Whispering Pond Farm

Whispering Pond Farm

Monday, March 12, 2012

Life Continues

Yesterday began, and ended, as so many others have this last month. The surprise and relief of having new life arrive. Will our last ewe, Leila, have her lambs her lambs today? She is getting so uncomfortable, hard to get up and then lay down. She is so big! Surely she will lamb today. The first lambs were born three weeks ago. Did she catch late in the month at Paul's? How long is too long? The night was spent getting up every four hours checking. No lambs. I made my way to the barn around 07:30am. Daylight Savings Time pushed arrival time forward an hour. A beautiful, warm morning. This is a fickle time of year in Michigan; warm and gentle followed by cold wind, ice and snow. This day would be warm; a blue cloudless sky all day. I gave everyone their grain, opened all the doors. The oldest lambs, with their mothers, graduated to the big pasture today. Running around the turn out shed too many times to count, chasing the chickens. The third set of lambs were moved to the space left by the older lambs, under the cricket attached to the barn. Leila could be with them, bask in the sun. She didn't want to leave the barn. I moved around to encourage her to leave and realized she had started to lamb, an amnionic sac was apparent! Finally! With mixed emotion I placed her in the larger jug. Yes, finally, but she's so big. Triplets? She was not a good mother initially last year. It took a lot of hand milking, placing lambs on her, forcing her to accept her baby. Knowing it would be awhile before she progressed Bob and I cleaned the barn. Staying busy makes the time pass. Another sac appeared. This doesn't seem right. More time, too much time. A call to the vet. Dr. Kramer says it's okay. Okay, membranes are still bulging. With the others membranes bulge and then the sac is broken by the front feet squeezing through the canal. A nose, not front feet appear. Break the sac, clear the nose, try and push the lamb back in and find the front feet. I can find the front feet but can't bring them around, can't push the lamb back in. It's too big. It's too big to deliver nose first, with shoulders and legs to follow. Bob tries. He can't. Dr. Kramer will come. He makes the drive from north of Ionia in 30 minutes. Quickly, and yet an eternity. He his able to push the lamb back in, find the front legs, realign, and with chains attached, pull the lamb out. Agonal breathing, dusky tongue, eyes open. The lamb is huge, as big as the three week old lambs in the pasture. Attempts to arouse the lamb during the assisted birth of his twin fail and Dr. Kramer euthanizes him humanly with an injection. The twin is smaller. Stressed, but not traumatized, by the prolonged labor and birth of her brother. Weak, but not too weak. Dried, and given Leila's hand expressed milk she attempts to nurse. Bob removes the dead lamb, takes him to be buried, to remove his smell. Leila continues to search and call for the dead lamb. Leila shoves the unfavored lamb away rejecting her attempts to nurse. Lamb and mother are placed in the smallest jug. No room to push the baby away. As the day progresses; after hand milking, showing the baby where to nurse, rubbing milk on the baby; Leila starts talking to her baby in the low soft tones ewes use. Maybe this baby will survive. The unfavored life, the smaller twin, maybe. Milestones to reach; 24 hours, 48 hours. Dr. Kramer gave Leila an antibiotic and medication to contract her uterus. We must watch for continued bleeding and infection. Watch, wait....Live well, Carmen

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