Every now and again something really special happens on the farm. I have to clarify that I mean REALLY special, because special is normal around here (yes, we are THAT lucky).
Last Friday both my husband and I were exhausted, as usual by the end of the week. Our planned 9:30pm milking and barn check slipped to 10:10pm. This isn’t a problem because I’m milking two other times during the day, so at worst it shortens the time between night and morning milking.
At 10:10pm we walked in the barn and heard the high pitched meeeeh of a baby goat. Our pace quickened and we both arrived at the only pen that had a pregnant doe in it. Sure enough there were two wet babies on the ground. The new momma was just starting to figure out that she was supposed to be cleaning and drying them off. Since her instincts seemed to be kicking in, we helped dry them off and put them under her nose to care for while we milked the 5 does that needed milking.
After milking the doe kid was still not up and standing. Too long. Too cold. Too listless. We heated the bathroom in the barn and brought the siblings in there and took care of our new baby duties (weights, belly buttons, etc.)
The little girl was still cold and listless, not holding her head up and too cold to digest food and certainly not interested in nursing. We agreed she probably wasn’t going to make it. It had been a rough, emotional week on the farm, although my brain said she wasn’t going to make it, my heart just couldn’t accept it.
By 10:30pm, the little girl and her lively brother were up in our house, by 10:32pm she was immersed in a warm water bath, then a warm blow dry and a bit of colostrum tubed into her belly. No improvement. Midnight came and went I knew I should give up, but I couldn’t. My husband took care of the other babies and went to bed. I resigned myself a night of keeping her company until she died… or improved.
Tucked in tightly to my chest, under my clothes, under my robe, her listless body absorbed my heat. At 2:30am I tubed a bit more colostrum, hopeful she would be warm enough to digest and make use of it. Still not holding her own head up for more than a bob or two, she just tucked back in while I watched recorded tv shows and hoped against hope.
At 6:00am, my husband came out to relieve me, somewhat in disbelief that I was still up and still with her. He helped me tube another 2cc’s of warm colostrum into her belly, took her from me and sent me to bed. Knowing she was in his hands, I slept. About an hour and half after I fell asleep, still deliriously tired, I thought I heard my husband tell me to come see my baby girl. My heart raced, was he calling me because she was on her last breaths and I needed to say goodbye? I stumbled with bleary eyes to the bathroom where our house goats live. There she was trembling, but standing and holding her head up, and greedily asking for a bottle. My exhaustion dissipated instantly, replaced with joy.
I’ve been told I wear my heart on my sleeve. However, it seems this little girl, while tucked under my 2 sweaters, a robe and packed under a towel, stole my heart. Now she has the audacity to wear it on her back. What to name this little sweetheart? Any ideas?
Here she is at a week old. Healthy and bounding with no sign of her rough start.
She won’t stand still for a picture, but here’s a better blur, with her heart showing: