Saturday, February 16, 2013

Observing a C-section

Unfortunately, not all labor and delivery's have as happy an ending as Ellen's.  All week I kept checking on Betsy, my other Nigerian Dwarf, several times daily expecting her to go into labor anytime.

Finally, Thursday afternoon the labor began.....and continued.......Finally a head appeared but no feet.  Dad tried to reposition the kids to pull them but was unsuccessful.  We finally gave up, called the vet and were soon on our way to his office for what would probably end up being an emergency c-section.

When we arrived, Dr. Hess examined Betsy and found she had a torn uterus.  He could do a c-section, perhaps save the babies and do his best to mend the tear.  It seemed like the best option as the other was to put Betsy to sleep and lose both mama and all the babies.

Did I want to watch this process?!  I certainly did but then again, did I really?  Yes, I did!

The first step was to give her a shot of anesthesia in the juggler vein.  Before long she started getting drowsy.  They laid her on her side and began shaving the area where they would make the incision. 
 Next they applied disinfectant to the area.                          Then Dr. Hess administered a local anesthetic.

I realized later that I did not get any pictures of the actual surgery. =(  I guess I was too engrossed in the process!  It was even more interesting than I imagined!  He cut first through the layers of skin and muscle and then the uterus.  He pulled out baby #1 and called for his assistant to bring a towel.  The baby was still alive!  Yeah!!!  Next came baby #2 and then baby #3!  Their hearts were all beating but they were very limp and not very responsive.  Dr. Hess assured us that this is normal as the babies were effected by the anesthesia as well.  We got to work cleaning them off and rubbing them dry and warm.  Unfortunately, baby #3 was too stressed and weak and soon died.  The other two were given a shot to reverse the effects of the anesthesia and soon were ba-a-ing and trying to get up!
Meanwhile Dr. Hess continued with the surgery, repairing the uterus and stitching each layer closed.  I didn't watch much as I was helping take care of the babies! 
Unfortunately, just after loading Betsy into the pet carrier to head home, she died.  Apparently the stress of the difficult labor and surgery were just too much.  We took the two orphan babies, 1 male and 1 female, home, put them in a box in the kitchen with a heating pad and gave them some warm colostrum which I had on hand in the freezer.  They both seemed to be doing well.  However, after feeding the little female, her neck twisted back over her shoulder and got stiff.  I rubbed her neck with lavender essential oil and it relaxed but every time I would give her colostrum it happened again.  She seemed fine other wise but several hours later she too died. 

The remaining little boy will soon be two days old and seems to be doing well!

He is much happier playing in the barn with the triplets born earlier this week than staying in his box in the house!  Ellen is being a good mother to all four!

Betsy's labor and delivery were certainly an interesting learning experience for me but hopefully it won't happen again!  I would love to hear of others who have had similar experiences!  What might I do to prevent this in the future?

This post is linked to:
Homestead Barn Hop
Weekend Whatever

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