Thursday, March 7, 2013

Alexandria's quadruplets

by Sarah
Antiquity Oaks apprentice

After Alex gave birth to 4 healthy kids, and with no complications, Deborah asked me to write a blog post about it, so people could get an outside perspective. I was honored and thought it would be a lot of fun. Little did I know what the next few days had in store for me. But I am getting ahead of myself, so let me start at the beginning.

Thursday, February 28, Alex had been a little fussy all day. She had been bleating a lot, not eating very much, and walking around a lot. So we stayed close. I dressed up in my insulated overalls, several layers, and my nice warm work boots, and camped out in the barn office most of the afternoon reading a book. Evening chores came and went, and at 6:00 when I went out to feed Anne (one of the two bottle babies at that time), I thought, “Oh, I will just be outside for a minute, no need to bundle too much.” Never have I been so wrong.

Out I went with two layers on top and two on the bottom, none of it waterproof, no gloves, though luckily I remembered a hat. I make a point to go check on Alex just in case, and what do I see? A big string of mucus hanging out of her, so I quickly call over the monitor to Deborah that Alex is in labor and she needs to come join me.

By 6:30 we were both sitting in the straw waiting for Alex to get serious and talking about what we should have for dinner. Deborah suggests a quiche since we have gotten a decent amount of eggs recently. Between 7 and 7:30 we finally got our wish and her water broke and she began to push. She changed positions several times, eventually laying against Deborah, leaving me to look and see what was coming out. I saw a bubble, but for a minute couldn’t figure out what was inside it. I finally realize it is a tail, hence why Alex was taking so long. But then I see something else, something dark and fluid floating down. I ask Deborah if it is possible that the baby could poop while they were being born, she said yes, but she had never seen it. Suddenly the baby comes shooting out. We break the sack open, start drying the kid's face, and put it in front of Alex to start licking it. We check, and it is a girl! I then recount for Deborah what I saw, “it was like, bubble, tail, tail, tail, poop, baby!” It amazed me how fast the kid came out, and the fact that Deborah said many people freak out when they see breach kids seemed really strange to me. If you give the Mom a chance, they will do just fine, it just takes a little longer.

Before we know it, out pops the second kid, one hoof and mouth first. We begin to clean it off and it is a boy! The third one then comes shooting out, another boy with very “flashy” markings who was also breach. The fourth is another girl who came out hoof and mouth first. We continue to work on getting everyone dry and warm so that they will hopefully begin to nurse. At this point Deborah says that maybe omelets wound be better since they take less time to cook than a quiche.

We try without much luck for a while to get any of the kids to nurse. Finally the first girl born, also the littlest, nurses very successfully. The next to nurse is the larger girl, catching on quickly. Now just the boys are left. Boys being boys they were very stubborn and did not like us trying to help them very much, the first one just screamed and screamed when we tried to help. The flashy boy didn’t like it very much, but Deborah helped him through it. As we are sitting there talking about everything that happened, suddenly the first boy gets down on his knees and just latches on and nurses perfectly. Clearly he just wanted to do it on his own.

Since everyone had nursed we finally headed back inside for dinner and to warm up. Checking the clock on the way out of the barn we see it is 8:30. Deborah asks if scrambled eggs would be fine, I said it sounded fantastic.

Once we got inside I made myself a cup of tea, since I could barely move my hands anymore they were so stiff from the cold. Over dinner we talked about everything, the fact that it was not as gross as I thought it would be (this was my first time seeing a birth in real life), what people freak out about when they shouldn’t, everything. I gave the bottle babies their last bottle at 10:00, checked in on the new Mom, and she seemed to be doing fine, so I went to bed happy knowing I had seen my first successful birth. It was simple, and simple seemed good. The only thing we really had to try hard to do was get the kids to nurse, and in the end that wasn’t very hard either. It was an amazing experience, and I am glad her birth was the first one I ever witnessed.


Tree Hugger - Suzan said...

Such beautiful babies/kids!! But poor Momma -- hope she is able to feel all four! So good that all went well for her and for YOU :-}}

Kelly said...

Thanks for sharing this! I have a doe due any day and it's the first for both of us. There is soo much info on the web and too many opinions on how to do things. Letting nature take it's course while standing by just in case, seems like a good plan to me ☺ Adorable babies!!!!!!

Mary Ann said...

So nice to read about an uncomplicated multiple birth where someone didn't get too excited and let nature take it's course. I have been apprehensive about goats because of reading too many scary stories.

Spinners End Farm said...

Good job Sarah!

Unknown said...

How common are quadruple births among this breed?


Deborah Niemann said...

Quads are not exactly rare with Nigerians, but they're not terribly common either. On our farm, about 1 in 8 or 10 births is quads.


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