Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Juliette baked me this pretty cake
This weekend was my 50th birthday, and I chose to do  absolutely nothing but stay home and work in my garden and watch a movie.

I enjoyed myself but the main reason I stayed close to home was because Novella was due with her calf on the 5th, and she had her last calf early so I wanted to be around to keep an eye on the situation.

Of course nothing happened... just a regular day.
Sunday, same thing, nothing at all, Novella was showing signs that she would go into labor any time though.

She had the loose vulva.... (you don't hear about that everyday) with strands of mucous,
and she was bagging up like she was expecting hungry twins.... . Still though nothing.

My husband texted me during the day and asked " are you a Grand Moo yet?" ( that makes him a Grand Poo by my reckoning).

loose vulva and mucous
Then yesterday afternoon I noticed Novella was acting like her first stage of labor had begun.

 She kept going off by herself and laying down in woody areas and she would raise her tail like she needed to poop but nothing would come.
Finally her tail was just really loose,  I could  lift it and move it all around. That's a sure sign the pelvis is loosening up.

So I put her in one half of the pen and closed her off
bagging up
from the other girls...

I cleaned up her pen, and put down fresh hay,
fresh water and just kept an eye on her.
Next I got the milking area all cleaned up and ready for after she calved.

I gathered Iodine and small scissors for the umbilical stump, flash lights, rags, towels and pulling chains for a worst case scenario. Lastly I dug out a jar with a nipple and lid, and the "Essential Guide to Calving".
Then we just took turns waiting and watching.
here comes the water bag

At first Novella ate and layed down.
She spent a few hours just getting up and down and pacing around.

The other girls stayed by the fence lending moral support.

Every time Novella got up she would sniff the spot her hind end had just left and lick up what ever liquid had leaked out... I am sure this was to keep predators from being attracted to the smells of birth.

Finally around 8:30 her water bag emerged and popped. Now, any moms out there understand that at this point I began to really "share her pain" as they say. Now  Novella was officially in Stage 2 of labor and really hard contractions were coming.

She spent another long hour up and down and making soft sounds but always when she got up she would slurp the birth liquids from  the hay.

the amniotic sac
About 9:30, the amniotic sac appeared.
According to the book, if the calf did not appear with in 45 minutes I would need to intervene ( in other words put my arm in and feel what was the problem).

Around 20 minutes later Novella went down....

See those tiny white hooves?
 strained ....and a pair of tiny white hooves appeared! Facing correctly! Next a little nose and then with a gush... then whole calf was out!

cleaning her baby
Juliette bottle feeding the baby

Novella got to work cleaning her baby

After a calf is born it is important that they nurse or get fed colostrum as soon after as possible. The thing is they are so weak and the mother is so full of milk that usually we need to step in and lend a hand.

After trying to let the calf nurse and having Novella kick at her and just generally be so excited about the whole event we put Novella in her stanchion
(not so easy) and milked colostrum from her
(while after birth got all over me).

Then Juliette gave the baby a bottle.

Everyone got to bed around 1 a.m.

This morning Juliette was doing her math and she looked at me and asked, "I think last night counts for science don't you?"

Yeah, I think so. 


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