2:25 a.m. - I must have drifted off for a bit, because the silence woke me right up. I peered out of my sleeping bag and couldn't see her standing, so I shoved back the covers and realized she was laying down. I hopped off the bale and slipped on my shoes. Her head bobbed in my direction, acknowledging my movement. Using only the Christmas mini-lights we have up, I walked until I could observe her rump. Her tail was out, and her peritoneum was bulged, with her vulva lips beginning to separate. I continued to walk past her and turned on the 100W bulb at the end of the arena. As she laid there, her water broke. Not with a rush, just with a hefty dribble.
A moment later she stood up, and sniffed the amniotic fluid, swishing her upper lip in it and then flemining. She laid down and pushed some more. At that point I saw some of the sac pushing out in a small bubble shape. With the next push, there was a bit of hoof. Again, she stood up, and turned in a circle, then laid back down. At the next push, more leg came out, and I chose to turn on the big lights. I also had brought over some towels...I didn't know the temperature, but the prediction has been 8-10 F, so I wanted to begin drying off the foal as soon as possible. I also put on rubber gloves.
As the lights came up, I saw a second hoof, slightly behind the first. More pushing, but little progress. Slowly the legs got longer, and longer, but still no nose. I decided I should break the sac from around the hooves, and by the time I got in and knelt behind *Babe there was about 12 inches of the first hoof showing, still no nose. That worried me. As with the end of each contraction the foal would slip back up some, I chose to grasp the legs and prevent that. As she would push, I helped with a steady pull out and "down", and the nose appeared!!
Once half of the head was out, I removed the sac from around the head area exposed. At that point, the foal's mouth was partially open and the tongue, slightly purple, was hanging out. I'll be the first to admit that I have never seen a foal's tongue prior to it breathing, so I was somewhat concerned. After the next push, with some helpful pulling from me, the head got delivered. I completely removed the sac from its head, and the nostril quivered! Phew!
By this time I could see that *Babe was tiring. It is unusual for a horse to labor so long. As prey animals their labors are fast so that they do not make an easy meal for a predator. My experiences with *Walker and *Glory also told me this was unusual, as typically when the head is delivered, the rest tends to slip right out. I grabbed a towel and began rubbing the legs and head dry. Again, with the next contraction I helped, and we got the shoulders delivered; THEN the rest slid out onto the ground. I began vigorous toweling and marveled at the darkness of this Curly foal. I didn't not check for its sex, as drying it was paramount for me.
When I had gone through 3-4 towels and dried what I could. I quickly ran up to the house and got Chuck and Guin. Guin, my ever faithful helper, had fallen asleep in the house before coming down. Guin and I got back down and we toweled some more. She is the one that discovered it was a filly. The last filly we had, *GMC Sierra Verde, was born in October of 2002. Six and half years with only boys. After we dried her as much as we could, we put on her foal blanket.
Two weeks before Guin had dreamt of the foal being born. In the dream the foal was black, and had jumped up and started talking to her, introducing itself as 'Valentino'. This foal just missed being born on Valentine's Day, but is black, active, and VERY talkative.
Her name is *GMC Acadia Valentine, and we are calling her *Love. Without further ado, here she is:
Thanks for sticking with this blog during the process. I hope you enjoyed it.