Lambing is my favorite time of the year, but it can also be super stressful and exhausting. For the last two weeks, I have been setting my alarm every two hours at night to get up and check the sheep. It’s exhausting but worth it. Thankfully I have a barn camera, so I don’t have to go outside to check them. My first ewe gave birth to a set of twins on Saturday evening. It was such an easy birth that I got spoiled quickly.
I believed that my favorite ewe Maggie was going to lamb next. Maggie was the very first sheep I ever got and “my baby.” During the last couple of weeks, she has been having a hard time. She has been prolapsing – which if you don’t know what that is – feel free to look it up. I don’t want to explain as it is a little graphic.
To say that I was worried about Maggie was an understatement. I did not have an exact due date, but I knew she was close to lambing. Wednesday morning, I got up and went to work as usual after doing chores.
I no more than got to work when I get a message from my Mom to check Maggie on the barn camera. I did and it appeared that her water bag was out. I asked my boss if I could take the day off and raced home. When I got home, sure enough, she had passed her water bag.
I waited and waited and she continued to paw at the ground, a tell-tale sign of labor, but no progress. She’d push a bit, but things weren’t progressing. I was starting to get a bit concerned. By now it was about two hours since her water bag had appeared and I knew that it was too long. I was starting to get a sick feeling. I said at 10:30 I was going to call the vet if there was no progress. I waited until about 10:15 and knew something wasn’t right so I called.
After talking to a few receptionists, they put me on the phone with Dr. McGee. Dr. McGee agreed that a little over two hours was too long. Unfortunately, the vets that were on the road were at emergency calls and couldn’t get to me right away. She asked if I could try to see if I could find a nose and or legs and call her back. Knowing there were very few alternatives I said I could. I put on my gloves that go up to my shoulders and did what I knew I had to do.
I found a nose and mouth, but no legs. After feeling around for a while I finally found one leg. Ideally, you want two feet with a nose between if it’s a normal delivery. That’s not what I had. I tried to pull and had a really bad feeling. The baby was not moving at all. At this point, I was just like please let me save Maggie. Even if we lose the baby. As she contracted, I was finally able to get the lamb out and it was as I had feared. The lamb was dead. There are a plethora of things to do to try to get a lamb to breathe and I tried them all, knowing it was in vain.
I was pretty upset, but at least I still had Maggie. I picked up my phone to call Hometown Vet back and sat down with a few tears. Losing an animal is the hardest thing on the farm. I was sad, but Maggie was still alive so not all was lost. The baby was fairly big so I was not sure if she would have had twins or not. I was at a loss. What do I do next?
My Dad took the dead lamb out as I called the vet back. All of a sudden, he yells – “Laura, a vet is here.” Hometown Vet had reached out to their vets on the road. Dr. Smith had just finished up a call and was driving back through Unity so she decided to stop and see if we were still having trouble. I cried. I can’t say enough about Hometown Vet. They are the absolute best.
Dr. Smith came in and looked at Maggie. She said she’d check to see if there was possibly another lamb. She reached in and felt a second lamb. She also said that she believed that it was alive too. I so wanted Maggie to have a live lamb as I had already made the decision not to breed her again with the trouble she has had during her first pregnancy. Dr. Smith pulled out a lamb and it was alive! I cried. Maggie had a live baby!
She decided to go back in and to make sure there wasn’t another lamb in there. She’s like there is another lamb in here and I’m pretty sure it’s alive too. She pulled it out and got it breathing. My sweet Maggie, who I fell in love with as a bottle baby two years ago, had triplets in her first pregnancy. I’m going with an E theme this year and named the little ram Elliot and the little ewe Emmy. I still love the book The Little Lamb and the girl in that book is named Emmy. I’ve been hoping that Maggie would have a girl so that I could name her Emmy.
Dr. Smith checked Maggie out and thinks that she will recover fine. I am a Christian and totally believe that God works miracles daily but today was just a God moment for me. For Dr. Smith to be driving through Unity and get the message that we desperately needed her was just a God thing. Had she not been here I may have very easily lost Maggie and all three babies. It’s a day I will truly remember for the rest of my life. To say that I am beyond thankful is an understatement.