We had a nice surprise at 4:00 this morning! I rolled over during a very deep sleep and sort of vaguely thought to myself that I should check the goat-o-scope. I almost was too sleepy. The iPad on the nightstand seemed miles away. But my curiosity overcame my drowsiness and I gave the iPad a click. I could see Delilah’s back end in the camera view and it looked like nothing had happened. She was still fat and laying down like she was when we went to bed four hours ago. I began to put the iPad away but then decided that since I already had it out I might as well pan over to her head and see if she was making faces. My heart did a backflip when this happy sight greeted me!
She was cleaning them off and they were both standing and bleating in such a healthy way that I thought about turning over to finish off the night’s sleep and just see them in the morning. But when I panned over to her water bucket I noticed it was empty, so out into the dark I went, flashlight in hand. I’m glad I went out. Not only had she drunk all the water, but the kids had not been able to nurse. One teat had bloody little teeth marks where a kid had tried and failed to get any milk out. The teats were solidly plugged with wax and it took quite a bit of effort before I could get milk out. The kids also were less dry than they’d looked on the camera.
So with Phil’s help I dried the kids off better, helped them nurse, and dunked their umbilical cords. Mama looked comfortable and content between licking her kids and eating hay so I almost went back to bed. But then I remembered to bump her belly just in case there was another. I’m so glad I did! A solid, heavy object bounced back at me! But Delilah did not look like trying to push it out any time soon. I waited around for a long time and nothing happened. Every so often she would lay down and stretch and grunt a little, but she never pushed. I had a quick feel and there was nothing in the birth canal. With baby still completely inside the womb I felt ok leaving it there to see if Delilah would deliver on her own. Phil even suggested that we leave for a while since we might have interrupted her labor (after all, she didn’t want us there in the first place!). So we went back inside and monitored her on the camera for another half hour.
By 6:00 I figured it must have been close to three hours since she’d delivered the first two. It was time to go in and see what was holding things up. I scrubbed up and went in, and there at the edge of the birth canal was, first of all, movement (huge sigh of relief!), but also something I’d never felt before. I thought it was a head with no legs presented. But no, that wasn’t right. There was no mouth and no ears. I reached a little further and felt something pointed and bony like a hoof but not a hoof. Then I felt a crook in it. It was a hind leg and I had hold of the hock. The bony thing I’d thought was a head was a bottom! All the kids I’d delivered before were presented head first, so I was in unfamiliar territory as I broke into the sac and brought the hind legs around one at a time into the birth canal. Once I had both hind legs out Delilah began to push, and with several good pulls I was able to work those pointy little hocks and hips into the outside world. The rest of the kid soon followed and we had one more healthy, wriggling little (or should I say big) brother. Delilah had saved the biggest for last.
I was overjoyed that this last little one made it out alive. I’d been praying he was ok in there. Sometimes it’s hard to know whether or not to intervene, but I asked God to keep him safe. God not only protected the last little one, He made a celebration for his birth.
So now we have two boys and a girl. The girl is the smallest and looks exactly like her aunt Jezebel. The middle-sized boy is white with black spots and looks almost identical to his cousin Tigerlily. The third and largest is a bold black and white boy with white blaze face. I’ll get proper photos later today after we get them cleaned up better. These are our first purebred babies. They are all registered Alpines.