Thursday, February 16, 2006

It's triplets!

Sorry I haven't posted in a few days, but I am recovering from four days in bed with the flu. Last night, however, I got a "welcome back to the real world" gift of three new baby goats! When I went to the bathroom at 1 a.m., I heard a goat over the baby monitor. There is only one reason a goat makes noise in the middle of the night, so I grabbed my clothes and got dressed as quickly as I could. Sherri was at Day 149 as of midnight, and normal gestation is 145-150 days. I grabbed a big stack of clean towels and ran out into the unseasonable thunderstorm, headed for the barn. I wasn't more than 20 steps into the barn when I heard the familiar squeak of a newborn kid. I ran up to Sherri's stall to see one baby on the ground while mama was working on bringing the second one into the world. I dropped to my knees to start drying the one already born, keeping my eyes on Sherri the whole time. When the big bubble of fluid popped and a head emerged, I placed the first baby under the heat lamp and caught the second baby as it was sliding into the world. In the middle of drying off that one, I realized I didn't know if they were boys or girls, so I looked between their hind legs, thrilled to discover that both were does!

Sherri stood up so casually, I wondered if she would only be having two this year, even though she's always had triplets before. As she licked her two little daughters, the gold and white one started bopping her mama's chest, stomach, neck, etc., looking for her first meal. After a few minutes, Sherri plopped down again, and I'm not even sure that she made a sound as she easily gave birth to baby #3, a buckling. Within a couple of minutes, she was once again standing and licking her babies. I stayed with them for about an hour until I started to feel weak and dizzy and a little sick to my stomach. I realized that I probably should not be spending too much time in the barn while I'm still recovering from the flu. I came inside and woke up my youngest to go sit with the babies to make sure everyone was nursing. Although the little gold doeling figured out the nursing thing very quickly, the other two were still pretty clueless.

Sherri's birth this year was so much better than last year, even though 1 a.m. births are not my favorite. Her labor went exactly as last year's, but our reaction was different. Sherri spent two or three days really looking like she was in labor. She'd lie down and push her legs out in front of her, or she'd squat and push. It really looked like she was in labor. Last year, I posted a message on a Yahoo goat group, asking for advice after two days of Sherri's unusual labor, and most people responded with all sorts of dire possibilities. My daughters were quite worried and convinced we needed to intervene. Finally, we did a vaginal exam to discover that she had not even started to dialate. The next day, however, she gave birth to her babies in the pasture during the 15 minutes when no one was out there!

This year, as I was laying in bed sick, the girls gave me reports from the barn regularly. Finally it occurred to me that Sherri gives birth just like I do. It took me a day or two of labor with each of my three children. My body would putz around having contractions that irritated me and even hurt, but they didn't do anything to actually get the babies out. But when my body did finally decide it was time to give birth, they all came flying out in record time: I pushed for 25 minutes with my first, 20 minutes with my second, and one really big push birthed my third child. That's what Sherri is like. She putzes around for days, but when her body is ready, the babies come flying into the world. This year, I was determined to honor her unique way of giving birth.

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