On The Morning of April 7th, our mare Cash AKA Big Momma began showing extreme body and behavioral signs of impending birth. I notified her vet, texted him pictures of heavy waxing to the udders, bloody show and he confirmed that birth was near. The event we’d been waiting for was finally here and the farm sprang to life with preparations .
I prepped the birthing stall, put hay in the cradle, fresh water, gathered clean towels, Betadine, 5 gal bucket and rubber gloves. Although I didn’t want to leave the farm, I had a few errands that couldn’t be forgone. Our Dane would be leaving with his handler the next morning for a dog show in Dallas and I had those preparations as well.
At 6pm, we brought the horses in, set up a phone charging station and settled in for the long night. Clay decided to take the first watch, checking the barn every 30 mins so I could rest but no rest could be found amid all the excitement . I had already begun running a gauntlet of emotions from worry, anticipation , fear, elation.
After the 10pm check, Clay handed the 10:30 watch over to me. The plan was that whoever was on watch would call the other when labor began. ( I should’ve know better. The man sleeps like a stone.) At 10:15 Clay was already purring softly in his recliner next to mine. At 10:20 I was turning up the volume on the TV.
10:30 Cash was sweating mildly. I comforted her. She was her usual affectionate self.
11:30 she was looking distressed. She heard me approaching the barn, whinnied and ran to greet me at the stall door. She laid her neck against me like a hug. I folded her heavy mane, in sections, over to the other side just as she liked, and quietly assured her everything would be fine. This was a new experience for us both.
When I returned at midnight, I was greeted the same way but now she was sweating profusely. Her face was soaked and sheets of sweat wicked away as I stroked her long neck. I knew labor had begun but this stage can last a long while. I wanted her to relax so I trekked back to the house for a lamp. I set it up on a table beside the door, turned off the overhead lights and settled into a camp chair, determined to wait it out until I needed to call the house.
It was about 12:30 and the wait would not be long. Within 3 mins she went to the ground, her breath hard and heavy, expelling a loud grunt with each. My hands, already trembling with fear and excitement, fumbled with the phone trying to call Clay. NO ANSWER! Seriously? So I ran for it! Bursting through the door, I began yelling ” BABY!” and shaking his chair. Finally he leapt forward as if we’d had a home invasion, scanning the room for who he needed to attack. I kept yelling ” Baby!” and pointing toward the barn. With sudden realization dawning, he jumped from his chair and charged toward the barn like a soldier going to war.
When we reached the barn, Cash was back on her feet! Clay entered the stall to check on her and yelled for me to call Doc. The face wasn’t presented but he could see the bag was torn. He grabbed hold and pulled til the nose emerged just as Doc got on the line. Clay took the phone and stepped outside to receive instructions when I heard her hit the ground hard. I ran to the door to inform them. Clay handed me the phone and ran back inside just as I heard Doc saying ” pull hard!” Clay yelled back ” we have a baby!” It was 12:43.
Mom and baby lay resting quietly for awhile before mom stood and broke the cord. Clay removed the bag from babes feet, toweled his face and nose, treated his umbilical cord with betadine. It would be several hours before we were through all the necessary processes of baby being able to stand on his own, successfully nursing and the delivery of the placenta that I would need to collect and save for Doc. (WAIT! WHAT! you’ve got to be kidding me! )
At 4am we popped the cork on a bottle of champagne, celebrating new life and milestone in our life on the Ranch.
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