Monday, June 15, 2009

She was born

Well, folks, it's true. The princess has arrived.

My Arabian mare, Fantastyk Gal, Annie, delivered a healthy little filly very early yesterday morning. As you know, Lisa and I have been camping at the barn for a week now. Saturday night, we joked about having strawberry daiquiris but I said that if we did we'd definitely sleep through the foaling. Ha ha! So we opted not to drink. Then, because she was 'waxing' and seemed very restless, I suggested we take turns staying awake and watching so that we wouldn't miss the birth. Since Lisa is a night owl, I suggested that she take first watch. lol.

I had been up since around 6:30 AM so around 11;30 I lay down. It seemed like right away, Lisa was quietly calling to me. Did I even shut my eyes? It must have only been a half hour or so and she said that Annie was attempting to lay down. Her four legs would kind of crumple but she resisted laying down. I got up and we sat in our chairs, watching and shivering from the cold night air. The wind blew fiercely all around us.

Earlier in the day, I had turned Annie out for some exercise and she had ended up in the far stall, which is Nadia's regular stall. I decided to lock Scout and Nadia up in Annie's usual stall which is a double run and two stalls that are open to each other. This way the middle stall, Scout's usual stall, was open for us to sit in and watch Annie.

It was a really dark night. We watched a pair of mice skitter past and shadow play around the water barrel just a few feet from our feet. Eeeek! The coyotes howled in the distance. We listened to the wind blowing the barn doors and many other unidentified noises.

Some time later, the air stilled and the moon rose making the night a little brighter so that we could almost make out horse shapes. Annie lay down carefully, and dare I say, painfully, only to quickly rise up again. She pooped and peed and nibbled at her hay, only to go poop again. We knew it was time but how long was she going to be able to hold back?

Scout and Nadia lay down in their pens for some sleep. Annie still paced, backing up to the wall to rub her tail and butt on the wooden stall wall. She paced and stared out into the night. We were afraid she would walk to the far end of her paddock into the darkness away from us. She seemed to be watching us to see if we were sleeping. We feigned sleep, although it was extremely hard for me to stay awake, and waited. The wind kept blowing and it was getting colder.

Finally, Annie just seemed to pee and pee and pee some more. We knew it had to be her water breaking. Then she lay down right in front of us. We were amazed but couldn't move for fear of upsetting the flow of things. Our only light source was a battery lantern that we had eventually dimmed. I had a pocket light that I pointed on her and we had a perfect view of her back legs. I wonder if she actually turned that way thinking that we could help her out in some way. Lately, she would turn her rear to me and back up, spreading her legs, as if I could make her feel better.

We were frozen in place and literally amazed! After all this time waiting, it was finally happening! What do we do now? We agreed to do nothing, except take pictures, hoping the flash wouldn't affect Annie and the birthing too much. I was so very, very glad that Lisa was with me through this. She has been a part of this from the beginning, going to the vet clinic for all the ultrasounds, the artificial inseminations, the waiting, the mare watch... THANK YOU, LISA!!!! You have captured some wonderful photos!!
we saw a white bubble appear. It grew larger. Then we could make out something white and black in the bubble. It looked like a stick. It must be a leg!Was it a leg? It seemed like forever but it must have been only seconds. We thought that another leg appeared next. Then, we could just about make out a tiny head in the bubble. She kind of stopped pushing at this point and we were horrified. What should we do? Could the foal suffocate?

We decided to help out. I had been told to make sure the foal could breathe even if it's not fully born yet. So I ran to Annie and knelt in all the blood and muck and tugged at the sack around the baby's head. I didn't even know if it had been fully born yet. The sac was very elastic and strong! I couldn't break it open! I panicked.
I could feel the foal struggling and grunting, trying to breath. Finally, I ripped it open. But, still the foal couldn't breathe because the nostrils were pointing down with the bag covering them. I had to feel around under the head and remove the heavy membrane from around it. It was horrible and scary but I knew it had to be done. Success! The foal, dark, wet, and warm lay gently breathing. I checked my cell phone and the time was 3:40AM.
Lisa told me the foal was completely out so I grabbed a towel and began lightlyrubbing the wet foal down. It was so soft to the touch! But the night air was so cold that I kept gently rubbing at it whenever I could. The umbilical cord had already broken so, almost immediately, the foal tried to rise, plunging forward in it's feeble attempts to find it's legs. I was afraid that it would crash into the pipe rails so I tried to guard it, continuing to wipe it down with the towel. I tried to help it nurse as well. By this time, the other horses began a chorus of neighing and running around. Scout and Nadia were frantic on one side of us and Baby Doll was neighing and pacing on the other side of us along the fence. Lisa became the assigned photographer as I had my hands full so almost all of these photographs are thanks to her and will probably be shown on her site too.

Annie was on her feet now. The foal, standing on wobbly legs, found her Mama and attempted to nurse. Annie was thrilled to see her baby, nickering softly, and softly nuzzling her. The foal was dark, with a big spot on it's forehead. It had thick feathery ears with pointy tips and a curly little mane. It had a nice jibbah forehead and large eyes with dark lashes. But we still didn't know what sex it was!

So, with the striped towel wrapped around the little body for warmth, on one of it's calmer moments, I lifted the tail for Lisa to photograph. It was just too dark to see clearly. She looked at the preview and declared that it was a little filly.

We marveled at the little miracle and Lisa's three children came out to join us in the dawning light. As the sun came up and the foal dried off, we noticed that she was a light brown color with a dorsal stripe running down the length of her back. She even has zebra stripes on her legs! She has a very dark chocolatey mane and tail. On her head, she has a star, a very thin strip and a little snip on her nose. She's beautiful!! She has crazy waves and ripples all over her coat. I can't tell if she'll have any socks because her legs appear tan. I am pretty sure she going to turn gray.

Oh well! I'm okay with that, I guess.

Andrea is clearly the winner with her guess: 4:00 AM 6/14/09, a bay to gray filly. She was almost 100%! I will be sending you a prize. Thanks, everybody, for playing along. It sure was crazy waiting, wasn't it?
But that's not the end of my day! Oh, no, only the very beginning!

Annie didn't pass the placenta like she should. I tied it up in knots so it wouldn't drag the ground. gross, I know but I've 'been there, done that'!

You may recall that I posted about Scout being born years ago, on the day before. Well, the vet we used then told us that we would only need to give the newborn foal an enema and dose the umbilical stump with iodine. Otherwise, no additional care was necessary, unless there were problems.

Yep, Beighley didn't pass the placenta. The vet told us to pull on it and tie it into knots so it wouldn't drag the ground and call if it didn't come out in another couple of hours. Long story short, it didn't come out. We could feel it beginning to tear so we called him out. He gave her shots and waited a bit. Finally, she finally passed it and everything was fine after that.

So, when Annie didn't pass the placenta I knew it was going to be problems. I had previously called the vet to ask what I needed to do for birthing and she told me, "Nothing, really. Call us after the birth and we can check everybody out."

So, I waited until 7:00 (a more decent Sunday morning time) and called the emergency line. When I spoke to the vet, she asked if the foal had had a bowel movement. No. Did I gave her an enema? No, was I supposed to? Had I dosed the umbilical with iodine yet? No, was I supposed to? Anyway, I had bought iodine, gut instinct, I suppose, so I went ahead and dosed the stump of the umbilical cord. She told me to get an enema for the foal and if Annie didn't pass the placenta in the next hour, to call again and she'd be along shortly.

To be continued...

She was born - song: Day In, Day Out, artist: David Bowie, album: Never Let me Down


fernvalley01 said...

Well , congratulations ! and exiting night for you both ! Looks like baby is well and strong . Rich foaled this morning ,around 5:00am. so we are both done!

Paint Girl said...

Yeah! I am so excited to see her! She is beautiful! I love her little face!! I am glad everyone made through the night. How exciting to see her be born. Thanks Lisa for taking all the wonderful pictures!!

Grey Horse Matters said...

Glad she's finally here and she is a beauty!!! Hope Annie is feeling well and everything with the placenta went okay.

jane augenstein said...

She is BEAUTIFUL!!!!! Thanks so much for sharing those precious pictures of your new baby!!! I can't wait to see what color she will be as she grows. She probably will be grey, oh, do some video of her too so we can see her run and play!!!
hugs to you and the baby, momma too!
~Jane and Gilly~

Sydney said...

I had a foal born at the one farm I work at. Unfortunately I believe the mother has rejected the little filly. Shes so tiny, a pony not even has high as your knee.

Dusty Devoe said...

She is just beautiful! Annie seems like a proud mama. Thanks for such a great story!

LuLo Designs/Blue Eyed Tango said...

Oh my goodness! Congratulations Val! She's so adorable! And it appears you got what you wanted minus the bay color but you never know....foals can several different colors before all said and of our was born with a white star/spot on forehead and now he has nothing there! LOL! Now go get some rest! Luanne

Dan and Betty Cooksey said...

Val, she's gorgeous. Well done and thanks for sharing the experience though Lisa's pictures.

Hopefully, Betty and I can come over soon and check her out up close.


Melanie said...

Congratulations Val (and Lisa!!)...she is just adorable! I am glad that everything went fine , and I am hoping that all ended up okay with the retained placenta.

I guess I should congratulate Andrea as well! :)

Can't wait for the updates...

C-ingspots said...

Val, I am so happy and relieved for you and Annie!! Congratulations!! She is gorgeous - so feminine and dainty. I love her coloring, but who knows what she'll end up like - but no doubt she's a beauty!! Fantastic step-by-step pictures that you will no doubt treasure for years to come. Annie is a beautiful mare and obviously a devoted and loving momma. Bless her precious little heart!!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Congratulations! Thanks for sharing the birth with us.

Tammy said...

beautiful, just beautiful! so glad you were there to see it, help and all! Congrats, Val! Can't wait to hear more!

Breathe said...

Welcome little one! You've been born into a wonderful family....

Congrats, glad mare and foal are doing well...

allhorsestuff said...

Oh YEA!!! That picture of her looking at her new little filly is JUST PRECIOUS!
I sure hope that you got it all taken care of by now and healing is happening!
I love the look of her can't wait to hear the name she receives!
Congrats Val..and Annie!


Leah Fry said...

Congratulations! She's lovely. What's her barn name?

Ed said...

CONGRATS!!! I just read Rapunzles post and came over here, she is truely a little princess and a fine lookin' filly...:-)

Ishtar said...

Sahara didn't pass her placenta for a long time, and poor Anette had to tie it up numerous times. Eventually though, it came off (all of it), which some bleeding but less than a cup, so nothing to worry about. She ached for a few days (longer than Arwen) but then she was fine again.
Congratulations on a beautiful filly! Looking forward to part II!

cowgirljlynn said...

Ah, the miracle of birth!

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Congrats! I bet you are so relieved the wait is finally over. Can't wait to see her in a few days, when she is all filled out.

Hopefully the story ends well! I've never had a mare not pass the placenta immediately. I wouldn't know what to do.

Andrea said...

Congrats!!! How exciting that you guys got to be right there!!!! Great pictures. Good thing you guys where there to help!!

And hooray!!! I am so excited that I won!!! I am so happy for you Val!! Congrats

Pony Girl said...

Congrats on the birth of the new princess, Val! I love the story of you and Lisa camping in the barn, mice and all, for the big event. It sounded like everything went well. Can't wait to see more pictures of this little wild one as she grows up. They are so stinkin' cute when they are little! :)

thecrazysheeplady said...

Congrats on your beautiful foal. Great story - I felt like I was right there. Been there, never loses it's thrill!