We have been so incredibly lucky with all of the births here on the farm. Three seasons of lambing and not only did we have live births for every single one of them, but we never even needed to step in to assist. Add to that the fact that we had a ridiculously high rate of females born (so much easier for our situation), and well, we've been counting our lucky stars about farm births for years. My well-stocked (if I may say so myself) emergency vet and birthing kit has never been touched, save for paper towels and iodine.
Yesterday Bluebell, our Nigerian Dwarf goat, went into labor and of course we crossed all fingers and toes that that streak would continue. The never-used birthing kit was at my side though, and a few goat books too. As well as a rather large audience - from the curious dog to the nosy sheep to an intruding chicken that really wanted to hang around...plus all the kids! But even with all of that energy, we kept the barn hushed and quiet and gave Mama so much space. Labor dragged on...and on and on...and eventually the game of tag in the pasture took most of my helpers away. And I sat, quietly, knitting and waiting in a corner of the barn - Bluebell on the other side of it, doing her work. I had hoped it would go as all others had before - naturally and without interference and that I'd be able to call the kids (the human variety) inside in time to witness the actual birth.
It wasn't to be quite like that, though. And as I watched Bluebell push and push with increasing struggle and no progress at all, I realized what was happening - a breech birth. What came next was a flurry of activity and instinct, maybe? Or maybe it was the memory of all those You Tube videos I'd watched on goat birthing. I don't know. But as the children caught onto the fact that something was happening, the crowd was back and I needed them! The response from each of them, now that I look back on it, was so indicative of who they are, how we respond in a situation, you know? Ranging everywhere from the empath who feels the pain or struggle or stress of anyone in the room, and certainly felt this happening in a big way.....to the one ready to jump whenever I said jump (or rather, "flashlights!" "More paper towels!"). We had a sleepover guest too, a fellow farm girl, sweet thing - who, when my hands were, well, occupied inside of the goat - read aloud to me about breech positioning from the book. All to the background sound of a five year old narrating the entire experience, "Is that goat alive? Wait, how do baby goats get inside of Bluebell anyway?"
It was a bit of a scene, I tell you. And it only got more intense - and then quickly heartbreaking - when I got that kid out, and realized it wasn't alive. Ugh. So crushing...realizing that, and relaying the news and wondering what was going to happen next, worried a lot about Bluebell. It wasn't long after that though, that the energy shifted and what appeared to be a 'normal' birth really began. Quickly and easily, this one came. And it was such a sharp contrast in health and vibrancy and even size to the first one, that I realized the stillborn had likely passed some time ago (such a blessing this was to me to know - I had been so worried I had done something wrong or not moved quickly enough in the breech). And right after that, another! One stillborn, two live births. Both girls!
The night dragged on a little bit longer than that, with a placenta that wasn't really coming out and a Mama who kept kicking her babies when they tried to nurse. But all of that got resolved and the three of them were happily tucked into bed together by later in the evening. I checked on them a few times in the night, and this morning, oh they're all happy and healthy and pretty much the most adorable things ever. Adelaide is sticking with her flower theme for the goats, and these two ladies are now called Rosebud and Iris (her friend Flora got naming rights of one, being the great birth assistant that she was). We will eventually milk the Mama Bluebell, but not yet. For now, we want the three of them to get to know one another, for the babies to grow strong and healthy and for nature to do its thing with their bonding and growth. Meanwhile, I think we're all catching our breath and once again counting our lucky stars that we were all here for the birth, and able to give Bluebell a hand.
(This video is quite a bit blurry, I apologize - I hardly know how to use the video setting on my camera. But you just have to hear them because their newborn noises are too good not to share! Such joy!)