(Actually, this happened several months ago, but I was nearing my own birth and never managed to publish the post.)
Watching my strong, stubborn goat transformed by the power of labor was beautiful. We took comfort in the facts that animal birth is, for all intents and purposes, a natural, organic process and that Lula Mae was an "experienced" mama. Sure, we read (all the books ever written) on goat labor and birth, had our birth kit nearby and kept the number of a local vet handy, but mostly we hoped she'd do it all herself. Which she did.
Even though she had all the mechanics of birth covered, she begged for us to stick around. As early labor turned into active labor she panted with her head pressed against my shoulder, leaning into the comfort of our touch and presence. We've heard some kinds of goats can actually delay their births by up to two weeks, and I am confident Lula Mae waited till she had both of us home on holiday.
|Lula Mae waiting for the next contraction|
I've been nearby but never attended a birth before--human or otherwise. I was in awe. Lula knew just what to do, putting her front legs up high on the hay feeder as she pushed, pacing on her breaks, moaning through the pain and occasionally biting the thick wood of the barn to cope.
Soon, her effort paid off and we saw the first signs of life poking into this world--only instead of a tiny nose, we saw a tiny tail. Her baby was breach! After two hours went by with only a tail birthed, we knew the kid was in danger and that assistance would be required.
|A tail--not a nose--was our first sign of life|
Relieved, I returned to my role of goat doula as Mr. Bee assumed the role of stand-by midwife. Another few pushes and the baby plopped on the group, a slimy beautiful mess. Lula immediately began to bite away at the sac and lick it's face--all the while still pushing.
A tail poked out and we knew another baby was on its way! This one slid out more easily but didn't stir once it hit the ground. When kids are born breach, they don't have the same pressure on the way out of the birth canal, and it is easy for them to come out having mucous in their lungs. Mr. Bee picked up the second kid and swung it by its ankles. I watched as mucous spewed out and the tiny body began to cough and breath.
A family was born.
Lula Mae licked her babies continually and made the most wonderful cooing noises at them. They struggled to suckle but eventually got the hang of things. Within 5 minutes the wobbly legged babies were wandering around. One of them even went outside!
|Desi and December, 1 hour old|
Each year, a different letter is used in the goat breeding world for record keeping, and it is common to name the babies using that letter as the first letter to their names. This year the letter is "D".