If you follow me on Facebook, you know by now that Coraline passed away four short days after kidding. However, I don’t want to talk about that in this post! Instead I have decided to split her kidding story into two separate posts: one for the happy tale and one for the sad. In this post is the story of Coraline’s labor and delivery.
In true goat fashion, Coraline waited to kid until the middle of the night. I first noticed the early signs of labor around 9:00 pm Monday January 12th. I sent a text to my dad, “Coraline is in labor. Can you please bring me my kidding bag?” and I parked myself in the pen with her for the next several hours, with the delightful hum of a portable propane heater buzzing in my ear. (Can I just say, bless the person who invented portable heaters that require no electricity!)
|You’ve heard of midwives, but have you heard of a midcat? Muse kept me company while I waited.|
Had she not been a first freshener and had it not been so cold, I might have gone inside and come back every hour to check on her. The first stages of labor can last quite some time. But it was so cold, and she was a first freshener, and an older one at that. Being four years old rather than the typical one or two at which most goats kid for the first time, I was more concerned about her having labor complications. I don’t know that such concern is founded in reality, but I was concerned nonetheless. I was also worried about the kids getting dry fast enough in our chilly January weather. So, I waited.
|The first buckling was the biggest kid.|
Around 2:00 am Tuesday, January 13th, I called my friend Katelyn, who wanted to be present at the birth, to let her know things were getting serious. She lives about 15-20 minutes away, and before she even arrived at my barn Coraline had delivered her first kid: a strapping little buckling. He came out with gusto. I’m pretty positive that he was the one who kept kicking and seeming to do cartwheels in the womb. Before Coraline’s pregnancy, I had never seen or felt a kid move in the mother’s stomach. Maybe I was just not as observant of that in the past, or maybe her kids were extra active, but it was still a pretty awesome experience. A little creepy, but still cool.
|Big brother is being an attention hog, but sister is visible to his left.|
My dad got to witness the birth of the first buckling, and Katie arrived while he was still wet. I got his mouth suctioned and dried him as quickly as I could. Coraline took to being a mother right away. Occasionally first timers can be kind of clueless, but Coraline knew exactly what she was supposed to do. And in just a few minutes, out came the much awaited doeling! Katie and I had both been hoping and praying for two does from Coraline, because I wanted one to retain myself and Katie is getting a doeling from me in exchange for the training she did for my mare, Lady.
I thought for a moment that Coraline was done after the girl. My “official” guess, which I posted on Facebook, was that she would have twins. However, as she got closer to kidding she seemed to just keep getting bigger and bigger. The day before she went into labor I told my dad that I wouldn’t be surprised if she had triplets. In the moment, I was actually a little surprised when I thought she’d only had twins. However, while I was dipping the kids umbilical cords in iodine to prevent navel ill, I heard Katie say, “Uh, Rachel? Did she just have another kid?” Yep, she did! The third kid, another buckling, was quite a bit smaller than the first two. As the runt, he was a little bit slower to stand up and get going than his siblings, but he was on his feet soon. I told Katie, “I foresee a bottle baby in this one. I bet when they’re a little bit older the other two will start pushing him off the teat.”
|Unfortunately, my camera died before I got to take a picture of the second buckling while he was still “fresh.”|
Everything about Coraline’s delivery was absolutely textbook. She was very stoic about the whole thing, and would nibble hay in between contractions. I remember telling her at one point, “Coraline, is now really the time?” when she was munching and I wanted her to hurry it along! But of course, everything happens according to the mother’s timing, not the midwife’s. I couldn’t complain, though, because it’s fine with me if a doe wants to take her sweet time just so long as everything goes smoothly, and for Coraline, it did. Each kid presented with a nose and two feet just like they’re supposed to. Each kid came out easily with no need for intervention. They were all up and wobbling around quickly, and everyone had their first colostrum within two hours of the birth. As I said, Coraline was being a great mom and was very attentive.
|Coraline with her doeling to the left and the little last-born buckling to the right.|
Katelyn left for home and I went to bed at exactly 5:15 am, exhausted but very happy that things had gone smoothly and all three kids were tucked in safe with full bellies and a mom who was acting like an old pro. Everything seemed right with the world until Wednesday, January 14th.
To be continued in Part 2.