This Mom got my attention because she was hollering and would not stop. I noticed a small pair of flippers dangling between the Mom's flippers. First breech birth that i have seen watching the elephant seals. However, it is not unusual for them to be born breech. And since they do not have a pubic bone like humans, it is not life threatening. In humans, the baby gets "caught" on the pubic bone. However, it does seem to take much longer for the e-seal to give birth when the pup is breech. Plus this pup's membranes had burst, so it was a dry birth. E-seal pups have a lot of fur too which makes more friction in the birth canal.
When i have watched both e-seal births and harbor seal births, once i see the head start to make an appearance between the Mom's flippers, i usually only takes less than five minutes for the baby to be pushed out. This pup, however, took almost 20 minutes to come out. All the while, the Mom was hollering and swiping her tale along the sand. It looked like she was trying to use the sand and ground to pressure the baby out. She was tossing and turning and flipping around and around. Nothing was really working. The baby just seemed to be stuck with the flippers hanging out for most of that time. Finally, something changed and the baby slowly started coming out.
This is part one of several parts of this story. By the end of the story, you will understand the title. I saw the behavior that I will be talking about but it was only when i looked back at the pictures did I discover why the Mom would be confused about which pup was her's. And might explain why there seemed to be multiple Moms with multiple pups that they were nursing, willingly.