I only had a few months to wait for the birth of this foal, and as all expectant horse owners know that last month has a way of dragging on. But finally it was time. I could tell by the fact that Vanessa lost her appetite, and the way she was moving, the way the muscles back by the tail were all mushy, and she was a bit distracted. I figured in a few hours I would have a baby.
Several hours went by and nothing new was happening, I called the vet, who came out and used a test to tell me that my mare was ready and the baby would be here in about 12 hours. Still nothing happened the next day either.
I could tell Vanessa was not herself and was a bit agitated but when the vets would come out and check her they did not see anything that alarmed them.
On that Thursday night I kept checking on Vanessa every hour, finally around dawn I fell asleep in my chair, I awoke from the most ugly dream, of Vanessa laying next to the creek and she and the foal were both dead. It only took me about 30 seconds to put my shoes on and go out to Vanessa. She was out in the pasture at the far end and would not come to me. This worried me as she always came to me. I could tell that she was in pain and was upset.
The vet soon came out and did a check on her. I could tell by the Dr.'s face that she could not feel the foals feet without her saying a word. Seemed the foal was presented right shoulder first and both legs were down across the body. The vet was able to get both legs out and get the head in position, and now we needed Vanessa to push. I was lifting on her tummy telling her to push, when I remembered that the vet had given me oxitocin. Quickly I went to get it.
The oxitocin takes about 10 to 15 minutes to take affect and we were getting worried about this foal. We knew the foal was alive as she had sucked on the vets fingers while she was working on her.
Finally Vanessa starts some hard pushing, but she was so tired and was not able to get the baby out so the vet and a friend started pulling on the foal, I was watching when I noticed the foals tongue slide out of its mouth all dark purple and it quit moving. I got the vets attention and she said if this baby is not born now it won't make it. The tone in her voice must have regisitered with Vanessa who lifted her head as if to say "What?" and you could see her just start to push for all she was worth.
The foal was still born. No heart beat no breathing. The vet lifted the foals hind end up figuring that if the mucus plug was in the throat that we could shake it out of her. I stood there looking and then decided to do chest compressions on the foal. I did not want to lose her. It took about 15 or twenty hits to her chest area and all of a sudden she started to thrash her pretty little head.
There was a lot of sighes and smiling faces. But we were
all silently wondering if she was going to be ok. It
did not take long, about 15 minutes of towel drying her and keeping her warm and she was ready to get up and go. There
was no need to help her. She took maybe 10 slow steps and then decided that she was ready to run.
Poor Vanessa was watching all this and as soon as the filly started to run, Vanessa pulled herself up to her feet and went after the filly.
Now I already had decided on the name if this was a filly, some friends had a sweet little girl named Arianna and I just loved her name and had asked her if I could name the foal after her. But I did change the spelling just slightly. Arrianna. Little Arianna was thrilled that I liked her name enough to give it to my foal.
Arrianna is now 4 years old and has never shown any signs of having a hard birth, she is quick to learn, even if she is a bit stubborn.
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