This is an amazing story of a little filly that almost didn’t survive. It all started with a wish that I had to have a foal out of my favorite mare. This mare is my closest equine friend. She and I have a unique bond that we have had since the first time we met. It was such a special gift when we confirmed that Babe was in foal. We were told that she had foaled before so we thought all was good. Toward the end of Babe’s pregnancy she had started to get sick and I had called the vet out. He ultra sounded her and found that she had an infection in the placenta and she needed to be on antibiotics until she foaled. He had measured the area where the infection was and he thought it was only a couple inches in diameter. Babe really didn’t feel good the rest of her pregnancy. I had the vet out another time just to make sure she wasn’t getting worse. He said that she was staying the same and the infection wasn’t spreading. We were worried that it would spread through out the placenta and or Babe’s body. Finally, it was foaling day. We had been watching her very close and I had the video camera on her. I could see on the monitor that her water had broken and it was time. I could hardly stand it; we had been waiting for this moment for so long. I ran to the barn pulling my shoes and coat on. As I went in the stall I was able to see the whole thing. Here came baby, how exciting. Grief filled my whole body like a flood. It couldn’t be….
Babe is a paint horse. In this breed, there is a genetic disorder that is called Lethal White Syndrome. Both parents have to carry this gene. This is where an all white baby is born with a defect where the intestinal tract isns’t formed all the way. All Lethal White babies die within hours of birth because the intestines block and they can’t pass manure. It is extremely painful for the foal and the vets almost always humanely euthanize them within an hour or so of birth.
As I helped clean the foal up, I desperately searched for a spot or pigment on the skin. I looked for anything to put my fears to rest. Nothing, no spots, no color, both eyes were even blue. Everything presented Lethal White. I took a minute and just cried. I couldn’t figure out why after all of the problems with Babes pregnancy. Why after all of that, she was going to die. In tears I called our vet and told him what was going on. I explained how she had no color or pigment and that it looked like she was Lethal. As I waited for the vet to come I called one of my closest friends and a volunteer here at the ranch. She said she would come over and be with me as we decided what to do about our little foal. My friend and the vet arrived around the same time and we all went into the stall together. As the vet confirmed what my heart was already thinking we all began to cry. So many of the kids that come to the ranch had been waiting for this day. What would I tell them? How would I explain what happened. As we talked I was so torn on what to do. How could I give up on this little filly? But even more so, how could I let Babe get attached to this baby and then have her loose it in such a painful way? The vet had the syringe in his hand; he was just steps from giving her the injection. Because we didn’t think the sire had the Lethal gene we decided to wait it out. It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make. Was I making the right one? What if I was allowing her to live only to suffer a horrible death? The vet gave me instructions on what to look for and to expect. It wouldn’t be pleasant if she did have the disorder. He said I would know and it would be very obvious when the time came.
As you can imagine I didn’t sleep a wink all night. I kept watching the monitor to see if she was going down. Every hour we watched to see if the foal had pooped. I hadn’t seen her do any poops, but by noon the vet decided to come back out and do a 24 hour foal and mare check. She had been up and playing around, but I couldn’t get excited. She still hadn’t gone the bathroom yet. As I sat in the stall waiting for our vet to pull in, I was watching her and thinking about all the night brought. I couldn’t believe it, she pooped! It was right there, as if she waited just to show me. I had never been so excited for manure in my whole life! The vet walked in and as I told him what she had just done, he began to smile. She wasn’t out of the woods but it was a great sign. He began his foal check. Eyes, ears, nose and the rest of her body. After he took a good look at her he was hopeful. She still had to last 36 hours and she would be home free. He then moved on to Babe. He looked her over really good, checking where the infection had been. As he looked things over he was shocked at what he saw. The infection was much worse than what they thought. Instead of a small area infected, it was almost all infected. The part that they thought was bad (those few inches), was the only viable part left. He didn’t know how Babe even carried the foal to term. Babe shouldn’t ever be bred again because she could have the same thing again, but next time we could lose both her and the baby. By all accounts this foal should have never made it here. She wasn’t supposed to survive.
That night I sat in the house praying and asking God why all of this happened. The hard pregnancy, Babe being sick, the foal being all white. And as I just sat quiet, God put on my heart something really special. “How many young people are going to come to this place and look like there is no hope?” “How many will need someone who will stand in the gap and not give up on them?” I knew this filly had a reason. A story that God was going to use to touch young lives. A tool He was going to use to show hope and healing. We gave this amazing foal the name Miracle. She is a little miracle, just like the young people that come to the ranch.
Our Miracle is now 7 months old, and believe it or not she is growing spots! This is so rare. She now has 4 spots and is working on a 5th. I love how God works. He does things in His own wonderful way.