At dawn a week ago I went to the pasture to check on the goats.  Far in the back of the pasture I found Suzy.  She had a pretty little kid with her–uniquely colored.  The kid has more white on her than any we’ve ever had.  The kid was a few hours old, healthy and happy.  I confirmed her sex and named her Pam.

But it was all a little bittersweet.  If you look carefully at the photo, to the right of Pam you’ll see a bit of what I also found.  A stillborn kid.  I didn’t mean to capture it in the photo, but now I’m glad I did.

We sometimes have stillborns.  I hate it when it happens, but it is part of this life.  I knew I’d need to dispose of it, so after I confirmed all was well with Suzy and Pam, I reached down to pick up the dead baby.

That’s when I noticed its mouth move.  Barely.  There was a tiny bit of life in the baby.

I picked her up (now knowing she was a doeling).  She was as limp as a rag doll.  She was also filthy and wet.  Evidently Suzy had realized the kid wouldn’t make it and, as mothers in nature do, she wasted no time cleaning her up.  She diverted all of her attention to the healthy kid.

I carried the nearly lifeless kid to the house.  Cherie agreed that there wasn’t any hope for her.  Then I realized she wasn’t breathing.  She’s dead, I told Cherie.

But then she made another little motion.  So we set out to try to save her, knowing there was little if any chance of that.

We filled a sink with warm water and submerged her in it up to her neck.  Massaging her cold limp body and washing her off at the same time, we were slowly trying to raise her body temperature.  Quick internet research (and a very fortunate hit on a google search) told us that she likely was suffering from “Birth Chill,” which is essentially hypothermia.

After a few minutes we took her out of the sink, laid her on a counter and began drying her with a blow dryer, while massaging her.  After a bit longer we put a few drops of molasses on our fingertips (and later in a syringe) and put them in her mouth, to give her some quick energy.

We began to see very small signs of improvment, but her temperature was still way too low.

This continued for hours.  As she got warmer, we were able to administer more molasses, with a little bit of coffee.

Cherie and I went back to the pasture and found Suzy.  We milked some colostrum out of her.  Luckily Pam had only nursed one side, so she still had colostrum available.  We returned to the house and gave the kid the colostrum with a syringe.

In time the kid began making a little sound.  She even tried to lift her head.

We kept her warm and slowly she began to revitalize.

I’ll abbreviate this long story by going right to the happy ending.  The kid made it.  Twenty four hours later she was able to stand on her own.  Soon she was lustily sucking down bottles of milk.

Cherie named her Miracle.

Miracle lived in the house with us for a couple of days while Cherie nursed her to health.  Eventually we were able to return her to the pasture, but her mother didn’t recognize her.  So Miracle will remain a bottle-baby until she’s old enough to wean.

We couldn’t be happier about how this episode turned out.

Should anyone ever come across this post while trying to deal with a listless newborn suffering from Birth Chill go to this link and follow the instructions:  http://goat-link.com/content/view/27/77/.  And to “Goat Lady,” whoever you are, we are very thankful.

Love Wins


12 comments on “Miracle

  1. What a great story to read, first thing in the morning!


  2. shoreacres says:

    What a wonderful post. She’s a beautiful kid, and a lucky one. I can’t help laughing at that last photo – the dog is great.

    Years ago a squirrel nest got torn up and fell onto the driveway, along with four babies. We discovered one still was alive as we went about disposing of them – one foot twitched. Another long story, but we committed to every-four-hour feedings and it survived. Eventually, it opened its eyes, grew fur, and began ruling the household. Stories abound. His name was Smackers, and he was with us for eight years. I still miss that critter.


  3. Now that truly is a miracle!! What a beautiful kid. 🙂


  4. Three things are eternal… Faith, hope, and Love.


  5. I couldn’t write through my tears yesterday. I’m glad I came back. this is son moving. To know, that lamb off to the right in your photo is the one who became Miracle is simply astonishing. all that you did to bring it fully to life is the miracle. To dedicate yourselves so beautifully in that effort,….words fail. You and Cherie are a testament to how to live a life. I’m so glad Cherie decided not to work outside the home. Home seems to give her more than enough opportunity to make a difference in the world.

    Beautiful, Bill, simply beautiful. Beyond words. That sweet face under the towels in the hamper says it all.


    • Bill says:

      So glad you enjoyed the post Teresa. Now I wish I’d taken some photos of Miracle before we cleaned her up. When I thought she was dead I tried to take a picture without getting her body in it. That turned out to be the only picture of her at her worst.
      Cherie’s heart for animals is evident in this story. As I type this she is preparing to go out to the barn to feed Miracle and to treat two sick older kids. It’s a good life for her I think. 🙂


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