Ginger lost her twins

First, Ginger’s due date was February 28th based on Day 143 which is when most of my does kid.  Gestation is officially 145-155 days.  On Monday, March 7th, Day 151, at 2:00 a.m., Ginger started calling but did not appear to be in labor as in no contractions.  The previous two nights I had slept in her stall with her because I was worried with her going too long and potentially having larger kids and needing help. As the day progressed there was no change with no obvious contractions, discharge, etc.  A factor in my decisions, or lack thereof, was that I had been ill for several days and had little sleep (not more than five hours since Friday morning) and the day before there had been a major heartbreaking incident with a very close family member.  Another goat owner and friend called me late Monday morning and asked how Ginger was doing.  When I told her, she said her doe had done that for 28 hours before she delivered her babies; she also said it was “pre-labor” and of no concern.  I will always regret she called because in my over-tired and stressed condition, I accepted what she said and did not call my vet.

By evening, I was getting very concerned even though it did not appear Ginger was in labor.  I did take some video of her and later uploaded it and my goat person viewed it.  She called me (it was 3:30 a.m. Tuesday at this point) and told me she was going to show it to her boss (vet).  She called me as soon as he looked at it and told me he said to call my vet immediately!  By this time, Ginger had stopped her calling but, looking at her, there was still no discharge.

When I called the vet’s office, I told them I was concerned that there was no discharge of any kind with this being Day 152.  When the vet arrived, he determined her cervix was not opening and had to be dilated.  I had this done with my first child so know how incredibly painful that is – to this day the worst pain I have ever had – and I knew what was going on and why. My poor little girl had no idea except her mama person was holding her still while this horrible person was hurting her so badly.  The vet opened her cervix as much as he could but said, because it was still small, he would not be able to get his larger hand inside to deliver the kids and she may still need a c-section.  He called another vet from their office who had the day off and lives not far from me; she was able to come to help.  With her much-smaller hands, she delivered the babies (sparing Ginger a c-section), a buckling (almost five pounds) and a doeling (almost three pounds), but they had already died while waiting to be born.  There were also two fetuses attached to the placenta so she initially had quads.  The buckling looked like it might be breathing so my wonderful vet gave him mouth-to-mouth but it was too late for the little guy.  Of course, after all this, the vet needed to check Ginger inside to be sure that all babies were out and that there were not tears because of all that had to be done so still more pain for my sweet, gentle, little girl.

The vet gave her the appropriate shots, etc., for what had been done and left the meds to follow up.  In the following days, my eldest son administered shots as needed and I hid the pills in apple slices.  Even though my vet called me on Wednesday to see how Ginger was doing, I called the office on Thursday and asked for someone to come out and check her – I did not trust myself, still sick and over-tired, to determine how she was doing.  The vet checked out Ginger and told me she was doing as well as she could with what she went through.

I made a horrible mistake not calling the vet on Monday.  In my sick, tired and stressed condition, I blindly listened to someone who may not have truly understood what I said.  My vet told me there is NO SUCH THING AS PRE-LABOR!  It is first-stage labor and it is during this time the babies get in position for birth and usually lasts a very short period of time.  Then they go into full labor.  Ginger did not go into full labor (with obvious contractions) because the babies were not able to get into the birth canal as they should have because her cervix did not open.  Any time a doe is in labor for 2-4 hours and there is not progress, there is possibly a problem and you need to call your vet.  If I had called him on Monday, my sweet girl would have a little boy and little girl out there with her.  Instead, I have a doe who is still calling for babies that will never come and desperately looking for them in the kidding pen whenever she goes in there; as I type this, it is 12 days after birth.  She is my friendliest and most loving doe who always came up to me immediately.  She does not come up to me and will run from me – she wants nothing to do with me.  I was the person who held her for all that pain; she has not forgotten!  I cannot say I blame her, but I do hope she gets better emotionally.  Her two younger sisters are due mid-April.  I hope she is better by then or she might try to steal a baby which would be fine for her but not for her sister.

While there were reasons for me making a horribly bad judgement call by not calling the vet on Monday morning, it doesn’t change the fact that I am responsible for Ginger’s care and welfare, and I let her down, and she paid the price for my error in judgement.  My vet compassionately, but sternly, told me, “You know you can call me any time day or night!” which I know to be true.

If there is any question about how your doe is progressing, contact your vet.  It is the conversation with your vet asking questions as to what is going on at this moment and in the time leading up to it that will better determine what is needed.  Friends, even goat-owning friends, mean well but it is your vet whose advice you need to follow.

One of the last things my vet told me that day is absolute truth: “The only call you regret is the call you didn’t make.”

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Ginger visited Stuart | VanEden Goats
  2. Gail Wujcik
    Mar 20, 2016 @ 12:33:20

    Sorry for her loss.



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