Poor Leela was simply terrified when we got there. She was shaking like a leaf. The vet checked her internally and found that while she was in fact dilated, the kids were not in the birth canal. However, with his hands poking and prodding in there, she began to push after awhile and the kids started moving up into the birth canal. The vet gave Leela a sedative to help calm her down (she was screaming!). I was worried she might be too groggy to push but it didn't seem to affect her much. When one body of a kid presented itself, it was UPSIDE down and one leg first. You could see it was a front leg, but it was pointing UP toward the ceiling instead of down. After long attempts to get the kid turned around, she suddenly popped out and was alive! With great relief we put her in front of her mother to start cleaning. After only a minute or two, another baby popped right out, this time back feet first. Another girl! She was also alive and wiggly and we were all squealing with joy at the sight of her!
After the second baby came out, a big red bag came out which is what the placenta looks like when it starts coming. The fluid-filled bag helps give weight to the placenta to ease it in coming loose. However, Leela was continuing to push, so we knew there was another baby in there. Another vet arrived at this time to help (one of the other vets I use). He reached in and said that yes, there was one more baby in there. It took awhile to get to him, and he came out in a full sack of fluid. He was stillborn. He looked full term also and probably died that day. The vets boxed him up in a cooler to take for a necropsy so I would know what had happened to cause him to die. More on that later.
So at 2:30 in the morning we arrived back home with our tired girls but the drama wasn't over yet! I put Leela and her kids in their private stall where I saw them nurse again before I went to bed. At 5 a.m. I heard in the baby monitor, a kid screaming! I jumped up and looked in the barn cam monitor and saw the kid running around in the stall screaming for her mother and Leela was laying in the corner ignoring her! My first thought was that Leela was in trouble-- a torn uterus or something bad. I ran down to the barn and was surprised to see her rejecting her babies! She seemed not to know them anymore! Thinking quickly, I put her on the milkstand and milked out her colostrum and since I had bottles right there too, I fed both babies with bottles. Then I went back to bed for another hour and by then it was morning. Things were no better so I fed the kids a bottle again. Leela was desperate to get OUT of the pen and ran to the gate where we had carried the kids in the night before. Standing with her feet on the gate, she was yelling at the top of her lungs "WHERE ARE MY KIDS???" No amount of coercing would convince her these two darling girls were hers. But then I remembered something else I had read. I knew that trauma could cause this and certainly she had been traumatized, BUT I also read that strong scents could confuse the mother. The kids had been dried with towels that had very strong bleach smell on them. So, I rubbed my hand across her goopy backside and smeared the scent of HER on her kid's heads and butts. I also put a little colostrum on their heads and butts too for good measure. It WORKED! Within a short time she started taking care of them, nuzzling them and whispering "oh THERE you are!!" Whew!! So happy not to have bottle babies. Not to mention what an excellent mother she is and that's irreplaceable!
Baby buckling was found to have a birth defect called a diaphragmatic hernia. A hole is in the diaphragm which allows the stomach to be pushed up into the lungs. He never had a chance. So sorry little buckling but so happy your sisters are healthy and happy!