Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Sleepless Nights and False Alarms
For the past week, I've been doing a midnight run to the barn to check on her. To scratch her chin and to watch her breathe. Yesterday we notice some subtle changes. She was a bit restless. Every once in a while she'd look back toward her flank. Her breathing was different. She wasn't in distress but she was different. She has been making a bit of a milk bag but no signs of waxing yet. I've read that only 50% of mares exhibit that sign prior to delivery, I realize that is not a fool-proof way of predicting the impending arrival of this bundle of joy. We don't want to miss the grand entrance of this precious new life and hope to be present for the birth. I said I'd go back out to the barn and sit with her. I took the midnight to 4 a.m. shift. It was a starry starry night and I put my lawn chair next to the turn out area which attaches to her stall. I thought even if it's not her time yet, it would be a good trial run to get her accustomed to having visitors in the middle of the night. I took a few fotos and visited with her. She showed every sign that I was more than welcome to spend the night with her. If I walked away, she'd follow me along the fence line and stay as close to me as space would permit. It was a still night, so quiet that you could hear your own heart beat if you listened. You would expect it to be quiet if you knew how far out in the woods we live. What you might now expect is all the "goings-ons. I had sevral feline companions but Della Rose won the spot in my lap for her nap. Mr. Bojangles, senior member of the the herd (born 5-19-1980) honored me with the job of protector while he stretched out flat on the ground and took a nap just a few feet from my chair. The coyotes were terrorizing our valley with their night run and spine-tingling serenade. At one point they were east and west of the barn at the same time. My companions didn't seem worried so I wasn't either. Lance and Luna squealed at each other from their adjoining stalls if either one of them wandered too far away. Owls hooted, frogs croaked and crickets chirped. Quiet isn't always so quiet. At 2 a.m. MyHoney came out to check on us and said he'd set his alarm for 4 a.m. to take over. I'd dosed off and when he came out a 4 a.m., my head was drowsy and full of horsey dreams. I noticed some thunder and lightening as I headed for the house to get some much needed sleep.
MyHoney's shift was from 4 a.m. til 8 a.m. As luck would have it, storms moved in and torrential rain, wind, thunder, lightening and small hail ensued. Due to the weather, he had to move the lawn chair inside the barn. He set up camp but had to move when he found that he'd parked himself under a drip in our 75 yr old barn's roof. The had to add a paper feed sack to sit on because the wind had gotten cold and unrelenting. He too had several feline companions while he was on duty. By 8 a.m. there was standing water everywhere and it was the beginning of a dark and stormy day. Sage's mild and barely noticeable "symptoms" did not intensify or diminish, so no baby yet but it will be sometime soon. She's glad we decided to camp out with her. She's glad for the extra one-on-one attention and especially glad for the extra flakes of hay throughout the night. Today she's standing in the doorway of her stall watching the rain fall. We're tired and sleepy but very excited that soon this baby will arrive no matter how many sleepless nights and false alarms occur.It was a good practice run for the real deal and now we do know that our presence is a comfort to her and that she will welcome us as overnight guests in her stall anytime.