March chaos but it's still February....

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Well now I don't even know where to begin. I started writing this post on Tuesday. Last Tuesday. Then our modem died and we had to wait for it to be replaced. Once it was replaced, the router quit working immediately. Once the router was replaced, all hell broke loose.

Physically and mentally, I've been trying to go with the flow. Some days are good, some days are total write offs and I'm lucky to do anything. But others are better. Mid morning and early afternoon seem to be when I have the most energy. Part of that is my medication which makes me tired, once I am able to get off of it, I am sure I will have more energy but for now, it's needed. I'm grateful for the better times of the day, and I'm trying to be more compassionate with myself when I need to rest or am hurting, but that's hard.. I had a few days this past week I was up and able to do things, but I had a few days that I'm not really sure how I survived. A lot of my trouble now is a mixture of things, I have other issues, two that have happened since surgery (we don't know why yet) and one we hoped we'd fix, but we didn't, although surgery helped me make progress. So the process continues and I try to learn to listen to my body better and accept it for it's weaknesses as well as it's strengths which is a very hard thing to do. This time last year I was in more pain but my body was stronger, I'm really amazed at how weak I am still right now and how quickly my body reacts to activity. But it will take time to gain my energy back to the level I am used to.

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Wednesday started off normal enough. The weather was decent....

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Brie was acting normal...

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So was Bulrush...

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and Barnaby....

Come evening I was just lying down and getting ready to rest when Jim came running into the house to tell me Brie was kidding. 

I had been up to the barn earlier and hadn't noticed anything odd. I have been watching Dahila my Pygmy goat closely because I had noticed a week ago that she looked a lot more pregnant than she should. September and October are pretty hazy to me because of how sick I was, and I don't remember much of anything. I did happen to write on my calender on Sept 20th the words "Dahlia bred?" So that was alarming and would explain why she looked more pregnant than I thought she should. I did not put the buck with the does until Mid October. 

Brie kidded early last year and had no milk. Her doeling passed away that night because she wasn't even totally developed and the buckling, Morty, I managed to keep alive for a couple of weeks before he broke my heart. So I had been worried about Brie this year - but she had bagged up this year, which was a very good sign. 

I rushed up to the barn - running. My body wasn't thrilled but I ran with that burst of energy that comes whenever your adrenaline kicks in. When I got to the barn there was a head and a couple of hooves coming out. I helped the baby come out, and I got his airway cleared. He was a tough little guy, trying to stand up almost instantly. I could see he was healthy. Brie got up and started cleaning him right away so I quickly backed off. It was the first time Jim had ever seen a kid born so he was very excited.

I was thrilled to see Brie cleaning her baby - she didn't do that last year (it was her first kidding last year.) And I didn't want to interfere. It's a fine line knowing when you must interfere and when you should not. It's one I've been learning with experience to trust myself when to cross and when to not. My gut told me to back off. About 5 or so minutes later the second kid came quickly out. He was 1/2 the size of the first. He couldn't breathe, so I put my finger gently in his mouth, cleared his nose and got the fluids away and he started breathing and opened up his eyes. I could see right away he was very weak compared to the first kid.

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I gave Brie some time to clean her babies and I watched and waited. After a while, the first kid was on his feet and the second was a little more alert so I knew it was time. I cleared the plugs from Brie's teats and got the milk flowing, and there was milk... thank heavens.. the thick beige colostrum that makes or breaks a kids chance at life, was plentiful. I helped both kids nurse for the first time, which #1 did with vigor. #2 was very weak, he had a hard time but he was feisty, biting and pulling, so his spirit was strong.

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I don't have babies in Feb here. Never. Brie kidded in Feb last year, almost a month early but not because she was bred early. I always breed the girls to have kids mid March-till early April, if I can help it. I came inside to warm up once both kids had nursed. It's important to let mom bond with them - and for them to bond with her and not me. #1 who I had already named in 60 seconds of birth, Valentino, was following me around, which is very cute, but I'm not his mom. It's hard when they are so fragile and precious and you just want to swoop them up in your arms and protect them from everything, but it doesn't always work that way, sometimes you offer more harm even though you do not mean to.

While I was in the house I was talking to Jim about how confused I was. Why did I tell him to put the buck with the does in September? I swore I had not told him to until mid October? Finally all three of us remembered - actually I think Kevin remembered first...

Barnaby jumped the fence in Sept - and after that we kept him away from the does until October, but he jumped that fence one time. That's all it takes.

He got three out of 4 girls that time too. 

The night was long. Thankfully I did not need a flashlight on the way to the barn - the moon lit my path well for me.

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I went back to the barn repeatedly and Vinnie, the weaker kid was not looking good but nursing as long as I held him up. I did everything I could for him, and then as hard as it is, I just let it go, and I just prayed to that moon. I prayed that if he was meant to survive he find the strength, and I trusted in nature that whatever would be, would be.

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I hardly slept.

When I got to the barn in the morning the first thing I saw was that Beatrice, who lives next door to Brie, had broken into her pen because she wanted to see the babies. The second thing I noticed was both babies were lying together by the gate. Both asleep. Both alive. When they saw me looking down at them, they both woke up and Valentino got up and started looking for milk instantly. Vinnie tried to get up but was too wobbly. But he crawled over to mom, looking for milk. I took Bea out of the pen and then just stood back to watch. Brie kicked the babies, knocked them over, and ran away from them. Not good. I sighed and I waited. She did it again. I stood there for 10 minutes and then - Brie let Valentino nurse. Good. Vinnie was having a heck of a time remembering where the milk comes from. He was looking in all the wrong places. I wanted to run in there and show him, but I waited... and all by himself, he found the teat, and he drank. I breathed a big sigh of relief.

But by noon Vinnie was shaking and too weak to hold his head up. I had to interfere. I brought him to the house and got him warm, gave him a ton of TLC and offered him milk in a bottle which he mostly refused.

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It turned into a very long night. I had been sick all day with a headache and worse fatigue than usual - some days the fatigue never lifts, some days I get a bit of energy. In the early evening a full blown migraine hit and I became physically ill with the pain. This is the second time this has happened in a month. The medication I am on reacts badly with everything known to man so we didn't know what to do. I tried to ride it out and I just got sicker and sicker and the pain became unbearable. I was ready to go to the ER although I didn't know how I'd make it that far. Thankfully Vinnie slept peacefully by the fire. Kevin was able to get a hold of a Doctor on call in Georgia - you can't talk to Doctors here, and he was able to speak to me and tell me what to do, what I could take and how to handle the situation. That was a huge blessing. Once we got the pain semi under control, I walked to the livingroom which was all a blur and picked Vinnie up and got him to drink a small amount of milk. He was able to stand after being in the house, but he was still not doing well.

Jim and Kevin also let me know that while I was sick, Dahlia kidded, and everyone was fine. Dahlia is an amazing mom and Pygmy goats - no matter the size are tough as they come. Those little buggers drop to the ground and are raring to go. Every Saanen kid I've had has been not always weak but always very delicate compared to the Pygmy kids or even the Alpines.

Vinnie slept all night right next to our bed. In the morning he refused to take a decent amount of milk so I took him back to his mom. It was his only chance. I had him warm, he was standing now, and he had peed and had a healthy poo in the night. Mom was hesitant to let him nurse but I forced her, so he'd get food. Throughout the day we watched them like hawks and although Brie isn't a very loving mother, compared to some, she was letting the boys nurse.

Today, both Brie's boys, Vinnie and Valentino are doing real with mom. Little Vinnie is still so small and fragile but he's so strong of spirit and he's even playing. Both boys were mouthing hay today and nursing well.

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It's such a relief. You try not to get attached instantly but it's kind of hard not to. For me, it's impossible. But I do understand well the circle of life, nature, and that sometimes it's not meant to be. But sometimes, that new life just needs a little bit of a helping hand.

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Hello, Valentino!

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Look at that face....

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Dahlia had two bucklings which I expected since last year she gave me three little girls. They are absolutely darling and one is even chocolate! And they are doing amazing, Dahlia is very attentive to her kids and loving and they get everything they need.

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The little guys came out and were dried off, fluffy and fat with milk right away...

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They already are mouthing hay too, and so full of energy....

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How can you not instantly melt when you look at this face??

My dairy goat Biscuit is very, very, close to kidding. I thought she'd go yesterday but she didn't and I didn't get a lot of sleep last night. This morning not much has changed. She's close, but so far no baby. So another watchful day is ahead today....

We are expecting more snow Tuesday, then rain, but soon it will be maple syrup time...very soon... probably earlier than usual again (which has been the trend the past couple of years, it's common the sap runs in Feb here now)...

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We've got quite a bit of snow, which makes it hard to work in the bush, but it does raise hopes for a good sap run this year... the trees need the snow, just like the pastures do...

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The boys have been happy that we've been able to walk a little more, thanks to the sunshine returning...

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But they can't leave the paths because the snow is too deep, which frustrates Rollie who loves to explore and chase squirrels...

Today I am very tired. I'm bracing myself for Biscuits kid, which hopefully comes healthy... and soon...


Heather Hogan said…
I'm glad to see you finally got to tell the story of your new kids on your blog! I've been following your Instagram just waiting for the full story and more pictures of the little cuties! Sorry you had so many difficulties leading up to this post, though. I have just little hints of migraine but with very bad aura leading up to them sometimes. The pain like you have gotten is frightening and I'm so grateful that mine are painless in comparison, just disorienting, confusing, nauseating and frustrating. The worst was when I lost half of the vision in both of my eyes temporarily. I'm glad you were able to get a doctor's advice for some relief from the pain and I hope you have far more good days than bad coming in your future. You do such amazing things for your kids and dogs, etc. and reading your blog always makes me happy somehow. Thank you for sharing it all with us!
Mary Ann said…
The new babies are adorable!

Abby runs in the plowed drive, too... she's too short for the snow!
jaz@octoberfarm said…
wow...what a time you have had! those babies are so cute. i hope they all stay healthy. sorry you are still having bad days. i hope you have a good syrup run. how much did you get last year? we are in for another snow storm tonight!
Oh my gosh. Those babies! They are insanely cute. I would get so attached. I bet it is so hard to try to let the mom take care of them and not intervene. I don't know if I'd be able to do it. I'm glad the little one is doing ok and hope he stays strong. I hope you get to feeling better as well. Sounds like you had a really tough time :(
k said…
Congratulations on the beautiful babies!
Ruth Dixon said…
Hope your other doe has delivered and all are safe and sound. We raise Suffolk sheep and I had to partially pull 2 of the ewes babies this year and fully pull 1. Lost my favorite ewe 3 days after she had her ram lamb. Crushing! Glad Vinnie and Valentino are doing well!
Wow! What a couple of days you had. I'm so happy things are working out and the kids are unbelievably adorable!! I so wish you could get rid of your pain so you could enjoy this time with them. Hugs to you and all the animals!
Without you, he would not have made it. So precious. Cute doesn't even describe all those babies.

I'm sorry you had such a bad day. Medicine can make you feel as bad as it can make you feel good.

Hopefully, the next set of babies will be okay with their Mom.
So excited to read about this after seeing the adorable photos on Instagram. Great names too :)

Oh boy. It sounds like you had such a time with feeling unwell and the birth. I am glad that things seem to be sorting themselves out. I am keeping my fingers crossed for the kid. I am sending you lots of healing energy in hopes that you get better each and every day. It looks like you got the storm we got in Manitoba. Snow banks as high as street signs here!
WOW!! No wonder everything is a blur!! Running around in the cold of winter, taking care of baby kids and trying to deal with yourself!!
Take care of yourself and hopefully, your babies will also grow stronger every day!! I hope you're feeling better and the better days will soon out number the not so good days!! God Bless!
Linda said…
Lovely series of photos!
Ian H said…
Donna, so sorry to hear that you are still having problems! Spring is not far away, and that generally helps! Those kids are lucky to have such a good "second" mom!
I can't imagine how frustrated you are with your health. It's like our bodies are betraying us. I do get migraines and know that debilitating pain. If my meds weren't working, I would lose my mind.

I'm glad everyone was doing well when you posted this. Hopefully that has continued!
Ann Kennedy said…
I have happened upon your blog by accident, but what a special treat! Your animal photos are wonderful. What a winter you've experienced! Spring will come, and when it does I hope it brings all good things for you and your animals!
jody said…
my Daughter called me a few days ago and said they are having babies at forest haven! oh my goodness they are just beautiful! congrats! geez im sure its hard for you being weak and still recovering.. please be careful. i was watching the show the Drs. and they were talking about your disease i had no clue even with my nursing back ground it could get this bad! and so sorry for the problems with the Drs.. i too would much rather stay home and try not to run much so stack up on dog/cat food and coffee! its still below zero here and the snow is way to high. i have to sling way over my shoulders and use the snow blower when i can cuz just to hard on this 54 yr old body and i pay for it the next day or soo. well just wanted to check in on you and am going back to read some more of your posts i have missed! enjoy all those fur babes of yours and hope you are feeling better. i know what migraines feel like yuk!

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