It was a drizzly Wednesday morning, when I went out to tend the sheep. As the rest gathered up for some grain, one ewe huddled in a corner of the barn, her ears and head drooping towards the ground. As I cautiously walked towards her I noticed snot streaming down her nose. A closer look over, and I could see she wasn't looking quite right in the rear either. So, we did what any good shepherd would. We consulted our books and the vet.
The diagnosis was discouraging. It seemed she likely had pneumonia, along with toxemia. Due to the weakness from battling these, she'd also developed a mild prolapse. The prescription, polypropylene glycol, antibiotic, and a prolapse strap.
That was 3 days ago. Today, she went into labor. This is a day that is leaving me more a shepherdess than I was when it started. Today, I assisted the delivery of her lambs. She wasn't due to deliver for about 2 1/2 weeks. Her lambs did not survive. The first, coming out breech, left me hopeful, as I saw it open an eye. But by the time the second was delivered, which had been head bent down and one leg back, neither were viable. My heart sank and all I could do was tell her how sorry I was as she tenderly cared for them. She is one of the best mothers we have and to have to take her lambs from her broke my heart.
Now, I'm left praying she has no complications, as well as thanking God for guiding my heart and my hands as I assisted her as best as I could.
As I put the 2nd one away, to be buried when the land is no longer frozen, she seemed so much stronger than she had before the delivery. She could walk without wobbling. She even seemed more sociable with the other ewes. However, her nickering for her lambs, left my heart out for her.
It isn't the first time we've lost lambs to complications. This time was just much more personal as I was so intimately involved in the process.
I don't know if I'll ever become a midwife, though I've considered it many times, but today, I learned more about how it might feel to be one. My respect and love for them only grows, for all they do for us.
On top of that, my realization of how much I truly care for my sheep, amazes me.