Sunday, January 9, 2011

Assisted Deliveries

I'm really glad the first delivery of this season went so smoothly because the next two required my assistance.  I posted the story and photos of  Liz's triplets yesterday.  You can click the link to check it out if you missed it.

I feel like I should give a warning to those that may have a weak stomach.  I am posting some rather graphic photos and stories of Myrtle's assisted delivery.  Nothing really gross, just sharing the details and some suggestions just in case any of you have to face a delivery that's not going the way it should.

When I came in last night to warm up and post the exciting news about Liz delivering her kids, I knew that Myrtle was in early labor.  She had been pushing mildly all the time I was working with Liz and her new babies.  It can take a little while during this stage of labor for the cervix to finish dilating.  I don't rush in to assist a delivery if everything looks normal.  When I came inside, everything looked normal with Myrtle.

It was almost 11pm when I got back out to the barn to see how Myrtle was doing.  She was getting up, pawing, laying down, getting up, stretching... all the normal stuff.  I noticed there was a little blood on her and that's not normal.  There should be a clear or creamy gel coming from her vulva ... not blood before delivery.

I wrapped up in my big thick comforter and sat with her for a little over an hour.  It became obvious that her contractions and pushing was becoming more intense without producing any results.

When they're pushing hard during their contractions with no sign of a baby or birth sack ... assistance is going to be necessary to deliver the kids and save the doe.  It is a little scary but necessary. 

I got the OB lube out of my kidding kit (cooking oil could also be used) to lube up my hand and her vulva.  I gently inserted 3 fingers and then my whole left hand inside her.  I had to hold her collar and grip the fencing firmly with my right hand to keep her from moving forward.

Her cervix wasn't completely dilated but was big enough for me to slip my hand through.  It feels like warm jello when you're inside their uterus.  You have to be very very careful and move slowly when you're inside figuring out which part of the baby you're feeling and not tear anything.  You don't want to damage her uterus or cause excessive bleeding

I only had to go in up to my wrist till I felt the baby that was causing the problem.  His birth sack was not ruptured yet, so I felt carefully trying to determine what part of his body was against the birth canal.  I felt his back bone and tried to find his head.

He had his head tucked under and I was feeling the back of his neck.  Now I knew how I had to get him out so I ruptured his birth sack and slipped my hand around under his head to get his nose pointing out.  I tried to get at least one leg coming out with his head, but couldn't.  So I went ahead and helped his head come out with Myrtle's contractions.  I cleared his nose and mouth so he could breath.  Since the shoulders are too wide with the legs tucked under to come through the birth canal, at least one of the legs have to come out before he can be delivered.  I told him that we'd have to share the birth canal so I could get a leg coming out to pull him with.

I worked quickly and reached down in front of his chest to get hold of a knee and pull the leg out.  With one leg and his head out, I was able to pull him on out.  I'm sorry I wasn't able to photograph any of this ... both hands were pretty busy during this time!

When I had him out, I cleared his mouth and held him up by his back feet to help clear his breathing passages.  I laid him up by Myrtle's head and covered him with a towel to help keep him warm while she licked him.

 Myrtle and her first baby born

Once I have already gone inside her to assist with the first kid, I go head and pull the rest of the kids.  I would have to give her antibiotics anyway since I had already been in there.

She was much easier to assist now that she had a baby to keep her busy licking.  I inserted my hand back into her and felt a birth sack ready to come out.  I let it come out since she was pushing pretty good.

 Birth sack coming

One more push and it was out farther.  I could see a foot in it, but it looked like it was upside down. 

 Birth sack out farther

I pressed a little on the birth sack to make sure of it.  I could tell it was a back foot because the sole of the foot is on the top and the toe is pointing down.  This baby would be born back feet first.  That's not much of a problem because you can get hold of both back legs and pull him on out.

Back foot showing

When I ruptured the birth sack ... there was only one back leg coming out in it!   You can't deliver a kid with only one back leg without going it to get the other back leg.  His butt is too wide to come through the birth canal with the other leg still inside her.

 Only one leg coming out

I reached inside her to get hold of his hock joint so I could pull his other back leg out. You can see the first back leg behind my hand in the photo below and the point of his hock joint just coming out.

Getting the other leg out

I got a good hold on both of his back legs and pulled him on out.  You have to really hold on.  They're really slippery with all that birth fluid on them.

 Pulling him out
 Here he is just as I pulled him out.  

I take my hand and circle his face wiping the birth gel off his face so he can breath.

Cleaning his face

Then I laid him up by Myrtle's head so she could finish cleaning him up. I always lay them with their head a little downhill so they can continue draining any fluid from their breathing passages.

 Myrtle cleaning her babies

I reached back inside her to check to see if she had a third one in there. I felt a nose and foot.  I positioned the head pointing forward and helped pull the baby with the front leg that was pointing out.  She helped push the baby out.  The third one was a little girl with pretty frosted ears.  Yea!

 Third baby delivered.

 Myrtle is a cleaning and drying her babies

I helped the babies nurse, gave them their BoSe supplement, took care of their umbilical cord.  Gave Myrtle her BoSe shot, wormer, warm molasses water, and CalMagCo.  Then they piled up in the corner under the heat lamp to rest.

Settled in for the night

She decided she was really hungry after labor and delivery! 

Eating hay

By this time it was 1:00am and I was cold and tired.  It was time for me to get to the house and my warm bed!  I'm glad none of the rest of the does were in labor at that time!

This morning her babies were all dry and nursing well.

 Nursing babies
 They're strong babies!
 Getting ready for a nap after nursing this morning
Myrtle is a good momma.  She's snuggled around them sleeping.

Valery also delivered today.  I had to assist her also.  I'll post her story a little later.

Here is some Delivery Advice from my past kidding experiences:

If you see only the two font feet (you'll know it's the front feet if they're pointing soles down) and no nose coming out with them ... you'll have to reach inside to find the nose and align it to the front so it can come out with the front feet.  You may have to break the water sack if it doesn't break on it's own.

If you see only the two back feet (you'll know it's the back feet if they're pointing soles up) It would be best to help pull them to get the kid delivered quickly... since the head is still in there and needs to breath.

If you see only the head and no front feet ... DO NOT push the head back in to find the feet.  The most important thing to have out is the head since kid has to breath.  It is much easier to reach in and down in front of the head (after it is out) to pull the front feet out to be born along with the head than it is to lose the head by pushing it back in to find the front feet.  DO NOT pull on the head without getting the front feet out first.  The shoulders are too big to come through with the legs tucked under and you could break the kid's neck.

If you see only the butt, you'll have to reach in and pull the back leg(s) out in order to deliver the kid.

The most important thing is to stay calm.  The doe depends on you to help her safely deliver the kids if she's having trouble.


Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

wow Brenda, thank you for all that. I've only helped deliver with one of my does, the others do it on their own and don't want me around. The feet/sole positions is interesting, I certainly learned something. You should write a book, I'd buy it.

Teresa said...

Thank you Brenda, did you have some formal training or did you learn this all on your own? I feel more confident after reading all your info. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see things are moving along, and that you were able to be there to help! I've seen these positions in cows, but I'm seeing that they tend to happen more often in goats(because of birthing multiples?). Good post - very informative and to-the-point, much easier to read and understand than some goat books! Joanna is right, I'd buy that book!

Brenda said...

Thank you for the kind comments. Actually ... when I first started keeping a journal during my first kidding season, I had thought about making it into a book ... then I got busy with the goats, remodeling this old dairy, and getting ready to launch my cheeses to a larger public.

It's probably a good thing I didn't write a book back then. I've learned SO much more from the experiences the goats themselves have given me than I thought I knew back then from "book learning" and research.

Of course it also helps to have a great group of goatie friends to share experiences and problems with.

IanH said...

Brenda, thank you for the commentary. I know nothing about goats and sort of figured things just happened naturally. Congrats on the triplets!

~Tonia said...

Ahh the FUN of a difficult birth. I have delivered a couple Hiney first. Sunshine spit out the last of quads last year that way. Their bones are soft and that is how they survive birth at all with out broken bones.
My first one was scary and the last one was scary. But I think alot of mine is attributed to Selenium deficiency now.
I hope everything went okay with Valery. She is one of my favorites! Of course being Moses Momma may have something to do with that..
I hope you got some rest but more than likely you are out in the barn in this cold.. It suppose to be very cold this week!

Feral Female said...

Looks like you`ve had your hands full Brenda. I`ve only ever had to go in once so far to assist. This is a very informative post for anyone who may new to the caprine world. Glad to hear everything went well and mom and kids are fine!

Texan said...

This is all very good information. I hope I don't ever need to use it. I have only had to assist in one delivery and I was so not sure what I was doing! I had a book I used to try to figure out what to do! No pictures I might add..ugg.. I really don't want to ever do that again LOL... GREAT job girly!

You have lots o babies now! They are so cute aren't they!

the Goodwife said...

It's so scary when a doe is having trouble. I've had to pull Tulip's kids one time and Star's kids. Naomi was the worst and I wasn't sure any of us were going to get through that one! Glad you got them delivered safely!

Anonymous said...

Excellent post. Thank you! Hope all the others deliver smoothly.