Photos by Sue Weaver
Second-stage labor begins when a fluid-filled bubble appears in the birthing mom’s vulva (sometimes the bubble bursts before or while the baby’s born and that’s all right too).
As the mom pushes, two little feet appear and then a nose. Some moms keep getting up and turning and flopping down again, others just lie there and push. Either way is perfectly okay.
As the mama pushes, more and more of her baby appears. Between early contractions he may slip back inside his mom a little bit. Not to worry, that’s normal too.
Finally baby’s head and feet are out up to his shoulders. His mom gives a last big push and out he comes. He’s still connected to his placenta by his umbilical cord; blood courses into him for a minute or two, so it’s important not to move him right away.
Instead, strip your hand down his lower face to clear the goo from his nostrils so he can breathe. Then, when the mom jumps up to see her baby and the cord ruptures, place him where she can reach him and get out the towels!
Sometimes things don’t work this way and baby comes out hind feet first. That’s normal in species like sheep and goats.
However, you need to help this baby get born as fast as he can. As he comes through the birth canal his umbilical cord gets pressed against his mom’s pelvis and if he gets stuck, he can’t breathe because his head is still inside his mom. He can get oxygen-deprived if you don’t get him out pretty quick.
That’s what happened with Fosco. Mom grasped his legs and gently pulled in an arc down toward Shebaa’s hocks (not straight back!) with each contraction. He was big but Mom and Shebaa got him out just fine.
Then the mom will clean her babe until the next baby starts to be born. It’s exciting! These pictures show Bon Bon giving birth to last year’s twins.