the house 
and there I saw that she was lying in hole that she had dug
and she was panting like crazy. 

I was baffled only for a split second before it struck me, 
she was in labor. 
I dropped my Tweety Bird popsicle on the ground and ran to her. 
I began to yell to my brother who was out front to send my mom out to us. 
I petted her and looked into her eyes. 
In a different way, 
I was just as scared as she was. 

I had had a class in school that year about "how babies are made"
and regardless of my desire to be a mom at that young age, 
the thought of pushing a baby out terrified me. 
I had come home and informed my mother that I was starting a savings fund, 
for the specific purpose of adopting children when I was older, 
because I was too afraid to give birth. 

Now I was face to face with that thing which I feared so greatly. 
I didn't know what pain Bou Bou was experiencing,
or if it would all be ok. 

I saw an immense resolve rise up in her eyes, 
and she pushed,
straining her whole body. 

Out came a puppy. 
I didn't know what to do, 
but she did. 
She pulled her puppy close, 
tore open its sac, 
chewed off it umbilical cord, 
and nudged it over to nurse.

It was amazing. 
Suddenly a little voice in my head seemed to whisper to me, 
"Your mom did this for you, 
Bou Bou did this for her puppies, 
and one day you will have the strength to do it for your own children."

In those moments, 
I watched Bou Bou have the rest of her puppies, 
I helped get them all nursing, 
I was awed by the beauty and strength of motherhood, 
and I no longer was too afraid to have my own children. 

She inspired me.

A few years later I had the privilege of watching as my mom gave birth to my baby brother.
Afterward the doctor said, "I bet you don't want to have a baby now."
"Actually I do. I want to have a baby more."

Birth is not about the pain or the fear.
It's about strength and life and the beauty in selflessness.

Flash forward to the present. 
I was excited to be a part of this process again with Saga. 
  We went to the doctor to get her checked. 

He said, 
"Well either she's having a false pregnancy which is very common with dogs, 
or she's having a very small litter of one or two pups."

"Ok," we thought. 
One or two pups it is. 
We'll just have to wait and see if she goes into labor around her predicted due date. 

We waited, 
Saga got bigger, 
we got more excited, 
Saga got more tired, 
I empathized with her since I had just been through the same process. 

Finally the day came and Saga was going into labor. 
She panted and shivered from contractions,
and I sat and comforted her just like my hubby had comforted me. 

To my surprise, 
as I was gently stroking her, 
and telling her she was doing a good job, 
I felt movement within her. 
I froze my hand over her big belly. 
There it was again. 

I could feel her puppies moving inside of her. 
It was so beautiful. 

There was certainly more than one puppy in there. 
My Saga was full of life... literally. 

Throughout the day, 
I walked with her, 
I told her what a good job she was doing, 
I set up a plastic swimming pool for her to nest in with lots of padding, 
I took her out to potty a lot, 
 and I sat and looked into her eyes and told her how much I loved her. 

All day she labored. 
I knew the feeling. 
My grandma and my little brother came over to watch and help. 
We prepared towels, 
a heating pad, 
etc. 

Finally around seven in the evening
Saga started to push. 
She thought she needed to go to the bathroom, 
but it wasn't working. 
I coaxed her into staying in her nest and not going outside
and got her to push again. 

After a lot of hard work, 
a sack slid out, 
and I was a nine year old girl again
watching the miracle of life.

I had pushed my own baby out not six weeks earlier, 
and I was still stunned by the miracle of it all. 

I held Saga's puppy in my hands and showed her to get the sack off. 
By the third and fourth puppies,
 I was holding the pups and she was tearing the sacks off 
and chewing through the umbilical cords. 
She cleaned each puppy vigorously 
and let them nurse while she continued to give birth. 


When she had the fifth puppy, 
I thought, 
"Wow! This must be the last one! What a big litter!"
I remembered what the doctor had said about one or two puppies, 
and I chuckled to myself.


But she didn't stop at five. 
She didn't stop at six. 
Or seven. 

Finally, Saga had her eighth puppy. 
My grandma said, 
"Well I think she's done." 
I thought so too. 

I placed my hand on her to tell her how good she had done, 
when suddenly, 
I felt another movement inside. 

"There's one more puppy!"
 Half an hour later, 
Saga was done and her nine puppies were nestled into her. 
They slept, 
exhausted from being born and nursing. 


I was so proud of my girl. 
So inspired by her. 
She went from never having had puppies, 
to patiently nursing nine squealing, jerking puppies. 


And I was honored to be in the same catergory with her 
of "mother."


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