It was the third night that I hadn't had much sleep. I set the baby monitor up in the barn and I knew that it was close. Cleo's mother always gave birth 12 months less a few days and with it being Cleo's first time, I wasn't sure.
But I had a feeling that April 17th was close. My friend Jeannine was hoping for the 19th as that was her birthday. My father's birthday was the 18th. It's funny how we think of these things when a foal or baby is close to being born.
I had a lot of friends keeping tabs on when the baby was coming. "No baby yet" was a common response by me. My good friend Eleanor, who lives in Texas, has a mother who lives in Ohio and Eleanor was giving progress reports to her mother. It's such a fun time. Eleanor once said that she had to tell her mother to get off the phone as I was calling in and her mother replied "OK. Call me right back!" Cute.
I heard the mare straining on the baby monitor sometime past 10pm. I won't get graphic or gross here but you can imagine the sounds typically coming from your family bathroom when someone, who's famous for bringing in reading material and warns people to 'be a little older' before going into the bathroom after they're done. It just best to stay away if you know what I mean.
I thought it was too early for foaling as mares usually foal in the middle of the night but I've heard other stories. I was completely alerted and I jumped up and ran to the barn.
I got to the barn in time for the mare to have started labour. I was thankful for that. The foal had it's head and front legs out but the mare was anxious. She stood up and was nervous, of course.
I decided to help her. I try not to interfere if I don't have too. My midwifing duties kicked in. I've done this a few times before. I checked to make sure that the sac was open and the foal was breathing ok.
Of course, I had to peak and check the color of the foal. Nice white markings on the face.
The hardest part of course was to get the shoulders through. So when the mare was pushing, I was pulling steadily. When she rested, I held the foal legs so the foal wouldn't go back inside.
It took the mare 10 minutes and the foal was on the ground. I heard myself saying "mark the time." 10:25pm. I was excited to see that it was a filly and of red dun color, just like her daddy.
OMG! No phone. While the mare was bonding with the foal, I quickly washed the blood off my hands and coat, my pajamas were a right off, I ran into the house and got my phone.
The first picture is the foal at 5 minutes old when I got back from the house with my phone.
This next photo is of my pajamas and the blood all done the front. I was texting and calling Eleanor and she in turn was calling her mother to tell her the good news. I want to thank Eleanor for the phone help to a few questions that I had.
I also texted a few other friends to give the good news. I even took a few short videos. Isn't technology wonderful at this kind of event.
It's amazing that the foal only took an hour and she was up and tried to nurse. The mare was sensitive and I had to tie her up for the first few times the foal nursed.
So at 1.30am, after taking many photos and doing a 'welcoming into the world' ceremony for the foal, I was SO tired. I chucked my night shirt into the garbage and went to bed. I had no trouble sleeping. I did rush out the next morning - even before my coffee - to check on the mare and foal.
As you can see from the last photo, SusieQ and Mom are doing great. The vet check the next day went really well. I was so relieved.
SusieQ is now 2 weeks old at the time of this article and she is really running circles around her mother in the pasture field. Humm. The foal is certainly more active then her mother was when she was that age. Interesting....
Putting My Spin On Midwifing