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Cell Phones, Barns, and Lambs…

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April 2014
There are always lessons to learn.

New Ram Lamb

Standing in the barn, the cell phone set to speaker phone, we talk to the vet. I hold the ewe and my husband works to try to figure out how to put her back together. We tell the vet what has unfolded, the first time ewe lambed that morning, two ram lambs, big and healthy. Twelve hours later, she pushes hard, her uterus now laying beside her on the straw. New lambs baaing, mama nickering to them, cell phone sitting on a hay bale, we talk with the vet. Everything sounds doable until the final instruction-“put a stitch in her vagina to hold her all together for a few days”. We are not equipped for that. It is 9:30pm and the vet gets in his car for the 45 minute drive to our farm.

Calling the vet to come help us does not mean that we pass in the driveway-he on his way to the barn, and us on our way into the house. No, we meet him at the barn door, lambs in arm, ewe in stall, slipping away. We prepare for the vet’s initial inspection. He peers over the stall gate and says, “get me a bucket of hot water, she will be fine.” My husband and I look at one another in doubt as the ewe lays lifeless. We hustle to prepare the stall for the work ahead.

The three of us work side by side for two hours, the vet, myself, and my husband. The vet works with confidence, we are his students, watching and helping. In the end, we have put the ewe’s uterus back inside of her and worked to revive her from the spinal given to make the vet’s work easier and the ewe’s struggle less.  We have tube fed the lambs so they will allow mom to rest. The lambs snuggle up next to mom, encouraging her with their calls.

We hit the bed at two in the morning with the clock set for 3am to go check on the ewe and her lambs.
Thankfully, nights like this do not happen often. They seem to creep in just when I begin to feel confident about lambing season, as if a reminder that indeed there is much still to learn. I drift off to sleep, dreaming of cell phones, barns, and lambs.