MORE TALES FROM THE NURSERY
24 January 2005
I woke up at 7:30 this morning to the sound of vigorous sucking. (Now how often do you see that as the starting sentence of a journal entry!)
I have been sleeping downstairs in the recliner so I can hear the puppies when they wake up and I leaped out of the chair. I knew immediately what was going on. Ashley had warned me not to let the puppies suck on each other or they could get sick and there Jed was, firmly attached to Toby's tiny penis, sucking away for all he was worth.
I quickly opened the cage and grabbed Jed, closed the cage and took him into the kitchen. I had to make formula before I could feed him.
(I should mention, parenthetically, that Ashley brought me powdered formula yesterday and for the very first time in my life I am now mixing up baby formula--since my kids were all breastfed, they never had formula, so it's not that I'm rusty, it's that I never did it at all!)
So I'm standing there in the kitchen, with this wiggily, howling puppy trying to mix up formula while not dropping the dog, with Sheila (who had come downstairs as soon as she heard me moving around) watching intently.
Somehow the formula got mixed and I sat down on the floor, as I usually do, to feed Jed, and immediately had one of those terrible knotting cramps in the back of my leg. I managed to get that worked out and sat down again to feed Jed, but the syringe wasn't working. I did something I shouldn't have done yesterday. I decided to wash the syringe in the dishwasher, to really get it clean. Only since I did that, apparently the rubber in the syringe has changed shape and it no longer glides smoothly along the shaft and it's a pain in the butt to try to get any milk into these puppies' mouths at all. (I'm getting a new syringe today).
The middle of the night feeding had gone horribly because of the syringe problem and it ended with my giving the syringe a big push to dislodge the milk and it sending an arc of milk up into the air--I still don't know where it landed. At 3 a.m., such things are a huge pain in the butt!
I decided that if I sat in the chair, where Jed couldn't wiggle off my lap, I might have more leverage with the syringe. Well, it turned out to be the best thing I did.
That puppy latched onto my finger, lay quietly on my stomach, just like he might have to his mother, and sucked contentedly. Because of the syringe problem, I could only get a little bit of milk at a time into him, but the other two puppies had gone back to sleep, so I just let him take his time. It was, by far, the best feeding I've had yet. I was very sorry there was no camera close at hand because he was just so peaceful. When he finished his milk, the others were still sleeping, so I just sat there stroking him and letting him suck, sleepily on my finger. I feel sorry for these puppies, not having the usual mother-sucking that babies need. (Their mother injested posion and had to be put to sleep.) He finally let go of my finger and then just lay on my chest with a happy sigh, uttering those little puppy grunts. I probably spent about half an hour cuddling with Jed, while Sheila sat nearby, patiently waiting until I put the puppy back so she could get her own breakfast.
Eventually the others woke up too, so I stuck Jed back in the cage, fed Sheila and Kimba, and got Toby. I already had formula left over from what I had mixed for Jed, and the chair idea had worked so well, I took Toby to the chair as well. This didn't go quite as well as it had with Jed, but he did eventually settle down and suck milk off my finger. By now Walt had awakened, so I instructed him in how to work the camera, and the angles I wanted and he took this cute picture of Toby.
When Toby finished eating, I tried calming him down, as I had Jed, but he was having none of it, so I ended up putting him back in the cage. Leo was still sleeping (amazingly, since he's usually the loudest one), so I had a little leisure time to mix up yet another batch of formula, settle into the chair and have Walt climb into the cage to get the white puppy.
Leo is always the most troublesome to feed. He gets absolutely frantic, but insists on rooting with his head down to find a teat on which to suckle, and it's almost impossible to get his head to raise up to a level where he can actually take in the tip of the syringe, or my finger. I'm afraid I'm going to hurt him, but he is so strong that it takes real force to get him to lift his head to find the food he's looking for.
I finally managed to get (most of) the milk down him. The more he drank the calmer her got, so the longer the feeding went on, the easier it got. I even gave him 10 cc more than usual because he seemed still hungry when he finished 40cc. By this time I had put the camera close to me, so I was able to take a brief movie of him, the first part of which is blurry. I've uploaded it to you send it.com, which is a site that will allow you to send large files to someone, so if anybody would like to download a 4 MB file of Leo nursing, you can find it here, if you want to download a 4 MB file. "You send it" only holds files for a few days, so this link will expire on January 29.
Unfortunately, when I put Leo back in the cage, he made straight for the nearest brother's genitals and began sucking again. I had to move him away and I'm going to have to keep a close eye/ear on the cage today to make sure that now that they've discovered that their cage-mates have something to latch onto, that they don't actually DO it.
Progress note from today: Jed and Toby's eyes are halfway open.
Additional note: It was 10 a.m. before I even had a chance to THINK about breakfast this morning!!!
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Jed and Toby sleeping together, while Leo is off to the side.