Pregnant with Guinea Pigs: Part I

pregnant julie

Julie, mother of three: two fuzzy guinea-girls and one baby human boy

Hello!  My name is Julie, and I am the mother of three:  two fuzzy guinea-girls and one baby human boy.

Before I became pregnant with my son, my two furry ladies were two of the biggest “people” in my life.  I talked to them all day (I work from home), gave them lots of veggie snacks and my camera was always full of pictures of their “smiling” faces. Then I found out I was pregnant.

My first thought was that the pigs would continue to live the same lives that they had before, and it would be no problem at all to add the baby into the mix.  I quickly realized that almost everyone else had a different idea.

It seemed that I was asked a million times (by non-pig people) when I was going to re-home the girls, and when was I going to stop fostering guineas (I volunteer for Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue.).  I quickly told them that I was not going to be re-homing my pigs, and they were part of the family.  That brought looks of disbelief and most times people would shake their head.  I couldn’t believe that people actually expected that I would abandon my furry babies so that I could have a human one.  My oldest pig is six years old, and the thought of her leaving the family brought tears to my eyes.  My husband and I love our girl-pigs.

We faced our fist small hiccup not long into the pregnancy:  I started having morning sickness, and the smell of the pig’s cage (no matter how much I cleaned) was making me sick.  Ask anyone who knows me, and they would say that I was really, really nit-picky about the state of my pigs’ cage.  I would clean their cage every night, and it would look pristine every day.  I agonized over a solution to my problem (as I was the primary pig caretaker) and in the end, it seemed the only answer was to pass my duties on to my wonderful husband.  Fortunately, he was a good sport about it and didn’t mind taking direction and didn’t mind sweeping up errant bedding and hay.

julie's guinea pigs

Julie's two sweet guinea-girls, Meisha and Puddin'

The pigs really didn’t seem to notice the swap in custodians, and things really didn’t change for them otherwise.  They continued to live a charmed life while eating, sleeping and begging for treats, all the while I grew and our unborn son came closer to changing the world as we knew it.  The only time the pigs ever showed any acknowledgement as to their changing world was when I placed our younger pig on my belly and told her that her little brother was in there.  At that exact moment the baby kicked the pig in the side and she panicked and took off running down the couch and took a flying leap into my knitting basket.  She was fine, but after that she would never go near my belly and would raise the hair on the back of her neck if I tried to put her there.  Poor pig.

As it usually goes, I was growing larger by the moment and I had trouble reaching the back corner of the guinea’s cage.  (I have a 5X2 C&C cage on a table.)  The two girls had realized this, and now hid in the far corner whenever it was time for nail trims, weigh-ins or daily liquid vitamin C doses.  I then realized that my pigs were now smarter than I was.  I had to find ways to continue doing my normal (non-cleaning) tasks.  My husband made me a “door” for the cage by zip-tying grids together, instead of using the connectors and I would swing the front of the cage open when I would feed and water them.  You should have seen the looks of disbelief when the fuzzies realized that Mommy could now get them out anytime she wanted.  But, they also saw a giant opportunity to escape when I had their “door” open.  I once caught my younger girl attempting to jump from the side of the cage onto the floor.  I caught her around the belly just as she was flying in the air towards the couch (Thank goodness I still had good reflexes!).

I was always careful, while I was pregnant, to watch what I was exposed to and I was always aware when I came in contact with my friends’ cats and litter boxes.  What I didn’t realize, however, was that guinea pigs also carry their own risks as far as illness and the pregnant woman.  I quickly realized that I could contract lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCMV) from my pair of cavies.  LCMV is an illness that is transmitted through a rodent’s droppings or urine and can also be contracted by breathing in spores created by said rodent.  The best way to protect myself (and my unborn child) was to give the cleaning duties to someone else (My husband!).  Besides, it was a great way to sit and eat some Ben and Jerry’s while the hubby takes direction on the best way to fill the hayrack.

As time passed, we continued to prepare for the giant change that was coming down the road (at a break-neck pace).  But, there was no real way we could truly prepare ourselves or prepare our oldest “children” for the change that was to come.

Part II:  The “pink pig” cometh…


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Julie, Writer, GPT

Julie is a stay-at-home mom, a volunteer for Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue, and a believer in eating dessert before dinner. She has two fuzzy guinea-children, one very active human little boy and frequently mistakes her son’s crib for a C&C cage.

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2 Responses to “Pregnant with Guinea Pigs: Part I”
  1. Claire says:

    The pink pig cometh!! Love it 🙂

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