Finally! The last of the kids has been born! There is such relief in knowing they've all made it through the kidding. I feel bad about this last mama though. I keep asking myself if I interfered too much. She is a first time goat mama. She seemed to really be handling the labor very well. She took to licking Moira between contractions, which was pretty funny. It is so odd to see a hands off goat get all lovey and maternal on you! When it came time for pushing I was a bit concerned as she seemed to be having weak contractions. I figured they were kind of like the lull that happens between transition and the actual pushing stage. That lasted quite some time. She finally got serious about the pushing. So far, all of our other goats had pushed only 4 to 6 times before the water sack would bulge out. From reading I know that you should not worry until the goat has been pushing hard for an hour. Well, we were going on 45 minutes and there was a dime sized whole at best. I was getting concerned that there was a malpresentation. But I waited. Finally there was a bit of sack. I felt around (from the outside) to see if I could feel anything that would indicate a body on the other side of her flesh :-) Nope. Then the bag popped. Her back to back contractions stopped for a bit. A break she really needed. This was one tired laboring goat. We gave her some Nutri-Drench. A minute or so after that the contractions started back up. She just kept pushing and yelling, with NO body parts presenting. Was something stuck? Why oh why is she yelling when there is nothing coming? We were approaching the one hour mark and nothing was happening.
I still held off, as I knew with a human birth that the baby has to twist, turn, tuck, whatever to get themselves into the narrow pelvis opening. Finally we saw the hooves. We saw them for quite some time, they would move out a bit with a contraction and then go back in. Repeat said scenario many, many times! This goat was in pain and letting us all know about it. I felt just around the opening to see if the head was right there. I have to say I was a bit nervous about this goat because her, um.....hardware? just seemed a little off. Even Isabella noticed and asked about it. So it wasn't my imagination. At this point, since the head was right there on the other side of the opening, I decided to every so gently stretch the skin. She did NOT like that. I was really concerned about that because I was being very gentle, just trying to massage the skin to help it loosen up. Everything seemed too tight and small. More and more contractions came and went and the baby's legs are still in the same spot. By this time we were all getting concerned as Twilight (the mama goat) was really seemingly going down hill, energy wise, fast. Now, I've had to help quite a few of our first time mamas with just a little massaging, or helping the opening slip over the head. I did the same thing for her. Still nothing! All the girls were getting scared because this really was taking a while and Twilight was not looking good. They were all starting to have those raised/scared voices, asking me a million questions that I didn't have answers to.
My next level of intervention was to gently pull on one hoof at a time, as per the info on Fias Co. Farm's site. This baby goat was NOT moving. Like at all! I told the girls to be prepared for a still birth because at this point I was just having a really bad feeling about all of this. I prayed that the Lord would give me direction. I had been calm up until this point, but now I was starting to freak a bit. It didn't help that I was starting to get sick, and with that sometimes my emotions get out of whack. Next, I decide to gently pull on a hoof and at the same time try to massage the opening to go over the head. Still. Not. Happening. At this point I had mentally declared that we would never again breed goats ever! We were going to sell off our herd. Yes, it was getting pretty hair raising. I try to tell myself that it is "just" a goat. But that doesn't work. She may be a goat, but she is a living creature that was in pain and she was very much visibly afraid. Moira had been holding her head in her lap this whole time telling her what a good job she was doing, and that she would see her baby soon. I had visions of having to do some emergency c-section to save the kid. Ok, so things were not THAT bad....yet. But in the back of my head I kept thinking through what we would do if this kid really was stuck. Because this babe was NOT moving, it was stuck in the same spot now for goodness knows how long and for how many contractions, way too many to count.
I supposed it was time to get more aggressive. So I pulled downwards on the hooves when she pushed. And I tried pushing the opening over the head. It is not a good feeling when you are torturing a living creature :-( She most certainly saw it as torture I can assure you. Finally there was some movement. Some. It was small. A few more contractions yielded a small nose/ mouth was a wee tongue sticking out! I thought, ok, let's see what she can do from here. Nope. I realized that the head is turned, coming more from the side than from the top, where it is supposed to. That baby's head would not budge. Even now, just typing this I can feel the stress wash over me. I guess you would have had to see her backside to understand that something just wasn't adding up. So I decided to pull harder. And FINALLY the head came out. Oh the relief!!!!!! I just left her alone to rest a bit. I could have pulled the whole baby out, but decided she needed a break. She still had to get the shoulder area, but that would be nothing compared to the head/leg area that had already passed. There was a small lull in the contractions, but in another three or so the whole baby came out. I could see there were some small red lines (indicating tearing) on Twilight's opening. That poor goat could hardly reach over to lick her baby. We helped her with that. She was just a good mama. And that little babe was STRONG. He was up on his legs in 5 minutes!!! And walking a minute or two after that! Wobbly legs, yes, but still, walking! We had to help Twilight up so that the baby could nurse (we let her rest for quite some time, 30 minutes or so). When she stood it appeared that it may be possible that she has a deeper tear than just superficial. I know with a human that there is controversy as to whether you should use stitches or not, I am assuming that some of that could be used for goats? I'm not sure, but she wasn't bleeding or anything that would make stitches mandatory. That is why I am still kicking around in my head if I did the right thing to pull hard on the baby. I certainly can't go back and re-do it.
It's been quite a few hours since the birth and I know that mama and baby are doing fine. I suppose that is what matters. To ward off infection I had squirted some betadine on the area, and Jeremiah has gone out to give her an antibiotic. I didn't have to 'go in' which would most certainly necessitate an antibiotic, but with the tear/s I didn't want to take a risk. Jeremiah has checked on her and hasn't reported anything amiss, so I will wait till tomorrow to check her myself.
Right now I am in bed with a hot water bottle on my tummy, and covered in a couple of blankets. Getting sleepy. Plus there's a wee (or not so wee!) sick boy who will want to nurse to sleep. So if she seems fine I will hold off until tomorrow. And in the meantime try to allow that sigh of relief that this very busy kidding season is over! Now on to debudding!!!! Not fun, not fun.