Grace is 342 days today, Good Friday. We have been on night watch every three hours for changes the past couple of nights. We have marveled at the changes that have taken place in just three days, but the question remains: when will this foal be born?
In Morgan’s preparation research she ran across a method of using pH strips to determine the readiness for foaling. This is based on the drop in pH of the milk from a normal pH of 7 to 8 to the 6 range. Once the pH drops below 7 the mare is within 24 hours and once in the lower 6’s like 6.3 or so the mare is within a few hours.
So we purchased short range pH strips from the marine/aquatic section of WalMart that are used to measure aquarium pH. The first test yesterday 3/28/13 at about 2pm showed the milk to be the highest pH the strip would read. Morgan did it twice just to be sure.
Last night Grace really began to get soft and droopy around the tail ligaments and cherry red in her vulvar area, and has had a few other progressing signs. We checked on her throughout the night, but this morning in the wee hours her milk was at a fast drip and she seemed to be getting very close. She was still wanting to eat, however, and was very relaxed. Not breathing particularly hard unless she was laying down, but that is to be expected with her enormous belly. 🙂
So this morning when Morgan checked the pH strips again it had dropped to the lower 6’s.
They spent the morning cleaning Grace’s stall, rinsing her off, and such. While it’s not always the best idea to spend a lot of time around an animal in stage 1 labor, I know Grace is a bit different in her comfort level. She loves to be bathed and groomed and since she was so sweaty and had pine shavings and urine on her from laying in the shavings she enjoyed a nice bath and pampering this morning after her breakfast and stall cleaning. This might have delayed her labor, yes, but Grace really loves her kids and enjoys being pampered. I remember what it feels like to have a huge miserable belly and made the call that I thought from personal experience that I would have liked to had a spa treatment at that time in my labor. 🙂 After all, the experience, the love and the care is what this journey is all about.
A heavy load!
Tayt taking “Aunt” Honey out of the pasture after her breakfast.
Her ligaments getting soft around the tailhead:
Her milkers are getting full!
Big booty 🙂
Levi checking her out on the way to the water trough:
Torrie says she will take the night shift 🙂
We managed to accomplish a bit more schoolwork other than Equine 104 today, went to pick up Kaitlyn so she can hang out with us for the weekend birthing, and made a big pot of deer stew.
Morgan just returned from the barn and Grace is still happily munching on her hay.
The pH strip shows the milk to be at the lowest pH possible now as it is completely yellow indicating 6.2
Hopefully my next post will include pictures of a brand new baby foal!
Enjoying the Journey,