Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I'm a Grandma! Sort of....

Feeling along the spine above Latifa’s tail yesterday both Sydney and I knew birth was near. The pencil shaped ligaments had finally softened and disappeared, readying the birth canal. Sydney had a flight to Los Angeles this morning and a storm is dumping showers of water all over the state. We decide Sydney should go to Redding and stay overnight to be sure she could get out of the mountains. Good call. 8:30 PM and Latifa is dripping a little fluid. Rain pouring down. I go back inside and sleep until waking suddenly at 2 AM. Three inches of snow on the ground and fat flakes flying. Down jacket, rain coat, heavy boots and layers. Out to the stall with a flashlight. The birth kit is already nearby just in case. Goats have been at this for thousands of years and sure enough a little kid is standing wobbly and dry near her mom. Earthy fragrance of birth sweetly pungent attracts the other four goats who poke their heads into the stall to meet the newest member of their herd.

What does an expectant goat granny do while waiting for her doe to kid? I join women through the ages and knit little goat sweaters. Really. I’m not so sure generations have been knitting sweaters for their goats, but I have been accused of having grandma baby fever so I’ll cast aside denial and admit that perhaps knitting goat sweaters could be a sign. Good thing I followed the urge to knit as temperatures are below freezing. Now I’m sure that goats have been figuring out this one too, but truthfully my nervous hands were happy to have made something useful. I put the 4 pound velvet soft darling into the sweater and stayed with them for three more hours while Latifa labored without results. We all curled up together and slept in the hay until 5:30 AM when I came inside to put myself into a hot tub and then sleep for half an hour. Consulting with my ‘experts’ I figured out there must be another baby but what to do? Bouncing.

Layering up once again after a cup of hot tea I returned to the stall. ‘Bouncing’ is like hugging a goat from behind and holding her belly just in front of the udders. When there is another kid there will be knobbly bits to feel. I bounce and don’t feel knobbly bits but soon after the bouncing another kid begins to emerge. This one is not alive and very tiny. I scrub up and then pull the kid from Latifa and carry him/her away. The baby must have died some time ago for it is not fully formed.

Latifa eats, baby nurses and everyone seems happy. Six inches of snow on the ground and still falling. The evening was surreal. Latifa let me know there was another baby.  Communication happens even without words. We all know this and yet to live in relation to others who never use words is a gift. I am so blessed to have time to  learn the rhythm, the sweet scents, the ways of goats. 

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