Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Coco's big surprise

After listening to Coco scream every twenty or thirty minutes for the past twelve hours, I called U of I for an opinion on what I should do with her. I talked to the same vet that had done Caboose's c-section, and he suggested that I just wait and watch. While a contraction that infrequently won't dilate the cervix, it also should not stress the kids much. I was relieved. I hung up the phone and fell asleep.

Six hours later, near midnight, I woke up when Mike walked into our bedroom. I immediately asked, "How's Coco?"

"It's complicated." He paused. 

So, here is the story from Katherine's perspective:

One of the quints at eight days of age
When doing chores that evening, I was just finishing up and was about to check on Coco when I heard her scream. Although I was told that she had been acting like she was in labor since that morning, I thought she sounded very serious. I saw that there were already towels next to her pen so I spoke into the monitor saying that Coco sounded serious and that I was going to stay out in the barn with her. 

For the next 45-60 minutes (although I didn't have a clock, this is a rough estimation) Coco would plop down on the ground, scream so loudly that it echoed off the walls, get up, walk around, and lay down all over again. Because of a huge misunderstanding, I was under the impression that the vet wanted us to wait before trying to pull the kids out. But after a good hour of her screaming, Coco was looking very tired and I still didn't see anything as slight as a bubble, so I knew something was not right.

After putting on a surgical glove, I applied the lube and iodine before doing some investigating. I was expecting something like her cervix wasn't dilated like what happened with Lizzie. However, her cervix was fully dilated, and when I went a little beyond, that's when I finally felt a kid. Both hooves were in front so I was failing to see what was taking so long. It was then that I realized that the hooves felt upside down and I was not finding the head. 

"Oh, you have got to be kidding me," I muttered when I realized that the kid was upside down with its head turned back. 

I couldn't get my hand in any further and the kid was too slippery for repositioning, and because Coco had been pushing for the last hour, I knew I just needed to get the kid out. I grabbed the two front hooves and started pulling with Coco's contractions. When the kid came closer to the entrance is when I pulled the head forward and tried to reposition it better. With a couple more pulls, the kid was out and Coco was eagerly cleaning it.

One of the quints with Coco at eight days
It was not long after I got the kid out that I saw Coco was contracting again and I saw another bubble. So leaving the first kid by her, I grabbed another towel to catch the next one that just came sliding out -- along with a lot of blood. When I cleaned the mucus off of its face, the baby didn't react at all. I saw that its eyes were rather blank and it was not even coughing or shaking its head, so I knew that it was dead. I immediately took the stillborn out of the pen so that Coco wouldn't waste her energy trying to clean it. When I came back, the third one was already starting to come out. It was also the first one that finally came out in a perfect manner and was very much alive. 

It was not long after the third one that the fourth came out. This time the sac was full of meconium. The baby was not near as responsive as the first and the third born, but it was at least very much alive.

That was four babies and Coco was getting to her feet so I then started focusing all of my attention on making sure that all of the babies were dry and fluffy and hopefully getting ready to nurse. 

"Took her long enough," I heard Dad say as he came into the barn. "What are the sexes?"

"All four bucks," I sighed. "One was a stillborn."

"Oh well," he shrugged. 

It was after this that I noticed Coco stopped licking the babies and plopped down on her belly again and started contracting. 

"No, you are not having quints," I laughed. A bubble then appeared that very clearly had a baby in it. "Oh! You ARE having QUINTS! I NEED ANOTHER TOWEL!" I screamed while jumping forward to catch the kid that was sliding out breach. 

One of the bottle babies
I had only had four towels and all were thoroughly soaked, so I was simply pulling off the mucus. This kid was definitely more responsive than the fourth kid had been. The real problem with this one didn't happen until he started walking around and was dragging one of his back feet. 

Because they were all bucks, I figured that like must buck kids, they would be very eager to get up and start nursing. That certainly wasn't the case this time. None of the kids were interested in nursing. So because you can't force a kid to nurse, I decided to go inside for about 10-20 minutes and come back out to try again.

When I came back out, they were not any more interested in nursing than before. As much as I hate to be forceful, it had been close to an hour since they were born and I didn't feel like bottle-feeding kids. So I decided to push each kid against the udder and manually squirt milk into their mouth. This finally got them interested in the whole nursing thing. Within ten minutes, everyone had nursed except for the fifth kid, which was still dragging his foot around. After trying a few more times, I finally got him to nurse for a few seconds. 

Seeing as though it was getting late and I had to get up early in the morning anyway, I figured it was time to call it a night.

Bottle boys in the house -- the red and white one has a splint
on his rear leg.

By the next morning, two of the bucks were not doing well. In case you missed the post where I wrote about their challenges, it's the last three paragraphs of this post. It took a couple days to get them on a bottle, but now they're ravenous and bounce around like normal kids. I splinted the leg on the red and white one, and a few days later, he got his foot caught between the deck and the house when they were playing outside, and he pulled his leg out of the splint, and it was fine. So, it must have been a tendon issue, rather than a fracture, which is good news for everyone.


thecrazysheeplady said...


Mama Pea said...

Holy moley! Is that the end of birthing saga or do I still have to stay strong for more? Your animals are so fortunate that you have so much knowledge and are prepared to handle unexpected situations. You were truly tested this year!

Jane said...

What a night! Glad most of them are now doing fine,they are so pretty. Congratulations on your babies. Blessings jane

Nancy K. said...

Good LORD!
It's amazing that any of the kids made it with that malpresenting kid delaying the labor so long. I had a similar experience with a ewe who seemed to be in "early labor" all day and didn't start seriously pushing until late at night. By the time I discovered that the lamb was positioned with it's head back I'm sure that I had killed it with trying to pull it out. This was the first (and thankfully the last!) time I had to assist a ewe with delivery. When I finally called the vet, he was able to turn and remove the stuck lamb ~ a beautifully marked ram lamb. It was exactly what I had been hoping for. Unfortunately, he was quite dead. The vet reached in to check for any more and threw another wet, slimy package to the ground. In the darkness, I was able to see the 'lump' move and I quickly grabbed it and removed the membranes and I still have that beautiful, little ewe to this day. It is amazing what they can endure both during and after being born!

I sure hope things get easier for you AND for your does...

LindaG said...

Wow. Glad to hear they're doing better now. :)

SkippyMom said...

It would be "Goatapalooza 2011" is someone didn't give birth to quints now would it. Sorry tho' that you lost one, but what a banner day for Miss Coco.

And I have to agree, wholeheartedly, with Mama Pea's comment.

[My verification word is "godwat" and I imagine it is what Mike must have muttered under his breath when she had the fifth kid. :)]


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