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Puppy Surprise Is Everything Wrong With Maternity Care in America

I recently found myself wrist-deep in a dog’s uterus. (Editor’s note: Brace yourself. There’s a graphic photo below.)

You see, my daughter had her sights set on one toy this Christmas. She talked about it nonstop for months. In her sprawling first grade handwriting, she wrote Santa a letter. She even drew a picture, in case he had trouble reading her words, “I want a rainbow Puppy Surprise.”

Have you seen these things? Friends tell me they have existed off and on for years but appear to have made a resurgence in the last couple of holiday seasons.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, let me educate you: it is a stuffed dog, within which is contained somewhere between three and five puppies. In order to retrieve said puppies, you open a Velcro slit in the dog’s belly and pull them out.

Like a K-9 Caesarian section.

I have questions:

What kind of lousy prenatal care did the poor puppy receive that the best they could come up with was a rough estimate of the number of babies?

Can you imagine going in for an ultrasound and having the doctor say, “well, we aren’t really sure, but we can guarantee somewhere between three and five offspring.”

Then, as if the shock and confusion of multiples was not enough, everyone is really hoping for five.

puppy surprise c-sectionThis is why, before Christmas, I played the role of stuffed animal OB. I wanted to prepare myself for the disappointment on Christmas if my daughter opened the dog up and found fewer than five little ones.

There was one puppy already in the box with her mother. The box invites you to see that puppy make weird panting noises. It is not the sound of a happy dog. It is the sound of a dog mid-panic attack after finding herself outside the womb when her 2-4 sisters and brothers are still sealed up inside.

To my dismay, I pulled out only two more puppies. So, three puppies, total. Luckily, it included a runt, which is a coveted prize. Also known as intrauterine growth restriction or possibly twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, it does not come with a puppy NICU playset.

I guess when you are having multiples, beggars can’t be choosers, but why the vertical incision? This poor mama will never get her VBAC.

None of this dissuaded my single-minded six-year-old.

The other night we filled out Mad Libs and every single blank was “Puppy Surprise.”

This Christmas, Santa is going to Puppy Surprise down the Puppy Surprise. I’m going to leave Santa three Puppy Surprises and a glass of Puppy Surprise. I hope it Puppy Surprises so that we can have a Puppy Surprise Christmas. Then we can build a Puppy Surprise! Why is Mommy Puppy Surprising and drinking all of the Puppy Surprise? Mommy has a headache because of the Puppy Surprise and wishes everyone would Puppy Surprise up and go to Puppy Surprise.

Or, something like that.

puppy surprise treeWe made our tree out of construction paper this year (toddler issues). We didn’t have a star. We didn’t have an angel. We have a photo of a puppy surprise. I bet getting impaled in her c-section scar by a tree was a definite surprise.

In the meantime, where can I find a good dog lactation consultant? Should I worry that her incision keeps reopening? And should I offer her a placenta smoothie and some mesh underwear?

Solidarity, sister.

(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links…in case you want to experience this for yourself…)

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