So here I kneel on the couch, pressing my face to the window while watching a goat’s butt. It has been an hour and eighteen minutes since i first noticed tiny hooves peeking out of her rear end We have only had one other baby goat born here, and we lost it. A beautiful rust and black male that died because we didn’t know enough. We had been told by friends who have goats that labor can take up to two days and DON’T TOUCH. We weren’t told to watch the time after the water breaks.
Man ‘o man did I read everything I could get my hands on after that heartbreak! So as Buttercup has neared her time I’ve felt more confident. Until today – at one hour and twenty three minutes after I noticed those hooves. She’s hunching again! Push, girl! Push! …… Nope. All the websites say don’t wait more than half an hour after the water breaks before you help. Our goat farming friend with experience says 1-2 hours is ok. Me, I’m wondering how long I can hold my breath … How long can that baby hold it’s breath? My cousins daughter (a 4H marvel) texted her best friend who lives on a goat farm. The teenager’s Dad also says 1-2 hours. Buttercup has laid down again.
My Mom, a NICU nurse of 30 years has brought over another goat book while my husband tries to feed the rest of the animals without stressing our laboring little momma.
My Mom and I nervously joke about pacing the floor, boiling water, and ripping up every sheet in the house. Her books says “After the water breaks they push a few times and the baby comes.” yeah, right.
We are at an hour and 45 minutes.
Shoot. Why can’t this be easy?
Coming up on two hours. My hands are scrubbed. My jewelry is off. I have a bucket of soapy water and towels. I’m ready…. Nope, gotta pee first.
Ok. Now I’m ready. Please Dear , Lord … Steady my hands and steady my head….
Well…2 hrs and forty seven minutes since I first saw a hoof….
Still no baby.
We’ve finally found the other hoof…and the mouth. We touched teeth. We only pull downward. We only pull when she is contracting.
We fear at this stage we are just waiting on another lost baby. But, I don’t want to risk loosing the momma, as well.
Right now, we are letting her rest. She tried hunching again and passed some fluid. What to do? What to do?
Another half hour since my last post. The head keeps slipping down and around to the side. If I could just get that head up in position maybe she could deliver on her own. We are all taking a rest. Poor little mamma. She cries and bawls. We pray. It’s an hour past my toddlers bedtime and no one’s had supper.
My little girl says the baby doesn’t want to come out. It’s taking a nap.
We’ve come in to eat. Us adults are head to toe goat hair except elbows to hands where we keeping washing up.
Did we make things worse? I honestly don’t know. Frustrations, and dare I say accusations, are high. We are all so very tired.
You probably are thinking I should have called a vet by now. Yeah, that would be nice. The nearest one that will deal with goats is three hours away.
A phone call from a friend who raises goats. He’s home now. He’s on his way over now. We’re just shy of four hours. I try to think of what to say and all that comes out is a heavy sigh.
No matter how this turns out I’m afraid I’m not cut out to raise goats. Our rabbits are doing good. I wonder how many meat rabbits someone would take in exchange for a young weathered goat.
Harvesting grown animals for their meat is one thing. But, I can’t stand the thought if we were the cause of losing babies.
How do you type tears?
I keep hoping we’ll get a call or a message from someone with some practical experience who will show us the magic “release” button on this poor mamma. The friend that called and said he was on his way still hasn’t shown up here. There isn’t much we can, or I guess should do until he does.
Well, the verdict is in. She is fevered. Not only has the baby already passed, it apparently has been gone a while. We can take some relief that we were not the cause.
The baby is not coming out on it’s own.
The decision point came. Do we put her out of her misery. We still don’t know if there is a second living baby. Do we risk killing her in the process of pulling the body? We make arrangements to quickly put her down if she is injured to badly, but want to at least give her the chance.
The details are heinous, and I won’t subject you to them. At one point my husband decided to send me away to protect me from all that must be done.
I went. Not because I couldn’t stand it. Not because I was offended or disgusted. I went because it is how he shows he loves me.
So I go in the house and kneel on the couch, pressing my face against the window to stare at a goats butt.
She is still alive. Now it’s my turn again.
I make up an injection of penicillin. She doesn’t move when I give it to her. But, she is still breathing. Next I mix molasses in warm water and take it out to her. She has moved her head, but doesn’t respond when I pour some on her mouth.
It’s after midnight. It’s my husbands birthday. It’s been six hours – it seems like it’s been days. I keep kneeling on the couch. I’m no longer looking at the goats butt.
I’m counting her breaths. Come on, girl. You can do it. I want her to pull through. But, I have to watch for more than just our poor little mamma. We still don’t know if there is a second baby. If she stops breathing we have to find out.
If you are heading off to bed, sleep a bit for me. It’s going to be a long night. I’ll be kneeling on the couch…
It’s one thirty. There wasn’t another baby.