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June 10th - Finola passes quite a bit of amniotic fluid with each contraction. It seems like a lot and I remember that large bubble that was seen in the kitten count x-ray that the Doctor didn't know what it was. Maybe this fluid was from that. An empty birth sack of fluid? Sometimes eggs get desorbed after they are fertilized if something goes wrong in the process. 

 I expect a kitten soon. A large bubble presents but no tail or foot is seen. Usually we see part of a kitten at this point. The bubble breaks and Finola continues with her contractions and pushing. Nothing more comes. With a sterile latex glove and KY I digitally check to see if a kitten is near. I feel no kitten.....1:15 am I call my hubby in California. He's away on business. I need a sanity check. Before Finola's contractions started I had this feeling that we were going to lose her. I need to touch base with some sane reasoning. He says I should wait another hour then call the Vet for help. During the next hour Finola's contractions continue. She has the portion of sack out but noting more expels. I don't want to pull the sack if it has a kitten whose placenta hasn't detached. Pulling off a placenta before it releases can cause hemorrhaging in the mom. Now every time she contracts I can see tissue that looks like placenta. I check again and no kitten can be felt. Now I am really worried. I try a soft tug on the sack with the next contraction. I can feel the fibers of the sack breaking. This is not good. It should not be like that. 2:10 I call our Vet at home and wake her. She calls for an assistant and I get Finola settled in the carrier. We all meet at the animal hospital. It's a half hour drive for me.

The doctor checks Finola and agrees the tissue presenting is too friable, it's not normal. She also checks to see if she can feel a kitten and agrees she can't feel a kitten either. Next is an x-ray to see who is where. There is an almost horse shoe shaped spine near her back end. Little arm bones up...does it have it's head tucked away....

We have already decided this is Finola's last litter and if she needs surgery she will be spayed at the same time but....I really don't want kittens delivered by c-section we always lose a kitten with surgery. Kittens come out groggy and have to be handled roughly to revive them from the anesthesia. I know the first kitten it is already lost. My hope is that we can clear that kitten and allow the remaining litter to be born normally. I ask if we can give Finola some oxytocin to stimulate contractions to see if we can get the blocking kitten delivered.

 Finola gets an injection of oxytocin and we wait and the doctor checks her. The oxy is doing its job. She can feel a kitten up at her pelvis. It doesn't move any further down. The doctor tries and tries to get a hold on the kitten but its just beyond where she can get a hold of it. Too much time has passed. The doctor thinks she can feel a foot. She gets a forceps to see if she can get a grip on the kitten. She pulls out the friable tissue that is in the canal and makes several attempts. Poor Finola is going to be very sore. She is able to get the kitten and remove it. I see the kittens body. It still has half the sack around the lower half of the body. I also see a portion of the placental band around its tummy. I know something is not right and look away.  The doctor examines it and talks about what she see and asks if I want to see it, I pass. This is not a vivid memory I want to have. I already have an image in my mind from the description. I think we all knew when we looked at the last x-ray that this was possible. What the doctor felt was a foot was the lower jaw and all that there was of the skull.

Finola is exhausted and not having any more contractions. It's been over an hour since she was given the first oxytocin shot. She is given another and we wait. Strong contractions start again but no kittens move down. Sometime after 4 am it is decided she will have the surgery. I want another assistant called in to help revive kittens. I am not confident in my ability to revive neonates so want another experienced person. 

I do my best to help Finola stay comforted as she gets her IV and tummy shaved. She is given gas and we wait for the active burst but it never happens and she is out. Her tummy is scrubbed and she  has her trach tube inserted. She is moved to the operating room. The prep for her surgery is finished. The doctor scrubs in and she does not leave Finola until the surgery is complete. The technician gets each kitten from the doctor as it is removed and brings them out to the warming table for all three of us, the tech the assistant and I, to revive. First kitten out is a big one and he come kicking and ready to crawl. The Tech calls him Avatar because he is fast and strong and has the nose. When we get home I will mark him blue and use Avatar as his diary name.  The second and third come at the same time one to me and one to the assistant, They are tiny and then two more follow quickly.  My kitten looks almost premature. It is breathing but is not active like Avatar. The last two kittens are now crying and wiggling about. The assistant says hers is not coming around so the tech trades kittens with her and works on it. The two active kittens have had their cords cut and are under towels on the warming table. I keep rubbing my peanuts chest to stimulate her and I pinch and cut her cord. The doctors calls out to ask how they are doing and if the cords have been cut.  The Tech is working on the little girl still no breathing. When she swings it to clear its mouth red blood comes out its mouth and nose. She grabs the suction bulb and walks away from us with it. I concentrate on my kitten who is still looking purple. The assistant is looking at the cord on her kitten and asks the tech , "How do I cut it ? I've never done this before." I keep working on my peanut. Its feeling cold to me I try to warm it and my hands on the hot water bottles. Its so purple but it is breathing. The Tech is still working on the other little one. I think she is long gone. I wonder if she was handled too rough and something ruptured inside her? The little ones are so frail looking. They remind me very much of my daughter who was born 14 weeks premature. No fat under the skin and skin that is translucent. I tell the Tech to stop she is gone but she doesn't want to give up. I insist. When the doctor finishes up with Finola she comes to see the kittens. The tech brings Finola to the table to rinse her fur off. Its covered in blood. The blood washes away and her fur is dried with a hair dryer. She is starting to come around and we put the kittens to her nipples. Peanut is the only kitten to latch on and nurse. The other three are crawling all over her yelling. Peanut is looking purple again so the doctor gives her some oxygen. She pinks right up. I have to keep shaking her by the scruff to get her to take big breaths or she turns purple again. Finola had a lot of scaring because of her previous surgical infection in 2007. The doctor says when she made this incision there was milk in it and I need to watch her for an infection because of it.

We pack Finola into her carrier and put the kittens in with two warm water bottles. It is 6 am and I go out and start my car and get the heat running. We set off for home and for the entire half half hour drive I worry I will get home and find Peanut dead. From this point on I did not look at a clock. With no sleep at all I was concentrating on doing everything I needed to do for the kittens.

I drive in and the kids are just getting up for school and their summer jobs. I flip on the fireplace to warm my office. Sean gets the birthing box and brings it in here. We change out all the soiled linens for fresh ones and I plug in the nest heater and place it under the clean family nest in the box. The fireplace is taking to long to warm so I get the ceramic heater and place it so the heat flows into the box. I place Finola and the babies into the box. Peanut is still with us but looks purple I shake her a bit and try to warm her. Sean gets me my oxygen tank and I give her some breaths of oxygen. She gets pinker. I haven't use the oxygen in a long time and it is almost empty. I grateful it has the little bit it does. I continue to rub, shake and then when she gets too purple for my comfort I give her more oxygen. For the next few hours I keep thinking I am going to lose her any time now. Finola leaves the box and sits and stares off into space. The three strong kittens are screaming and crawling everywhere... even out of the box. Their cries have no effect on Finola. She goes under my desk and lies down.   I wonder if the hyperactive behavior of the kittens is an effect of the anesthesia? I mix up a little warm kitten milk replacer thinking a warm full tummy might settle them down. It takes some effort on both sides but the kittens do suck down some milk. Even Peanut sucks on the eye dropper with strong suction but she doesn't drink much. The room is now a warm 83 degrees. Peanut's color is staying pink. Getting her warm inside and out was key. When newborns get chilled they get sleepy and their body functions slow down. I'm now home alone and my job for the rest of today is to stay awake and be momma cat. Keeping the kitten on the nest warmer part of the nest so they don't get too chilled. Hour after hour Finola will not have anything to do with them. I keep trying  by putting her in the box or bringing a yelling kitten to her to try to nurse. I get no cooperation. I am feeding them kitten milk on demand after I try to get them to nurse. I am also wiping their bottoms to stimulate them to pee. They can't do it on their own. Momma usually licks them so I use a warm wet terry cloth as my rough kitty tongue substitute. As the day wears on I think their may just be a little hope for Peanut.

This is the first time I have had a queen not deliver any of her kittens before surgery. Our past c-section experience was after all the kittens were bonded and we had to get a placenta (Maeve2006) and a last kitten (Finola 2007). Now I am wondering if she will reject her kittens and I will end up hand feeding them. I really hope I can get her to come around after the drugs get out of her system.

When my daughter got home from school I went and took a two hour nap right after I fed and wiped the kittens. She watched over them and was able to get Finola to go into the nest with them. Peanut was able to latch on and nurse before the other kittens figured out that they could find nipples too. When I woke up Andrew was in watching over them. I am so happy that Finny has accepted the kittens as hers. I'm allowing the stronger kittens to nurse so they can make Finola's milk come in but I am still feeding Peanut at least every two hours. I try to let Peanut nurse but the big kittens just crawl all over her. She is not strong enough to fight for her own. After I feed her I place her by Finola's front legs so she can see her and try to protect her a bit. Finola came out and stood at the food and water bowl. She was there but nobody was home. She ended up taking about 8 laps of water before she walked away and then back to the kitten room. 

Finola seems to be doing well with the babies. They root and nurse and she is staying in the box with them and repositioning when they yell too much. I fed all the kittens so they had full bellies before I went to bed at midnight. I go to bed worried that Finola will leave the box and when she returns she will lie on Peanut and accidentally smother her.


June 11th - I wake up thinking I'm going to find Peanut dead this morning when I go in to check the kittens. I was happy to see Peanut was doing okay. I had to clean up her poo butt. Finola didn't clean her but she did stay in with them all night and the stronger kittens are doing their part demanding their momma's milk to come in. I washed everyone's behind and then fed Peanut a little kitten milk and gave the left over to the other kittens. Peanut seems lethargic this morning so I raised the room temp to 85 and she perked up. I'm continuing to feed her and allowing the big kittens to nurse. When they get so mad with hunger that they can't settle down I give them some kitten milk too. I want them stimulating Finola's milk but I don't want them to lose weight in the process. There is quite a bit of poo in the nest by afternoon so Finola is not cleaning the babies at all. I am now not cleaning everyone every few hours.

At 3 pm when I fed then wiped Peanut she peed dark blood and my heart sank. He abdomen looks bruised. Did she get stepped on by Finola or was she already more fragile then normal and this was unpreventable. Maybe she and her little sister were both to fragile to make it. She continues to eat and wiggle and at time she meows. The doctor confirmed there is noting to do but to support her and see how she does. She continues to pee blood all day. I expect to lose her each time I check on her.

Finola has still not had anything to eat at all. She did drink some water. I have tried every trick I know to stimulate her to eat. The other cats are all getting lots of special food that Finola won't eat....they don't mind helping out one bit, lol. My goal for tomorrow is to really work on getting her to eat again.

Everybody gets their tummies filled before I go to bed. Peanut eats and sucks well but is she is looking a little yellow?...is it the bruise changing color as it heals?

I'm off to bed at midnight thinking Peanut will be gone in the morning.


June 12th - Peanut is still with us she is in position to nurse on a lower nipple...is she nursing? I don't want to take her off nipple if she is but I do need wipe and feed her to see how she is doing. Momma doesn't look like she has milk in yet or she was just nursed to empty. The other kittens are sleeping. I gently lift momma tummy to see. It looks like she is at the nipple but not on it. Maybe she fell asleep after nursing there. I pick her up and rub her gently so I don't startle her. When I wipe her the color is more orange and very little. The nest is dirty so she may have rubbed on the nest and released it earlier. I feed her and her little tongue is going but she isn't drinking much. She looks even more yellow on her tummy and legs. I put her back and go get my Verilux light. If Sun gets rid of bilirubin and this yellow is caused by that then my winter full spectrum sunlight lamp may help her, it won't hurt. I spent the morning holding her. I washed her gently in warm water and dried her with the warm air blowing from the ceramic heater. Even after her bath she still looks off color. Her tummy is no longer purple but it is swollen. I doubt it is from milk. She didn't take much of the kitten milk. I cradle her in my hands in front of the light so her bare skin of her underbelly is exposed to the light. While holding her I study her. She seems to be in a hyper active state. Her legs are going and her mouth and tongue are going. She mews occasionally. I might think she were dreaming if it weren't for the occasional times she opens her mouth wide and sort of gacks. I wonder if she is hallucinating or having seizures. I believe her movements are involuntary. At noon I snuggle her into her momma's arms near her face. Fifteen minutes later I look in on her and she is still in Finola's arms but she is gone. I remove her from the box. Peanut will be buried in the garden.

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