Animal midwifery: Spring kids

Animal midwifery: Spring kids

Renee EllisonMar 26, '23

As we approach Passover, it is the time of year that goats and lambs are born.  One day we Ellisons were baptized in animal midwifery.  You think you have problems delivering babies.  It was an eye-opener to see that the animal kingdom does, too--at least somewhat.  When we watched the mama goat deliver, I was absolutely no help at all.  I promptly lost it and cried.  The miracle of birth, whether to man or animal, is so overwhelmingly awesome.  The gal who owned those goats told us she always tears up, even though she has seen these animal births dozens of times before.  Let me tell you, ‘twas nothin’ like the birth of hamsters!  While I was dabbing my eyes, my daughter didn't bat an eye; decades before becoming a doula and helping with the entrance of scores of babies into the world, she kept her total cool and stayed practical, practical, practical—you'd think she'd done it a dozen times before.  She stayed keenly observant.  While the owner and I were oohing and aahing with the second birth, my daughter barked like a Mayo Clinic surgeon: "Get those legs fully out of the birth canal!  The third baby goat is right behind and has got to breathe—hurry!"  She had seen its nose.  She quickly and professionally tore the sacks off the noses of all three newborn kids, to get them up and breathing—when they looked dead!  Then the mom did the rest of the lick-up job.  They looked like three kids swimming in egg whites, but it must have tasted like angel food cake because she practically licked the fur right off from them.  A car wash couldn't have done better.

That mama goat was a riot to watch.  She had never given birth before, so she didn't know what was goin’ on.  She'd lie there and wheeze and arch her head way back with a "You’ve gotta' be kidding; this pain is over the top!"—then she'd get up and paw the ground like a bull in Spain facing a red cape.  "I want this outa’ here now!  What kind of game is this?"  Then she'd collapse on the ground and wheeze again.  "Whatever this is all about, I don't want it to ever happen to me again, understand!", as her sides cramped in so badly, she looked like the last squeeze on a tube of toothpaste.  Out popped three—she went into overdrive—she'd be lickin' the first and then swing around and try to deliver the second, etc., round and round like a crazy woman.  "Well, which am I supposed to be doin’?"  The first kid would go for the Dairy Queen bit and she'd glare at her: "You're not gonna nurse now, while I'm delivering?  You've gotta be kiddin’!"

Meanwhile, old Tom Turkey strutted around like a czar smokin' cigars.  Never did a turkey do less and take more credit.

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