Friday, December 23, 2011

Sad days and lessons learned



 December 1, we were soo excited to welcome a new baby goat into the world.  This time, I was to be present.  I had everything I could think of for "just in case."  I had asked people what I needed to do if something went wrong.  I was told to relax, these things always go just fine, all would be o.k.  In the back of  my mind I knew different.  My doe, Tilly had CAE.  Caprin Arthritic Encephalitis. Completely harmless to humans, but deadly to the newborn IF it nurses from its mother.  This is why I had to be present,  also I wanted to be for the experience.  The last delivery we had here I missed it all. And it was triplets.  As the day went along, labor was progressing.  Slow but steady.  At first we saw a gray blob emerging, then a nose, no hooves.  My first inkling, trouble.  Then the head was out and only one hoof.   Further trouble.  With the next contraction, the bag the baby was in, broke and her tongue was turning blue. I called the vet.  He told me to start pulling.  It was so odd to have this tiny creature looking at me as Im trying to birth it.  Then for whatever reason, all contractions stopped.  My vet told me I could give a good pull or go in and try to find the other hoof, thats whats preventing her from delivering, the baby is stuck!  As if this is some kind of news forecast, theres not a lot of room in those birth canals for a reason. I truly believe its a one way means of exiting only!  There was no hoof to be found and with a gentle pull, she was born.  Matilda Jayne. She looks just like her Mommy, Tilly.  We quickly start rubbing her off with fresh, clean paper towels.  This little one, unlike the triplets, is born hungry. She wants to eat and eat NOW!  We dip her navel with iodine and get her under the heat lamps. Shes beautiful.  I am so elated!  Shes here, and we had a major part in her birth, my son Alex and I. All I could think of was that my son who is in Pre- Med would one day be delivering  human babies.  And how over the top grateful I was that he was there to help me. It was definitely a two person job. One to hold Tilly while the other tended to the birth.  Tilly after awhile drank some molasses water and was anxious to meet her little doeling. That look, I will never forget.  She was just as happy to see her baby as any mother would be.  But due to Tillys illness I knew I had to keep her separate, which broke my heart. I let Tilly sniff her and told her that she was perfect and all was just fine. I gave her a bottle of goat colostrum and nanny replacer.  Little Maddie was starving! After a quick bottle I set to check on Tilly. She was up, eating hay and nibbling on some grain. All seemed good.  She started passing the after birth, so I thought. Now looking back, it was probably the sack that broke inside her earlier and not the true after birth.  Again I call the vet just to ask. I am so grateful to have a vet that knows me and knows each of my animals. He knew who and why I was concerned.  He assured me that it could take up to 72 hours to pass the after birth.  Throughout the night I checked and rechecked and checked again on Tilly. She seemed good. Until the next morning.  She was down and shivering.  It wasnt cold, the barn was closed up and heat lights on.  As I get around her I can see she had another baby and it was dead. Not only did I loose this baby, but now Tilly wasnt well. Again that thought in the back of your mind that says " we are in trouble." I then run up  to the house and ask for help in getting her up.  I removed the baby and buried her.  The guys all rushed down and help me pick Tilly up.  She is stiff.  I massage her legs  but she will not stand.  Again I call the vet and a close friend who also raises goats. I need help!  My thoughts are confirmed.  We talk at great lengths about what is happening.  I am told I can be a hero or I can be practical. I know what the out come will be. Death is always guaranteed, unfortunately.   We decide our options and choose to  end the misery. Its a hard, hit you in the gut, terrible decision.  My tender, dear husband who loved  Tilly dearly begins to cry.  All I can say is "Im sorry, I failed."  I had planned for everything but this.  Within minutes its over and I take a few deep breaths and begin to dig her grave. Its a nasty day, raining a drizzly, sad rain. Its done. I have told many others that " this happens, you did the best you could, gave them a great life....."   Theres just no easy way. It bites. It hurts. Tilly was my first ever goat. Even with her diagnoses, we had decided to let her live her life here at Purple Gate Farm and just be.  With every good intention we did.  She will forever be here.  I am now raising Matilda in the house, giving her  many bottles a day and countless diaper changes.  She thinks I am her mom. For now,  we are doing the best we can.  When Maddie turns 3 months she will be tested for  CAE. I am hoping and praying all will be ok. The gift in all this and that I can make the past perfect. Lessons learned. We make plans and GOD laughs. A wonderful friend said the best, most comforting thought. Jojo  said  " GOD needed her in his manger."   That little thought brought me so much comfort. Matilda " Maddie" is a rambunctious little doeling.  She has melted my heart. A silly goat that lives in the house, for now, just adds to the crazy busy days here, but in a good way.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Such a bittersweet story. I came over from CITR to visit. I am often envious of you all who have farms and are living the life I wish for at times. Today you reminded me that there are sad times too. I am days away from having to put my 16 year old Chihuahua down so I understand. I hope Maddie gets a clean bill of health and brings you much joy.
Lajoda from CITR