This is me with Gracie, the goat. I spent eight hours with her while she labored and tried to have a baby last week. She licked my face and wanted to curl up in my lap. I happily obliged, relieved that I could give her some comfort.
Gracie was the first goat I ever owned, and I raised her with a bottle. She is nine years old now - that's quite old for a goat. I sold her to my friends last year and immediately sped over there when they called to tell me Gracie was in labor. My friend, her two daughters and I spent all afternoon and long into the night with Gracie, listening to her grind her teeth in pain, feeding her treats to distract her from the hard work, watching her get up and down a hundred times, unable to be comfortable, except when she was curled up in one of our laps. We sang to her, stroked her wiry hair, and gave her kisses.
Things didn't progress as fast as I would have liked, but she always is slow when she gives birth. I agonized over the decision to "go in" and feel for babies in her uterus. There are risks involved with this dreaded task, and we collectively decided to leave her be, since she was not pushing yet. At 10:30pm, I reluctantly left to maneuver the 30-minute drive home through deep, dark woods, dodging deer spooked by my headlights.
I contemplated sleeping in my friends' barn, but I had dealt with labor-like pains all day myself (not due to childbirth but PMS), and I really needed to sleep in my bed. I had a strong intuitive feeling that things would be okay.
I didn't get much sleep that night, worried about Gracie. As promised, I called my friend at 5:30 in the morning, and she told me that she had checked on Gracie at 4am. No progress. I told her that it was now definitely time to feel for babies since there might be dead babies inside blocking the birth canal, and if not dealt with could kill Gracie. I couldn't come help her because I had to milk my goats and head for early appointments in town, but we have goat friends, and we mobilized them to help. I talked her through the procedure of feeling for babies and hung up with a heavy heart.
Ten minutes later she called me and yelled that Gracie was licking a brand new, huge baby buckling. I bet Gracie was very, very tired and very, very sore.
I felt elated all day, not only because of the happy ending, but because of the gratitude I felt for our community. We live in the boonies out here, and the sense of community runs deep. We all rely on each other, more so than in non-rural places, I think. I especially love my friends who have goats, since these are the people I can call at midnight when there is a problem with my goats, and they would not hesitate to hop in their car and drive over half an hour to assist. The night of Gracie's ordeal, two friends offered to come up the hill to help, even though it was past their bedtime.
I love my community!
Let me show you some pictures of the homestead this week:
|The ducklings are growing rapidly|
|The dogwood is blooming|
|The boys shooting their bows. I don't know why Luke is dressed in a wet suit, I really don't.|
|Blueberries are blooming, and seedlings are hardening off in front of the greenhouse.|
|Potatoes are coming up.|
|Fruit trees are blooming and goats are grazing. Plus, do you notice the lush, green grass?|
|The Clematis is ready to pop open. I can't wait!|
PS: I've been putting together some of my photos with inspirational quotes. I have more on my Facebook page.