The longest night yet (part 2)
Continued from Sunday’s Check in: The longest night yet (part 1) https://goatlove.wordpress.com/2010/05/23/check-in-the-longest-night-yet-part-1/
After the stillborn, we all take a breather. A maternal smell hangs over the barn like a warm, musty blanket. Thick, pungent, and metallic, it coats the inside of my nose. Fergi has calmed down a little. She is no longer a broken record of urgent groans… but it still seems that she is not done birthing.
Kim and I take turns exploring inside again and we feel something. Not a leg or a nose or a head, but a smooth and slippery bubble, clear and filled with a dark, cloudy liquid. The afterbirth? Could she be done? Whatever it is, Fergi’s going to have to pass this one on her own. There’s nothing to grab onto and help guide when you’re dealing with a sphere of fluid. Fergi starts to push.
We all cheer her on, come on girl! you can do this! come on big momma! The bubble inches its way out of Fergi’s body with each push, slow as oozing molasses. Something swims to the surface within the burgundy-filled sphere. A nose and then a face stretch the bubble until it gives way and pops. The head of this stranger hangs limply from the birth canal, the rest of the body still tucked within Fergi’s warmth as she struggles to free this new body from her own. The eyes like night lakes, 2 small pools of black, unblinking. No breath. Another dead kid. Kim guides the body, we hang our heads and plead with Fergi to expel it. Push momma, push.
Then, suddenly, the lifeless mouth opens and air rushes in. Eyes blink awake. And a body starts to struggle against its confinement. It’s alive! A live kid! We scream and holler, smiling furiously, and egging Fergi on with excitement. Fergi pushes her kid free and into the welcoming arms of her team of doulas. Kim immediately places the kid, covered in ribbons of sticky fluid, within Fergi’s reach so she can lick her doeling clean.
It will be 24 hours before we’ll know if the doeling is going to make it or not. She may be too weak to survive. For now all we can do is cross our fingers, clean up, and wait.
Check back next Thursday for part 3.