Thursday, January 12, 2017

My First Solo Kidding; Jemimah and Iscah

Hooves at ready!
I finished the last post and thought, "I really want to try to grab a nap today. Maybe I should go lay down for a bit now." But, Freddie would need his bottle in another half hour. I need some real rest, not a cat nap. I warmed his bottle a little early with the intention of feeding him, checking everyone else and coming back inside. I was greeted in the secondary main doe stall with Jemimah laying on her side and one perfect hoof sticking out her hind end.

"Not now!" I thought. Sean is working today. I am exhausted and alone. This is Jemimah's first kidding. Flashbacks of the last week and its complications and horrors started playing in full color through my brain. I went back inside the house, grabbed the kidding kit with a quick call of, "Can one of you girls come help me? Jem is kidding!" and raced back to the barn.

I dropped to my knees to survey what I was seeing. Both front hooves were presenting, no nose yet. I watched as Jemimah had one contraction, then another, and another. Nothing was moving along. Jemimah called with every contraction, frantic. "You're doing a good job, Momma. Keep pushing, Sweetheart." I repeated over and over again- mostly for the comfort of simply hearing a voice. With the next contraction, I tried applying steady pressure to the kid's legs to see if I could get any kind of traction. Nothing. "Okay." I pushed on the legs to move them back inside, just peeking out the opening. Gently, I felt to see if there was a nose at ready. There was. "Ok. Good."

Meaghan reached the barn. "Please, go to the mudroom. Find the black crate with the hose in it. I need the crate." Bending over and pulling puts my back in enormous pain. I will do it when necessary, but if I can sit instead or kneel, that is better for me. Meaghan returned with the crate. "I need a towel from the kit- two would be great." She handed them over. "Go into the house and get the vegetable oil on Uncle Oscar's hutch." I directed. (We used the last of the lubricant in our vet bag with other kiddings and I hadn't had time to get to a store to pick up more.) When she returned, I poured a generous amount over my hands in preparation to feel inside Jemimah to try to determine the hold up. I could not push inside with the hooves in the way, so I gently pulled them straight again. Carefully, I slipped my hand inside. I could feel the kid's head right at the entrance. I glided my hand over its head towards its ears, visualizing what I was feeling. Everything felt right. I could feel the head past the cervix. The legs were free. "What is holding this up?"

The kid began kicking its legs frantically. I will not lie. I lost my calm. I know that so long as the kid is still attached by its umilicus, it is getting oxygen. That doesn't change that in that moment, all I could think was, "Oh God! It's suffocating. I was not fast enough. I am doing it all wrong." When the kids legs stopped moving, my tears started to flow. "Not again!" I thought. "Meaghan, go into the house. My phone is charging by the sink. Call Shea." "Why didn't I call her immediately. Why did I try to assist this kid alone?" ran through my head, a litany of every past mistake I had ever made, like nails in a coffin.

Wet, tired, and just born.
With the next contraction, a nose peeked out and a tiny tongue moved. "Alive! Still alive! Okay. You have to do this. Think!" I pushed the hooves back into the birth canal once more. My hope was that the little bit of movement I was making, would allow more room for the head to emerge. I slipped my hand back inside and could feel the whole head in the birth canal. It seemed to only thing holding it up was skin. "Could I ease the skin around the head without tearing it?" I pushed my right hand down at the base of the tail, where you check for soft ligaments and with my left hand, I gently pushed back the skin around the kid's head. That seemed to work a little. I grasped both hooves in my right hand and pulled steadily down, adding traction to the kids head, too. And, just as Shea drove in the driveway, the kid slid into the world, a slick blob of black fur and fluids. Happy doesn't begin to cover it. I was overwhelmed with relief and thankfulness. We did it.

Jemimah was confused. She spent a great deal of time sorting her tail end out, giving this new life an occasional lick. I removed most of the mucus and fluids, but not all of them. I tried to balance getting the kid dry and warm with encouraging Jem to care for her youngster. Then, it was business as usual. I dipped the cord, helped the kid to latch on for her first sips of colostrum, gave Jem a helping of grain and took pictures.

All four of our kidding stalls are already filled. To give her space and privacy, I temporarily screwed a pallet across the opening of the stall Jemimah was in and put down fresh hay for her to bed down in until Sean could help with a more permanent solution. Satisfied that Momma was caring for the little one and no one else was going to gift me with another kid, I went back inside.

I have never been so happy to skip a nap in my life! The adrenaline has worn off and in its wake exhaustion is back. Rest will come later. For now, Sean just walked in the door. I have some news to share with him.

I am very pleased to introduce our latest kid, Iscah (pronounced Iss-cah). She is just beautiful. And, our third Lamancha doe born this season.

~Sonja ♥

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