Saturday, May 10, 2008

Son of a Glitch

Well Acorn, the dear, sweet, Acorn, friendliest sheep in the flock, Acorn, the kids’ hands down favorite sheep, lambed on Wednesday night. And it was a carbon copy of her buddy, Penny’s difficult night… all the way down to the midnight finish and second (surprise) lamb.

But this birth was even tougher. Acorn never quite went into active labor. Her water broke around dinnertime and then she hung out in the barn, munching hay, getting her head scratched and seeming a bit baffled. Every once in a while, she appeared to have a couple ineffective contractions and then… nothing at all for long periods. Dan and I waited and watched and waited and waited but then we had to “go in” (Now there’s a euphemism for ya) and help. And yes, it was me again (me of the “smaller hands”) who did the honors.

To my uneducated touch, this lamb seemed huge and the passage quite small. (Note to self: Perhaps breeding four year old never-bred ewes is not such a great idea….) Also, the left front hoof was back, waaaay back and, despite reaching around in there for a while, I couldn’t find it and pull it forward. The lamb was so slippery, the space so limited. I just couldn’t get a hold on the one hoof and head. (Second note to self: get one of those strange little device known as a "lamb pullers".)

Acorn was exhausted, panting like mad. We almost gave up. In fact, we called the vet (It was around 11 PM then) and were waiting for his emergency service to contact him, when we decided to give it another try. This time, miraculously, I got a grip and, though the second hoof was lost in the void, yanked and tugged and got that little girl out. Her shoulder was a little “bendy” at first (who knows where that hoof had been!) but she straightened out pretty quick, and she was quite lively too. A twiggy little thing, not at all the monstrous lamb I’d imagined.

There was another, of course. And this one had not only one foot back but his chin tucked as well! The first thing I felt was the crown of his head, jammed tight. It wasn’t so hard to straighten all this out; surprising how roomy a sheep uterus feels once it’s been half vacated. (This begs the question “Was the uterus half full or half empty?” Dan is a uterus half full kind of guy. He never had any doubt things would turn out okay. Of course, I imagined the worst, and Acorn is a dear, sweet trusting sheep, my anxiety was in high, high gear. Hey, we balance each other out.)

Anyway, the second little guy actually WAS huge, a very shiny black gray. Acorn took to motherhood as easily as she takes to everything. And Anna named the ewe lamb Caramel, the ram lamb, Cole. (We'll take some pictures once the trio is out of the maternity stall.)

All’s well that ends well, right?

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