Those of you who were with me last winter know that our first lambing season was not a graceful one. Early lambs, a record cold winter, and inexperienced farmers meant more heartache than we could bear.
By February I had put Pete on "farmer" detail and assigned myself house-detail because my heart just couldn't take it.
So yesterday when Sage ran into the house shouting, "Lambs! I see lambs! Lambs, mama!" while Pete was at work you would think my heart would be in my throat.
But it wasn't. No fear, no worry, just a happy sort of excited adrenaline.
We raced out to the barnyard and sure enough, there were two (perfect) just born lambs laying on the hay. (Their mama Poppy didn't let on when we fed them a few hours before, or we weren't paying close enough attention.) We had no idea they were coming! What a surprise.
And without Pete and home to be the farmer, the kids and I managed just fine on our own.
One lamb was separated from it's mama, laying warm and wet on the hay where she was born. I scooped her up, checked her nose and mouth, and headed for Poppy. My hands stuck to the fluids and membrane on her wool and carried her across the field and I realized that it was the first time I had held a baby so fresh and new aside from my own.
We move the three of them into the barn to give them a quiet place to get acquainted and – without Pete there to help – I dried off the babies (since the mama wouldn't lick them dry, likely on account of my nervous hovering) and then Sage, Lupine and I worked together to get the babies to nurse for the first few several times as that, too, wasn't going as seamlessly as we had hoped.
And all was well.
Full disclosure: while the three of us bravely managed it alone, I did send Lupine to the house a half-dozen times with questions or updates for him. "She won't lick them. Should I dry them off?" "How long before we need to intervene and feed them?" "Good sucking reflex but they won't latch. What should I do?" "What about iodine for their umbilical cords?"
By noon he was answering his cell phone, "Sheep doula hotline, how can I help you?"
Because, yeah. I called a lot.
But still. We did it! Two strong, healthy lambs and one strong, healthy mama, despite the normal bumps along the road. I could hardly fall asleep last night, thinking of mama and lambs and the others yet to come.
I'm thankful that things went so well and – amazing even myself – I'm actually excited (not afraid) to have more lambs born in the coming days.
Oh, what a difference +45 F (versus -30) means for little lambs. And for my heart.
Welcome, Poppy Seed and Polka Dot! We're so glad you're here.