And we still do not know if he is going to make it. I took him to Coogan's Farm to foal, on the recommendation of my vet. A lot of people thought that was not necessary, but today's events proved it was almost prophetic.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Her foaling alarm went off at 2:40 a.m. last night and she had a textbook delivery by 2:55 a.m. His cord did snap early so his umbilicus had to be tied off, but that is no big deal. Judy thought he was lethargic, so after giving him plenty of time to act normal, she got in there and tried to stimulate him. When she manipulated him a little, his head and neck flopped over to the side, like it was broken. No matter what she did, his head fell over. It scared her to death, but not nearly as much as when he started seizing in a wild manner. She said she had never seen anything like that in her life---seizures, yes-this sort of behavior, no. He kicked his legs all crazy all over the place, and still could not control his head. He thrashed and thrashed and banged his head on the ground, and ran like crazy as he laid there. She said it was like he was making snow angels but super fast--straw flying everywhere.
The whole reason they were there is because they can handle virtually any emergency and are way closer to Dr Miles should they need him. They needed him. His emergency service rousted him out of bed, and his thought was that there was nothing they could do for him. Judy could not get me to wake up, so she made the decision that he would be given a feeding tube, and we would see what happened.
So doc came up, tranquilized baby boy, gave him some banamine, some dex for brain swelling, and put in a stomach feeding tube. He left meds to continue tranquing him in the event he started seizing again when it wore off. In his opinion though, there was no chance in hell he was going to survive--he thought he was approaching brain death
I finally heard the phone ring around 10 and hotfooted it down to Coogans, about 45 minutes away. I thought, from her description, that I was going to say goodbye and make the decision to let him go. I was so frustrated. Barry was right behind me in his truck, because he was supposed to go on to the Shawnee to go mountain biking.
When I got there, Judy came out of the barn and looked so serious, I knew it was over. But nope--he was still hanging in there. This was the scene that greeted me. He was under a blanket because he shook so much. That is vet wrap around his neck and nose, to hold his feeding tube in place. There is also some duct tape on his nostril so the tube could be sewn in. They had been milking Diablo and feeding him via the tube every hour since he was born. That is the only reason he was still alive. His little baby eyes were practically swollen shut from all the trauma.
Within minutes, he had rolled his little self up on his chest, and could hold his head up. Judy said he had not been able to do that yet. She was more than a little shocked.
It was feeding time, so that happened. That feeding tube sure makes life easier, and Diablo is a saint. She is such a heavy milker, it just takes seconds to get 8 ounces out of her and into him. He is surely eating better than if he was doing it himself.
After a couple of hours of this, where I laid in the stall with him and rubbed him all over under his blanket, he got stronger and stronger. He started responding more to stimuli, and even talked a little bit. It broke my heart. No one could believe it when he started trying to get up, but try he did. Just like a newborn baby, but he was 9 or 10 hours old.
Finally he DID IT! We helped him a couple of times, but finally he did it on his own! He does not move around a whole lot, but he can sure stand up. He seems confused by his legs, but not like he has neurological issues like we thought--just like a new baby. A little slow maybe, but he is doing it
The vet called while this was happening, and I swear he thought he had the wrong number when I told him baby boy was wobbling around the stall on all fours, just like a regular baby. I think you could have knocked him over with a feather.
I stayed until 2:3o and he was trying to learn to nurse, but had not gotten it down yet. There is a fine line there--you have to keep them fed every hour because they have no reserves, but then they are not as inspired to find the taps because they are not hungry. I was sure he would figure it out.
I had an update at 6:30. He had gotten up with assistance, and once on his own, but still does not nurse on his own. So no improvement there, but he is not going backwards either. I have to keep that in mind instead of being disappointed. It is not a foregone conclusion that he is going to make it yet,. but he has a fighting chance, and he did not have that 12 hours ago.
He would not have had a chance had he been here. It is only because of Dempsey and Judy that he is still with us. If working hard and wanting it is enough, he is going to pull through. Let's hope it is enough.