Goat delivery not a spectator sport


When you are awakened by a doorbell at 1 a.m., it takes a few minutes to get your brain to work.

When you are awakened by a doorbell at 1 a.m., it takes a few minutes to get your brain to work.

I first thought it was the alarm and reached over to hit the snooze. My mind was processing the information and suddenly realized the dinging noise that corrupted the extreme quiet of the night was not the normal alarm.

I fumbled with my britches as I stumbled down the hall toward the front door. My mind was pondering that doorbell as I approached the living room half-dressed.

"That thing never sounded so loud during the day," passed from my lips in a whisper as the obnoxious sound pierced the quiet of the night once again.

I opened the door and much to my surprise, a man, a woman, their six children and a pregnant goat greeted me with wide smiles.

"Our goat is having trouble delivering," the man stated in a concerned tone. "Will you see if you can help her out?"

I ground the sleep out of the corners of my eyes and began to examine 'ole Tiny, the pregnant goat. She was a little bitty goat in stature, but large in the belly. She was as big around as she was tall.

I went to the pick-up and got a palpation sleeve and some lube. I began reaching in to see if these babies were about to be born, when Tiny let out a bone-jarring scream. It sounded for all the world like a child screaming. All I could think of was the neighbors. What were the neighbors going to think with a noise like that coming from next door?

It looked like my only option was to invite them in and deliver baby goats in the house. I would have liked to have taken them all to the clinic, but time was of the essence and I did not think Tiny was going to make it if we didn't do something fast.

No choice

Here's the situation: It is 1 o'clock in the morning and I am about to deliver baby goats in my living room under the watchful eye of a family of eight. The children ranged in ages from about 12 all the way down to 1. I had felt enough when palpating Tiny to know that those babies were going to have to come out by cesarean. The garage was out of the question due to countless piles of junk from our most recent move. I knew if I got a drop of anything on the carpet or floor of the kitchen, I was in big trouble.

I spread newspaper, several layers thick, over the kitchen floor and went to work. There was enough equipment in the vet box of my pick-up to do the surgery. I laid Tiny down, clipped and scrubbed the surgical site, gave the proper anesthesia and then noticed that one of the six children had slipped off into the dining room and was standing on the table.

Roman circus

I decided to ignore the kid and focus on the goat. Every slice with the scalpel brought a chorus of "oohs" from the spectators. They were asking questions about the surgery faster than I could answer. Remember, about 10 minutes ago I was fast asleep, never even suspecting I would be doing a C-section on a goat in the kitchen while a kid danced on the table and his family asked more questions than Alex Trebek.

I finally got the first baby out and handed it off to one of the parents to dry off with the only thing I could find … one of my T-shirts that was lying next to the laundry room. Drying off the next baby took all the paper towels on the roll hanging under the counter. The last baby was dried off with two dish towels and a pair of socks that came off that evening with the T-shirt. I used my daughter Abbi's little blue sucker thing to get the fluid out of their mouth and throat.

So far, everything was going well. The babies were all alive and Tiny was doing fine. It was then that I noticed that all of the commotion had brought Kerri, my wife, from the bedroom. She was standing at the doorway with one eye on a 4-year-old child standing on the table and the other eye on the "goo" that was flowing across the kitchen floor.

Oh, oh

Picture this: The woman of the house, standing in her robe, hair pushed into ragged piles on the left side of her head, puffy eyes from awakening from a deep sleep, trying to imagine why in the world she married a veterinarian.

I felt a lump in my throat as I tried to conjure up a story of how this all happened. Just as I was about to say something, the family started thanking her repeatedly for letting them use our house to save their goats. Those little children were holding the baby goats with love in their eyes.

There was a faint smell of goat it the house for a couple of weeks. Kerri trashed the T-shirt and socks. I had to mop the kitchen several times to get up the "goo." If any neighbors had heard the scream they never said anything. The footprints on the table came off in time and Tiny went on to have several more litters of goats.

Air freshener, anyone?

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