We always hope for easy kiddings but sometimes things just go wrong. Surrey is 8 this year and this is her 8th kidding. Days before she was due, she started acting strange. She was rolling to her enormous sides and moaning and stretching which looked like early labor but she had no other signs. Day 143 came and went and I was surprised she didn't go then because the last two years she had. On day 145, she was still acting strange so I had a vet come out and check her. Nope, not in labor. But shortly after the vet left Surrey started talking. I knew this was it! Surrey never says a word unless she's in labor or in heat. She also had clear goo coming out. Babies are coming! I called my friend Jaya who has Nigerian Dwarfs also to see if she could be available to help me. The night before this night she had a very difficult birth with one of her does and I couldn't be there to help her so her coming to my rescue was above and beyond (she had been up all night!). She said she would come.
By sundown she seemed to be moving right along in labor and we thought it would be over before midnight. She was having hard contractions and even seemed to be pushing at times. At about midnight we turned lights off and bedded down in the barn and Jaya slept. I was worried sick and knew there was something not right. I did try to "go in" once and check her but I didn't go in very far and felt nothing.
As I laid there watching her, it occurred to me that she was definitely pushing and nothing was happening and while I kept hoping babies were going to pop out any second, I knew I needed to intervene and SOON. So at about 3 I woke Jaya up and said, "We have to go in and see what's going on". She was very foggy and half asleep so I said, "I'm going to DO it!" I took of my ring and lubed up and dove in. I could feel a kid bubble down in there and reaching farther I could feel something round. Didn't feel like a head though, it felt like a hip bone or something. In frustration I said to Jaya, "will YOU feel?". She said okay, so I'm going to just go for it. I'm going to make my hand small and go all the way in (so BRAVE!) So she took off her rings and told me to keep them safe (wedding rings), she put on a OB glove (goes on up to shoulders!) and we lubed her up and she dove in. Within seconds she said, "here is a head! And legs! Oh wait! There are 3 legs here!" Two kids trying to be born at once! So the trick in this situation is to push one kid back and bring the other one forward. Trouble is she couldn't figure out who belonged to which legs! But like a pro (she'd never done this before!!) she carefully brought one kid (with the head she could find) up to the entrance. Within minute or two more, the first one was born! A beautiful golden girl!
Whew (we thought!). Should be easy now, right? But no. The second kid presented quickly with 2 front legs and no head. What? Where's the head? Confused we tried to figure out what was going on. Then we realized the head was back over the shoulders! The most dreaded presentation! The trick is to get the head turned around to the front so he can come out in a diving position. Jaya got to work immediately and started trying to work the head around. Sometimes the head will snap back in these situations and it's very difficult to do. I pulled out a sheet to look at showing this presentation. I don't know if it helped as she was concentrating hard on the task. She pushed the legs back in to give her more room to work. Finally she said, "I think I've got it!" and sure enough the kid presented at the opening head and feet first. We pulled him on out and he was a little limp and full of fluid. We sucked out goop from his mouth and nose and got him breathing and gave him to Surrey to start cleaning.
Because she was so large before labor, we pretty much figured there was at least one more. Before we could finish cleaning off baby number 2, a sack appeared. It was red and I remember Jaya said, "is that bad if it's red?" I think I said not necessarily but we need to break it and see what's behind it. So we did. Baby sack presented right away but incredibly, there were just 2 front feet there again and no head! Without hesitation, Jaya dove in again to start working on getting his head around to the front. We could feel the urgency of the situation since this kid was last and could be more oxygen deprived. He was a little smaller so there was a little more room to work in there. It's all kind of a blur but it seems like it didn't take too long before she had his head around and he was out! He was very limp and full of fluid also and took more time to get going. He was the smallest too. Turned out he was 2 lbs 13 oz, the middle boy was 3 lbs 3 oz, and the girl who came first was 4 lbs 3 oz.
They are all alive and well and beautiful kids! Surrey did so great and Jaya was truly the hero in this difficult kidding. When you think about it, Surrey would have died if no one had intervened in her birthing and of course her 3 kids too. We're all kind of afraid to do it, but sometimes it saves lives to just be brave and step outside your comfort zone.
I love to tell the story of how I came to have these wonderful goats. I have dreamed for many years of growing my own food and being self-sufficient so when I bought my property I set out right away putting in gardens and an aquaponics system. Fast forward 2 years, my neighbor went on a special diet and couldn't have any dairy so she offered me her fresh raw goats milk she had purchased at the farmer's market. Well, I just fell in love with it! I quickly realized I couldn't afford to buy this wonderful milk but then I had a thought... I could get my OWN goats and have milk and cheese right here! Little did I know I would fall so in love with the goats!