|Delcy and kittens, 8-16-11|
I didn't even bother to pack my machine, notions, and project up Monday night, even though Delcy showed no sign of beginning labor other than just laying in her birthing box. About midnight, she started nesting and rearranging the towels in the box. She couldn't get comfortable and was sticking her butt up in the air a lot. So I didn't take my Ambien, but got a couple clean cat beds off the shelf for a seat cushion, and my Kindle, and sat on the floor next to her. I read and petted and talked to her and told her if she got this show on the road soon, I could still be ready by 8am for Ree to pick me up. She was too busy licking her butt to hear me. Contractions started about 3am. You can see the muscles ripple all the way down her body, like a wave coming in on the beach. The first baby was born at 4:08, and the last one at 8am. Four kittens in four hours is really quick. I guess she heard me after all and felt she did her part by being done at 8:00. I had told Ree not to pick me up unless I called her. So, after changing the bedding and making sure everyone was eating, including mama, I went to bed for a few hours.
The babies were slightly larger than normal. Babies usually weigh between 3.5 and 4 ounces, with most around 3.85. These guys were all 4.1 to 4.4 oz. That may not sound like a big difference, but you have to remember we're talking about something the size of a large mouse. This picture was taken Tuesday afternoon and they'd already gain an entire ounce in that time - that's an additional 1/4 of their body weight 12 hours earlier. The first week, you can almost watch them grow before your eyes, because they double their birth weight. Then, in the next 3 weeks, they'll double that weight to about 16 oz or so, or one pound. I have no doubt these guys will be over a pound by 4 weeks.
I didn't notice this until Tuesday afternoon when Barb, Delcy's rescuer and a previous adopter from me, came to see the babies, that they're nursing in birth order (I keep track of all that stuff) starting at the bottom of the picture, or closest to the birthing location. First born was a black tuxedo (black with a white muzzle, white chest, and four white feet), next was a solid black, next was a black and tan tortie (speckled), and last was a gray tuxedo. Once when I saw them nursing, two of the kittens were reversed, but all the other times, they have nursed in birth order. I'll have to research this a little, but I have a feeling it's not unusual.