Zoe’s twins are here!

Two little doelings, one black and one bay; born at about 5:15 or 5:30 this morning. The black girl came out first, frank breech (butt first). Zoe was a trooper – that couldn’t have felt good! It took us a minute to figure out what we were seeing – most often the kids come out in a “diving” position, front feet and head first, so we were looking for a pair of hooves and perhaps a nose. When we first saw a “blob” with no hooves, we thought we were seeing the head and that the front legs were bent back. In that case, it’s important to gently reposition one or both legs so that the baby doesn’t get stuck at the shoulders. So, I scrubbed up, lubed, and (gently!) went in. I had to feel around for a minute to realize that what I felt was not the head, but the butt. Meanwhile, Zoe was still pushing, but the baby seemed to be stuck at the vulval opening. While Peter held Zoe and encouraged her, I used my lubed hands to gently help her vulva open wide enough for the baby’s big butt and back legs to make their way out.

With a breech birth, there’s more of a danger of the baby aspirating some of the amniotic fluid, so as soon as she was fully out we moved quickly to clear her mouth and nose of any fluids. Then Peter held her up by her back legs and (again, gently!) swung her back and forth. This is a trick we learned from our friend and goat mentor to ensure that any fluids that may have entered her lungs are drained back out. This all happened in the space of only a minute or two, and immediately after we plunked her down on a towel in front of mama Zoe, so she could get down to the business of cleaning off her new daughter.

While Zoe licked and cleaned and Peter towel-dried the newborn, I turned my attention back to the two little hooves showing at Zoe’s back end. They were back hooves, meaning that this baby was coming out footling breech (back feet first). So, this one would also need to be “swung”. She came out smoothly, a tiny little thing, and we once again worked quickly to get her mouth and nose cleared. But we couldn’t swing her – her umbilical cord was thick and twisted around and around on itself, and only a few inches long. It had not broken or separated on its own, so she was still attached to her mama’s insides. Did I mention it was only a few inches long? We couldn’t move her, couldn’t swing her, couldn’t even get her out of the now chilling puddle of amniotic fluid in which she was laying. I held her and rubbed her vigorously to try to warm her while Peter grabbed dental floss and scissors from our birthing kit. He used the floss to carefully tie off her cord in two places, and then cut the cord in between. He immediately swung her to clear her lungs and placed her on a clean dry towel in front of Zoe. Zoe went to work cleaning her up while we rubbed her vigorously with towels, both to get her dried off and to get her warmed up and get her blood pumping. At about this time we noticed that she was bleeding quite a bit from her umbilical cord, so we tied it off again, as tightly as we could.

It took a little while to get this second little girl warmed to the point where she was no longer shivering, but surprisingly, she was the first to go for the teat. She was determined to get her colostrum! Zoe didn’t know what to make of this at first and kept moving away, but once her little girl latched on and started guzzling away she settled right down.

We began cleaning up while we waited for Zoe to pass her placenta. While scooping up the sopping towels and fluid-soaked straw (birth is messy!), we also kept an eye on the little black doeling, who hadn’t yet nursed. Once we had helped her to find the teat and we saw that she got a good dose of colostrum, we packed out our birthing kit and garbage and brought Zoe some grain and alfalfa and a fresh bucket of hot water (Peter had already brought her a bucket of hot water with molasses immediately after she finished kidding; she sucked most of it down right away).

At this point all that was left to do was to dip each kid’s umbilical cord in iodine, in order to prevent infection. We poured our iodine solution into a pill bottle, picked up the first kid, dipped her cord into the bottle, and then tipped her over onto her back with the bottle pressed firmly to her belly. This ensures that the iodine coats the entire area. We repeated the process with the second kid, and then left mama and babies to rest and bond.

And, oh yeah – about that placenta? Zoe, smart mama that she is, ate most of it. What little bit she left went to the dog. Nothing goes to waste on the farm!

17 thoughts on “Zoe’s twins are here!”

  1. victoria

    Birth is messy but the two of you served Zoe well as midwives and doulas. Loved that the dog ate the leftover placenta.

    You two are living a life I envy. I love my life but long for something more organic in a place less crowded.


  2. Mom

    Wow, you two continue to amaze me! What a process! You have learned so much. Cute little girls. Hope you are getting some rest. Love.

  3. Jeanne

    For two former commited New Yorkers you surely are down to earth people now ! All the things you’ve experienced since being in Or. are great ! The new babies are sweet. Congrats !

  4. Teri Post Author

    thanks, you guys!

    kelly – you do realize that these cute little babies grow up into (still cute but) big adults, right? 🙂

    victoria – thanks for the compliment… and you know we wholeheartedly endorse the “life less crowded”… and we’re living proof that it can happen!

    kate – yeah, that’s how i feel… and thanks for the tweet!

    mom – yeah, we both had naps yesterday and a good night’s sleep last night… still a little tired but that’s okay… and yep, we’ve learned a lot – usually the hard way!

    jeanne – thank you for reading! who would’ve thought just a few short years ago that we’d be midwifing goats?! yep, there’s been some changes…

  5. Teri Post Author

    thanks karen!

    we are just loving these little cuties

    thank you for taking the time to comment!

  6. Teri Post Author

    thanks, cheryl

    that means a lot coming from you – you taught us everything we know (well, about goats, that is)!

    and i meant to share ALL of the birth stories, but somehow i’m always so tired afterwards that i end up just posting photos… this time i was determined to get her story written up…

  7. Suzanne Nelson

    Oh, how adorable, I want one also!! Imagine that, you being a midwife, now when you give birth, you two will know exactly what to do. Well, except for swinging the baby of course. I think it is wonderful, how you both have adapted to the life you now have. Congrats on the twins, job well done!!

  8. Teri Post Author

    hi sue! thank you so much for reading and commenting!

    heh heh… yep, we’re all set if we ever get lucky enough to have our own baby!

    the “job well done” should actually go to mama goat zoe… she was amazing, and has turned into a wonderful mother, too

    but, yeah, it was quite an experience… we’re learning all sorts of new things out here!

  9. Lisa

    Teri & Peter – YOU TWO give goat keepers everywhere, new and old, a standard to aspire to! I felt every minute of the process. I think my two (Aberdeen’s children, and thus great-aunt and uncle to these babies I think?) were there in spirit as they were especially rowdy that day. Hmmm, wouldn’t it be sweet to add one of that “family” to my herd rather than go through the grueling process you just did myself? I’ll be in touch, three is a magic number for me…much love and congrats. Lisa, Barnabas, & Clarisse (Bend branch of the BB Goat Cult)

  10. Teri Post Author

    aw, thanks lisa!

    zoe is an older half-sister to your two (same mama, different papa), so barnabas and clarisse are aunt and uncle to these two little girls

    i just sent you an email about the “grueling process” and adding a number 3 – let us know what you think!

    the proprietress of the braided bower goat cult headquarters 🙂

  11. Mary Jo & Robert

    Yay!!! Great to see you’re back posting!! And so busy with the farm. Looking forward to seeing and hearing more about your adventures in Oregon!

  12. Teri Post Author

    thanks, you guys!

    so good to hear from you!

    and so glad that you’re still checking in here…

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