Whew…they say things come in waves…and in threes…and so, boy do I have a story for you!
As the title alludes, we had seven kids born within 14 hours here this weekend…Saturday afternoon thru Sunday morning.
Lucy started showing signs of labor late on Friday evening. Pawing a bit, begging for pets, and lying real still.
Saturday morning brought us our biggest Winter storm of the season, and now called the biggest Winter storm this late in Spring since 1969.
With the roads reported to be treacherous and Lucy beginning to escalate, I called into work and prepared to bring Lucy’s kid(s) into the world. We wrapped plastic around the outside of two sides of the barn to break to freezing winds and blowing snow and brought a heat lamp down to hang over her Kidding pen. Then, we sat and waited…
After 90 minutes of contractions, 5-10 minutes of pushing, and lots of screaming (Lucy is super catty and a bit dramatic in general), Lucy gave us twins right before 2pm!
Almost identical twin does!
Healthy, perfect, blue-eyed, girls who look very much like their sire and nothing like Lucy at all!
And Ember got to see the whole thing!
Now, as you know, Lucy’s udder has been so full…which is a good thing, right?! Except we’ve now learned that a very full udder can make it difficult for newborn kids to figure out how to nurse because of its lack of pliability. And after an hour and a half of the twins trying to nurse but not quite figuring it out we decided to milk Lucy a bit to give them a taste and relieve some of her fullness.
Our two girls nursed and nursed 🙂
We spent the afternoon eating stew and making the trek back and forth between the house and barn, putting on and taking off all our layers over and over again while the snow blew and the wind howled.
Once Ember was in bed, Kim and I went down to check on all the ladies only to find that Mama was showing signs of labor.
(Ethel was also showing early signs, but we didn’t give her much thought because we figured we had plenty of time).
Yep, the storm was definitely working it’s Barometric Pressure Magic!
Well then, with our one Kidding pen being utilized by Lucy and her newborns, we weren’t prepared for multiple mamas delivering so close together so we quickly boarded in another area of the barn so Mama could have some space.
Then, I ran up to the house to switch out the baby monitor so we could hear Ember if she woke up, grabbed some snacks and hot tea for us. Kim and I settled then in to support Mama when she was ready to deliver.
We waited through two hours of contractions and too many pushes with very little happening before we realized Mama had a breach baby in there with two little back feet peeking out.
Kim helped Mama deliver by pulling as she pushed and out came a big baby buck right before midnight!
A blue-eyed boy who also looks just like his sire.
That Ricky has some strong genes!
We waited and waited, but her labor stalled and she was only contracting every 20-30 minutes.
We questioned everything…did she really only have one kid in there? But she was so big?! Where’s the Placenta? Maybe that’s why she’s contracting, to expel it?
Mama was tired and looked worried and we didn’t know what to do.
When Ember woke up around 1am I brought her down to meet Mama’s buck.
Shortly after bringing Ember down, I looked over and saw Ethel experiencing an intense contraction!!! Our calm, quiet girl had been actively laboring and we didn’t even know it!
While Kim and Ember stayed with Mama, I grabbed a few towels and kneeled down next to Ethel to find her already pushing!
At about 1:30am Kid #1 was on the way already?!
With two pushes the first one was out! I brought it up to her face and she seemed completely disinterested in cleaning it up! Except, she wasn’t disinterested, she was just busy!
With two more pushes, the second one was out and she quickly got to cleaning up her twin does!
Twin girls who look nothing like their sire!
(Thank goodness for a little gene diversity ;))
At this point, Kim got Ember back to bed while I kept an eye on everyone and Mama started contacting again.
Back to Mama
Not knowing what was happening or what to do next, but with Mama stressed and not yet feeding her buck we knew something was definitely wrong.
Then, her Placenta started to come, but it was long and stringy and not coming out like it normally should, so we began to worry.
We googled and googled and talked through the options and decided she would need to be explored.
So Kim put on new gloves and went in…
And found what felt like a nose.
Except it wasn’t a nose. It was a completely twisted kid, completely stuck in the birth canal.
So, Kim (being the badass she is) repositioned the baby while Mama screamed, and proceeded to pull the doe!
Much smaller than her brother, we weren’t sure she was even alive after all that time in there, but she was!!! It took her a minute to perk up but she did!
Mama contracted a couple of times with no further movement so we decided Kim should check one last time…
And she found yet another twisted kid inside Mama.
She adjusted it and pulled another doe!
An itty bitty baby doe who looks like her Mama (only a bit darker brown).
Again, it took her a bit to perk up after all that stress, but she was alive!!!
Upon exploring Mama one last time, we were finally sure she was done.
The timing of this last wave is fuzzy because it was terrifying and chaotic, but it was after 3am when all was said and done.
Mama’s two girls were tiny compared to their brother and had trouble latching on to Mama to nurse. So after multiple tries at assisting them, we decided to grab a bottle to get some sustenance into them after such a stressful delivery.
We had some of Lucy’s milk from our earlier attempts at feeding her twins so we warmed it up and put it in a bottle…
But they wouldn’t take it.
So we grabbed one of those human baby syringes you use for children’s Tylenol and got 5mL into each doe to help perk them up.
With all babies and mamas tucked in, we climbed into bed at 5am to take a quick nap before Ember woke up for the day.
After a 2.5 hour nap, we all got up and checked on the ladies and babies.
Lucy and her twins were doing fine. Girls nursing, Lucy eating and drinking.
Ethel and her twins were doing fine. Girls nursing, Ethel eating and drinking.
Mama and her triplets were doing OK. Her buck and middle girl were nursing and Mama was eating and drinking, but the littlest girl was just sleeping.
After watching for a while, I woke her up and put her near Mama’s teat and she latched on, drinking 3-4 sips before letting go.
A little colostrum is better than nothing, so we felt OK, though still a little worried for her. Her mouth is so small!
In the meantime, we let out Lucy and her twins to explore outside a bit before trading them out with Ethel and her twins because, despite the Great Snow Storm of April 29th, April 30th brought nothing but sunshine and warmth!
We kept Mama and her triplets in their own area for the day to try to encourage rest and nursing after their traumatic experiences and had to keep encouraging the littlest doe to nurse with limited success.
We worried about her sleepy body and her ability to take in some nutrients until, at the end of the day, with her still being super low energy and only drinking a tiny bit when we would help, we decided to supplement a bit again with the syringe and hope for the best.
We went to bed worried she’d wind up being a bottle baby…
And woke up this morning to find her nursing all on her own and much perkier!!!
And so today they’ve all been introduced to each other and have been able to frolick in the sunshine for the first time.
Following along, have you counted how many does and bucks we’ve been gifted?
We have seven kids…
And a single buck!
Before they all arrived we’d decided we would keep one buck as a wether to keep Ricky company and so he has arrived 😉
And he has been named:
Ember named him Rocko immediately upon seeing him.
Truly, we waited too long to intervene, knowing what we know now, and so we are humbled and so grateful Mama and her triplets are all OK.
It all could have ended so differently.
There’s nothing like straddling the line between Life and Death to bring everything back into perspective.
We’ve learned so much just with this one set of kidding experiences and will be much better prepared for next time, but holy moly.
Here’s just a few extra iPhone shots that document the events from Saturday (snow and all) and the sunshine of today. Also, for comparison, in Kim’s arms and at my feet are Mama’s buck and her tiniest doe. She’s just about half his size and is doing so good despite her rough start. They all are, really 🙂
Wishing you a lovely week full of snuggles, cuddles, and all things good.