Tuesday, March 8, 2011


 Wow.  What a ride this Momma and I had last night.  

I got home from errands around noon.  I went to check her and could tell she was in labor.  (A future - "how to birth goats" post is coming).  She was not supposed to have her baby till Saturday!  I put Max down for a nap and went right back out.  She was up and down all day and looked very close pretty much all day.  I would watch some movies on my iphone for half and hour, go in and check Max and then right back out.  Thank goodness he took such a long nap.  We did this till Lily got off the bus at 3:20.  I woke up Max and made them both a snack and set them up in front of the TV.  Lily was in charge and I went back out.  Emma showed up after her swim practice and Josh finally got home.  Both girls came out to the barn and we waited.  At about 5:10 things got scary.  

After Charlotte (the mama) had been pushing long enough that I was starting to get freaked out - a baby goat head pop out.  Great, right?  WRONG!!!  Goats are supposed to deliver in a few different ways, but head first isn't one of them.  

They are supposed to be front legs first with head right behind.  This meant that my baby goat was in trouble.  He was coming like this upper  picture.
See how the picture is titled "problem"
I don't know much about this.  I am no pro, but I am no chicken either.

The entire neck and head were out before I could stop them and push them back in, so I apologized to mama (girl - I have been there) and I  and stuck my hand right in.  I reached in for those shoulders and managed to pull one forward enough that the shoulders were no longer squared and stuck, and  the baby slide right out.   

(Yes I put my hand in a goat.  That baby was dying.  It was hanging out by the limb neck and head and was not coming out any other way.  You bet your tushy I stuck my hand in and saved it)

For the record - I was scared to death of making it worse.  SCARED TO DEATH.  But I knew that baby would get too cold hanging out like that and that they whole thing could kill the mama.  

It wasn't as smooth as I make it sound.  It took me about 3 minutes to get it done and the whole time I was patting the mama with my other hand and saying "Come one Mama, help me out." Over and over.  And I heard two girls behind me quietly chanting the same thing.  They were so entranced and attentive.  For once Lily was quiet and alert at the same time.

Mama helping me clean the baby
After the baby was born is was totally limb with not effort at breathing.  I took it over to my warm spot and started trying to dry it off.  Nothing.  I rubbed it and gave it 30 seconds to try to do something.  Nothing.  (I had started telling Emma - "Get this out of the bag, get this out, hand me this and that."  She did it like she was one of the nurses I work with and we had practised on a robot baby 50 times.  I was so impressed.)  I cleared its airway with a bulb syringe.  Nothing.  I went in to 100% NICU nurse mode.  It had not even tried to take a breath yet.  

Some of you who know me like my funny story about how I almost gave newborn Xavier the goat mouth to mouth.  Well - you'll like this one even better.  I gave that newborn baby a breath.  And counted to 20 and gave it another.  Repeat and repeat and repeat.  I just wrapped its whole snout and mouth with my mouth and breathed out enough to see its chest rise well.    After five breaths, watching for good chest rise I was thinking "what else can I do?", when I checked the pulse.  Good and strong.  So I kept going for another round of breaths.   I felt five was a good number.  There is no National Goat CPR standards to follow so I had to make it up.  Still no breaths on its own but pulse was doing great.   Another round of CPR.  And finally the thing started to breath!!!!  Not regular, but some effort.  I still had to give it a few more breaths, but it got it together.   

Then Mama got to work cleaning it up.  We had it on a heating pad and next to a heater.   That sucker was not getting cold.  I checked and saw that we had a new baby girl!  Charlotte did not have any more babies in there.  Just the one.  We were a little disappointed, as goats usually have twin or more, but not too disappointed as our new baby was so pretty.  

Now this little baby girl was very listless and stunned.  They are supposed to stand up pretty quick and she just wouldn't.  She kept plunking down in front of the heater and falling asleep.  So I tried to make her eat and she wouldn't suck.  Crap.  That means I can't bottle feed her either.  I gave her some nutri-cal (used to treat low glucose in toy breed puppies) to get some energy  in her and I started gathering more supplies.  

I got out a feeding tube that I have, a syringe, and a snow cone cup.  I milked the Mama in to the cup.  I have never milked anything in my life, so that was some good on the job training.  I just messed with it till it worked.  I used a snowcone cup because I needed something easy to pour into the syringe.  I guessed on how deep to place the feeding tube, crossed my fingered and fed that baby one ounce of milk.    Shortly after, it got more alert and started to move around more.   

Josh set this up while I was tube feeding the baby. 
We set up the nursery and let them snuggle for awhile.  The nursery was three hay bales sectioning off a  corner of the stall with heat lamps for warmth and deep nice fresh clean straw.  The hay bales make it so the baby stays under the lamps but Mama can jump in and out for water and feed as she needs to. 

45 mins later I was back to give the baby 2 ounces more.  It still wouldn't suck on anything and that was making me very nervous.  But I knew it was full and warm, so I went to sleep for two hours.  Then when I came out again it was up and wagging its tail.  Happy as a little newborn goat can only be.  The belly felt full, like it might have eaten.  So I went back to sleep for two more hours with my fingers crossed.  Repeat all night.  I was watching it very closely for signs that it was sinking again, but everytime I checked in it was sleeping or happy.  This morning at 6AM Lily and I crept out and caught it nursing away!!!!  I think we have a pretty good chance now of making it.  


In summary - I love that my kids got to see all this.  They got to see the baby almost die and they saw it saved.  The saw it struggle and then they saw it get up and thrive.  Our whole motto as a family is "Figure it out.  Use your resources."  I was sitting in the stall with the newborn baby not standing up googling "How long does it take for a goat to stand?"  The kids know I don't know everything, I don't pretend to.  But I can find out.    

Most photo's were taken by Lily (7) and Emma (13).  They did not start taking pictures till the baby breathed as they were to stunned to even think of it :)

Here are some of my online resources:





  1. Oh, my gosh. This was so exciting. I was literally holding my breath while you were giving the baby cpr. What amazing pictures your kiddies took and what a beautiful little family you've got now. I can't wait to hear what the girls name their new baby and hear more about the adventures in her little life.
    You rock mamas.

  2. Wow, I am blown away! High fives to all of you for your stellar performance in that delivery room! I am sure Momma goat appreciates what you have done (at least I want to imagine that she can have that human emotion)! I so LOVED this story. Hugs!!

  3. What a great story, thank you for emailing me about it. "There's no National Goat CPR standards", that just about killed me! So funny.


  4. Amazing is right! You are amazing girl. And she is adorable :) So cool

  5. I **love** that motto!! I am SOOOO copying that!!

    I'm sorry I never got back to you about the cloth diapers. I was off blogs for a few days and when I came back to begin composing a post, it wasn't appropriate any more. :( oh I cried for you. I wished I could hug you.

    I get great satisfaction out of reading your blog, even when the news is sad. If you still want to know about cloth diapering, I've got a lot to say (and links, too)!

  6. What an awesome experience, with a wonderful ending! On the job training...I'd say so!


  7. Awesome story!! Our goat is about ready to have babies and it is our first time too.

  8. What fun! We had one of our goats give birth last night and she gave us one buck. We were slightly disappointed too, because she looked big enough to have three! It was a little fun though, because "Clive Owen" was our first boy born this season. He just wanted to sleep at first because he was in the birth canal for a while but we gave him a shot of coffee to wake him up a bit :)

    I hope he does really well!


  9. Loved your birth story! How great that you could keep a cool head in that situation!

  10. Nice blog! Great work.
    If you interested in modern agriculture and farming, then I will invite you to visit my farming blog.
    Farming Goat
    Methods of Modern Farming

  11. Happened to me a month ago. Same way. Only It wasn't my goat and I had only a few days before watched my neighbor help a momma goat deliver quads. He was out of town when Hazel went into labor. His wife is not a natural born farm wife. She was in panic mode. With hubby on the phone was told to let Hazel deliver. The kid was out as far as your goats was and I was thinking the mom was in trouble. She lay down, exhausted. I made up my mind I was going in! I got the kid out and did exactly what you did. after kid was unresponsive to everything else with no hesitation. Mouth to mouth. Should have heard the farmers wife! I didn't care. Unfortunately the kid did not survive. I held it in my arms for about an hour till the farmer got home. Then I said goodbye to the little fellow and went home. You can't win them all, but I know I did my best. In the end, God makes the final decision.



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