It is now 23:37 and I've just been awoken for my 12th consecutive night shift, having
I must admit, that the house is calm and quiet at this time of the day, no one needing me to feed, muck out, cook, clean or water them but I do crave a little more shut-eye. On Wednesday I didn't even manage my early evening nap and went through from Tuesday night till the wee hours of Thursday. Mind you, it was worth it.
Wednesday: A good, bright, warm day where I managed to clean the house, see to the animals and take a picnic (with sproglets + guests) to a rural wildlife reserve where a craggy rivulet cuts a sway through miles of clay (significant.) In fact, while the children shrieked with delight slightly up steam of me, (out of sight but not of hearing,) I snoozed, dribbling into the grass. The sun felt hot on the back of my jeans - lovely.
I was rudely awoken by a tribe of dripping, pygmy, spa types who'd overdosed in the mud treatment room! It was terrifying. The mile or so hike to the car, across gorse and fern; the girls in swimming costumes and colourful Crocks, carrying their wellingtons and jeans, the boys in squelching boots and wearing their, by now, cardboard jeans, was interesting.
Later, having Googled how to fix the washing machine by emptying the filter of silt and mud, we designed home-made pizza and the kids settled to watch a movie. I cleaned up and waited for Hubby to relieve me of duties so I could sleep. He was due home from a meeting at 9pm.
Before Hubby arrived I'd managed to herd the children and their guests into their respective bedrooms. I took the opportunity to walk up the drive to check on the pregnant ewes in the stables. Pink, my cade lamb of two years ago, was definitely showing signs of lambing.
By the time hubby arrived Pink was pacing and her water sack was visible. Hubby left me to fix his dinner. By walkie-talkie I described each gory labour stage, while Hubby attempted to prepare and eat his pizza. Funny but he seemed reluctant to hear every detail.... [Lou: Smiling evilly - I'm overtired OK!]
Anyhoo, by 10.30pm we roused the children and they came to the barn to see Pink, (slightly aided by me as I could only find one little lamb foot initially,) give birth to her first lamb, a bonny baby girl. Mum and baby immediately bonded.
An hour later, as requested, we roused the children again as Pink began to deliver lamb number two. Unfortunately she only presented the head of this lamb and try as I may, I couldn't slide it back in to the ewe in order to recover both of the legs for a perfect birth, the canal was just too narrow and I felt very inexperienced. I did manage to find 1 leg but the shoulders were too wide to allow the lamb to birth. After a few moments and a stunned silence from the kids, Hubby phoned to ask our nearest farmer friend to help us. [All the ewes we're lambing this year were bought from him originally and he has been such an invaluable teacher for me.]
Within minutes he was with us. He flipped Pink on her side and had the lamb out moments later. My mistake had been to try to lamb Pink while she was standing, with her lying on her side the lamb slipped out easily and was given to mum to lick. Another lovely girl. I feel sure, having watched the technique used, I could repeat this on another occasion.
This lamb struggled a little through the night. I stayed to make sure all was OK. In the end, maybe an hour later, when the lamb was badly shivering and not attempting to stand like her sister, I intervened. I made up a little bottle of warmed colostrum and fed it to her, keeping her close to my body warmth. Next I wiped her in the birthing fluids that dripped from Pink's backside in order to disguise my smell and lay her next to her sister in the straw.
The result: two happy girls today and one happy mummy. Phew.
Snowy: You're next!