Yesterday Pebbles started showing signs of the first stages of labour around 10.00 am; she was slightly off on her own; standing and sitting more often than usual. Subtle but there. I think I may have mentioned before that we have problems keeping the weight off Pebbles, she is not especially greedy but despite attempts at reducing her condition score, she is heading towards 4.5/5. For this reason she was on my high alert risk register. She was also 360-days gestation. An over weight, over due maiden was someone to keep a close eye on and we certainly did. My arranged meeting was postponed.
Unfortunately for Pebbles she had chosen a day when the weather was very changeable. Every time the rain came down the herd headed for the barn and poor Pebbles followed. She appeared to stop progressing each time she came in. She looked uncomfortable, but not incredibly so. However by 13.30 hours they were in the barn and still nothing was happening. I just felt things weren't right. I decided to call the vet. Our nearest vet is 40 minutes away so a decision has to be made sooner rather than later.
Approximately 10 mins after the call was made, her water broke and a little brown nose appeared...but nothing else...we let her try a short while but without success. On examination I could feel that the right leg was bent right back but despite my best efforts I couldn't free it. And when I saw the effort that the vet had to put in I wasn't surprised. I know the vet was also surprised when the lovely brown female cria was actually breathing. Born at 14.30 hours, weighing 8.5 kgs, our hopes were initially raised but, she was hypothermic and rather weak. We dried her with a hairdryer, put her in a coat and under a heat lamp and she seemed to be stable, but the birth had been too much, she stop breathing at an hour old and despite our attempts at cardio-pulmonary resuscitation we lost her.
Poor Pebbles...we had to get the vet back as we had no oxytocin and she had not passed the placenta. I was actually pleased that we did have to call her back as we were able to go through what had happened. It is impossible not to blame yourself when these things happen and retrospection often makes that more so. Calling the vet sooner probably would have helped but there was no real indication to do so. The vet felt that she probably had been acidotic, secondary to hypoxia and this is not something that we could have ever dealt with at home.
We decided to leave the cria with Pebbles overnight. And when I went out to the barn first thing Pebbles; her mum (Baheti); and her sisters (Pepsi and Poppet) were all lying together with the cria. Yes, tears. I removed the cria with them watching. Pebbles is grieving. I could see that she knew. Knew but didn't want to believe. However she made no complains when I carried her cria away. We are all feeling low this morning. The herd obviously know and are subdued. I took Pebbles some food in a bowl...normally this would have caused a squabble...but they just let her eat.
I hope for Pebbles' sake we have no babies born today.