Every year, I’m reminded again of why it’s so important to be here when our goats give birth. This year, we lost a doe from our goat Mini Pearl because we didn’t get to her in time. When a similar situation happened with our best milker, Sudoku, a dramatic rescue took place that none of us will ever forget. Since I generally take a back-seat role in these situations, here is the story of Sudoku’s birth, as told by the one responsible for saving her life and that of her kids, my oldest daughter….
I always knew that Sudoku’s birth would be special because she is Sudoku! Sudoku is our favorite goat. She always hast lots of kids and she’s a love-bug. But I had no idea what really awaited us!
It was May 26th and I knew that Sudoku was going to lose her ligaments (that’s when the tail ligaments drop so the baby can come out) but my sisters and I decided not to tell anyone until they were gone. Finally, around 5:00 P.M. She lost them. My sisters and I had held a secret meeting to decide how we should tell Momma and came up with a secret code that meant they were gone. Momma had NO idea that she was even close!! Our plan was that one of us would go to her and say “hey Momma, just wanted to let you know that Sooky’s ligaments are gone” and then walk out and say “hey Bitty, come downstairs I want to show you something” (that was the code that meant her ligaments were gone or very close.) It went like clockwork!! I went in and told her because Bundle was afraid that her smile would give it away (and I don’t think I did any better! I think I even started laughing!!) And Bitty had to stay out for the code to work. It was FUNNY to see her reaction!!!!
I went downstairs to watch Sudoku for awhile. Nothing happened, so I went to do some schoolwork and write in my journal till dinner was ready. We ate and then it was time for chores, so I got my stuff done and thought I would go sit with Sudoku for a little while. By this time it was about 7:00 and she started having contractions but she was not pushing. Just acting very uncomfortable. At about 8:30 Momma started to worry that maybe the kid was too big (we learned the hard way that after a goat starts pushing, they ought to have the kids out quickly.) But Sudoku wasn’t pushing yet, so I wasn’t concerned. I would really rather take a hands-off approach unless we see that something is obviously wrong. In this case, things seemed pretty normal. So after much discussion we decided to go on to bed and I planned check on her throughout the night. It was a long night! I slept just fine but it seemed like as soon as I got good and asleep my pester alarm would go off again!! Finally at 5:00 A.M. I woke up to that goof old music that Momma put on my alarm and I sat up and yawned looked over at Sooky and she was pushing! My eyes opened wide and I rubbed them and stared. Could she really be……………………… Yes, she was!!!!!
I jumped up and yelled “BUNDLE, SHE IS PUSHING!!!” and ran up stairs to tell Momma. I wasn’t tired now!! I ran up the stairs to tell Momma and she told me to come and get her when there was a bubble (which would mean a kid was entering the birth canal and ready to be delivered) and to watch the time. If it got past 30 minutes, to come and get her. I headed back downstairs and Bundle was up sitting with Sooky and she said “Bunchkin, there’s a bubble!! Go get Momma!!” I turned around and ran back up the stairs to get Momma. I had never seen Momma jump out of bed so quick! I ran and told Bee-Boy and jerked Shmoo’s covers off and said “There’s a bubble!!” I had never seen him jump out of bed so quick, either!! I ran to get Daddy and went back to Sooky with Smoo and Be-Boy.
Then Momma came and asked: “what time did she start pushing?” “5:00ish,” I answered. We all hung out in Daddy’s garage and talked and teased Sooky for taking so long! Then about 35 minutes had gone by and Momma wanted me to check Sooky’s cervix to make sure the baby was lined up properly. This was easy because I have done it a thousand times before. What came next, though, was NOT easy, nor had I ever done it! When I put my hand in, I didn’t feel anything at first! Going further, I felt something and told Momma: “I’ve got something here. I can’t tell exactly what it is. Oh here’s a foot! And another one! I think this is a head although it feels kind of strange…..Like almost soft. I don’t know…I think it must be a head. She’s moving it with contractions so I don’t know why it’s taking so long..I guess it’s okay though.” In my head I pictured a maybe a tough delivery but nothing major and certainly not being raced off to the vet’s office and pulling the kid myself!
We waited a few more minutes and then I lubed up again and asked God to give me something that I could picture. I was getting worried about the head being soft! So Momma called the vet wile I went to see if Sudoku was making any progress. She, was but by this time I was sure something was not right because I felt a heartbeat (who gets to do that?!! It was really cool!) I also felt one more thing that confused me and the longer I kept my hand in, the more confused I got. Suddenly, Momma came running downstairs saying “we’re taking her to the vet!!!!!! Bunchkin, go get dressed. Bundle if you want to come you’ve got 5 minutes!!!!” I don’t think I ever got dressed so fast! At first I thought Momma was going a little overboard, taking her to the vet, but at the same time I knew I didn’t know what I was feeling and the longer I tried, the more confusing things got! So at this point I knew that this might be the best option. I was not worried at all! God had actually asked me a few days before this, when we lost Pearl’s baby: “Will you trust me even if things don’t right?” So even if we lost the kids, even if we lost Sudoku, I was not worried because I knew this was God’s will. And somehow I just knew things were going to be OK. I felt a strange joy and laughed and joked with Daddy and Bitty. Once we were all in, Momma raced down the driveway and off we went! I remember laughing and thinking “this is gonna be FUN!!” Of course, right away me and Bundle made a game out of our circumstances (That’s something that happens a lot in this family!) We were having a blast!
As we drove down the road, Momma told me: “Baby Goat lesson, honey. As soon as we get to this next road, I need you in the back with your hand up that goat and try to figure out what’s going on, because if the vet has to do a C-section we may lose Sudoku and we might lose those kids, too.” (Most goats don’t respond well to anesthetic. This is the medicine that puts them to sleep. A lot of times, goats never wake up.) “So its really important that we get the kid out. I want you to ask God to give you a vision of what position the baby is in. Also, if you can get ahold of two feet, then just pull it out because this kid is probably dead. But don’t pull unless you’ve got two feet, because you don’t want to tear Sooky. Just do the best you can and pray, Bunchkin, and Bundle you pray too.”
Momma sounded really panicked and so I prayed that God would give her the same kind of peace that I had. I got a little nervous, thinking: “I can’t tell what I am feeling!!” But I was determined to stay calm and pray and I said: “Lord, I know this is your will. Just guide my hand where you want it.” And then a peace came over me and me and Bundle continued to play our game. We got to the road Momma was talking about and she said: “Alright, Bunchkin, GO. Pray that God will help you!” I kicked off my shoes (I am not a fan of shoes and knew they would just pester) and jumped into the back and said: “alright, Lord.” Then I put on a glove. Some lube. Grabbed a towel. Found the snot sucker and I was ready. From there, things seemed a blur of events. I’ll tell you some highlights from what I remember:
The first thing I remember was that I found a front foot but it was towards the back so the I knew the kid must be breach (backwards.) The second was that I could hear Momma pretty well and I heard her praying with all her heart. Although I couldn’t hear all she said, I heard her once say: “God, you have given us a spirit of power and not of fear.” I prayed, sort of a silent conversation between me and Him. I would say things like “OK lord what?………………” And then my mind would trail off. The third thing I remember was that Momma said to find some feet, and to pull them out because it was probably too late for this baby to be alive. The fourth thing I remember was feeling the heartbeat again. I was filled with awe and sadness that she (I just KNEW it was a girl!!) was probably not going to make it. But I refused to think about that and continued to focus on God. I was not worried at all. (Bundle said I might have even been smiling!) And the last thing I remember was the kid being born!
The kid being born felt like slow motion. I will tell you what I remember. First, I found two hocks and it was then I understood that the kid was breach and upside down. Suddenly it all made sense!! And then I got the vision that Momma had been praying for. And in my vision I saw that the baby was black, upside down, breach, and a girl. After that, it took no time at all to find the other hock (since now I had a good picture in my head) and to locate the feet and pull them out. And when I saw that the feet were black, memories of Pearls birth filled my mind and suddenly the reality of what Momma was saying all along about the kid not making it sank in and I was filled with sadness. I took a minute to breath and then grabbed a towel for traction and pulled that kid out as fast and hard as I could!!! And sure enough it was upside down and breach. And black. And a girl! I grabbed another towel and started to scrub its head as hard and as fast as I could. “It’s out!!” Bundle and I said at the same time. “Is it alive?” Momma asked. I remember thinking “no, I don’t think it made it” because it wouldn’t react to my scrubbing. It was very weak. Another funny thing I remember was me saying to Bundle “This glove is horrid!!! I got to get it off me!!” And striped it off as fast as I could! Anyway, back the the kid.
“YES IT’S ALIVE!!!!”
“Can it breathe??”
“No, not very well…….”
“Bunchkin, do mouth to mouth and suck IN!!!!!!” (yes I know that doesn’t sound pleasant but when you’re trying to save a baby goat your own comforts don’t matter!) I did do mouth to mouth but on accident, I pushed air in instead of sucking air out, and that really made her cough and sputter. Then I grabbed the snot sucker and began sucking out mucus. And then, it cried! Oh that little cry is probably the best sound I will ever hear!!!!!
“IT CRIED MOMMA IT CRIED!!!!!!!!!!” Me and bundle shouted at the same time “and………….IT’S A GIRL!!”
I heard Momma say something like “thank you Jesus.” I wanted to laugh, cry, jump, breathe (because it felt like I’d been holding my breath the whole time!) and sit still all at the same time. It took me about 40 minutes to deliver that kid and I really felt like God had handed her to us straight from heaven!! Poor Sudoku was all done!! She wouldn’t even acknowledge her kid! I didn’t expect her to start having contractions until we gave her some meds to start them up again, but it wasn’t long before there was another bubble and she was pushing. She had three good contractions and nothing happened. So I gloved up again and went to see what was going on. And can you guess what I felt?? Three feet!! (that means that most likely two baby’s were trying to come out at the same time.) By this time, we were at the vet’s office, and just as I told Momma what I was feeling, the vet pulled in and Momma told him what had happened. He was on an emergency call and in a big big hurry! So he ran over with some lube and a glove and put his hand into Sooky and he must have pushed one kid back and pulled the other one out (a boy) and gave it to me. I hadn’t even gotten him to breathe before the vet pulled out the other one (a girl.) The vet pulled those kids out so fast I was amazed! I had never heard of doing that so fast before.
He left us with three healthy babies and one happy me! I was so happy I couldn’t thank God enough. We decided to name the girls IOcherryO (Hi-ho Cherry-O) and Monopoly (to go with the theme of Sudoku. We call her Polly.) We are going to sell the buck (if your interested) and are keeping both the girls. I know Cherry will always be my favorite because she had such a special birth. I think I am going to train her to do tricks. We are more than happy!! (Can’t you tell?!)