Life, loss and Re-birth....
Yesterday started like any other beautiful spring day on the homestead. However, when I reached the barn I knew it would be a day of anxious waiting. Stella, otherwise affectionately known as "Tanky" around the farm was clearly in labor. The first indication was the fact that she did not want her grain in the morning, then around 11 AM, Rob noticed she was having contractions. This meant I went into full goat mom stalker mode at this time. I put her in the first stall in the barn and watched her like a hawk! After hours of slowly laboring, Rob was convinced that she was playing us! I disagreed, and planned to spend a long night in the barn watching over her.
We went about our business making dinner and even taking a walk around the property on this beautiful evening. As I was finishing up chores around 8:30, I went back into the barn and watched Stella's contractions. I did not have my phone on me to time them, but I noticed they were coming close enough together that it was less than a minute between them. So I simply stepped back to observe. I already had my kidding kit in the barn and knew at this moment even though I wanted to help her there was nothing I could do, Once she decided to lay down and start to push I ran to get Rob and my timer. I set 30 minutes on my timer and stood back. Tanky labored very quietly, and did something I have only ever read about. I had a gut feeling she was going to have her babies standing up, and she labored standing for the majority of the day, so as she got close to giving birth to her first baby, she stood with her front feet elevated on the bars of the stall! I thought that was incredibly smart of her to use gravity to her advantage while laboring.
In just a few minutes she easily had her first baby, and hopped right up. I thought no way she only has one. She was huge and barley waddled around for the last few weeks, and I had seen at least two on my late term ultrasound. Not to mention this first kid was pretty small! I was a little nervous at first, because Tanky didn't seem to know what was going on. When I gave her her baby she did not go immediately to licking it, and I worried... Oh no we may have to raise this one! But after just a few minutes she started licking and calling to the baby which was a great sign. What seemed like an hour but was likely only 20-30 minutes later she laid down to push again. As soon as I could see baby number 2 I knew something was wrong, It was coming with its head down and ears first. Thankfully she passed her easily, but she was no longer alive. She was born without any pupil reflex and I could not get her to take a breath of make a noise. It was an incredibly sad experience as it was our first loss of a kid on the farm. We still aren't sure why this happened, as it seemed like she stopped developing about 10- 14 days ago, was fully formed, but just very small. Only a few seconds later she began to push again and gave birth to a beautiful dark buckskin doe kid. While I was cleaning the third kid up, she began to push again and I was shocked to see a beautiful dark buckskin buck kid come into the world.
At this point we worked to clean everyone up, and get Tanky into her stall with the heat lamp for the night and waited for her to nurse the kids and pass the placenta. All went well on the final part of kidding and we buried the stillborn kid in a towel next to my beloved Chloe. We shed a tear for the life she never got to live, but we are so thankful and blessed to have three healthy kids, two does and a buck and a healthy momma. It helps to bring to the front of your mind how precious and fleeting life is, and not to take it for granted. I hope you are all having a wonderful week and a safe and productive kidding season!