As I was getting ready to leave the house and go teach, Katherine came inside and said that Charlotte had a long string of mucous hanging out. I asked her what she was doing in the house, and she said she was hungry. I reminded her of how quickly Charlotte gave birth last year, and after a few minutes, reminded her again and told her to get back out there.
When she arrived, she saw a bubble sticking out of Charlotte's back end. She took a bite of her salad and put it in the office. As she stepped back into the barn, she saw a kid's head. Then she ran to Charlotte's pen with towels in hand as the kid came sliding out onto the straw. Dressed for school except for my barn boots, I went out there, camera in hand, hoping to see a baby or two before I had to leave in 25 minutes. Katherine was drying the first baby, who was big and healthy -- and a girl! She was trying to stand within a few minutes, and within 10 minutes of birth, she was looking for her first meal. In fact, she was nursing as Charlotte started pushing out the second kid. You can see her in this photo. She's the black and white blurry blob under Charlotte.
Speaking of the second kid -- she wanted nothing to do with this cold, cruel world. It was 20 degrees F here. Charlotte pushed out one hoof and then a second. Then the kid pulled the first hoof back inside! No, this was not your typical regression that can happen between pushes. The hoof was very quickly yanked back inside. Charlotte pushed again, and the same thing happened. "Grab the hoof next time Charlotte pushes it out," I told Katherine. She did -- and then gasped as the hoof disappeared again! "He yanked it out of my hand!" she said indignantly. (Don't you love the way we assumed it was going to be a boy.)
Charlotte finally decided she'd had enough of that nonsense and pushed like a goat possessed, which delivered the little doeling before she had a chance to hatch a new plan to stay in there where it was nice and warm.
Then things got weird. Usually when you see a cord hanging out of the goat, that means they're done with babies, and the placenta will be next. There was a cord hanging out, but about four minutes later, Charlotte put her ears back, screamed, and pushed hard -- much harder than a goat pushes for a placenta. Goat placentas are not a nice neat package like human placentas. They looks like a huge sheet of red plastic wrap with dark red disks all over them. Were we seeing part of the placenta? If the goat delivers the placenta, and there is still a kid inside, it will die because its lifeline has been cut. As Katherine and I discussed this, Charlotte pushed again, and something black emerged.
"What is it?" Katherine gasped. Please don't let it be a dead goat or a mummified fetus, just now as I have to leave, I thought. I reminded myself to be happy about the two healthy does that were already struggling to stand and walk. Katherine inhaled loudly and said, "It's a butt. It's a breech!" Charlotte pushed again, and the kid was born. It was covered with a thick membrane that looked more like a placenta than an amniotic sac. "Look at this," Katherine said, as she pulled the membrane off the kid and started drying it with a towel. It made gurgling noises and held its mouth open all the time. The pink of its tongue contrasted starkly with the black of its coat. It sounded like it was gasping for air. I wished I had a clean bulb syringe and cursed myself for not disinfecting it after the last time I used it.
It was 12:30 now, time for me to leave. Katherine knows what she's doing, I told myself. She'll get that little girl going. And she did. All three doelings were running around, nursing, and acting like kids when I got home from work.
Now we just have to name them! Charlotte's full name is Charlotte Bronte, and she had a single buck last year, so no girl names have been taken yet. Any suggestions for three girl names related to Charlotte Bronte? By the way, Anne Bronte will be kidding next week. (Emily Bronte lives in Tennessee, in case you're wondering.)