After four kids, ten moves and nearly two decades, we are still blissfully in love (most of the time) and I found myself back in the state I was born and raised in. It has definitely been a journey. In fact, on our 18th anniversary we pulled the last of our stuff up over the pass and into Montana, leaving our surprise love, Idaho, behind. But Montana is a great place. The last best place according to some. And we fully intend to explore as much of it as we can! Join us on our continued adventure through life, love and other stuff that comes with it.

Monday, April 11, 2011

A different kind of unassisted birth story.

This weekend we got some new babies with feathers.  And today we got some more new babies.

You'd think it was spring.  But you wouldn't know by all the snow still hanging around.

Anyway, last summer we got some kittens.  And those kittens grew into cats.  Now since we are irresponsible pet owners, two of them ended up knocked up.

I've been offering everyone a pregnant cat.  Unfortunately pregnant cats are not that hot of an item these days. 

And there is the fact that my girls would be heart broken if I gave their cats away.

Anyway, these cats have been looking mighty pregnant.  And then today I had one of them trying extremely hard to get into the house.  She was super persistent and evidently got past me without me noticing.

Late in the morning I was letting the dog in and thought I heard some squeaking in our coat room/entry way.  At first I thought it was mice.  I did a little searching around and find the cat kind of shuddering, all curled up in a box. 

Dangit, I thought to myself.  She's having her kittens IN MY HOUSE! 

And sure enough, she was.  At that point kitten number three had arrived, in the caul for you birth junkies out there.  Pretty cool, actually.  I'm kicking myself for just standing there staring at it and not getting a picture.

I had a friend over.  I went and got her.  She was equally fascinated by it.

Then we got the kids.  They were glowing with excitement.

Calla thought her cat was laying kittens. No, honey.  She's not a chicken and those aren't eggs.

But this is a placenta the cat is eating. 

This was equally confusing to Calla.  I told her that is what kept the baby kitty alive when it was in its mommy.  The placenta fed and breathed for the baby.   Later Calla was talking to Grace and asked me what the babies came out of.  I told her the kittens came out of the va.gina. 

"Yea!  And then she ATE IT!"

"No, honey.  She ate the placenta."

Then she proceeded to make a "placento" out of the play dough they had spread all over the table.

Two things struck my friend and I as we stood there watching this cat give birth.  1)  The mama cat had chosen, to quote my friend, the smallest box in the world.  And 2) the mama cat was purring contentedly as she labored and gave birth to FIVE kittens.

"Yea.  Didn't you purr when you were in labor??" 


"Oh.  That's weird."

Okay, I added that last part.

There are five brand new babies in total.  And after she birthed all of them, ate the placentas, and cleaned them all up, she just curled up and purred and kneaded her box and her nursing kittens all afternoon.  As far as I know, she's out there still doing that.

Calla had to watch them all nurse.  It's pretty phenomenal how they all, blind and as far as we can judge, helpless, root around and latch on to their mother.  Yea, it took them a while, but last I was out there they all were content and nursing and sleeping and their mother doesn't look a bit worried or stressed.

This is what stressed her out.

I had the nerve to pick up one of her babies and take a picture of it.  THAT is what stressed her out.  She actually got up, came out of her box as far as I was, grabbed her baby and quickly retreated back to her box.

Did I mention that this cat is a first-time mom?

Recently I've been reading a lot about babies and instinct and how it serves us and our babies and how our society seems hell-bent on turning off a mother's instinct.  The comparison made me kind of giggle.  I certainly didn't see this first-time mom questioning everything.

Are they big enough? Are they small enough? Is it my due date?  Am I overdue? Is it too early? Should I try for a natural birth or do I think I'll need an epidural?  Is it okay to push? Am I getting enough fluids? Are they warm enough? Are they too warm? Are they nursing yet? Are they getting enough? What if they get too much? Is my milk coming in even? What about their latch??!! OH MY GOSH!  Am I doing it right??!!

No.  None of that.  She's just curled up in her smallest box in the world oblivious to pretty much the rest of the world purring away and relishing every moment.  (That is unless I try to take one away.  We figured that out.)

We can learn a lot from this new mama.

Birth is so amazing.  Instinct is so powerful.

I realize now that she picked the smallest box in the world on purpose.  All the more warmth wrapped around her brand new babies.

Brent emailed me from work telling me that he would have to work late one night next month.  I emailed him back saying that I see his working late and raise him five kittens. 

"Yay," he deadpans.  "Did she tell you who the father was?"

No, and he didn't even show up.  But the kids just got a pretty awesome example of natural birth and instinct and nursing and all that fun stuff that is so amazing in and of itself.  All from the smallest box in the world.

Anyone want a kitten?  We have five.  And probably about that many more on the way here soon.  I wonder if I have any more of those little boxes.

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