Saturday, February 28, 2009

Coping

We have had a very rough two days at the farm. We had to put Jakarta down today. And though I say "we", I was at the market when things went downhill with her and Christian had to do it without me here. I am so very sad for them both.

We are blessed with a support system of many knowledgeable and experienced goat friends, and with the help of our friend D'Ann, Christian was able to rescue an unborn kid from Jakarta via c-section. So far she seems OK. We'll have to see how it goes.

I am unable to properly process and explain what happened still, but there was some biological anomaly that caused one of the fetuses to become extremely deformed and enlarged. There was no way Jakarta could have passed it and even a live c-section would probably not have been possible. She simply would not have survived. We are going to take the fetus to the labs at Texas A&M to see if we can get any answers. Neither Caroline nor D'Ann had ever seen anything like this in their many years as goat breeders.

This is our first loss of a goat and it is every bit as hard as I thought it might be. Christian is burying her now. I don't know if I'll update the blog or not even if we do get more information. And part of me wasn't sure if I should even post about this. But that's what a blog is. All the news -- even the ugly stuff. And honestly - I know it's probably silly to worry that people might blame us for this,but that's why I wasn't sure about posting. But, I'll tell you this -- even though it has all happened quite fast, I am 100% sure there is no blame to be assigned and nothing we could have done to change what happened. All we can do now is cope. And know that even when you do everything right, bad things can still happen. Rest in peace, sweet Jakarta.

12 comments:

Reagan said...

You have done a very brave thing in posting about this. Not only are you learning from Jakarta's life and death, you are allowing many more people to do the same. Spreading your good and bad experiences allows her to have so much more impact on this world than she could have alone. I am grieving your loss with you.
--Reagan

Kristin said...

We are so, so sorry... There is no way I could write anything as eloquently as Reagen, so I won't try, but just know we are thinking about you guys. And hurting for you...

Pam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pam said...

Gosh, Lisa, I am so sorry to hear this. As I told you, I could never be a farmer...I would be to emotionally attached to the animals. Poor Christian. And you.
There is a condition that sometimes arises in (identical) twin pregnancies called twin-twin transfusion syndrome in which blood gets shunted from one twin to the other. The recipient twin typically gets larger, but has lots of problems from not being able to handle the overload. I don't know if this happens in other animals...it only affects identicals, but it might be something to have them take a look at. If you still have the placenta you should send that along.

Blue Heron Farm said...

With a few more hours behind us, I am a little more intrigued now to know what happened and to share it. We'll try to get the fetus in early next week for testing. I've been searching the web, but can't come up with anything like this. Because the other kid developed just fine and survived, I am leaning toward a chromosomal thing rather than a possible poisoning (toxic plant) or other environmental problem. I will definitely update the blog. Nature is fascinating, even when it feels cruel.

Michael@greenakeys.com said...

Wow. Im really glad I took a ton of anatomy and physiology in college and had a cadaver lab too, but Im not sure Im ready to perform a C-section on an animal and do what Christian did. Thats pretty gutsy and brave and FREAKING CRAZY! I can only imagine what you guys went through with Jakarta. And here I am wondering if I should bring in the two and a half week old lamb and her mother because its supposed to be icy and perhaps sleet a bit tonight.

I think Ill go get her in the morning. Im starting to feel guilty.

What did you name the new kid? How about Jackie?

Brandi said...

oh, lisa and christian, i am so sorry. what a sad day. that sounds emotional and exhausting.

my first thought was twin-twin transfusion as well, but the other kid being normal and healthy makes that less likely. i don't know if you want to be more specific about the condition of the other fetus, but if you want to send an email i'll let you know if it rings a bell or sounds like any sort of human malformation. if there was a large fluid overload on the fetus and low amniotic fluid in the sac you would think of a kidney malformation; that is fairly common in humans.

but no matter what, it's sad. feel free to call me anytime; i would be happy to assist. i've been in on lots of c-sections on people, if that's any help, and would be happy to try to figure it out with you.

no, there is nothing you could have done. everyone knows how much you love your girls and would do anything for them. i'm sorry this happened. our prayers go with you.

Blue Heron Farm said...

Brandi-- I am going to email you a photo. The more we have talked it out, the more I think you may have nailed it with the kidney thing. Caroline had that thought, too. That the kidneys may have failed and that it kept taking on fluid it could not excrete. It was huge and, I think, mostly fluid filled.

Michael-- Christian really only did the assist on the C-section. Our friend D'Ann took the lead, having had does who have had c-sections before. (Not in the barn, but still...)But I agree that the bravery required is far past anything I think I could summon. To be able to clear your head just seconds after having to end the doe's life and try to salvage something out of the disaster? I am in awe of them both.

Michael@greenakeys.com said...

Well, I really hate to tell you this but I can totally relate this morning. I went out to feed the cows and sheep and there was one lone ewe up on the top of the hill bleating. Sure enough, there was a ram lamb that was frozen. I heard one bleat at 6:15 when I woke up but I didnt go out and investigate for a half hour because Im lazy and inexperienced and it was just dark enough for me not to be able to see where the bleat was coming from from my bedroom window. I feel guilty about it but I also feel mad because the people I got the sheep from had no idea who was pregnant because they kept their ram with the sheep at all times. Its really difficult to tell which ewes are pregnant. This one was most likely a first time mother and didnt show any signs of being ready to lamb. Im going to need to learn a lot more. This lambing in February makes no sense. At least I have some ewes who I know when they were bred and I wont make this same mistake again. We are supposed to get snow tonight. That probably means Ill get more lambs. Or calves. Super. I really hate to tell you that I empathize and sympathize from experience, but now I do. And the ewe is now up on the hill looking for her lamb. Depressing.

Blue Heron Farm said...

I am so sorry, Michael. It's hard not to feel guilt even when you shouldn't. And you shouldn't. But I understand. We're the people. We are supposed to keep them safe. It's just not quite as simple or black and white as that in practice.

It sucks to learn how you want to manage your flock based on the bad experiences you got from the way others did it. I am with you, though. Hand breeding the future, or pen breed in a month of your choosing. It will reduce your anxiety and increase the odds that lambing will happen at a time you can be around.

It i a big transition for those of us who did not grow up on farms. You have to be able to let go of control issues. There is so much out of our control. ...again, easier said than done.

hugs to your mama lamb and the family.Y'all will get through this, and she'll be OK, too. There are a lot of hormones floating around her system. It doen't mean she necessarily "misses" her lamb. She's just a bit out of sorts. It can take a little while for them to get back to normal. Around here, it's a but a week after kidding.

If you can get ahold of her, I would milk out her colostrum and keep it in the freezer for any future lambing emergencies. (A lamb that won't nurse or whatever.)

Hang in there.

Katherine said...

Sounds like a really rough experience yesterday. You are very brave to do what had to be done, and to share the experience on the blog. I'm really sorry. I'm curious if you find out more about what happened. Thinking of you. (Mike, read your post too - sorry about the lost lamb.) xo, K.

RevRon's Rants said...

Saying goodbye to family (and our animals are very much family) is tough enough. To have to make the decision to end one's life - and especially to end that life by your own hand - is something that takes a looong time to get over (if you ever do). I know that all too well.

Our heart goes out to you guys. Please don't waste energy playing "shoulda / woulda." I have the sense you did everything as right as is humanly possible.