Some of you may have noticed recent pictures of Carmela and the expanse of her "baby bump" if it can rightly even be called that! The mystery has been solved though, Carmela was not pregnant with a house like we suspected. This picture was taken on May 1 - exactly one week before she kidded with triplets! I wish I could say her delivery was perfect and that there was no trauma but . . . Poor Carmela was having great difficulty which was very reminiscent for me of last year when she kidded and had difficulty which resulted in the loss of her first kid Leo. After her contractions started in earnest it quickly became apparent that although we were presented with a sac and amniotic fluid, there were no babies evident. An exploration in the birth canal confirmed what I feared - Carmela's babies were either so large she would be unable to pass them OR they were in serious distress. An emergency call was placed to our vets at Muldrew Lake Veterinary Services and we anxiously awaited the arrival of Kelli, our vet. Carmela was clearly in distress by the time Kelli arrives so we immediately jumped into action to get everything sorted out. Carmela had a kid presented across her cervix which clearly was not going to be able to come out that way. Kelli got that kid turned but they quickly realized that there were other babies all wanting to come out at the same time! After sorting out which head belonged to which legs, Carmela's first kid came into the world. Our happiness quickly turned into sadness as we all looked upon this beautiful little soul who appeared to be quite still born. To our surprise it too a breath, and another, and another! It appeared as though this baby either had no bones or every bone in it's body was broken though as it seemed like a breathing bag of skin. We quickly had to decide to focus on the other kids - ones we could hopefully save. The next kid came out much easier and was passed off to our waiting helpers to dry and clean the kid. The third kid was quite a bit larger then the previous two and took some effort to deliver but Kelli is great at what she does and managed to get the last kid safely delivered.
After the second and third babies were cleaned and returned to our poor
Carmela we decided to assess the first little one as it was still fighting to
breathe! Kelli gave it a quick examination and determined that if it
wanted to live it would find a way so we started working on the first little
one. We determined that Carmela's first baby was the only girl of the three which made the whole sad situation ever more bittersweet. Not only was this tiny little doeling a fighter, but she was letting us know loud and clear that she intended to survive! I continued to rub and worm her tiny body up while getting Carmela into a clean dry stall with her two boys. The little girl had to strength and couldn't even hold up her own head! Amazingly though, within an hour after being born she was trying to stand! Within two hours she managed to nurse directly from Carmela as opposed to the bottle I had given her colostrum from.
Carmela and all three babies were incredibly weak. I did not sleep at all that first night while I stayed as close to her as possible and be ready for anything. Carmela was unable to nurse her babies as she was so weak her legs would give out after a few seconds of trying to stand. I had frozen colostrum that I heated and fed to the babies throughout the night. All the next day all 4 continued to be extremely weak and it was getting increasingly harder to get the babies to feed. Fortunately for me some good friends came by to offer their help and allow me to get a bit of sleep while they continued to feed the babies. I was starting to fear that we would lose them all. Then about 10:30 Thursday night, Carmela was able to stand long enough to nurse her babies with me helping to keep her upright! You could almost see the difference in the babies within a few hours and a few feedings later. Being able to nurse directly from their mother seemed to make all the difference in the world! Now here it is Saturday and you would never know that these were the same little babies! They are not only standing and nursing from their Mom unassisted, they are starting to hop and play! I finally feel that we are through the worst and that all will survive. As for our dear sweet Carmela, we have decided that her days as a breeding goat are over. Two difficult kiddings tell us that she is better suited to being the therapy goat I have been wanting her to be. Once she is done raising these current kids she will get to retire from breeding and enjoy some well deserved rest until she is needed to help heal someone else in need. She is so special and loveable, we know she will be happy in her new job.
“Until one has loved an animal a part of one's soul remains unawakened.”
- Anatole France
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