I used an on-line gestation calculator on the ABGA (American Boer Goat Association) website to calculate the approximate due dates for each goat. Back in October, I took note of which doe was bred on which day. Billy kind of concentrates his efforts on one doe for a day or two, so I just observed them each day to, hopefully, get a more accurate due date for each of them.
Apparently, my method worked pretty good because yesterday was Pansy's due date and she went into labor at 7:00 last night. Usually, she has her babies when I'm not around and I just arrive to see her cleaning them up. As luck would have it, I went to check on her right after Wheel of Fortune and I could tell that she was in early stages of labor. So I stayed to watch, hoping to video it on my new GoPro camera. (That was not to be because I didn't have it charged and it died too soon).
Daughter-in-law came out to sit with me and watch the birth, but by 8:45 Pansy had birthed nothing but a bubble of the water sac, which burst and then...nothing. It was fairly anti-climactic. I remembered reading somewhere that if a kid is not born within an hour of the doe starting to push, then something was not right and someone would have to do something. By 9:45, no baby had made it's debut and that someone was going to have to be me. I did not want it to be me. I did not want to do something. Waiting for nature to take its course sounded like the best option to me. So, we waited.
10:45 and still no baby. So, Daughter-in-law went and got her iPad to do some googling for me. I had her go to the Fiasco Farm website first, because they're the kind of bible of all that is goat. That site said there should be a baby within an hour (that must be where I read that). Other sites said anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours, there should be a baby, otherwise, the babies might die or have brain damage from lack of oxygen. We were at the two hour mark, so it was time for action.
The websites said to get gloves, make sure hands or gloves were clean and feel around in the birth canal searching for feet. I don't know about anyone else, but that is not enough information for a novice like me. For those of you who are in this situation or might be in this situation in the future, read on. This experience doesn't make me an expert, but this information I sure could have used last night.
OK, so I got my rubber gloves and slathered them with Purell Advanced (Purell Advanced is the only hand sanitizer that really does kill 99% of germs. Tom had done the research back when the flu season started). I couldn't put it off any longer, so...I went in. Yes, I put my hand inside the vagina of a goat. This is the something that I did not want to do.
It was surprisingly easy. She was very slippery, so I didn't need a lubricant as the other websites had suggested. I was very timid, so I started out with just a few fingers. I quickly realized that more than a few fingers needed to go in and that, if a baby goat (or two or three) was going to come out of that canal, then surely my hand could go in.
So, in went the hand. I couldn't feel anything that felt like a baby goat part, least of all, bony little feet. I put my hand in a little past my wrist and this was where I really felt like I could use more information. How far is too far? How gentle did I need to be? Was I going to puncture some vital organ or poke and eye out?
I got in there far enough to feel what I thought was tiny little ribs. If that was the case, the baby was sideways across the birth canal and nothing was coming out and I decided that we needed some expert medical intervention and went to call the vet at 11:00 at night. She said to bring Pansy in and she'd meet us at the clinic.
So, I woke Tom up, he hooked up the trailer (no small feat in the dark), and Son helped me pull Pansy by the horns and hoist her up into the trailer. As you can imagine, she was not at all thrilled to be shoved into a trailer in the middle of the night in the middle of birthin' babies.
We arrived at the clinic at midnight. Dr. Missy (a new, young vet fresh out of vet school) slathered her arms (up past her elbows) with some sort of cleaning agent (meant to ask her what it was so I could have have some on hand).
(Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of this because I forgot my camera and my iPhone pictures did not turn out well)
It turns out, the baby was, indeed, sideways and tangled up with her brother. The Dr. worked for 45 minutes sorting them out, turning them around and getting them out. Pansy was not happy and she bellowed loudly, but she did not try to get away or stop the doctor's activity.
The second kid was doubled over sideways and after a lot of digging around, the doctor pulled him out back feet first. Both kids are healthy and vigorous.
Tip #1: Be prepared to go in past your wrist. Dr. Missy had her entire arm inside the doe.
Tip #2: You do not need gloves. Just clean your hands real good. It is hard to know what you are feeling with gloves on. Clipping your fingernails is a good idea.
Tip #3: Don't be afraid to dive right in and sort out body parts. Find the two front feet, try to align the head up with the feet and PULL. Nice and steady. The preferred way is front feet first, but it is possible to pull it out by the back feet. Of course, you want to be as gentle as possible, but from what I observed, the doctor was rummaging around in there like a kid looking for his favorite toy in the toy box.
Tip#4: It is possible for the babies to survive at least three to four hours after the water breaks.
Tip #5: Have meds handy if possible. Penicillin to prevent infection, Oxytocin to help the uterus contract, and a tetanus shot. If you don't have them and it's the middle of the night, get them as soon as you can the next day.
Thanks to Daughter-in-law for hanging in there with me and taking pictures.
I need a nap.