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Labor Pains

Today at age 69 and 8 months I experienced labor pains. I pushed and panted and napped between pains, I tried as hard as I could to take care of the two I had already given birth to, and finally, I pushed out a large kitten who was born breech. Wait a minute you say, you did what?? You gave birth to a kitten?? And then you came home and typed this?? What is going on here? Well, I am happy to report that today during my regular shift at Bellaire’s amazing With a Little Help From My Friends' Pet Crisis Center I was privileged to witness the birth of Sammi the Siamese’s three beautiful kittens. As I sat on the floor with Mona and Jenna, watching and waiting for Sammi to push the new lives into the world, I experienced flashbacks to the birth of my own three children, oh so many years ago.

I have to confess that Sammi was a far better mother and patient than I. No yowling, no cursing, no threatening incipient harm to the father of my wee ones—just patient waiting, pushing, purring, and nurturing. She is an amazing mother. She knew just what to do for each of her babies—licking away the birth membranes, cleaning little mouths and eyes, stimulating urination and, finally, providing her ample belly for the little ones to latch onto and nurse. All the while watching us, her friends and caregivers, as we watched in wonderment at the miracle that she so naturally brought into our otherwise ordinary day.

Jenna and I were the two witnesses to the third birth. It was drawn out—at least an hour and a half after the second of the three kittens. Sammi’s water broke and we looked at each other—each with the same thought. Should she need help, what do we do. Meanwhile, Sammi contentedly purred and pushed, purred and pushed, until number three (nameless as I type) emerged. Sticky and covered in the birth caul, Sammi went to work. She knew what we did not, and thankfully we let her teach us.

Tonight we have a new family of four. Sammi and her babies will be with us until they are of adoptable age and until someone who recognizes Sammi’s gifts comes to take her to her forever home. A home where there will be no more babies, but only years of protection, love and nurturing. Sammi deserves to be nurtured just as she will nurture her own babies. It is a lovely time to be at the center.

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