BeBe and the Egg
November 27 Friday
BeBe has been trashing the papers on the floor of her cage lately.. cooing to Nikki (her Brother) a lot. She's five years old and has never even thought about laying an egg until now. Josie did these same things before she started laying eggs...oh, God!. But BeBe was born with a calcium deficiency and I am a little concerned. BeBe is a voracious eater though and probably gets enough of what she needs nutritionally. She is for all intent and purposes an eating machine.
10:00 p.m. BeBe lays a small egg on the floor of her cage and pays no attention to it! I find it by accident. It is very small not the typical size egg of a cockatiel. Holy crow.
November 28, 2009 Sat.
Bebe looks sort of poopy and I guess if she is to lay another egg it will be Sunday.
November 29, 2009 Sun.
BeBe lays second egg in evening and it is so tiny! Does she have narrow tubing? I hope there are no more eggs. Unfortunately I have missed her laying these eggs. She looks tired now.
November 30, 2009 Mon.
BeBe poopy and did not eat a lot today. I guess she is going to lay another egg. Sigh.
December 1, 2009 Tues.
When BeBe and Josie are out and I notice BeBe flies up to south window rod and she keeps shifting her wings, over and ove,r and over. I assume that maybe she has hit one somehow and it's sore. She is doing everything else just fine but has some quick breathing. Later that night I see that BeBe's breathing is still quick and I am getting concerned. I put eucalyptus essential oil on a tissue and put it on top of her cage under the shirt I use to cover her with at night. Just in case she is coming down with something. Maybe she will have laid that egg by morning and stop breathing this way. She did with the last two eggs.
December 2, 2009 Wed.
I inspect Bebe and she still has quick breathing and looks downtrodden. I lift her out of the cage and immediately know we are in trouble. She feels way too light- like her life force is leaving her. I notice she has not eaten and feels weak. I call Michael and tell him we are in trouble and Bebe has to go in NOW. He makes arrangements to leave work and I make the appointment 1:00....can not get in sooner.
She is losing ground quickly and I wonder if she will even make it to the vet's. It is raining cats and dogs. We get there and she is seen quickly. The tech wants to do the usual check but I ask if we can skip and just get to some immediate care. He says he needs to see if she is stable and I tell she is NOT. He gets the vet. She looks at BeBe and suggests putting her on oxygen. BeBe goes into the back room to be put on oxygen.
Doc talks to me and says she really doubts that anything she can do for BeBe will help her as she is too far gone. She is egg bound....she can feel the small egg. It is in the right position but stuck. I should make her as comfy as I can. I could also consider euthanasia. I can not do that yet. Without saying there is no hope she is saying there is no hope. I ask that things be done anyway. I want her hydrated, and fed vitamins. Doc recommends calcium and vitamin D along with fluids. Then she wants me to hand feed her with a syringe/pipette 3cc every 8 hours of food formula, 0.1 cc of calcium every 24 hours, and 0.10cc of antibiotic every 24 hours for 14 days. (Not likely).
We go back to look at her and talk more. She is in a tank with oxygen looking dead. When it comes time to give her the shot I leave. Ever since the time Josie got those two antibiotic shots in her breast and screamed I can not be present. I can still hear her scream. I almost lost her then too but not from being egg bound! We never did figure that one out.
Doc tells me to leave BeBe in a dark place that is quiet. I tell her BeBe has never been in the dark so she says o.k. to leave her in an environment that is quiet, warm and dim. When I hand feed her just do it and then let her be. No cuddling or extra holding as it will stress her more. Sounds simple enough.
We get home and I put a tray table in my bath room as it is small and very warm in there. I put the heating pad under the small cage I brought her to the vet in. I dim the lights. Blast the shower to increase the humidity. I know birds that lay eggs need humidity. BeBe is totally out of it. I keep the blue shirt she is used to over her cage and just leave a peek hole so I can see in without disturbing her.
I position her in a washcloth so that her wings are tucked, feet are under her and chin is on rim of cloth. She can not stand, can not hold up her head, has no foot control, has breathing so shallow you have to strain to see it, her eyes are closed, she looks dead. I leave and try to concentrate on other things but can not.
I go into check on her. I see that BeBe has flailed again and realize she may be better off in her own larger cage. It may help protect her some. I get her cage, take everything out and make it suitable for her and her flailing. I guess the flailing in continual periodic pain. It's awful to see. As if she is possessed by some demon.
I am back again in 20 minutes max. She has moved, flopped into another position and looks miserable. She is dying. How long will this take? My heart is aching. I am worried about her wings getting hurt or even broken. I rearrange her again. I come back every 15-20 minutes and find the same thing over and over, and over and do the same thing over and over. I keep turning on the shower when the humidity seems too low. I also have a thermometer in the bath room and it is reading between 83-85*. That is good. Her little body never feels warm enough though. I also clean her little vent with Calendula oil and a Q-Tip. I do this often. I am on a constant vigil.
I don't care what the vet said, the bird is dying. I don't want her to be alone like Lilly was when she died (and there was nothing wrong with her claimed the vet...a different vet). I think you have to make judgments according to personality types. Surely if I was this attentive and touchy feely with Nikki or Roo I would stress them to the max but not so with Josie, BeBe and probably Spike. I think it depends on the trust level the bird has with you.
I do my own thing with her. I see that she is comfy...as best I can. She is somewhere else 'she is gone. I am watching as she dies a thousand times. It is gut wrenching. I decide to offer some water to her and use the pipette. She freaks out like I have stuck fire in her beak. Flailing her about like she is on fire. It is frightening. Has her throat closed? I later try to feed her formula, just a spec and she does the same and starts uncontrollably shaking...is she is shock!? I'm in shock. This poor soul.
I am mad at God but begging. I can not stand to see BeBe suffer so. Now she has graduated to flailing about and then stopping for about five minutes with her wings stretched out, her down to the floor, and her tail pushed up against the side of the cage. She is pushing, pushing, pushing with everything she has then she slumps and is motionless....wings stretched out, head down hardly breathing. Was that the end?
No, in five minutes time she does it again and, again and, again and I am thinking if I had the means I would end it right now. She is so out of it. Were is this energy coming from? She has not eaten, has not had fluids or real rest. She is killing herself. This is the most traumatic experience I have ever been through with any animal. I am feeling so helpless and hopeless and where is God? I beg, I plead, I pray. I give BeBe Reiki. I am willing to sell my soul. But still BeBe is trying desperately to pass this egg.
After she collapses for about the 100th time I take her out. I cuddle her in a wash cloth and bring her into the living room. I give her Reiki again and tell her to let go. That it is o.k., it is time for her to go and be at peace. I pray for her to die. Then she has her usual infusion of pain and lurches into a stance that leaves me nervous. She bolts forward in a blind furry and I am afraid she may slip from my grasp and hurt herself so I return her to the bathroom.
It is 1:00 a.m. BeBe was suppose to be dead hours ago but she is hanging on killing herself slowly. Watching her flail, bolt, stagger, collapse, and no doubt faint I am exhausted too. It is like having your heart torn out of your chest. I put a spell on myself to go to sleep, leave Michael a note to wake me at 4:00, and know when I wake at 4:00 a.m. she will have crossed and that will be that. She will finally be at peace. I will not have to watch this anymore. I can not watch this anymore. My eyes ache.
I leave Michael a note to wake me at 4:00 and he does.
December 3, 2009 Thurs.
With baited breath I go to the bath room and look in on BeBe...she is still alive! Her breathing is very shallow but she is still alive. I don't know whether I am happy or sad. I decide that we need to take her in when the vet opens to have her euthanatized.
I take BeBe out to inspect her. She has more strength in her feet! They are slightly grasping. I start thinking a mile a minute about all kinds of things to do. What to do!???? I remember reading in the Pet Medicine Chest Newsletter (before it was shut down by the FDA) that you could use their tinctures on the skin of animals. That they were effective this way. I have their tinctures but I also have my own. I think why not try to use St. John's wort in warm water as a wade for her to calm and relax her. Wade her in it. It will, through osmosis, get into her system. The warm water may help relax her. She is anything but relaxed. She is out of her mind with pain and instinct. And she still looks like she is dying....dead. But there is life so there is hope.
I get the bowl, warm the water put in the tincture and bring it into the bath room and put it on top of the cage. I get Bebe out and wrap her in a wash cloth. I put her little lifeless body in the bowl holding her so that her feet and legs are in. She does not move. Her head falls forward and she just droops. We stay like this for about five minutes and then I let her breast get wet and wet her vent too. I put her back in her cage and for the first time in 24 hours she rests. Truly rests! I am so thankful.
I come back to find her in the exact same position I left her in 20 minutes earlier. I am stoked. I decide every hour to wade her in different tinctures. What have I got to lose? The next wade is motherwort. She seems to like the warm water and relaxes deeply afterwards. Her breathing is more discernable now. Next wade I use a blood purifying tincture with a dash of motherwort. She does well. The next wade is nettles and then she has done so well I stop them.
She is able to stand, has her eyes open, more wing control! I offer her water from her cup and with the first attempt she falls in and then pulls herself back and tries again. She drinks, and, drinks, and drinks. More water than I have ever seen her drink. I think "good' she is aware of thirst and maybe she will eat next. I am so happy we are making progress.
This is looking good but she still has the egg inside. She is still egg bound! But she is so much stronger. Will this new lease on life give her the strength necessary to pass the egg or will it kill her in the process? As she steadily gets stronger I of course forget about making the appointment to euthanize her. Now the appointment will be for another calcium shot!
I decide since BeBe is so improved to put her back with the flock. Perhaps if she sees them eating she might join in. I put her cage back where it goes and keep her covered except so that she can see her family. Heating pad in place. She is on the bottom of the cage. I have a millet sprig on the floor of the cage and her water dish attached to the last wrung of her cage. Because she can now stand I put a perch on the first wrung too. Attach another millet sprig to another feed cup next to her water.
I check on her and see that she has begun to eat with the others. Not much at first but then she digs in. She also gets on the perch and eats the millet near the cup! We are making good progress now. I am thrilled!
I put the flock to bed early. I decide not to bother them once I have them all tucked in. It is about 8:30 p.m. I decide to go to bed around 10:00. But try as I might I feel like I should check on BeBe. I had not wanted to disturb them but I keep getting the message to look. I get up and carefully pull back her cover and see her climbing the side of her cage, She wants to be high up now. WOW! I decide I will put her perch and cups back to normal height since she has enough strength to scale the side of her cage. I open her door and notice something one the floor that looks like two eggs....but upon closer inspection I see it is one HUGE egg broken in half. She has passed that egg! Hallelujah!
It is huge compared to the others and no wonder she was having problems. The shell broke because it was not calcified enough and that is why it got stuck. I pray that she does not have any residue in her from the egg. I don't know when it broke. I'm thinking she may have stepped on it or it broke directly after she passed it. She seems fine. I am totally blown away. I arrange her cage the way she liked it and now she is in the ranks of her family members once again. I take the egg and all of the papers out of her cage and put clean ones in. Then when I am finished putting her to sleep I look at the egg more closely. It is big. Poor gal. We can not have this happen again. What am I going to do to prevent this from happening again? I have my work cut out for me.
December 4, 2009 Friday
BeBe has an 8:30 a.m. appointment with the tech for a calcium shot. I opted for this as it is less expensive ($45 less because It cost $183 yesterday). But when we get there everyone wants to see BeBe including the vet. No one can believe she pulled through. I explained some things that I had done.
It is decided BeBe is indeed a miracle bird....
Bebe came home and proceeded to do well. I decided to let her rest for two days before I let her out. I wanted to keep an eye on her and watch for possible aftermath complications.
December 5, 2009 Sat.
Josie (mama bird) turns 8!!!! But it is raining so we decide to celebrate Sunday. BeBe is doing well. Like nothing happened! I'm still a wreck.
December 6, 2009 Sun.
I decide to let Josie out first and then BeBe for a little while I am surprised to find that BeBe is coming to me more often. She spent time on my shoulder biting my ear unless I tickled her head. She lives for this. Josie is rather put off at all the attention BeBe is getting and I have to be careful that I do not upset Josie, she's the QUEEN.
December 7, 2009 Mon.
BeBe is till doing well. Tomorrow I am dosing the gals with herbal antibiotic on their food and red palm oil on their millet. The millet (ten pounds) was delivered today so we will celebrate Josie's birthday one more time!
I am unusually tired from all of this intense emotion and not knowing. I hope that tomorrow I will have rebounded completely. My mission now is to keep BeBe on calcium. BeBe clearly needs to have it. I noticed BeBe has kind of loose stools so I am watching closely. She did eat some wheatgrass which may have helped this along. I hope she is not going to lay another egg. She has not made any indications toward cooing or rearranging her floor!
December 8, 2009
Tuesday All seems well. I am researching ways to cut down on stimulation to avoid egg production.
December 13, 2009
BeBe is breathing heavier and in the afternoon starts rearranging the papers on the floor of her cage...ALERT!!!! Oh, NO! She also has the classic loose poops.... She's been drinking the calcium we managed to get from her vet and at a reasonable price too. It never hurts to ask...all one can say is "No".
December 14, 2009
BeBe...I caught her dancing for Nikki...I've been trying to distract her. Did all the things I could do for less stimulation....moved her cage so she is not as comfy feeling, give her less light, no bathing, gave her back her eggs (the two she laid and a fake one. You aren't suppose to remove them....birds can count and will keep laying to replace them), rearranged things in her cage...changes that make her not as comfortable and take her mind off laying eggs. She was afraid of her eggs! Lol. But she has been calm today.
December 15, 2009
BeBe has been good today. Poops better and no outward signs of wanting to lay eggs. Maybe her hormones have readjusted.
December 16, 2009
BeBe power flying...that's the calcium talking.
December 19, 2009
BeBe still good. Seems she is not thinking eggs at all. Whew! She is just as feisty and demanding as ever.
December 30, 2009
BeBe seems totally recovered without traces of infection or any problems related to that egg experience. I've experienced a miracle and it has touched me deeply. God works in strange ways indeed.