The little boy was barely alive and passed shortly after we brought him in. The little girl was still alive and I had to put a feeding tube in her. It was scary but I got it in the right place and was able to get some of the mothers colostrum in her which seemed to make her pretty happy. I had been in this position before with premature babies and did not have much hope of any of them surviving. I had to milk the mother some more and continue to feed this baby every 2 hours through the night. We put her in a clothes basket and put blankets on her to keep her warm. She slept in our bedroom for ease of feeding. I am not a good person to wake in the night so this was going to be a challenge. I managed to feed her through the night and I fully expected her to not survive so I was very happy when she was still around in the morning.
I went out on Tuesday morning to check on the mother to find her down and out. She was not herself. She wasn't eating the grain I had put out and was softly murmuring. I figured she was grieving the loss of her babies and felt a lot of compassion and empathy for her. When my friend texted to see how things were going I told her everything that was going on. She told me I would have to check and see if there was another baby inside as this would kill the mother if it didn't come out. I was absolutely not prepared for that. I expressed my deep concern with my lack of experience and upon her offer to come down I tried to politely decline but then realized it was ok for me take her up on it and let someone help.
When she arrived and checked her out it there was nothing obvious and it would be a matter of time to see if the mother would pass whatever may be left inside of her afterbirth. I had to call the vet and get some medication to hopefully help this along. Of course, they were closed when I called and I had to call back today to get it. I was at the vet's office first thing the next morning and administered the proper dosage to the mother. Now, its a waiting game to see if this works or if I need additional help.
Back to the baby doe. My kids wanted to name her and I told them it wasn't a good idea in case she didn't survive. Still we decided she would be called Boo since Halloween was just around the corner. When I brought her downstairs, Mollie was quick to come to her side and make sure she was ok. At this point the baby girl was doing ok. She was trying to stand, was holding her head up and was alert. I had a farmers market to go to so I knew I had to bring her with me so I could ensure she was fed. I packed her up into my truck and off we went. I kept her in the truck where it was warm and fed her every 2 hours. She would cry out during her sleep and as I look back this was a sign of something not right. I had just assumed it was hunger because she would stop the crying out after eating and fall back to sleep.
Shortly after arriving back home that evening she began to cry out and I warmed her milk to feed her. I picked her up and noticed that she was quite limp. I held her and tried to stimulate her but it didn't seem to be working. I felt inside her mouth and it felt cold. I rubbed her and tried to bring her around but it wasn't working. I got a hot bath going to bring her temperature back up but unfortunately it was not helping. My oldest son Noah came upstairs and asked if he could help just as she was passing away. Of course then my daughter came upstairs asking about the baby goat and realized she had passed. So my daughter and I shared a few tears together as I explained that this is a fact of life.
It's never easy to watch a life pass. It's especially hard to see the hurt in my own child as she tries to understand life and death. We will get past this as we have before. I again have learned new lessons and hope to not have to repeat any of it. I was looking forward to new life on our farm and to see the excitement in my daughters eyes as she ran out to meet our new baby goats.
This morning I went outside to find that another of our does had kidded and gave us 2 new baby girls. The mother birthed them and ran away like they didn't belong to her. I tried to get her to nurse them but every time they came near her she would wander off looking for breakfast and leave them on their own. I took the mother and both babies and put them into a smaller pen with the other doe and her kids. Still she would not let them near her and she ignored their cries. I finally just held her and put the kids on to nurse. I made sure both kids successfully nursed from her before leaving the pen. I knew I would have to come back and ensure that they were nursing. She is a first time mother and new to our farm so I was a little worried that she would not be a good mother and I now had 2 bottle babies on my hands. Fortunately, when I went out a couple hours later I saw both kids nursing and she was starting to nurture them. Huge relief as I was not wanting to feed babies all night long again. As of this evening she was nurturing and nursing them. Every situation is different and each doe behaves differently with her babies.
I am thankful to experience it all. Both the birth of new life and a passing of a life teaches me something about my goats and about myself.