Why on earth is it that we, as human species Mothers, have such a hard time during childbirth? Ok, so I know that there's the select few who 'claim' not to know they're pregnant until they go to the loo one day and find a head sticking out from between their legs, or those who have a slight niggling backache and then just 'pop' the baby out. I can safely say I wasn't one of those women. (Let me confirm that for you in Labour Day Part 1). Were you? I don't want to know.
Now the reason for asking this was prompted by my trip today, with the two girls, to a sheep farm. Despite waking up this morning to storm clouds and more than just a drizzle, the trip had been planned for at least a month and as much as I welcome any excuse to stay inside and chain drink cups of tea, there's only a couple of days left of the lambing season and this was our last chance to witness a lamb being born. So as a threesome (husband is away again - don't ask), we braved the rain, donned our wellies, hooked up with some friends and ventured out to the back of beyond (otherwise known as Coombe Farm).
I can't tell you how excited the girls were. Ok, I'll try. Renée was whooping with joy and Edie was grinning inanely from ear to ear. Get the picture? Too, too cute. And despite Edie's irrational fear of absolutely all animals, which surfaced every now and then as a whimper, even she managed to have fun. They stroked and cuddled the lambs and generally frolicked about having a good time. In fact, if I think about it too much I may well up because it was truly beautiful. Call me a softie.
But gorgeous children and fluffy lambs aside, what I really wanted to see was the actual birth of a lamb. I don't think the girls were that bothered (actually I think Edie would have become slightly hysterical), but for me, it was the holy grail. So what do you do on a sheep farm when you want to see lambs being born? I'll tell you what you do. You go and study the back end of every ewe that doesn't already have a lamb. Ha. You see - in just one morning I've become an expert (yes I know CJ - I'll be taking your job soon). So while the children wouldn't leave the cosy embrace of the lambs, my friend and I wouldn't leave the ewes' bottoms. And I can tell you this - they were not a pretty sight. Swollen, bloody, pooey even...all with bits hanging out...and mangey bits of wool hanging off...it was strangely reminiscent of my own labour. But back to the point. Not one of the ewes looked to be in pain. Lambs were literally dropping out. Ok, so I didn't actually witness a birth (and don't speak to me about it because I'm devastated), but I might as well have done. There was one ewe in particular who was walking around with legs sticking out of her bottom. Well I assumed they were legs. What they actually looked like were two white hot pokers encased in rather slimy cellophane. And this went on for at least an hour. And I know this because I was there the whole sodding time. Unfortunately, I never managed to see the rest of the lamb, but what I did have the pleasure of witnessing was the passing of a few sacs of afterbirth, which I am still struggling to eradicate from my mind.
But just to wrap this all up. There was no pain. Plenty of blood. But no pain. A few bleats and a bit of panting and then a baby lamb is born. Why can't that be us? Oh I know. Maybe we'd all try to have too many babies and overpopulate the world with snivelling snotty monsters. That's it isn't it? A painful childbirth is there to stop us being too hasty in our procreation. I have to say, after my first labour I did swear to my husband (and there was a bit of swearing at him as well) that I would never go through that again. But here I am, two babies down and another on the way. ONLY JOKING. Do you think I'm that crazy?? Please. The sheep can give birth to as many lambs as they can manage, but I'm happy just with two.
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