Drifting off to sleep around midnight, listening in on the barn webcam, hearing Ru Wing softly singing and murmuring words of encouragement to the goat in early labor. Low tech (the phone) awakens me: “Alfalfa’s giving birth. Hurry.” Higher tech: As I run out the door, stopping for a second to click on the computer, enacting automated text messages to the 24/7 signups alerting them to the impending births. Arrival in the dead of night; a race with time to witness the births. slipping into my rubber farm boots. Car doors slamming. Running to witness new life.
Two miracles this night. A large bubble emerged and burst! Bob Wing is learning midwifery on the job, backed by online resources, and is surprised as the situation turns from excitement to what rapidly turns into high-risk births. There’s a nose, and one paw. Uh oh, where’s the second leg? The kid can’t slip out like this. Not getting the baby out is not an option — stuck, the baby could die, the one behind it, and possibly the mom, too, by the time the vet got here. Just like in that internet article he read, Bob supports the head and the shoulder, waits until the first leg straightens, and guides the baby out! So cute – Kid # 1 is black with white markings — looks a lot like his dad. Oh, it’s a boy! Alfalfa immediately starts licking him, cleaning him off. Miracle one.
Just a little bit later, Alfalfa pushes out Kid #2, who comes out with its sac intact, bouncing onto the straw below. Since the sac didn’t burst, Bob grabs for his knife, and seconds later, the baby is in his arms — and not breathing. Bob removes more of the membrane from its face, especially the mouth. She (a girl!) is gasping for air. He swipes some more out of her mouth, and gently swings her side to side (as we had read on the goat websites). A huge breath of relief from the onlookers as the baby manages her first two breaths and coughs. Alfalfa looks mystified as Bob places the second baby in front of her; she has never had twins before, just singletons. So she goes back to licking the first baby. We laugh and encourage her, and she bonds with this kid with the white coat who looks just like her. Kid #1 is up wandering around, and Kid #2 takes a few more hours to get up on her hooves. In the meantime, she tries to pull herself around on her knees. Miracle two.
We suddenly realize we were all so caught up in the miracles of new life that we forgot to take photos and videos…maybe at the next one. A couple of hours later, the afterbirth, the placenta arrives — just as in humans, this amazing creation has been nourishing the babies for months. It’s really quite beautiful, and provides the nourishment for mom’s birth recovery. (We’ll spare you those photos!)
The babies are beautiful and cuddly — softer than a favorite stuffed animal — and so full of love. If you go to visit, please be very careful not to allow any of the animals in or out of the specific areas that they are in, carefully replacing locks for anything you open — we have had a few mishaps over the past few weeks and it has been pretty upsetting for the goats. If you bring over veggies or fruit for the animals, please make sure it is organic — that’s all our goats eat. If you go in the late afternoon, you’re likely to see someone from the co-op, who can help you get the best views of our new residents. We’ll also be scheduling a Community Farm Day in a few weeks, once all of our new arrivals have come!