I think it was last Saturday that I needed to write 30K words to finish a book on time. That’s a lot of words for me. I had just finished and was pretty tired. I figured I’d call it a day, when Julia screamed up the stairs that we needed to go outside right away.
More screaming and running and doors slamming and I decided that maybe I wasn’t as tired as I thought I was. : )
Julia had just checked Hope around four and it was about seven, i think. So, sometime in those three hours, Finn was born.
Now, horses are a little different than cows. Also, ponies are a little hardier than horses. I’ve been around ponies and cows, but never a newborn foal.
It was kind of surprising to me when Finn tried to stand and the afterbirth was still attached. He couldn’t get up without stepping on it and having it pull at his stomach. I don’t want to gross anyone out, but cows eat the afterbirth and chew the umbilical cord off.
Apparently horses don’t.
I stood at the fence – I like to let nature happen the way God intended as much as I can, but Julia and Joy were down with Hope. I did a quick internet search on what to do when a foal’s umbilical cord doesn’t…detach, for lack of a better word.
Now, it’s supposed to twist and pull, which signals to the blood vessels that it’s time to close up, so when it detaches the foal doesn’t bleed out. (That seemed kind of important to me.) And it said to never, ever, cut it.
I read that to the girls and Julia said, “Mom, I think you need to come down here and do that.”
So, yeah, I climb over the fence and walk toward Hope.
The first time I tried to pet Hope back when we got her, Pie was standing beside me and for some reason, Hope didn’t like Pie. I’m assuming this because I was standing there, looking at Hope and Hope reached across in front of me and tried to bite my daughter. Thankfully Pie has quick reflexes and she ducked out of the way. Me, I stood there watching, since my reflexes are about five minutes behind real time.
Anyway, I was a little like Red Riding Hood with the wolf – what big teeth you have, Hope.
So, yeah, as I’m walking down to Hope and her baby, I’m thinking about big teeth and protective mamas and horticulture, which seems like a very safe profession, since plants don’t have teeth.
But, I get to the foal and Pie offers to hold Hope while I try to tear the umbilical cord. Pie weighs about a hundred pounds right after breakfast and Hope is pushing a ton. I wonder who’s gonna win that tug of war?
But it made her feel better (and me too, actually, since it would give me another second to hit the fence, right?), so I knelt down beside Finn and started trying to rip his umbilical cord in two.
Now, for those of you who have had babies, or been in the room when the cord is being cut, it’s a tough bugger. I don’t really recall how it sounded after I had my children, but Finn’s cord, crunched like gristle on a chicken bone as I tried to rip it apart.
I guess I’m not a very good ripper, because I worked on it for around ten minutes and could not get it ripped. Finally, I said, “I know we’re not supposed to cut it, but surely all my attempts to rip it have resulted in the proper signals to the blood vessels. Does anyone have a knife?”
Someone gave me a very dull knife, but as I held it, the idea that I might cut this cord and that little baby might bleed to death felt too real.
So, we got some twine, tied the cord as tight as I could and then I cut it. (Which, as dull as that knife was, it was a lot like ripping.)
There was more blood than I was comfortable with and I just knew I’d killed him.
But it stopped, thankfully.
I think Finn was a little tired out from trying to stand with the placenta attached to him, but he did manage to get on his feet.
I have a video on my YouTube channel of his first steps.
I’m still supplementing him every two to three hours, day and night, although Pie is doing it today since two of my boys have birthdays this week and I’m heading to PA to see them for a bit. We had the vet here yesterday and she was optomistic that he was going to make it. We just need to keep him eating. : )
Thanks so much for spending time with me today!
Hugs and blessings,
This is Pie feeding Finn last evening, with Hope supervising the situation. : )