Let me start by saying that I hate the way this post is going to go.
I hate the way my afternoon played out.
Here's how it started:
Things progressed throughout the afternoon, which I basically spent by her side.
Just as it was getting dark, Izzy went into hard labor. Be warned: while this video does not have footage of the actual birth, it may still make you squeamish.
After that video, I went to be by her side. I did get some footage of what happened next, but I just can't post it. It was as I'd come to expect during the course of the afternoon: she delivered 2 stillborn premature kids. One was more developed than the other, but neither was developed enough to survive.
That, of course, was not enough to stop sweet Izzy from doing her best to lick life back into them. I let her lick for awhile-- it was so sweetly maternal. But she just kept at it. When is the right time to pull a mother goat away from her lifeless baby? I left her to it long enough to go get a box and line it with newspaper.
When she finally stopped licking for a moment, I carefully picked up the limp bodies and inspected them -- such tiny little hooves and mouths and ears (one of them was spotted like his dad) -- before nestling them together in the box. I closed the box up as Izzy looked on, glassy eyed. She leaned her head over the box and just stood there. I'm not ashamed to admit it: that's when I threw my arms around her neck, buried my face in her fur, and wept like the big softy that it turns out I am. Me with my arms around my goat, she with her head drooped over the box that held her little ones.
When I finally moved the box out of the pen, she nuzzled the hay looking for them. I led her to water and food, and for the first time all day, she drank and ate.
We aren't sure what sent her into preterm labor. It could've been any one of a number of things. We will continue to search for explanation. In the meantime, we will tend to Izzy as best we can. My reading suggests that she may continue to look for her babies for days or get very distant from the rest of the herd as she mourns. Poor thing. This is surely not what we had hoped for.