No mini-me's as of 8: 30 am, 2/14/09........
But, last night was cold. Not just uncomfortably cold, but deep into your bones where it takes hours next to another human body to warm up cold. 6F when I came up to the house at 4:30 a.m. because my bladder wouldn't wait any longer. Guin and I both had our egg-crate pads on top of the hay bales (we have the 800 lb square variety), with two sleeping bags, and several layers of clothing (including our snow pants and jackets) on. Spot decided he needed to keep us company all night long as well.....funny cat. With two equine bodies, two humans, and one cat breathing into the 60 X 120 foot building, we had enough condensation to leave a bit of frosting on us all. *Babe still has some in her mane....so no wonder she held off labor.
At 12:15 I said to *Babe, "Okay, it's Valentine's Day. Anytime now." At first, she seemed to take this to heart (excuse the pun). Guin noted that she was standing oddly, she would slightly tuck her back legs under her, tail out, and strain. I missed this as I was buried under my sleeping bags, and it only happened a few times. You know how you have to see something happen 3 or 4 times before you figure out what is happening, only to have the occurance stop? Yep that was it. Then around 1:30 she became restless. She'd circle her double stall and stop; circle again, stop; tail out the whole time. There were a few grunts but sometimes it was *Glory, lol. She laid down; she rolled; she got up, she circled. She laid down but not completely recumbant. She was down 10-15 minutes and then she got up again for the remainer of the night. The last time I remember was 1:30 and the next was 2:45, so I slept for a bit. Checked her and went back to sleep; woke again about 3:30 and vowed to stay as long as possible.
As mentioned earlier my bladder finally said enough. If you don't live in a wickedly cold environment, then you have no idea of how feeling the cold causes your bladder to think "Time to empty NOW"; so at 4:30 I rolled off my bale, put on my shoes and walked like an old lady on the ice to go back to the house. Did I mention that our driveway is ice right now? Meltoff that refreezes at night is particularly slippery...a world class skater would have trouble negotiating it. But the moon was shining down brightly, the stars shown crisply, and all was going to be right with the world as soon as I was in the house and peeling off my layers. At that point, with Guin and Spot still in the barn, I chose to crawl into my normal bed and use the love of my life to warm up.
About 7:15 I pushed Chuck out of bed, "I need a cup of coffee.". Usually, I get the first one, but not this morning! That's when I spied the note laid across my computer...it said.."NO CLONES AS OF 5 A.M.....As for that vanishing mom act - Spotticus and I shall not fall for it again! It was an evil, evil trick. 8^0 - Sleep deprived, terribly cold daughter and the cat who's licking himself."
So, I knew I needed to go check. After my second cup, Chuck head down to get hay out to everyone, and I got some beet pulp soaking. I like to give them the extra carbs that pulp affords after a cold night. Then I headed down, and sure enough, no mini-me's. I told her that it was supposed to warm up to about 25F today and it was a GOOD day to give birth.
Then as Chuck fed her a few treats, I observed the following: Belly has a point at the bottom (the V I'd mentioned a few days ago is quite pronounced); her vulva is more swollen and the lips slightly parted (I was able to pull them apart without her objection and she is quite red inside rather than the regular pink of mucous membranes); her udder has become ponderous. I pulled some milk from her and brought it up for testing. The pH has dropped completely off the scale, as in below 6.8; there is NO doubt that the ppm is at, or above, 1000. If I thought the milk looked like condensed last night, it is more so this morning. Immediate butterfat, very sticky, but still bland to my tastebuds.
Okay, everyone, let's chant "It's a good time to give birth!"