In the past week we have welcomed 21 babies onto the farm. As of now 13 moms have delivered. We have 23 more to go. The sleepless nights are, well, sleepless. For the most part moms have been delivering on their own but we still try to be at every birth in case something goes wrong.
The other night, after Matthew and I put the kids to bed, my mom and I (who was visiting from Oregon) suited up to go back down to the barn to check for impending birth. When we got there we noticed Bella, one of our Nigerian/Nubian crosses was about to start pushing. We hunkered down in the corner and waited for what we expected would be an easy birth. Bella’s sister Skipper had just delivered quadruplets a few days before with no issues at all. As Bella started to push Mom and I both had the same feeling wash over us. Something felt off. We watched her push for about 10 minutes with no progress. Almost simultaneously Mom and I made the same decision. We needed to pull a baby. I ran inside to get Matthew and the three of us got to work.
When I first went in Bella, it was a total mess. The baby was so disorganized I couldn’t find feet or face. Finally I sorted out her feet and tried to work their way to the birth canal. Halfway through the extraction Matthew and I switched spots. He donned a new pair of gloves and I went to Bella’s head and held her in my lap while he and my mom worked to try and get the baby out. Finally Matthew got him out in a pile of fluid and mucous. We all thought for sure he was dead. My Mom jumped in anyway and started working to dry him off and started giving him mouth to mouth. About 5 minutes later we heard the tiniest little mew. He was alive!! Bella, who was still laying in my lap, crooned for him so we brought him around so she could start licking him. I went inside to nurse Banzai (who still doesn’t sleep through the night) and we waited for Bella to pass the other babies we felt for sure were in there. We saw her contracting but nothing was happening.
After some quick research we realized the cardinal rule, “If you have to pull one, you have to pull them all.” It’s way too much work for the Mom to labor unassisted after undergoing the stress of having a baby pulled.
Que my mother stepping in to save the day (night?).
She donned the gloves and went in, LIKE.A.BOSS. Quickly and systematically she sorted out and pulled babies. Around 2 a.m. Both Matthew and Leo (Matthew’s brother, who we are so lucky to have live on the farm permanently) were in awe of her grace and calmness. I of course didn’t think anything of it. I was raised by her. I know what she can do. Later when the boys asked her where she learned how to pull babies she answered, “I saw Dr. Pol do it with a cow.”
Of course my mother was referring to the show on National Geographic. And also, in case you were wondering, my mom is also capable of separating Siamese twins at birth. She watched that episode twice just to make sure the information stuck.
We ended that night around 2:30 a.m. in the barn with the passing of Bella’s placenta and then spent the rest of the the time to sun-up caring for the triplets who needed to be fed every hour or so with a syringe. Oh yeah. And Banzai. And Giz who comes to the big bed to cuddle in the wee hours of the morning.
We need a bigger bed.
And more sleep.
But then. We wouldn’t have moments like this.
And then how else would my mother be able to put all her surgery information to good use?
We may be tired but at this time in our life, this very moment, we are one of the lucky ones who GET to be tired.
But, we’re also getting smarter.
Last night we were back in the barn at midnight dealing with Princess Snuggleton, one of my favorite milkers who has never, in the three years of kidding with me, wanted to nurse her babies. Our WWOOFer happened to be on hand for that birth so I pawned off night-time nursing and cuddling on her. You know, because I think it’s important to share the joy of babies and sleep deprivation with everyone involved. Which is also why our best friends have set up their own version of a Goat ICU in their laundry room. Ideally we like to keep babies on their mamas for the first seven days, but sometimes they don’t latch, or need extra help, so we’re parceling them out.
Imma gonna love this moment but I’m also gonna help other people love it too. That’s what makes me so nice 🙂
psssst: Do you love that Diaper Cake? My girlfriend who owns Tiers of Joy sent it to us when Banzai was born. I don’t know if she knew just how perfect it would be when she made it, but it kind of hits the nail on the head. Plus. Now we have diapers for the indoor goats 🙂