Thursday, April 15, 2010


Sometimes it's an advantage to have small hands.

Yesterday I retrieved the nail clippers from the lint vent in Judith's dryer where Kaelyn had deposited them after Judith trimmed Janessa's fingernails. I also pulled out a wad of lint.

A few weeks ago, my little hands aided in the rescue of something even bigger than nail clippers. At the time, Judith wondered if she would be pregnant for the rest of her life and I decided not to share the story online. Now that Janessa is born I have a tale to tell.

Brian had eleven kids already when Foxy, a first-time mother, decided to kid last month. She appeared to have everything under control when Brian checked on her in the afternoon. After he'd gathered his birthing supplies he discovered something was wrong.

Goat kids are supposed to be born front legs first with the head and the rest of the body following them. Foxy's kid was partially born with one leg and its head outside of Foxy. In such a case the manuals suggest pushing the kid back inside the goat to reposition it. This would have killed the kid since the sack had already broken and the kid was breathing.

Brian called inside the house and Betsy, Libby and I ran outside to help. Libby held Foxy's head, Betsy searched for the vet's phone number and I helped Brian pull on the kid. But the kid stayed stuck.

Finally Betsy found the phone number and Brian got ahold of a vet. She suggested turning the kid, lubricating it, and then pulling. Brian tried to turn the kid and managed to move it a bit. Then he tried to smear it with petroleum jelly but his hands were too big. "Let me try," I said. For the first time I stuck my hand up a goat.

As I felt inside Foxy I realized exactly what was wrong. I felt Foxy's bones and the kid's bones wedged against each other. The kid wasn't going anywhere. So I wiggled my fingers and then I pushed and I felt the kid move.

"Pull!" I yelled. "Pull!"

"Push!" Brian yelled at Foxy. Foxy just yowled in pain.

Then with a pop the kid was born. Brian grabbed the kid and hung it upside down. He and Mom rubbed its limp body with towels. Within a few minutes the kid began to respond and despite his traumatic birth appears to be healthy, though a little greasy from all that petroleum jelly.

We named him Ping after the last duckling in Marjorie Flack's picture book.

After the dryer was rendered serviceable yesterday, the toilet stuck up. Goats and dryers I can do. I didn't volunteer to stick my hand down the toilet.


  1. Oh, that's quite a story! I'm glad it has a good ending.

  2. Well,I'm glad that Ping is okay after his traumatic birth.

  3. Ping! That's a cool symbolism! Fun story :)

  4. Great story and great choice of names! You are a multi-talented person.