I hadn't asked for this. This life-altering event that was both a blessing and a curse. When I had gone to the doctor for stomach pains eight weeks ago, I had never expected to be referred to a veterinarian. But I didn't question it, since I wasn't a doctor, and my general practice physician, well, was.
So I made an appointment with Dr. Slater. Her office was slightly confused as to why a human needed an appointment, but I assured them that my regular doctor had insisted and would fax over the necessary paperwork that would explain my condition.
I arrived at the vet a few days later. Dr. Slater had already reviewed the paperwork and seemed excited to meet me, though I couldn't fathom why. I was nothing special. Just a middle-aged woman with stomach pains. Nothing more.
I was surprised to see her wheel in an ultrasound machine, but didn't ask about it. I figured she would fill me in when the time was right. After she had put gel on my tummy, she touched the machine to my stomach and began to move it around on my skin.
"Holy shit!" Dr. Slater exclaimed.
I was taken back by her sudden outburst. Was that normal behavior for a vet? I looked at the screen and saw quite a few round masses in my stomach. I was horrified! It couldn't mean what I thought it did, could it?
I finally decided to speak on my own behalf. "Dr. Slater, I can assure you, I have never eaten a rock in all my life. Aliens must've descended upon me in the night and implanted them. Ooh, do you think they could be moon rocks? Or something indigenous to their home planet?"
She eyed me curiously for a moment, her mouth agape. "No, Miss Linfield," she said slowly. "Those aren't rocks. They're puppies."
I scoffed at her. There was no way I had puppies in my belly. Clearly, they were alien rocks. "That's preposterous. I don't even own a dog."
"I'm not sure how it happened, Miss Linfield, but you are a marvel of science. The first human to ever incubate another species. We must run some tests." Dr. Slater began tearing around the room, pulling open drawers and calling for nurses.
Every test they conducted only served to further confirm Dr. Slater's original prognosis. I, Miss Zarcy Linfield, was pregnant with six puppies of undetermined breed.
I begged the doctor to keep my condition under wraps. I did not want my unborn canine offspring tainted by a media halestorm. I was under enough stress as it was. A single mother trying to raise seven puppies was a future I didn't foresee for myself.
Dr. Slater agreed as long as I consented to her writing about my story after the puppies had matured, and would therefore be able to handle any unwanted attention they may receive.
I also had the sticky situation of trying to figure out what I would tell my darling puppies about their father. As far as I knew, I'd never even met him. Should I make up come grand tale about how he had wooed me over a Milkbone and some Beggin' Strips so the pups would take pride in him? I could add that he had died an honorable death as a bomb-sniffing dog in Iraq. Every dog wanted a hero for a father.
I went to my weekly vet appointments, and the puppies continued to grow. Slightly concerned, I did ask Dr. Slater whether or not I would grow extra teats to feed my newborn pups, but she just muttered under her breath. I guess I'll just have to figure it out on my own.
So as I sit on my back patio, resting Marley and Me on my round belly, I can't believe all that I have gone through. I will be induced in a few days, which fills me with both excitement and anxiety. I can not wait to meet the fruit of my loins, but I also know that the hard part is still to come. I will need to raise these puppies to become outstanding citizens. And I will need to do it alone.
After the spinal took effect, I felt like I was floating atop a cloud. It was a magical way to welcome my children into the world. I felt a little pressure as they made their incision, but nothing too terrible.
Suddenly I heard the obstetrician exclaim, "Holy fuck, there really are puppies in here."
I really didn't want my puppies around such horrid language, but I was too full of euphoria to complain. As they extracted my darling cherubs from my uterus, they quickly whisked them off to check their vitals. I was a little sad I didn't get to play with them, but I appreciated the doctors caring for them so thoroughly.
I was, however, flabbergasted when I saw a nurse bottle feeding one of my puppies. "Hey! I planned to nurse them," I complained, close to tears.
Dr. Slater approached me and put a hand on my shoulder. It was a comforting gesture, even though her nails dug into my blade and her voice sounded like a hiss, which I assumed was due to her overwhelming happiness for me. "You can't nurse them, Zarcy. They need special milk. Besides, you won't produce enough for all of them."
I was devastated. My milk was special. I was their mother! But I kept quiet and sulked privately.
Once I had been sewn up, they allowed me to see my puppies. They said they were "mutts," which I thought was a cruel way to refer to such perfect little fuzzy beings. I decided to name them after foods I had craved while pregnant with them. I named the small black one Jalapeño Popper, the white one with the brown spots YooHoo, the black and white one Asparagus, the brown one Cow's Tongue, the yellow and white one Movie Theater Butter Popcorn, the gray and black one Swedish Meatballs, and the white one with blue patches on his eyes Kentucky Fried Chicken.
The doctors tried to convince me to let them raise them, but I was adamant. I was going to do right by my puppies, no matter how many trials and tribulations I faced. I would be a successful single mother. And I would raise successful puppies, who would go on to accomplish great things, like being seeing eye dogs, police dogs, actors, or water rescuers. Nothing would stand in our way of being the happiest family on earth. I'd see to it.