Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A worrying time!

Now of course, having lost the alpaca baby that was born when I was in England, we are of course very paranoid, and the plan was to give the baby blood plasma intravenously within the first few hours of its birth, as extra protection. So when the baby was born on Christmas Eve, the plan was still to give him the plasma, however also I was very concerned that he did not seem to be feeding sufficiently, that old paranoia creeping in again! We phoned Andres, our vet, who was at a very noisy party, at around 4pm. As he was away, he suggested we took the baby to the vetinary hospital in Cordoba for the plasma to be given. Well we thought we did the right thing in asking Nigel and Ginny Cobb to phone ahead and tell them we were coming, but they said they had no one there that could do it, they only had large animal vets there at that time, which is crazy! I am sure if we had just turned up they would have had to have seen us and dealt with little Santa. Anyway they did arrange for a horse vet, that was on call, to meet us Cordoba football club in the car park! Yes you did read that correctly!

Well Juan the vet turned up and we expected him to say follow us to the clinic, oh no! He said is the alpaca in the car? Er yes........ so he put on his green vet gear on and set to work getting things ready from the boot of his car, the plan was to put the drip in whilst the alpaca was in the car, we couldn't believe it! Well to cut was is already a very long story just a little bit shorter, alpacas are notoriously difficult to get a drip into. Their jugular vein is 'hidden' from predators and the veins in their legs are just so very tiny, they are both very hard to find, and even harder to insert a needle into. Well after about half an hour of trying, Juan eventually managed to get a needle into the vein, but the bag of plasma with saline would not go through the 'tap thingy' So we then had to follow him into Cordoba city where he has an animal ambulance to get another bag and tap. Unfortunately during the journey, the needle had moved out of the vein even though it had been taped down. At that point we felt the baby alpaca had been put though enough. He had already been away from his mum for over 2 hours, with almost an hour journey before we arrived back home, and we were then worrying if we were doing more harm than good and we all decided to call it a day! We had to accept that we were taking him home hoping that Bermuda would become very maternal seeing him again and help him feed. Nature had to take it's course!

Well we arrived home at about 11pm, Christmas Eve night, and took the little boy straight in to a very loudly humming Bermuda, she was making a wonderful clucking noise and pretty soon was feeding. After about an hour of standing in the cold and rain, we went to bed, and I don't mind telling you, I said a few prayers!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Christmas Eve and a baby is born? BIRTH SHOTS!

Christmas is a difficult time for me. I know many others are having far worse times in their lives, but I only have a very small family and we would not be together, so Alan and I were going to try and make the most of things. It had been an emotional time. We had lost a baby alpaca, and Mark, Callie, Chris and Frankie and my beautiful granddaughter were all thousands of miles away. We were relaxing watching television as a Christmas treat, as the generator has to be on, if the weather is not good. The weather had been awful, raining non stop for days. The paddock was thick mud, and the alpacas were filthy dirty and miserable, as were we! Bermuda the alpaca was due to give birth mid January, so we were already on tenterhooks, checking her regularly. Alan popped round to the paddock around 3.30 to check on her. Alpacas rarely give birth in the afternoon, so I was gobsmacked when Alan bellowed "Bermuda's having the baby!" I rushed out with camera, and towel in hand, grabbing the antiseptic spray for the cord, on route. To be amazed with the wonderful miracle of birth taking place!

My first view, a little white head!

A little further on!

The baby is born, soaking wet mud all around

We decided as it was so very muddy as the rain was just continuous that we would move the alpacas to an indoor stable. It's is a smaller outdoor area, but at least the cria and mum would be dry! So I picked up the cria and of course the alpacas all followed, then we could watch and hope all was well!

Settled in the warm dry stable

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Little Miliko's op

From the moment little Miliko came into our lives, we new he would have to have an operation on his hip! It had been completely dislocated and the only way it could be 'fixed' was to remove a piece of bone and re attach the muscle. Poor little boy would always one one leg shorter than the others, but it would stop him from having any pain. So of course we had to go through with it. The operation was scheduled for December 23rd, we were not doing anything wild for Christmas anyway.... we wish! There was a little concern when the performed an ECG as he had an unusual heart rythym. The decision was made that if there were any worries they would stop the procedure immediately. The actual operation was much simpler than Geri's, so Miliko was taken off of us and was made wave a paw. We had to return two hours later!

When we returned the operation was nearly finished, so we sat and waited. Thank goodness Maria one of the young vets in the practice speaks fluent English, she said to us there was a problem that surgeon he needed to speak to us about..... oh no! He asked, through her, had we noticed any problems ever with him regarding his mouth, did he eat properly etc. We said no, he had no problems eating, why? He told us he could not get the tube into his mouth whilst he operated, sadly whilst forcing it open, his jaw broke. He had taken x rays to explain and show us. We then put two and two together! He yawns with his mouth turning into a smile, instead of opening it (you know a bit like when you are bored, and don't want to show it!) Also when Andres our vet gave him a pill once, he had a terrible problem, getting it in his mouth,but we thought he was just strong! Plus he has a funny little bark, I guess because he does n't open his mouth! It was something we would need to keep an eye on, but hopefully it would settle down. The surgeon felt that probably the accident that caused his hip to be dislocated, probably broke his jaw too, and it had fused back together incorrectly. Sadly he had proably been hit by a car!

Anyway we got him home, and what a nightmare he was. He wouldn't keep still, unlike Geri that loved being pampered. Alan and I sat up for hours, trying to stop him from jumping about. We put him on the sofa where he normally sleeps, as we felt sure he would try and jump up anyway. Eventually we went to bed and slept very lightly! The following morning we woke up early, as soon as he heard us he stood up and jumped, all be it in slow motion, onto the floor and ran to get a drink. The next few days we tried so hard to keep him still, without much success. Thankfully he is doing just great and the vet is very pleased with his progress!

Not really ill, just trying to keep him still!
Showing Blue his scar
We had to keep re bandaging him

The new boys arrive!

The beginning of December brought some much needed happiness to our farm, with the delivery of two mates for Rafa, thanks to Nigel Cobb. We had chosen two super little grey boys that really are a lovely temperament, from our friend Jane in Gaucin. Immediately they were eating out of ours hands, literally! The new boys are Marcus and Eduardo. The three boys come running to the gate to meet us whenever we go to see them, and watch with great intent when we walk the dogs past their paddock. We are just loving having them here, they will be such an asset to our farm!

Rafa in front, with Eduardo behind and Marcus on the right

The boys meet Galaxy

Eduardo, with his fringe on the left, Marcus on the right

Whilst he was here Nigel took the opportunity to get hands on with Galaxy, he's a sprightly little lad! He was approximatley two months old in the photos below, and Nigel struggled to hold him!

Nigel thanks Cassandra for letting him see her gorgeous little boy!

A bit of sadness! - NOVEMBER

The morning after my little granddaughter was born, I phoned Alan to chat about everything being wonderful in my life when he also had some very exciting news. Lily the alpaca had given birth to a stunning little girl, our first girl! It was a bit of a surprise, she was early. According to mating dates we were expecting Lily to give birth approximately a month later, when I was home and we could panic together! A couple of days went on and she was looking good, and all in the world was looking wonderful!

Sadly this was not to last. When the little baby was four days old, Alan went to check on her early, as he had every morning, and of course other times throughout the day and he was extremely worried. She was very weak, and seemed unable to stand. Andres the vet was brought in, by our good samaritan friend Ken. He also came back later, in the afternoon, although Alan had decided by this time to take her to the vetinary hospital at Cordoba University. Our very good friends Nigel and Ginny came up from Ronda, a drive of over three hours, to bring Alan some blood plasma to be given intravenously, and of course to be of great support to him, as he was going through this alone. They met at the hospital although sadly it was too late, the little girl did not make it. Yet another sad day at Alpacas el Sol.

Someone up there is really testing us!

Lily with her gorgeous little girl

I was devasted! There I was in England, with my gorgeous new little grandaughter, and so proud of my daughter, and I knew that Alan was dealing with this nightmare all on his own. My heart was so divided. A huge part of it, full of happiness and love for my family I was spending time with, and the other part was broken hearted, knowing we had lost a baby alpaca, but mainly that Alan was having to cope with this on his own. I discussed things with Frankie and Chris and I made a decision to cut my holiday with them short, just by three days. Of course they understood and were supportive. We have another cria due in January, it's going to be a worrying time!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The most special trip!

My trip back to Brighton for the most special occasion, had been planned for months. Fingers had been tightly crossed that I would arrive in Brighton before my grandchild was born! I arrived into Gatwick on November 12th, the day before the due date. I was met at the airport by Callie so Frankie did not have to do the drive, which gave us plenty of time to catch up which was lovely.

Baby was due on Friday 13th November, ominous.... so on that day we decided to have a little trip out, nothing worse than sitting, waiting for exciting things to happen. We popped into Brighton, and Frankie walked my legs off me, all round the town, and we finished up in the famous Brighton "Tea Cozy", tea rooms, run by David, a regular on the tv program Brighton Beach Patrol. We probably spent about two hours in there, enjoying a beautiful cream tea, and chatting to David, a larger than life character, that actually deserves a medal from the queen, yes the real queen! David and his partner have shared their lives and home with people that really needed them.  I can't wait to go back!

Frankie with David, at the fab Brighton Tea Cozy, tea rooms

The following day we thought we would take it a little easier and have a little wander round Lewes where Frankie lives, once again she walked me off my feet. Hopefully the baby will come soon at this rate, or I will be exhausted!

Well soon the special day arrived, I am sure Frankie and Chris will not mind me sharing it with you.

Frankie came into me at 3.50 am saying she had been having pains for a while, and she thought her waters had broken. It rather took me back to when I was expecting her, and I sat, at that time with my dear mum, and we timed the contractions together. When we had a pattern emerging, Frankie phoned the hospital. She was told to wait until she was having three contractions every ten minutes, and they were lasting nearly a minute. So around 7.00 am Chris phoned the hospital and said we were on our way.  When we arrived at the hospital, the midwife said Frankie was only just starting to dilate and gave her some pain killers and a sleeping tablet and suggested she went home. So rather glumly that's what we did!

We sat and tried to get into Jeremy Kyle............ vile, and This morning......... much better, half way through Lose Women..... which I love, and we were on our way back. It's awful to see your baby in such pain and crying, but you know it is all going to be worth it. Back up to the delivery suite and poor little Frankie was only 4 cms. Sadly Frankie had to have some pethidine, which she did not want to do. Within minutes it was making her sick. She was moved downstairs to have a sleep, which did not really happen, and then back upstairs two hours later when things thank goodness had gone up a gear.

The plan was never really for me to be in the delivery room when Frankie gave birth.  I felt it was a very special time for her and Chris, but I did say if she wanted me, I would be there for her. After they moved Frankie, I called in to see how she was doing, and I guess I just stayed. Things had started to move quicker thank goodness, and Frankie was offered gas and air. How funny, my normally wonderful, funny, enthusiastic, spirited, although sometimes dare I say it..... short tempered daughter was in the most amazing spirits. She was so lovely and funny, inbetween contractions, of course! All the midwives were saying "Is she always this lovely?" Chris and I echoed "NOOOO!"

She was nearly there and baby was well on its way, but the final stage of labour was taking forever, four hours in fact! At 10.16pm a little girl was born. As she was born the midwife said, "No wonder she took so long!" The cord was round her neck and under her arm! My poor little girl, she had gone through so much.  I had a beautiful granddaughter!

Frankie, Chris and my beautiful granddaughter about 5 minutes old!
Proud nannie!

Frankie came out of hospital the following day, and was thrilled to find their little flat covered in banners and balloons from Mark and Callie. I had given them the keys when I met them in town that morning. Frankie and Chris and their beautiful little girl settled down to family life!

November 20th was Marks birthday so he and Callie came over to Frankie and Chris's flat, and we all had a lovely evening and a take away plus lots of baby cuddles, and of course took loads of photos!

Proud Uncle Mark

We had such a lovely time, with friends coming and going, below are a few of my favourite photos!

Mark and CallieElla, Ashdon and Tily with Kaci
A very excited Auntie Lulu!
Lizzie and gorgeous baby Freddie
Handsome little Chase
Alans auntie and nanna

A surprise Visitor - OCTOBER

Alan and I were on our way out one morning, we were surprised to see the alpacas all in a row, obviously extremely inquisitive about something going on. This was our rather gorgeous visitor, at the gate!

We had the pleasure of this young donkey being outside for quite a few days, we gave him water and there was plenty of grass and other yummy things for him to eat outside. I was quite sad to see him go. Alan saw him being ridden up the track one day, hopefully by either his original owner, or some kind animal loving Spanish person!