Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Whole Kitten Ordeal, Part III

...continued from the other day

The vet had told us that even though the induction hadn't worked, there was a chance that Iive would end up going into labor naturally during the night, and having the other three kittens. I wasn't *expecting* that to happen, but I think a part of me was definitely hopeful that it might. We woke up the next morning (Tuesday). Tom had to go to work, and I was tasked with making a vet appointment as soon as possible, and taking Iive ("ee-vay") in for her c-section. We went to the closet to peek in at Iive and her babies, and see if by some miracle, another had been born in the night. There were still just the two kittens there. But Iive was gone.

The bedroom door was shut, so she obviously hadn't gone far. As we started scanning the room for the cat, we noticed spots of blood on the ground in various places. We became a little worried, and started searching more frantically. Did she have complications during the night? Could the blood have been from the birth of more kittens? Tom found her under the bed, and coaxed her out. She had been sitting on a pillowcase which we stored there, and it was also covered in blood (luckily, it was a special waterproof case, so everything washed right off!). Tom comforted her, and placed her back in the box with her kittens. I searched under the bed, thinking maybe the third kitten (the one whose sac had been bulging out of her) had been born. But I didn't find one. Under Iive's tail there was such a bloody mess, that it was hard to see what was going on there.

Tom left for work, and I went about my usual morning routine until it was time to call the vet. I called only minutes after they opened to request an appointment. I quickly explained our situation, and said that Iive would need a c-section at the earliest open appointment. The receptionist didn't seem to buy my story, and kept trying to convince me to bring her in later in the afternoon so the vet could do a check-up on her, and then figure out what needed to be done. I insisted that I wanted a morning appointment, and I wanted the vet to set aside time for an immediate c-section. She finally gave me one at 11:00.

**Warning - the story is going to get gross for the rest of this installment**

I had my mom come over to help me transport everyone to the vet. She's a fellow cat lover (/crazy cat lady) herself, and has a lot of experience with taking sick animals to vets. I just couldn't manage the baby and a box of cats (we don't own a cat carrier) by myself. My mom drove, and I held the box of kitties on my lap in the car. During the drive, Iive was licking up the blood from her ladyparts. When she was satisfied that it was clean enough, she lay back down. And that's when I saw it....What had been just a blob of greyish amniotic sac sticking out, was now a little bulge of furry orange kitten. Her third baby, which had been trying to get out for over 24 hours now. I stroked it, trying to discern what part of its body it was. The head, I thought...maybe. But it was cold. And it didn't seem like it was alive anymore...

The first vet we had visited had mentioned that when kittens die inside the mother, there is some sort of gas given off that smells really bad. Since she had not smelled that gas from Iive, she said there was reason to hope that the kittens might still be alright. Here in the car, I didn't smell it either. Maybe, I thought, even if this kitten hadn't made it...the other two were still happily kicking around in there??

We arrived at the vet, and signed in at the counter. We sat down to wait: my mom occupying Sly, and me trying to get another look at kitten #3. I was carefully probing at the little body, and narrating my findings to my mother. My mom is one of those people who does not get grossed out at all by bodily "stuff" (she's a nurse, in fact). She soon started poking at the little kitten herself, and sadly confirmed my suspicion that it was probably dead. She then passed the baby to me, and went to grip the barely-born little kitten's body. "You're not going to try to pull it out are you??" I asked. She just gritted her teeth, and nodded at me. She began pulling on it gently. Iive became very alert, and seemed to be uncomfortable (I don't blame her!). My mom kept wiggling it out. And then we could see a little face - so it had been the kitten's head. And then a paw came out! It was so sad. And it was definitely dead. We were both too struck by that little paw and too nervous about hurting Iive to continue. We needed the vet!

I went up to bug the receptionists again. "Okay, now there is a dead kitten hanging out of our cat! We need to see the vet!" But they were pretty rude, and just sent me back to the seat to wait. That's when I noticed the horrendous odor. It must have been that "kitten death gas" we had been told about. I wanted to gag.

There was a nice old man at the vet with his big friendly dog. Before my mom had messed with the kitten, she had brought Sly over to pet his dog, and chatted with him for a few moments. He had been busy at the front desk for a while, but now he came over to us, asking, "can I see what's in your box?" like it was pet show-and-tell. He was very nice, and I know he just wanted to take a peek at whatever cute animal we had brought. But we couldn't let him see the gruesome sight in there! A cat with a dead kitten hanging half out of her! Instinctively, both my mom and I kind of covered up the box with our hands, and made unintelligible sounds, "uhhh, mmm....I don't think...ermmm...." The poor man just felt awkward, and started apologizing, and turned away without understanding what had happened. It was pretty uncomfortable.

And then Iive gave a big lurch. And the entire dead kitten flowed out of her, riding on a sea of blood and placenta. Oh, and the stench. It was unbearable. I leapt up from my seat, and yelled at the receptionists, "There's a dead kitten in here, and tons of blood, and we need a vet RIGHT NOW!!" At that very moment, a vet was coming out of the back, and she went right over to Iive. She calmly looked down at the gruesome scene, and said, "yeah, I'm sure the kittens are dead too. Let's take her to the back."

And thus died any hope of rescuing any of the unborn kittens :-(

...To be continued

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