We were awaiting one more baby lamb and that lamb was born this morning. I was so thrilled and told Don I was going to name it Easter. Easter's Mother, Anastasia had separated herself from the herd and was laying down. This is one ewe who is not very friendly towards us and as to not scare her, we tried to keep our distance. You could tell that she was having contractions as her body tensed up as she pushed. We waited. This part of labor was not to take over an hour unless twins were coming. Enough time had passed so that we were now worried. Don and I cautiously approached Anastasia. She was not as resistant as she normally would be and it only took me a few seconds to understand why. Anastasia was trying to give birth to a dead lamb and she was having a very hard time. Only the baby lambs nose and tongue were visible. The sack was broken and due to the very dark color of the tongue - it was easy to see it was lifeless.
"Oh Don..." I said as my face grimaced.
Don ran upstairs to get some plastic gloves and some lubricant for me. After putting them on, I gently inserted my fingers into the ewe. The lamb felt fully formed, and large. It was in the correct birthing position, but even with contractions, Anastasia could not get it out. I was unable to get my hand in a position to help her.
We went into the barn and found some thin rope. Don fashioned it into a loop with a slip knot at the end. I placed the loop around my fingers and again inserted my hand into the ewe. I gently pushed it up and over the baby's head and tightened it around the neck. I started to gently pull. Anastasia had another contraction with little to no progress. I pulled harder. I pulled again, this time with all of my might. Still with very little progress. Next, while pulling the rope with my right hand, I slipped my left hand into the ewe and grabbed the lambs front leg. Pulling both, it's small perfectly formed head started to emerge from it's Mother. With another 5 minutes of intense pulling, we were able to birth the little boy lamb named Easter.
We buried him by our newly planted pear trees. Don told him that he loved him, even though he never got to know him.
Someone once told me that sheep are born looking for a way to die... I think that I may understand that now.