Sunday, January 28, 2007

This will be the last "kidding" post for this year. All of my girls have now delivered.

Today was difficult. If Betsy, the Goat Yoda, had not come by at exactly the right time, Nod would have died and taken her kid with her. I am still relatively clueless as to the practical matters of difficult kiddings. It's one thing to read all the books and know all of the types of things that can go wrong as the kid is entering the world and what to do about them.

But it's quite another to reach your arm up into a goat's uterus and fix the problem. Hell, it's quite a thing just to reach your arm up into a goat's uterus. I mean...they are about the same size as a person, even if their "lady parts" are a little bit bigger.

I knew Nod was going to deliver this morning. She was very vocal on the back porch when I got up. Everything seemed okay and Nod sort of freaks out when people are around. She hates to be touched. So I watched her through the window. As soon as she started to have mucous come from her rear, I knew she was about ready.

I've now seen a few of these. I'm not nearly as nervous as I was with the first one.

But Nod doesn't seem to be successful in pushing the baby out. She's screaming and grunting and pushing, her legs scrambling for something to push against. I try to help but she won't let me. I leave a message on Betsy's cell phone about it. Nod's grinding her teeth in pain. This goes on for about 30 minutes before she finally seems to stop pushing. It's like she's giving up the fight.

I know I should wait an hour before reaching inside her, but I've never done it before and I'm really nervous about trying. I'm suddenly unsure of how I will do this thing without someone else to hold Nod...since Nod doesn't like to be touched.

Silly me. I've been reading all these books with the assumption that any goat in trouble is just going to lie back and say, "Oh sure... please DO go ahead and thrust you arm up to the elbow into my uterus...I'll stay quite still for you!"

Betsy drives up just at the right time. She has come to pick up Lucky to go to his new pet home. She was supposed to come last night but rescheduled for this morning. We sit on the pew in the kidding stall and watch Nod make a few half-hearted attempts to get the kid out.

I'm wondering, since I've already seen two really big buck kids come out of the more experienced does if that might be the problem. Or breach, or one foot back, or two kids stuck at the cervix...there is a whole list of presentations that could be the problem. Or a kid just too damn big to clear her pelvis.

The "miracle of life" can become "the miracle of death" in a skinny minute. Don't ever subject children to this with any animal unless you are damn sure you know what the outcome will be. And, of course, you never can predict what will happen. It's much better to go to the animal shelter and see all of the little miracles of life looking for a home.

At an hour and 15 minutes, I give the go-ahead for Betsy to "go in". We have the meager supplies I've been able to gather. Hot soapy water, towels and some ultra-glide. I hold Nod's head in a vice grip with my knees and hold grip elbows. Betsy reaches in.

Betsy has to close her eyes while she does this so she can visualize the inside of Nod. Nod is squirming and understandably not happy about this but eventually calms down. Betsy tells me when she finds the front legs, and then the head. The kid is enormous. The head is huge. It's bigger than Kidzilla.

Oh, crap, I think. Another huge buck kid.

Betsy's really up in there. I'm frankly in awe of this entire procedure. It's the sort of thing I've only seen watching "All Creatures Great and Small" and they usually tastefully shoot over the animal's shoulder. It's really different watching it in person.

Suddenly, Betsy has two legs out. I can tell how big they are for a newborn.

"I think we've lost the kid." Betsy says.

The legs are limp and floppy, like dead things.

"That's probably why she stopped pushing." She says.

This is sad, but part of raising farm animals. They really are very delicate creatures. A great deal of work goes into making them robust and healthy.

Betsy struggles to pull on those limp little legs. This is not going easily and she struggles to keep them from being sucked back inside.

"Do you need a kid puller?" I ask stupidly.

"Do you have one?"

"Uh. No."

I'm wondering if we are going to have to do something drastic to free Nod of this kid. They use tractors sometimes to pull stuck calves out of cows. I really don't want to do anything like that.

"Wait a minute....I feel a head coming."

It is suddenly all over with. With a wet squicking sound the entire kid slides out onto the towel we had placed there.

And amazingly, I see the dead kid gasp for breath.

"It's alive!" Both Betsy and I say in unison.

We rush into action now to do the kid "snatching". I keep Nod from seeing the baby. She's never kidded before so, unless she sees the kid, this will all be like the bellyache from hell for her. Betsy pulls the baby up by it's back legs and swings it to clear its nose and throat.

An incredibly loud and lusty goat wail is heard from the baby.

"It's a doe!" Betsy announces as she hands me the kid completely wrapped in a towel. I rush inside with the kid while Betsy tends to Nod.

I open up the towel and am met by a very indignant, very much alive little soul. She continues to berate me for dragging her from that comfy warm wet place she was enjoying. I feel her eye fall upon me and I experience that moment of imprinting. It's a rush. I feel myself returning the imprint. I'm the first living thing this baby sees. I am now somebody's mommy.

She immediately starts head butting my abdomen demanding something to eat. Her bleats change from indignant to a demanding, staccato of short little "blat, blat, blat's." I give her the bottle and she is a greedy little thing. The rest of my babies took a while to find their first meal. This one wants food right off the bat.

She's so big because it looks like she is late. And she does seem a bit lazy about anything that doesn't involve food. And extremely demanding and bossy. If I leave her eyeline, she cries very loudly and repeatedly. I've got her dressed up in diapers and onesies.

Betsy is yet another amazing person who has been laid in my path. I always tell the story of how our vicar showed up at my mother's hospital room mere minutes before she died. I've been hugely fortunate in having lots of people like that in my life. Some people are just more closely attuned to the needs of others and answer some sort of call that comes from I'm not sure where. They just mysteriously show up at exactly the point at which they are most needed. Betsy is one of those people for me. For Nod. And for this yet un-named little goat person.

And she does seem to see herself as a person...not even being a day old yet.

Naaaa...I'm not attached at all. Completely objective, I am.


  1. erin ambrose said...
    hey goat mama...that was a great birthing story...i laughed and cried. and its great you've gotten so many does out of it all! if we lived closer i'd be getting my milkers from you this summer!
    enjoy loving that (not so) little've earned it.
    Leeuna said...
    Hi Rosie,
    Congratulations again on the newest 'baby'. I would love to see a picture of her. Hope you will post one.

    Stay warm. It's snowing and five degrees up here in my end of TN.
    Housewife said...
    You have achieved the impossible.

    You made this city girl's eyes mist up over a goat.

    What a sweet and wonderful day it ended up to be.

    Promise me you'll keep blogging, I'm saving so much money at the bookstore since you do it for free.

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