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#1
Birth 

Mature Content Warning


This thread has been marked as mature. By reading and/or participating in this thread, you acknowledge that you are of age or have permission from your parents to do so.

The participants have indicated the following reason(s) for this warning: detailed depictions of labor and delivery (not graphic but reader discretion is still advised!).

Her labor had begun last night, the contractions so mild and far apart that Towhee managed to catch a few hours of sleep. When early dawn light began creeping into the Hobbit Hole, she woke with a snort and clambered to her feet to answer an urgent call of nature. It actually reminded her of the night she'd delivered Meerkat, though as she waddled to the doorway and squatted just outside, she only passed what felt like a gallon of urine.

She remained in a squat for several minutes after emptying her bladder. It felt natural and relieved some of the pressure on her midsection. Towhee breathed through a round of contractions—they were growing a little stronger now—and eventually straightened. The puppies had shifted closer to the birth canal and the sudden change to her center of gravity made her teeter. But she widened her stance, carefully holding still even as the March sky continued to brighten toward daybreak.

This is set on the 26th. I wanted to give us some time to play around and maybe help earn some trades! Everyone in the pack is welcome!!! @Phox @Ruenna @Reyes @Fennec @Lenny :)
-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
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He woke to the smell of urine. What shocked him awake was the sound of a torrent coming from just outside, and in his state of barely-awake Reyes' first thought was, well it is spring, a little rain never hurt anybody. Then he noticed the absence of his very round mate and made himself get up properly to find her.

Towhee wasn't far. Crouched and uncomfortable by the look of things. Reyes didn't know the signs of labour so when he found her there was an innocence to the sleepy expression on his face, and he quipped in his obliviousness, You tryin' to flash flood the place? The tail end of his comment became a wide-mouth yawn, distorting things a little.

She teetered as his ears popped. Reyes swayed closer and hoped to catch her. Woahhh there, you ok? It didn't cross his mind that it might be time.
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She twitched, eyelids fluttering as Meerkat woke to the sound of voices. She raised her head and blinked the sleep from her eyes as she tried to get her bearings. It took her a moment to remember where she was: Redhawk Caldera, specifically the Hobbit Hole. She had been staying with Phox at his den but he'd gone to search for Niamh the other day. And now Towhee was in labor.

Once her brain booted all the way, she remembered what had roused her. She plucked herself off the ground and slipped hastily toward the doorway, where she found Towhee and Reyes. Meerkat gave him a brief look before moving nearer to her mother. She didn't totally trust Reyes, though she did want to trust the Sovereign's judgment.

"How are you feeling?" Meerkat asked, glancing behind them toward the Hobbit Hole's entrance. Were Fen and Rue in there too? She hadn't thought to look for them before stepping out of the cozy, dark interior. Her attention returned to Towhee's face, then drifted to her belly. She couldn't see the contraction, though she definitely caught the way her mother shuddered when it came.
-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
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Rue hadn't managed to get a good night's sleep in so long that she'd pretty much forgotten what it felt like. Her chronic pain only allowed her a few hours' rest at a time; anything more than that, and her back stiffened to the point of being almost unbearable. It wasn't unusual for her leave the Hobbit Hole several times throughout the course of the night, just to move around and stretch.

At this particular moment, Rue was out for a early morning stroll. She was surprised to find a small group gathering outside the shared den when she arrived home. Curious, Rue moved toward her packmates, who from a distance appeared to just be shadows hunkered down outside the den's main opening. She joined the others without a word-- they seemed to be in the middle of questioning Towhee-- and she attempted to piece together the context clues about what exactly was going on here.
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She didn't noticed Reyes was there until he brushed alongside her, evidently prepared to catch her should she lose her balance. Towhee looked toward him sharply, catching his concerned question. Before she could answer him, a contraction rippled through her with significantly more force than those previous. Her teeth clenched, the muscle in her jaw jumping as Meerkat suddenly appeared on her other side. She shuddered through the wave of pain, letting out an explosive breath when it subsided.

"They'll be here soon," Towhee announced to no one in particular, slanting her muzzle toward Meerkat to add, "I'm okay. It's no picnic, but..." It would be worth it, in the end. She managed a thin smile for the yearling, then turned to look at Reyes, only for Rue's approach from afield to catch her eye.

Two of her three "baby daddies" were now present. Towhee wished Phox could be here too but she knew he'd gone to look for Niamh. The timing was unfortunate but she could hardly blame him. She briefly wondered what would happen if and when he found her, though Towhee couldn't dwell on that now, nor her brother's absence. He could see his adopted children just as soon as he returned, with or without Niamh and their pups.

Another contraction began, much sooner than Towhee expected. "Oh, fuuuuuuuuuuck," she cursed, the sheer agony wrenching a moan out of her. Breathing hard, she attempted to turn around and walk back into the den but only made it just past the doorway before she sank to the floor. Her flanks quivered and she shut her eyes, grimacing until the intense cramp released once more.

"Someone," Towhee panted, "please call for Fennec."
-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
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As weird as it felt to be back home, it was far stranger for Reyes to be sharing his sleeping place with a bunch of people he did not know. He kept close to Towhee in the night but found that his sleep was more often disturbed by the errant scents and sounds of the others; thankfully he was awake now and could focus on something, or else the proximity of these strangers to himself and his mate would have sent him over the edge.

Meerkat appeared, and then Ruenna. He didn't know them well but they were here with Towhee, so they must have been trusted to some degree by her. He had to stow any misgivings when Towhee's pinched face uttered a request for a medic, at which point Reyes set off from her side - ducking from the hobbit hole, hastily raising his chin to call for @Fennec as requested. 

When he was finished he thought to call for @Eljay too, having forgotten the young man had left the caldera; but by that point Reyes was in a tizzy, wanting to return to Towhee's side and keep an eye on her. He slunk back in among the women and watched them all, hoping everything would be alright.
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Her heart leaped in her chest at Towhee's words, only to sink a moment later when her mother struggled to make it back inside the whelping den. "Mom," Meerkat said a little uselessly, ears pressing flat at the long, loud expletive. Hopefully this was all normal, though the yearling didn't have much frame of reference.

Her eyes lifted to Reyes, who scrambled away to do Towhee's bidding and summon Fennec. They flitted to Rue next, her expression seeming to ask, Is this okay? Is this normal? She sank down beside Towhee, nose skimming along the Sovereign's neck. When her mother didn't protest, she pressed in even closer.

Meerkat hadn't signed in such a long time, the language only came to her haltingly as she tried to tell Towhee, -"Reyes called for Fen and..."- Wait, wasn't Eljay gone? Meerkat seemed to remember it being a sore spot for Towhee, so she didn't finish her sentence. Instead, she glanced over the Sovereign's white-streaked shoulder as Reyes returned, looking a little flustered.

She felt something warm and wet gush over her lower leg nearest to Towhee's hip. Meerkat jumped to her feet, fearing she would see blood. But it was just a clear fluid. She had no practical knowledge of this situation, yet some instinct told her this was what was meant to happen. Still, her eyes darted up again to the others surrounding her mother before dropping down to watch as Towhee began to push...
-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
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Fennec had taken to hanging close as her mom's time drew closer, but there was only so much of that she could do. Spring was here and with it plants were returning. She'd been gathering what she could between patrols and even the odd attempt at hunting. So far she hadn't been successful but she felt like she had to try. Especially with the restlessness that had settled over her in recent days, her moods swinging wildly from pure energy to avid irritation.

The latter spiked as Reyes called her, but it melted away as soon as she got to where Towhee was. Her mom's breathing clued her in immediately to what was happening and she instinctually pushed down the biting remarks lurking on her tongue.

I'm here, she said unnecessarily, coming around Towhee and pressing to her side. Outside of pain, nothing seemed to be going wrong yet, and pain was normal right? Fennec listened intently, taking stock of her breathing, the way she stood, the sound of her heartbeat.
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Reyes left to find Fennec, as Towhee requested, and Meerkat replaced him at Towhee's side. Rue hung back, so as not to crowd Towhee. Meerkat turned to her, her expression full of uncertainty. Rue nodded and wagged her tail, offering silent to encouragement to the yearling. She understood Meerkat's concern. It had been unsettling to watch Towhee collapse like that, not to mention the pain in her voice when she drew out the breathless curse. But everything was happening as it was supposed to, as far as Rue could tell. Meerkat was doing a great job, and to Rue it appeared that she was a comfort to her laboring mother. 

Meerkat leapt up, obviously startled as Towhee's water broke. Again, the girl's eyes flicked around, seeking reassurance, and again, Rue nodded encouragingly. "It's happening," she murmured. Rue was no midwife, but neither was this the first birth she had attended. Fennec swept in to occupy the space on the other side of Towhee's body, and so the Sovereign continued to labor sandwiched by her attentive daughters. 

Rue's eyes then found those belonging to the other baby daddy. Rue didn't love the two of them being described that way, only because it seemed inevitable that sharing the title would put her and Reyes in competition with one another. The last thing Rue wanted to do was step on anyone's toes. 

"It's shouldn't be long now. Her body remembers what to do," Rue murmured to Reyes, wondering if he was as nervous as Meerkat seemed. They were both similarly youthful, after all.
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Reyes hoofed it outside, presumably to summon her eldest daughter as requested. Meanwhile, her younger pressed nearer, even settling down beside Towhee. Rue hovered in the background. She registered all these things dimly, though mostly all she could do was shut her eyes, clench her teeth and breathe through the pain that rippled through her, swelling with each pass.

In the briefer and briefer respites between waves, a sense of pressure built, eventually compelling her to bear down. Her water broke, soaking her entire posterior and causing Meerkat to scurry to her feet. Towhee groaned as her body demanded her to push. Now entirely oblivious to her audience, she rolled onto her side and strained with a garbled scream of, "OH SHITTING FUCK!!!"

This cry heralded the arrival of the first pup just a moment or two after Fennec materialized beside her. Towhee brushed her nose against the yearling's cheek before bending to attend to the newborn. She did everything on autopilot: pierced the amniotic sac, licked the pup clean and dry, then nosed him—she had a little boy! They had a son!—toward a teat. He latched quickly.

She had enough time to nudge Fen's cheek again and glance at the others gathered around before the contractions seized her again. Towhee wasn't sure how long labor tended to last for other she-wolves and she'd never birthed multiples before. She lost her sense of time as she labored and delivered, again and again and again, each new son and daughter announced with a string of expletives.

Four pups squirmed beside her by the time all was said and done. Completely exhausted, Towhee could only utter one last, weary, "What the fuck," and collapse, grunting through the expulsion of the afterbirth. Her chin rested on her outstretched forelegs, which trembled slightly from a strange mixture of elation and exhaustion. She panted and let her eyes slip shut, giving herself a few minutes to recover.

Welcome, @Caracal, @Marten R, @Tierra and @Fear!

I figure we can open the post order now! I'll post a new round once everybody gets a post in! :)
-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
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So this was life?

She was tossed from warmth into cold like a moldy biscuit. Everything around her went from secure and close to open and horrifying. 0/10 stars. She didn't ask for this. Full refund please, send it back.

Something was poking her, prodding her, moving her. The first thing Sapsucker did when her lungs were free was voice her full displeasure with the world and all of the injustice she'd already endured. Thankfully her lungs were nowhere near impressive. Yet.
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Out he plopped. 

Already surrounded by a sphere of uncertainty, which was popped and pulled away. Shoved towards a series of feeding tubes and told, 'eat!' by his own inner workings. He did not know if he was hungry yet, there was no way to categorize the sensations flooding his senses. 

A nubbin of a nipple probed at his face and went up his nose, and he tried to shake his head. Tried, being the operative term. Some crossed wires made him splay out his legs instead and kick back his heels, effectively star-fishing against the floor. Not a peep from him though — confusion and cold equally observed in silence. At most he might have tooted. His sister's wailing overshadowed his existence completely at this point.
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Well, he wasn't happy about any of this either. Everything had been much more pleasant in the warm happy place versus here, which was loud as heck. Not to be out-done, the golden boy burped and spat some of the residual fluids that had been clogging up his pipes and sucked in a clean breath, only to explode with it a moment later. 

His wailing was sharper than his sister's and nowhere near the same decibel, but the hope was there he could draw the attention of someone. He had complaints to lodge! A manager to speak to!

Before long though, this puppy's energy level began to wane and he had screamed himself out of a job; the effort sapped her energy and he curled up against the warm underbelly of his mother, not to eat, but to sleep through the surrounding chaos.
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Fennec helped where she could in the ensuing chaos. Mostly she just stayed at Towhee's side and provided a relatively calm presence. She was excited and perhaps a little nervous but her face betrayed none of it. Mostly she listened, muttering reassurances that she wasn't sure her mom would catch, but they were kind of for anyone in the vicinity. And when the puppies began to come, she gave each one a pretty good once-over after Towhee had finished.

They felt tiny. And they were loud, holy shit. Fennec's ears twisted back as two immediately set to squalling. It wasn't so bad when one piped up but two were a bit much. Telling your newborn siblings to shut their yaps immediately on entry probably wasn't the best look for a big sister but... tempting. Oh so tempting.

Instead Fennec settled in next to Towhee and felt some of the tension leave her own shoulders as she did. Whatever her mom had just gone through, it sounded horrible. She intended to stick around to monitor, to guard, and to generally fetch for the next little while. Reyes and Rue would doubtless do the same but she knew it was sometimes not just this easy.

All the while she kept quiet. She'd never been around for this before, and it was heavy, witnessing (kind of?) new life for the first time.
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One of the Sapsuckers might've been given this experience a zero star rating, the other was glad to finally be on the slide to freedom. There was literally nothing to do in there, and Sphyra was BORED. Finally something happened, and soon her memories of life before life were nothing but a distant memory, much like everything in the world. Whatever had happened before this slowly dematerialised.

Even though she arrived at the teats last, Sphyra pushed aside whoever got in her way, steamrolling through whoever she had to crush to get to the most premium part of the milkbar.

She was the most VIP person here and she wasn't going to let anyone convince her otherwise.
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She watched in stunned silence as her mother brought her little brothers and sisters into the world. It was a decidedly grisly process in some ways, though no less amazing for it. With each arrival, Meerkat’s world became brighter and more colorful, when she hadn’t even realized how truly dim it had been before.

She loved them with a fierceness that hitched her breath and tightened in her chest. Meerkat wanted to clutch them closely to her own breast as she watched Towhee tuck them to hers. She didn’t mind their squalling or squirming. They were so full of life!

Meerkat moved to sit on her heels beside Towhee’s head. She tore her eyes off the pups long enough to bend and kiss the weary Sovereign’s crown. She felt a surge of gratitude as she did. Her mother had just given her this incredible gift—four of them, actually.

Primrose and the twins had technically made her an older sister last year, though that was so very different from this. These babies were only minutes old and Meerkat already had a much better understanding of how Bronco must feel toward her. And it shifted her entire paradigm...
-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
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They arrived one by one, expletives and all. Reyes couldn't remember what it was like to be that small; he couldn't remember ever witnessing a birth at any point in his life and wondered if his mothers were as flamboyant in their pain as Towhee. 

He saw each bundle and stared down at them in awe. Towhee moved to clip them from their constraints and hoard them close so Reyes only got brief glimpses - but they were perfect. Each of them tiny, wriggling, and alive. One began to crow and then another, but Reyes didn't care — he wondered if they were celebrating being alive already or the opposite, and wanted to get close enough to touch them, but was afraid to break them too. 

They're... he started to say something, but couldn't find the words. Towhee was busy and probably didn't see him speak, and just as well. She was doing all the work and need not be distracted from it. The others crowded around her and Reyes wasn't sure what to do. He had no role here; so he sat and watched everything, unable to take his eyes off those little people he helped to make. Utterly awed by it all.
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Screaming explicatives might have been more alarming if it had been anyone else's bedside, but with Towhee it was only to be expected. The group watched breathlessly, everyone seemingly caught up in their own experience and emotion. Birth has a way of hitting you in the feels, and especially in places where you least expect it. Rue had not expected to feel jealous of Towhee during labor, of all things, but the feeling that clawed at her heart was closer to that than anything else she could describe with words. Such intense wanting..

And then the pups made their way into the world, and very quickly Rue's wanting feeling shifted onto them. She wanted to scoop them up to protect them. She wanted to quiet their cries with soft kisses, pulling them in toward the warmth of her own body. The feeling was overwhelming, rooting Rue in place. She was frozen, but luckily no one was looking to her to do anything. All eyes were on Towhee and the new pups.
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She really only meant to take a brief respite, reveling in the absolute silence and stillness she enjoyed when she shut her eyes. But Towhee slipped into sleep, her body gone boneless and her breaths deep as the exhaustion of labor and delivery caught up to her. She couldn't hear the squalling, though even the squirming didn't rouse her. She was dead to the world, trusting her body to provide for the pups and her pack mates to protect them.
-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
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She returned to marveling over the pups, her wide and wondering stare bouncing from one to another. Meerkat did not look up, though her ear twitched at Reyes's awed whisper. Although her feelings toward her mother's mate were a bit complex, she understood his sentiments perfectly.

When Towhee remained still, the yearling's brow furrowed. She gently lowered herself to her belly, nudging at her mother's cheek. She could feel the Sovereign's warm breaths, which was good. But she sat up again and turned to Fennec as concern threaded through her.

"Is she alright? Can I get her anything?" If she needed medical care of any kind, Meerkat knew Towhee was in good hands. But what if Fen needed her to fetch supplies? Or something else their mother might need?

She hated to leave her or the puppies, though Meerkat realized she would do just about anything to keep her little brothers and sisters happy, healthy and safe.
-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
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Fennec made no move to leave where she was, situated at Towhee's side, despite her mother's nap. She's fine, Fennec answered, noting the concern in Meerkat's voice.

As far as Fennec could tell she was, at least. She was probably exhausted but there was nothing unusual, all the pups seemed healthy, and her body didn't seem to be struggling in any way now.

I think she just needs sleep, but she'll probably need food later, knowing her. Fennec added with a little smile. I'm going to stick around a while, though, just in case. She'd slip out after a while but would stay to be sure that, if something happened, someone was around to deal with it.
Fenn is blind, and as she's older, will take all of her character insight from tone.  If you are ever uncomfortable with an assumption she makes, please let me know!
Fig is always welcome (as if she has a choice <3)
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Rue would leave the food-fetching to either Meerkat or Reyes, since Towhee would probably want to eat at some point before the fortnight it would take Rue to limp all the way to a cache and back. 

Once Fennec slipped away, Rue would carefully assume her place inside the den. If Reyes and Towhee seemed agreeable to it, she would take her own quiet moment to get to know the little wiggling bundles while their mother rested.
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She felt duly reassured by her older sister's words. Towhee didn't need anything but rest for now and it wasn't necessary for Meerkat to leave. It would be an honor to hunt for the Sovereign, though her eyes cut to Reyes with the assumption that he would be the first to volunteer as tribute.

Meerkat might still go out and scrounge up something later, though right now? She curled up tightly by Towhee's side, resting her chin on her mother's streaked shoulder blade to stare down at the puppies in wide-eyed wonder.
-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
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