The Ice litter has made its arrival, not without some excitement and angst though.  I learn something new with every litter - something new/different happens, mostly negative, and you learn about it, deal with it and move on.  There was a first with this litter....first born was delivered in the back of my Ford Edge!  We need to go back a day to start from the beginning.  Blanka had a temperature drop Monday Nov 27 mid evening.  When the thermometer dips below 37 degrees, you know you should be seeing puppies in 24-36 hours.  She was shivering, restless till mid day on Tuesday - all a part of stage 1 labor.  Heavy panting started during the afternoon and by 5 pm her water broke.  I was thinking, "great, maybe they'll all be born by midnight"! hoping I wasn't in for an all nighter.  By  7 pm I noticed some light green discharge...a bit concerned but thought I would just observe...the green got darker by the hour - green before any puppies are born can mean that there is early placenta separation.  Called my vet and we agreed I would wait it out a bit longer.  1st contractions were noted at 9:20 pm...they looked quite gentle - something like when us humans have our first contractions...just a tightening and you catch yourself thinking this isn't so bad.
No puppy by about 10:30 so I left my vet a message saying I was worried and that a c section might be needed.  Packed her up and headed to Morden.  About 15 minutes into my drive I could hear that Blanka's breathing had changed and then I heard a squeak - pulled over and climbed into the back of my Edge and there was a puppy, alive, on the blanket with Blanka.  Turned around and headed home, called my vet to say with the first one born, I was going to go home and whelp them there.  She thought I should still come in...I think she wanted to avoid the SOS call during the night.
So, we settled back down at home and #2, a girl, was born - this was a tough delivery as her front legs were behind her shoulders.  Another boy born at 12:50 followed by his brother at 1:30 am.  At 1:47 another boy made his debut, and the gender ratio evened out a bit more with another girl at 2:18 am  The odds got better with # 7 being a smaller girl.  #8, a boy was another tough delivery.  Very quickly after #8, #9, a girl slid out.  An hour later a boy, 1st breach one of the bunch was born.  So 10 puppies entered our world...I stayed with Blanka and the pups till about 7:30 am to make sure she was done.  All puppies had nursed multiple times all night so I headed to bed to try to get some sleep.  Checked them within 2 hours and then after breakfest went to check again and there was a lifeless pup between Blanka's sinking feeling was that she had laid on him.  I tried to revive him but to no avail.  Removed him from the whelping box and went back to account for the puppies.  Counted to 10...couldn't be...must have miscounted....counted 10 occurred to me that #11 was delivered while I was having breakfast...he was a big pup and in all likelihood because he was delivered so much later, may not have taken a breath.  

I take holidays after a litter is born so I can watch and monitor closely.  Count to 10 many times a day...make sure Blanka is eating so she produces milk and I rotate the puppies for nursing to make sure everyone gets a turn.  My #1 priority is to keep everyone alive.  The first week is so critical for the puppies'survival...not to let them get over heated or under heated...they can't regulate their body temperature until they're 2 weeks old.  New mothers sometimes lay on their pups...not on purpose...just out of exhaustion and a newborn has a tough time trying to wriggle out from under her.  

The puppies have a good solidness about them...already I can feel the extra weight from nursing in the last 36 hour.  They are a travelling bunch - already moving all over the whelping box, always searching out their mom of course.  

Their pink noses and pink pads will darken with every day....until they are totally black.  The color of the litter is very uniform - very light pale coats.

Blanka is doing well as a  first time mother...very attentive to their squeaks and squeals and a bit overwhelmed at times.  She looks relieved when I come to check, like she needs reassurance.  She is loving the special food I have been giving her....calcium levels have been depleted from the delivery and now nursing pups so its very important that I feed her calcium rich foods for the first while.  A big pot of mashed potatoes with cottage cheese, yogurt, sour cream and shredded cheese mixed into her kibble has enticed her to eat.