Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Weekend The Never Ended

I guess you could say that our weekend started on Thursday when we cleaned and organized the front area of the barn (the feed storage, milking area, etc) and tried to figure out how to set things up to mix our own chicken feed. Friday afternoon became 'goat health day', so, once again, we found ourselves working in the barn. That's when we noticed one of our goats, Dreamer, in a corner breathing rapidly. Our first thought was, 'Here comes more baby goats!' It wasn't long before we realized that things weren't right. By Friday evening, we decided to take her to the vet since things were not progressing as they should have been. They gave Dreamer some shots to get things moving along and sent us home. We set her up in the barn for the night fully expecting to have a dead goat by morning.

Saturday morning, Dad headed out to check on things, and Dreamer was standing up. We let her be for the moment to load up the old layer hens to cart them off to the butcher. Dad and Oma headed off to the butcher, we finished morning chores, and Mom and I gloved up for the grim task at hand - we needed to get those breach babies out to try to save the mom. At this point, Dreamer's water had been long broken, and the babies had died in-utero. All morning long, Mom and I kept trying to work the babies out. I'll spare you the details to keep this rated PG, but it was gruesome to say the least. Mom kept saying that my hands were perfect for pulling those babies out since my 'hands are strong'. I look at the rope burns on my hands, and I wonder how much worse they would be if I hadn't been wearing the vinyl doctor gloves. After much blood, sweat, and tears, we got two babies out. We declared a tearful victory. 

While all this was going on in one corner of the goat stall, in another corner, Emma, one of our other goats, was going into labor in the opposite corner. Things didn't seem to be moving forward for her either, but since it was her first time, we gave her some space to just let things happen. 

Saturday afternoon, it was pouring rain. We went back out to check on Dreamer, and she was still having contractions. It shouldn't take that long to pass the placenta, so we gloved up to go in again. There was a third. Triplets? Really, Dreamer? We braced ourselves to have a repeat of the morning, but we could not get that baby out. No amount of anything would get that baby to budge. It was stucker than stuck. Dreamer was showing signs of being done. She was wanting this whole thing to just be over. After much deliberating, we made the hard call - it was time to put her down. We had tried everything to save her, but it wasn't enough. You hope for the best, and prepare for the worst. The worst had come. 

Emma, the other goat in labor, had stopped. No more contractions, no nothing. She had progressed to a certain point, and the birthing process ceased. We set her up in the kidding stall, hoping to have babies in the morning, and then, emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausted, we all collapsed in bed. 

Sunday morning. No babies, just a really bad smell. It wasn't a smell of life either. Well, life in the bacteria/infection sort of way, certainly not the smell of life you want. Mom sent us all off to church while she began work on the goat. The report when we got back? The goat hadn't dilated at all and was starting to exhibit signs of being sick, the baby would slip back in, and Mom couldn't get her hand in to try to pull that baby out. We gave the goat shots and medicines that she would need to try to make it, but then we took her temperature. We should have started with that. She had sepsis. We were too late. You hope for the best, and prepare for the worst. The worst had come again. 

Since we were thinking that Emma had an infection, we had to clean and bleach her stall to try to prevent the other goats from getting whatever she might have had. Since Dreamer had been in the main stall, we cleaned that out too.

Sunday evening, you could tell that the herd was upset too. They are such social creatures and they notice everything that goes on. They're more perceptive than you realize. Rita, Dreamer's only baby to ever survive, was standing at the back door, bleating the direction that she last saw her mom go. Lizzy, was baa-ing incessantly and insisted that she stick right by our side. Our goats which are normally very happy goats, went into mourning.We were looking forward to Monday. Just being done with everything and moving on. You get to this point of just being emotionally numb. We had reached that point. 

Monday morning, and we groaned when we saw that Lizzy was in labor. Not again. At least the sun was shining. Made things a little easier. I guess all that baa-ing and clingy-ness the night before was an early sign that it was time to have her babies. Once again, Mom spent the day in the barn. Everyone else had homework due the next day, so I was put on maintaining the home front. Lizzy didn't seem to be progressing at all. Deja vu, anyone? Believe me when I say that we were on the phone with the vet all weekend. By Monday afternoon, we were at the point of just taking her to the vet to let them work their magic since we seemed have such an amazing track record going. The vet said to not move her; the stress could be too much for her. Keep an eye on her all the time, they said, so Mom pulled things together to set up camp out there. I had left to take my sisters to one of their classes, and Eli wandered out to find Lizzy. He found a baby. He bolted back to the house to let Mom know. They started cleaning the little one up, as another baby was on its way. It was a little boy and a little girl. Both healthy. The mama was such a rock star, especially since it was her first time. Although, she turned around and started freaking out, 'Did I just do that?! Where did that come from?' And she had a bit of difficulty figuring out the whole nursing thing, but that is all normal for a first time mom. We helped her and the babies along, and now all is fine and dandy. We're thinking of naming them Samwise and Rosie. 

We're very thankful for our Monday blessings after a weekend of trials. Thank you all for praying for us through it. 

Until next time!

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