Saturday, August 7, 2010
Babies having babies
We had a pool going, the entire neighborhood had bet on how many kittens Camembert would have and what day. Everyone guessed various dates but the consensus was either 2 or 3 babies with the exception of my landlords' daughter Marine, who is 12 and has lived her whole life in the country here. She asked to see Camembert took a long look at her belly, the swagger of her hips and said quietly but definitely, "Cinq, le 20 juillet." Well, okay little neighborhood veternarian, 5 babies (NONE of us believed her) on the 20th. And voila, that's exactly how it was.
Congratulations, by the way, to my sister Carol and my neighbor Didier who also correctly guessed the 20th.
So yes, Camembert had her babies. Being only 7 months old herself, I really wasn't sure how my teen mom was going to do with it all.
I can only say then that I was exceedingly proud of her because she has been an incredibly devoted mom. Her waters broke and she woke me up for the birth. I carried her to the cardboard box I had prepared. She took a sniff or two, decided it wasn't the Ritz but it would do and settled in. Not long after the first arrived. Not breathing. She began to bite Cookie's hind legs (black and white one named by Marianne), which effectively stimulated movement and soon after breath. She licked Cookie very vigorously, gave birth to the placenta, yum-yum ate it up and then relaxed a short while until Heckyl and Jeckyl (the two black ones) arrived close together. Next came the fluffy grey one, which we named Pouf-Pouf and now affectionately have nicknamed Matela (means mattress) as he is large and soft and the others like to sleep on him. Last but not least Bowser (named by Matthieu in honor of Mario games) the grey, black, white striped one who curiously has a black "M" on his face.
After the birth, Camembert was incredibly devoted, leaving rarely to do the necessary or quickly eat, nursing nearly continually the first two days. The maternal instinct was just there, strong and fierce. On the other hand, it was curious and touching that being the little teen mom that she was, she seemed to feel a little overwhelmed about her new role and if I left her alone too long in the room she would come out and meow plaintively at me to come. Nothing was wrong with the babies, she just seemed to need her doula to spend a little postpartum time with her. So for the first two days, I spent most of my time laid out on a comforter on the floor by her birthing bed, stroking her and talking to her and making sure she had plenty of food and water (Almost immediately she was back to or probably below her pregnancy weight, another true sign she's a teen mom!!)
BTW, sadly my fotos and videos that I took the first few days after the birth mysteriously disappeared so these are about at 7 to 8 days old. They are probably about 4 times their birth size already here. In the beginning they really looked more like little scrawny mice!