Monday, June 14, 2010

Aspendance Valiant's Grace

Grace was born last Wed. at 3:15pm in the afternoon on a sunny, breezy day. Brigid had a quick and uncomplicated delivery, yet baby Grace had trouble with her legs and, consequently, balancing while standing to nurse. Grace two hours old Because of this she got very weak Wed. evening despite milking out Brigid twice, (ever tried milking a cat? An alpaca has about the same size bag and teats – and tolerance!) she was growing weaker. All through the night Wed., we woke every hour to hold her up to nurse and also supplemented her. Thursday morning she seemed stronger, standing to nurse at 5:00am on her own – for the first time. We thought we had turned a corner. But by 9am, she was weakening and not nursing again. The vet was called, who came and did a tube feeding – milking Brigid first (using a sedative and Oxytocin to help him) – he collected 2 ½ ounces, a huge amount for an alpaca. After her tubing he reassured us she should spring right back. She should be up and nursing in 90 minutes. Grace & Brigid We tried to rouse her when she did not awake from her 90 minute nap. She would not stand to nurse, she refused to take supplementation, and she was very weak and tired. We tried off and on for 5 more hours. Finally, we could not even rouse her from her sleep anymore no matter what we tried. She lay like a limp rag doll in my arms. After 26 hours of continual efforts to help her, I had to steel myself for the possibility that I was losing her. I posted a request on Facebook, for prayers, as the tears fell freely as I held her limp little body. I noticed a tear on her cheek, too. I don’t think alpacas cry. Perhaps it was mine. Betty was crying, too, as we hooked up the trailer in a last-ditch effort to bring her to the vet for some intervention – we didn’t know what else we could do for her. She was still lying limply when I took her temp one more time. Napping in a blankie And then, a miracle occurred. She not only sprang up when the rectal thermometer was inserted, she went right over to mom and nursed. She did not nurse very long, and we knew she was still very weak and not getting enough nutrients. But we now had hope where we had none before. We decided to have the vet stop once more, his last call of the day. This time he hooked her up to an IV to get her re-hydrated, and also milked Brigid again and tubed Grace once more. That night, Pappa Bear and I again took shifts with her (and C-baby kept us both company all night long), making sure she was up every 60-90 minutes to nurse. We supplemented a little, too. Friday morning, she was getting up regularly on her own, nursing, and getting stronger. She improved all day Friday and yesterday. By Sunday she seemed like any normal little cria. Nobody would know by looking at her now, how close we came to losing her. C-baby & Grace I realize on a farm, there are no guarantees. We don’t always get to choose who lives. On many farms, she would have been left to die if she was not strong enough to make it on her own. I understand that, and, as a Biology major, I also understand the importance of letting nature weed out the weak. So I struggle with my own interventions, while at the same time, savoring the fact that we did, in fact, save her life and she will continue to grace the pasture with her sweetness, given a second chance at life. She was to be called Valiant’s Vivian – Valiant, for her sire who is now deceased. But after our close call, a new name came to me – Grace. It is only by God’s grace (and your prayers!) that she lives today. And a lot of love and care from a dedicated team of people who believe, “No small act of kindness is ever wasted.” Brigid & Grace God Bless – Victoria


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