Well, Elsie finally started contractions again, and after more work getting a pup out than we've seen so far, she delivered another handsome black male who weighed exactly the same as his brothers (15 ounces).
This little one, however, arrived breech after a long stressful set of hard contractions, and was lifeless, floppy-headed, and gray-tongued on arrival. We worked on him for 15 minutes doing all we could (in some cases, the same measures that saved our Miss Lime), but he never responded. Sadly, Elsie's #5 pup was stillborn, and we were unable to revive him.
I'm okay. I actually suspected this might be the case when Elsie's intermission went so long. Interestingly, this is the same scenario as what happened with Elsie's one stillborn pup in her 2008 litter (#5, a big boy, taking a long, long time for delivery to kick in). In both cases, we did all we could; it just wasn't meant to be.
For all we know, there may have been something internally amiss that we just can't see. Externally, he was a handsome little one, looking just like his brothers.
Elsie is fine too (she's not looking for him the way she looked for her other stillborn pup a few years ago). She must just "know."
The good news is this: I still feel viable puppies kicking and active in Elsie's tummy, so we're hoping for more live, uneventful births.
Hopefully, my next news will be happier. Though this news is sad news, it is news that is quite common in larger puppy litters; we're usually just insulated from it. Sharing sad news is the risk we take sharing good news with you all. It's the way of things.
Some tough lessons in life and death (and our inability to give life) today. But we rest in knowing that God knows every sparrow that falls and that he certainly knows our #5 pup. We trust, too, that God's purpose for this little one was somehow accomplished while he was still in Elsie's womb. And now we imagine that pup romping with Elsie's other pup on the other side of the rainbow bridge.
Losing #5 doesn't, however, dampen our joy over the first four litter mates. We celebrate the living healthy pups we have and treasure all the more that we were able to bring Miss Lime around so well.
Elsie is nursing her pups and sleeping now (after a very tough delivery with #5). But we expect to see more pups in the next couple of hours.
And it will soon be time to check in with our vet.