I was working at the back of the property and had a look at the webcam feed on my phone at 3:00pm. Peaches and Mulligan were just eating hay. Then, at 3:15 my phone rang. I took a look at the display and the number had a strange area code. I didn't even answer the phone, I just started towards the barn, calling up the webcam stream as I went. As soon as I saw what was happening - I ran as fast as I could - Peaches was in full labour!
I shut Peaches and myself into the birthing stall, much to Mulligan's dismay. He was quite put out that he couldn't be a part of whatever excitement was happening. Right away though, I knew that something was wrong because Peaches was throwing herself down and rolling. That means that they are trying to reposition the foal. The next time she went down, I had a feel... it was NOT legs! So, the choices were breech or "red bag". I had a look in and could just see that it was indeed a "red bag" delivery. That meant that the placenta had detached and Peaches was delivering the whole kit and caboodle at once. This is extremely dangerous because once the placenta detaches, the foal gets zero oxygen. You have only minutes to get the foal out and breathing.
As soon as I saw that it was a "red bag", I leaped over to the counter where my foaling kit was and whipped out the sharpened popsicle stick that was there for just this scenario. Luckily, I had read a very descriptive article and did not even have to think of what to do - I just did it. The next time Peaches went down, I reached in with the stick, sliced the placenta open, grabbed the foal's legs and pulled her right outta there. I then broke the regular sac and squeezed down her nose with a towel to expel any liquid. She immediately started to breathe and move - success! What a relief! I then noticed that my hands were shaking quite badly! LOL
I knew we were not out of the woods yet though. The vet arrived shortly after and checked out the mom and baby. We gave Peaches some painkiller and tied off, cut and dipped the foal's umbilical cord. Now it was the nail-biting waiting game! Did the foal get oxygen in time or would she have "dummy foal syndrome", which would mean she would not be able to nurse. The vet left us to it after ensuring that all was as well as it could be for the time being.
So it turned into a balancing act of letting the mare and foal bond, but keeping the foal alert and trying. I interfered more than I usually do, but luckily Peaches is such a mellow girl, she didn't mind my presence. It was three hours instead of the desired one hour, but the foal finally latched! Phewf again! We kept a close eye on them overnight, to be sure she kept nursing, but all was well. The next day she had a blood test and her antibody level was above and beyond what is required. She was a-okay and totally in the clear! So it was a rough start, but she came through it with flying colours.
We called back the number of the person who phoned in and saved the foal's life. It was a lovely gal way over in Georgia. And so that's what we named our lucky little filly.
So, we went for it. There was nothing to lose at that point. He used a plastic dowel and basically rammed a plug of shavings, pine needles and whatnot from just past her pharynx all the way to her stomach. Georgia was knocked out - don't worry. And, it worked. The Choke was done. She woke up and started nursing immediately. Miracle #2.
Georgia was far from out of the woods though. After aspirating foam for many hours, she was at a very high risk for pneumonia. Then, if she got through that, there was also a very high risk of esophageal stricture. This would mean that scar tissue would form and constrict her esophagus and she would not be able to eat. She was immediately placed on antibiotics for the inevitable pneumonia, and all we could do was wait the two weeks to see how her esophagus would heal. She was a trooper for her twice daily shots and did NOT get ill. Miracle #3.
Then, exactly two weeks after the Choke, she had a repeat. I was there to witness it and my heart plummeted. She cleared the blockage herself this time though. Phewf. She Choked off an on for a few days, but always managed to clear them herself. I had taken EVERYTHING out of her paddock that I could, but of course she still managed to find things to try to eat. The wonderful endoscope specialist heard that she wasn't doing so great and offered a free re-check to view the esophagus and see exactly what was going on. Georgia seemed to stop getting blocked by the time that appointment rolled around and he was quite happy to announce that he could see NO stricture at all! Miracle #4!
So, now after letting her heal from the re-check, I am slowly introducing mushy foods to Georgia and she has not had a Choke yet... not even a cough. We will take this VERY slow, but I am cautiously optimistic that this crazy little foal has done it again! She certainly likes to keep me on my toes! Peaches was a star through it all. We are so lucky that she is such a mellow mom. As long as she knew where Georgia was, she did not care at all what we were doing to her. Such a sweet mare!
Well... it seems that Georgia has made a full recovery! Simply amazing!