There was a surprise waiting for me when I went into the barn the other morning. One of my ewes had her lambs. I ran for the house and grabbed my phone so I could take pictures of the first sheep born on my property. I sent the picture to my daughter so she could rejoice with me.
Being a mother has never dulled the wonder of birth. I have yet to tire from marveling about how the Creator causes life, from nothing to something in a few short months. And baby farm animals are the promise of a future for the herd and increase for the farm. I have yet to know a mother who does not like cuddling babies, either human or animal. And true to my instincts, I cuddled. The ewe was not happy with that, but that did not matter to me. I fell in love.
A couple of days later, I was at work and I heard a knock at the door. There he was, holding a box full of blankets wrapped around an almost dead lamb. He had gone to see them and found this one laid out on the floor. Not being sure what to do, he tried to call me, did call my daughter and his grandmother. When they could not help him, he found the jobsite that I was working that day and brought the lamb to me.
I tried. I checked everything and tried what I could, but I could not help him and he died. Brokenhearted I went back to work and he graciously took care of the lamb.
A few days later while my daughter and I were working on the barn, I noticed the usual behavior of a mother about ready to birth. My daughter ran to the car, got her camera and we filmed almost the entire scene of the second ewe having her babies. My granddaughter was there and witnessed the miracle too. Here we were my daughter and I….. both of us being mothers, watching the labor and having the sympathetic urge to push…..
The ewe had three; 2 males and a female. The female was smaller and I was concerned for her chances of survival but she got up and all of them were eating and walking around. I checked numerous times, the latest at 11PM before going to sleep and they were fine.
When I went to the barn the next morning, I heard the crying of one of the lambs. Having been around goats for so many years, I know the difference between a call and a cry…..this was crying. So I ran to check what was going on.
The female was dead. Obviously dead. The beautifully colored male was lying normally but crying. One look and I knew something was horribly wrong. His lower jaw hung loose and there was blood pooled in his mouth. During the early morning one of the ewes had stepped on his face and broken his jaw. There is very little hope for a baby with a broken jaw. They cannot nurse now and if it could be set, the jaw may not align for correct chewing later causing starvation or malnutrition. I held the crying baby until I found that there was nothing I could do to logically save him, so I had to put him out of his misery. And my heart cried.
Nothing beats the magic of birth. And nothing tears the heart out of a mother as the death of a baby. I have had it happen many times but it never gets easy. So I rejoice with births, grieve with the deaths and love the living. That is life on the farm.
Well…….that is life everywhere, but it is ever more noticeable on a farm.
So I had 5 lambs born in the last week and 3 are dead. So I choose to live in peace and enjoy the ones that remain.
Where can you rejoice in your life……….in spite of the losses?