|Sadie and her triplet doelings at one day of age|
After a week of being on kid watch and thinking that Cicada or Sophie would give birth, Monday afternoon Sadie went into labor. I was supposed to be teaching a class at the local community college on how to get your writing published. My husband Mike and intern Stefanie were here, and although part of me thought that it would be fine to leave them in charge, there was another part of me that thought something wasn't quite right.
At 4:30 I was thinking that I should be going into the house to shower and have dinner, but surely the first kid will be born any minute now, and I can show Stef how to dry it off so that she can handle the rest as they're born. This is her first birth.
As the minutes tick past, I start to think that I can get away without showering. As more time passes, I tell Stef that I don't need dinner. I can just eat a banana in the car as I'm driving to class. I'll eat dinner when I get home at 9:30. When I check Sadie again, I immediately realize the kid has not budged at all in the last half hour. Something is definitely not right. I realize I have to stay with Sadie. Mike has never dealt with any labor complications, and his hands are much bigger than mine.
I call the college and apologize profusely for canceling at the last minute. "I have a goat in labor who is having complications, and I can't leave."
Sadie is pushing so hard that her rectum is prolapsing. Basically she's pushing it inside out. It's not something I've seen before, and I hope to never see it again. Thankfully, when she stops pushing, everything goes back inside where it belongs. It happens a few more times over the next hour or two, but it all goes back inside whenever she stops pushing.
I ultimately figured out that the kid was indeed breech, but unlike every other breech kid ever born on this farm whose legs were straight up against its stomach and chest, this little darling had its legs folded as if it were lying in the pasture enjoying a sunny day. So, in your typical breech, there is only the circumference of the kid's butt and a single set of bones from it's hind legs that are pressed straight against its body. But in this case, there was the circumference of the kid's butt PLUS three sets of bones from the hind legs that were folded up like a Z against its body.
Summarizing the whole thing in a paragraph like that makes it sound far more simple that it was. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out exactly what I was feeling when I examined Sadie, and I was talking out loud to Mike and Stef about it, trying to help myself visualize it all. I knew I needed to find the hind feet and pull them out, but I couldn't find them. Finally, I decided to phone a friend who has a lot more goats than me, so has seen a lot more unusual presentations. As I was walking towards the house, my brain seemed to connect the dots of what I had been feeling inside Sadie, so I was able to explain it to her far better than I could have a few minutes earlier.
She said I needed to push the kid back inside so that I could straighten out the back legs and pull them out of the doe to deliver the kid. "Do you have a cattle sleeve," she asked, referring to the plastic gloves that go up to your shoulder. "Yes," I replied.
"If you're wearing a shirt, take it off because it's just going to get in your way -- unless you can push your shirt sleeve up to your shoulder." I didn't bother telling her that it was 30 degrees here or that I was actually wearing a shirt, a sweater, and a coat. None of that changed what needed to be done.
|Sadie and her first doeling|
Once I had both legs out, it really was not hard at all to pull the kid out. It was a doe! And she didn't seem to be the least bit troubled by the ordeal that her mother and I had endured to get her into this world.
As we were cleaning her up, Sadie pushed out the second kid, which was another doe, also in excellent condition.
Then a big bubble of fluid appeared under Sadie's tail. I saw something small and black in the bubble, and I said, "That looks like an ear." Then in a moment of wishful thinking, I said, "It's probably a tail," even though my brain was saying that a tail would be shorter and thicker. It was indeed an ear, which unfortunately for Sadie meant that I would have to push the kid back inside of her, where there would be more room, so that I could flip up the chin so that it could come out nose first. After having just rearranged the first kid, I was not feeling nearly as nervous about helping this one.
We ultimately learned that the third kid was the largest of the three -- also a doeling -- at 4 pounds, 2 ounces. The first one weighed 3 pounds, 8 ounces, and the second one was 3 pounds, 6 ounces. After getting all of the kids to nurse, it was 9:00, which is when my class at the community college would have ended. I was glad that I had canceled because I probably would have been called home early, if I had gone in. Or, if no one had called me, we probably would not have had three live, healthy doelings.