Wow! What an experience.... First time for momma Belle Starr and first for Fred and I. Belle's temp dropped yesterday morn October 4th. So I rushed around and got the warming box plugged in and the puppy nursery ready. We stayed up with her taking turns. Fred took over at 1:30 this morning and at 4:00 came and got me out of bed. The first puppy was born at 4:30. We did end up calling the vet, for we didn't know how soon they needed to eat after birth and Belle wasn't sure what she needed to do. But because Fred and I did a lot of reading and talking to the vet, we were able to help her with the birth of these 11 puppies. She was quite equal in her delivery. First a white, then black, then white, then black, etc. then toward the end a couple of blacks together and finished with a white. And then she was equal in that she had 5 boys and 5 girls. Thinking we were done, we started cleaning up the lovely mess, putting things away and making sure all the pups were eating. Then at 12:30 when I was ready to go take a shower, she stood up and out came one more. A little black female, to upset the equality of it all. The books did not warn me of what a mess there would be, and that I needed to buy a lot of detergent to keep the linens washed. So over 12 hours we traded after birth, fluids, and other disgusting stuff for poopoo and urine. But we are all fine with that. Love the warming box. With this many puppies, it works to have just a few with mom at a time. So we need to keep track of who eats and when. Which means we are taking turns in the nursery. So, bring on the hot chocolate. And that is what we use to do when my older kids were in 4-H when there ewe's gave birth. Also, they didn't say anything about preparing meals for a few days and put in the freezer. Soup for lunch, and cold cereal for dinner. But we are finding we are so busy that we don't have time to eat. These puppies are so cute, and quite a comical bunch. First Birthing and Very Excited and Exhausted.