Thursday, March 13, 2008

Farm Photo 3/13/08: Cary, No Baby


Cary

The late night visit from the vet felt like a scene straight from a James Herriot book, only with slightly more technology - and antibiotics. Even the vet admitted he'd been thinking about James Herriot while driving out here, as he read over the directions I'd given him and realized just how far out into the country he was headed.

In the 13 years I've been raising sheep, I've never had to have a vet come to the farm. This was the third one I'd tried to get a hold of. I explained the situation and asked if he could drive over.

"You can't bring her down to the clinic?"

"No."

"It's gonna be expensive."

"I know." It's Cary.

Bear and I watched his headlights make their way down the switchbacks on the driveway and listened to the distant sound of his truck. When he got out he smiled and said, "This is the kind of place you move to when you don't want anybody to find you!" Then he looked around the darkness. "You're out here by yourself?"

"Tonight I am." And I led him into the barn.

Cary didn't have twins as I'd thought she might. That swollen belly of hers was full of one enormous baby, and it was very stuck. The normal position for a lamb about to be born is right side up, both hooves headed out, nose between the hooves. This one had one leg back, and its nose was pointed down. I've never had this happen. I talked to a friend who has more lambing experience than I do. She told me what to do. I tried and tried, but I couldn't do it. I needed help. Cary needed help.

The first priority is to save the mother. We lost the baby - a 15-pound (!!) black boy - but we saved Cary. She's expected to make a full recovery, and was up and nibbling on hay not long after the exhausting ordeal was over. I sat with her for a while in the little bonding suite after the vet had driven back out into the night, my forehead resting against her side, my hand stroking her neck. She didn't have anyone else to bond to. I didn't want to leave her.

I'm sure Cary would have been a wonderful mother, and I'm hopeful that one day she will be. But no matter what happens, she'll always be my baby. As the vet was packing up his things, I told him Cary's story. This morning when I came out of the Treat Room holding a little bucket of grain, she bumped her nose into my thigh like she used to do whenever she wanted her bottle of milk. She hasn't done that in over a year.

This is a short version of the story because I'm headed off the farm and won't be back until late tonight. But I knew many of you Cary fans would be anxiously waiting for an update. I'd been really worried that she would go into labor while I was gone today, and now I know that if she had we probably would have lost her. I'm so very grateful that we didn't.

Lambing Season 2008 has officially begun, and considering that we had seven lambs born in the first 24 hours of lambing season last year, I'm sure the next several days are going to be even chaotic than usual around here. You know I'll keep you posted.

© FarmgirlFare.com, the heart wrenching foodie farm blog where Farmgirl Susan shares the ups and downs of life on 240 remote Missouri acres.

70 comments:

  1. Aw, I'm glad to hear that Cary is going to be all right and looking for food. I'm sorry her baby couldn't be saved too and I too hope there will be a cute Cary baby some day.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ohhh, I'm so sad to read this today. Cary is lucky to have such a nice mama to spoil her a little after this. I hope she recovers very fast, and gets "back in the saddle" soon.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh Farmgirl- I'm so sad she lost her little baby, but SOOO happy Cary is O.K.! Farm life is so full of highs and lows, isn't it?
    It's so sweet that Cary knows she needs her Momma right now, too.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm so glad that Cary is safe and sound! I hope that she recovers quickly from her ordeal.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sorry to hear about the loss of the lamb baby, but glad that Cary is thriving! All the best for the forthcoming lambing season!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. We are very sorry to hear that the baby did not make it, but are so very glad that Cary will be okay. Purrrrrs.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Sorry to hear about the little lamb, but glad that Cary is doing well. It sounds like you are going to be very busy for a few days!

    ReplyDelete
  8. How sad and tragic. You must be exhausted from worry. I know that mother nature can be a bitch sometimes and I can accept it but I don't have to like it. Not at all.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I've thought about her SO much since I read your announcement post. I'm sorry for the loss but relieved to know that Cary is ok and is still her sweet, loving self.

    ReplyDelete
  10. My goodness...I'm almost in tears. How scary and alone that ordeal must have felt. I am so glad that Cary is o.k., but I'm sorry that you lost the lamb. What a big boy he would have been - and a black one too - I know how much you like the black ones.

    Was Cary the official start of this year's lambing season?

    I hope that you get better rest tonight. I'm praying for a good and full recovery for Cary (and all the other soon to be Momma's).

    ReplyDelete
  11. WHEW!! Glad Cary is OK, must have been a bit stressful for a bit. SO sorry about Cary's baby, though.
    Thanks for keeping us Cary fans apprised!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I too, am sadden by the loss of Cary's lamb. Wow...he was big!! It brought tears to my eyes. I'm sadden for your heartache, too.

    Ahh...farm life...it's awesome when things go well, and very humbling and heart breaking when it doesn't.

    From this farm girl to you... My heart aches for you today. Give that sweet Cary a hug, and kiss on that soft sweet face from me.

    Kris in WA

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'm so sorry to hear about Cary's baby. But I am very, very glad that she's ok.

    :(

    ReplyDelete
  14. I'm so sorry for your loss, and for Cary's loss. And as a new mother, too! (Cary, that is. You've been a mom for a year.) Still, it's good that she came through, and I hope both of you will go on to mother many more lambs.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Very, very Herriot, this!

    I'm so sorry, Susan. I know you wanted to be an honourary "gran" (even though I'm not calling you "Grandma"!)

    Poor Cary. Poor you. But it's probably not anything that the two of you can't soothe one another through. You sound like a pretty incredible team.

    Next year. Next year.

    xoxo CGF

    ReplyDelete
  16. Aw, Cary.

    I'm very sorry about her little one, who would certainly have been adorable, but thank goodness you were able to save your little girl.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I am quite new to your blog while reading, I just felt all the emotion...kindness and caring in your sweet words as you described the experience of Cary trying to birth her baby...I share your rejoicing that she is safe and will perhaps have little ones in the future..I'm also sad along with you at the loss of the baby lamb...All kind wishes...Dee Dee

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thank goodness you were home and able to get the vet out. Sad for the little lost lamb but good news that Cary will be ok. Hope you have a very successful lambing season after this sad experience.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I'm sitting here crying over a sheep I've never met. I'm so sorry about the baby, but relieved that Cary is OK. I'm glad you can be there for each other.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Oh, I'm so sorry Cary's baby didn't make it but thankful Cary will be OK. Please give her an extra treat for me.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I'm so glad Cary is going to be ok. I hate that the baby was lost, but so happy for Cary. I love your blog and love to hear about all the 'critters'. Never a dull moment I'm sure.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I'm so very sorry - losing a baby is hard and it is hormonally rough on the ewe. What perfect timing it all happened when you were around. I think our bottle baby animals never outgrow the need for an occasional "nuzzle". Sorry FG - I know Cary will have another but firsts are important too. Thanks for letting us know.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I know that feeling of waiting for the vet to help you and your baby. I am so glad that you had the vet's help and that Cary will be OK. I am sorry for the loss of the baby lamb. My thoughts are with you today.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Very sorry to hear about Cary's baby and her ordeal. Am very glad you found a vet to come out--its getting harder and harder for that to happen (esp. with sheep it seems). I have grown to dread singles as they sometimes get so large. I have a special ewe, Gracie, who has always lambed uneventually and loves her wee ones. The last year she lambed though, it was a huge single that was turned upside down--I worked and worked at it, and couldn't get any progress made, finally found a vet that would take her if I brought her in. I was sure she would die. Sure the baby was dead--it had been hours by the time I could get a vet. It was awful, but he finally got the baby out, and when it splatted the floor it snorted a little! Amazing! She was alive and Gracie found the will to live and love her baby. That baby, Hope, just had her first twins! (With lots of assistance from Grandma Gracie!). I hope the rest of your lambing goes well. Take care, and I'm so glad you were there with Cary too.
    Tammy

    ReplyDelete
  25. We lost one of our first babies too, a few years ago, from lack of experience mostly (it was a big baby too). Sorry about your loss and I'm glad Cary is ok. Maybe her next time it will be twins and they'll be easier to pop out. Hugs...

    ReplyDelete
  26. Know that many, many folks are thinking of you and Cary right now.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Life on a farm is full of joy and sadness. Cary isone of your joys. I'm glad she pulled through, that you have her with you after all you have been through with her. I love how you wrote "it's Cary". So many would have not saved her in the beginnig, and some would not have saved her the second time. Give each of you a pat on the back. Think next year, and she may still present you with those twins. Your soup recipe was wonderful from a post or two back.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Sorry to hear about Cary's lamb. I have enjoyed reading your blog since I came across it several weeks ago. My husband and I are planning to homestead in the near future, and reading your blog makes me anticipate it all the more. Thanks for the great photos and anecdotes from life on your farm!

    ReplyDelete
  29. I am truly happy to know that Cary is all right! I know it is sad to have lost the baby...but, I am so happy Cary is going to be okay. She is such a very special lamb! And she has the best mom around - I know she appreciated the fact that you stayed and held her for a while last night. She's a lucky girl!

    ReplyDelete
  30. What a bittersweet story..you are an angel and Cary is blessed to have you but I know you feel the same about her..oh give her a hug or something for me..peace to her little one who now has wings.
    hugs NG

    ReplyDelete
  31. Oh, like my furry friends the cat bloggers say "My eyes are leaking" So sorry about the lamb - I'm glad Cary is OK. Hope the rest of your season is less eventful. T.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Oh, sweet, sweet Cary. I do not know what we'd have done without her. I am crying so, I cannot read what I am writing. Thank you for the post.
    I hope she will not miss her baby too much. She is so much still your baby. I am so glad you were there!!!
    She is so lucky to have such a loving mama.

    ReplyDelete
  33. So sorry, Farmgirl. This is a heartache I will probably never know, but hopefully knowing that people from all over share in your sorrow will somehow help. Thank God you called and finally found a vet. Little Cary. I hope you both heal quickly.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I've just read your post again.
    It really has touched me. I feel so glad that you stayed with Cary to bond with her. I know that life is going to move forward, but I'm stuck right inside this post. I would have been in the bonding suite with her too.

    I'm sorry I'm lingering on such a sad thing - I just feel the magnitude of how close you were to losing Cary. And if it were any other sheep - I would still have a sad tinge - but not so heavy as this one.

    I am looking forward to the fun stories that you will share of the coming lambing season.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Thank God Cary is okay. I was wishing for twins also. Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  36. So I'm trying to explain to my husband why I'm crying, and as I retell it, I can't even get the words to come out. MY goodness. Then Mike read it and said, "well, it is a sad story, even if it's about a sheep, and one you'll never even know." You are so good at drawing readers in. It really is a gift.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Oh... how sad. Made me tear up. Poor Cary.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I'm glad that Cary is ok...

    ReplyDelete
  39. Oh that's so awful. I'm so glad Cary's ok. Who knows...maybe someone else will have twins and she'll "adopt" one of them for herself. Stranger things have happened on the farm!

    ReplyDelete
  40. i'm so glad cary is okay.

    ReplyDelete
  41. It is a James Herriot story! Thank goodness for vets who will come out. Thank goodness for folks who love their precious animals. Blessings and health for Cary!

    ReplyDelete
  42. So sorry about the lamb. But I am glad you were there to help Cary. Wishing Cary a speedy recovery.

    Carolyn

    ReplyDelete
  43. So sorry for your loss, but very glad the timing was right and you were able to save Cary. Big hugs to you both!

    ReplyDelete
  44. I am sorry to hear about Cary's lamb but I am glad that Cary is ok.

    How much do lambs usually weigh at birth?

    Rebecca

    ReplyDelete
  45. Red, Chocolate, Velvet3/14/2008 8:19 AM

    I'm saddened to read about Cary's loss of the lamb...very glad that she's alright and that you were there that night though. Oh, such sadness, I just watched King Kong and was cursing at the stupid humans. Hope Cary is well!

    ReplyDelete
  46. You sound so calm writing about it. I am sure it wasn't that calm while it was all happening. I cried because you are so sweet to sit with her. I am glad Cary is doing ok. Poor pretty lady.

    ReplyDelete
  47. What a night! I, too, am sorry about Cary's baby, but thrilled she is okay! Give her a snuggle for all of bloggie friends and tell we love her!

    ReplyDelete
  48. I'm sorry to hear about the loss of Cary-Jr, but I'm glad that Cary is going to be okay! Please keep us updated on her!

    ReplyDelete
  49. I felt so much for Cary, especially after reading her story. Been hard on her since young, but I think God sent her an angel. Thanks for looking after this little lamb, Farmgirl. I'm glad for all the animals in your farm. You're doing a wonderful thing to those guys.

    I hope that Cary gets better soon.

    ReplyDelete
  50. susan...
    here's a big hug for you first...and another for cary...

    the kindness you show your animals is what keeps me coming back here day after day. Your a wonderful person, and the world could use more people like you--and like all of us who love you and your life so much.

    all the best to you, cary and the whole farm... and i look forward to celebrating cary's first crack at motherhood--WHENEVER that happens.

    xo,
    rene and shay

    ReplyDelete
  51. Growing up on a farm in Montana I've had help a few ewes by pulling a lamb here and there. Fortunately I've never seen one in the position you describe. What did the Vet do?

    ReplyDelete
  52. Must have been something in the air yesterday.
    We had a first-calf heifer (my favorite cow right now...she is a sweet brown thing), go into labor. When I found her, she was LABORING and I could tell from the calf's swollen feet and tongue, this was not going well.
    I called dh home immediately and we pulled the nice big calf, but it didn't make it. Just too long and too hard a birth.
    The cow is up and eating and she'll do fine next time, I'm sure.
    I'm tired today too. I tensed up with her on every contraction.

    Farm life is never boring.

    Kay

    ReplyDelete
  53. Give Cary some loving for me.

    I really can't wait to read your book one day.

    ReplyDelete
  54. It appears you're quite the mom yourself. The way you stayed with her in the bonding suite and all.

    And you're right, she'll have other lambs, and we'll all get to keep the Cary we love.

    Big hugs to all you crazies as you go through another lambing season.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Oh Susan,

    I'm so sorry about the loss of Cary's baby. But I'm so glad that Cary's ok. She is so lucky to have you for a mother. Major hugs to you both.

    Jeannine

    ReplyDelete
  56. I'm so glad she is ok! She is so special.

    ReplyDelete
  57. I am so glad that Cary is alright.
    I was so excited about her babies.
    Thank you for posting so quickly as I was really wondering how she was doing.
    I am so glad you were home.
    I am so happy that Cary is alright.
    I keep pictures of all your animals. I love Whitey and you donkeys. All the cats are so adorable. When you lose one, I cry too. Your stories are marvelous and it just makes you want to reach out and touch you and your beautiful farm and animals.
    Please keep us updated on Cary.
    Thank you so much.
    God Bless.
    Love,
    Shirley

    ReplyDelete
  58. I feel for Cary. Just suffering my own baby lose I was in tears while reading this post. Give Cary extra hugs for me.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Glad Cary made it. By the way, I love your blog and never get tired of visiting it :o)

    ReplyDelete
  60. I'm sorry to hear about your loss, but very happy to hear that Cary made it through the ordeal. I am also curious as to what the vet did, reposition? Cary's lucky to have such a great mom, I'm sure she'll make a great mom someday too.

    ReplyDelete
  61. Hooray for Cary, I'm so glad she's alright! I just recently got back from a trip to England. I was mostly inBrighton, where my family lives, in Sussex, near the sea and the South Downs. Their spring is earlier than ours; there were daffodils, flowering trees, and some tiny lambs.

    While there, I visited the nearby "Middle Farm", which has an organic farm shop and lunch /tea room, as well as educational programs for school children. They make and sell all kinds of cider and perry (the pear equivalent of cider- yum). Their shop is wonderful.

    They also sell various livestock-related equipment, and they had those cool hen houses shaped like the ones we were talking about, only even nicer- wooden ones- really beautiful.. I thought of you as we wandered around among the ducks and geese.

    Someday I'll have me some chickens.

    ReplyDelete
  62. I am sorry about the babe!
    It really touched me when you said she nudged you like that. like when she was young. It must have been really moving. You are such a caring person.

    ReplyDelete
  63. So sad...... hope the rest of the weekend is ok.
    Stephanie

    ReplyDelete
  64. How wonderful that you found a vet who was willing to come out in the cold night for you and Cary. How blessed you are that Cary was saved. Here is hoping for another SAFE event next year. Cary is very lucky to have such a loving and caring Momma!

    ReplyDelete
  65. I'm awfully glad that Cary is okay, but it's so sad that she lost her baby.

    Get well soon, Cary!

    ReplyDelete
  66. Oh gosh.. I had not checked in for a few days so have missed the build-up. Reading the story backwards and I still cried but so glad she is OK. Hooves crossed for a full recovery. X

    ReplyDelete
  67. So sad! Aww. I am sorry she lost it.

    ReplyDelete
  68. A lot of us are thinking of you.

    ReplyDelete
  69. Hi Everybody,
    Thank you so much for all of these wonderful comments. Your outpouring of kindness is touching beyond words. Cary is doing very well, and I have every hope that she'll be just fine.

    I kept her in a bonding pen until yesterday morning to give her a chance to recuperate privately (and stay clean!). She cried for her baby for the first two days which is normal - and a very good sign - and then she settled down and enjoyed the special attention.

    I know some of you have questions, and I'm hoping to have a chance to answer them in the next day or two. In the meantime, I need to check the three loaves of bread in the oven and then go feed everybody some treats! : )

    ReplyDelete
  70. I would love to meet someone like you. You sure care very much for each of your 'babies' no matter how old they are. This story just choked me up esp when Cary bumped her nose on you after she lost her baby like she used when she was a baby. Oh my....

    ReplyDelete

January 2013 update: I know word verification is a big pain, but it's the only way I can stop the ridiculous number of anonymous spam comments I get every day. I don't want to require commenters to be registered Blogger or Open ID users because I know many of you aren't. Thanks so much for your understanding!

Hi! Thanks for visiting Farmgirl Fare and taking the time to write. While I'm not always able to reply to every comment, I receive and enjoy reading them all.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated, and I especially love hearing about your experiences with my recipes. Comments on older posts are always welcome!

Please note that I moderate comments, so if I'm away from the computer it may be a while before yours appears.

I try my best to answer all questions, though sometimes it takes me a few days. And sometimes, I'm sorry to say, they fall through the cracks, and for that I sincerely apologize.

If you're waiting for a reply to your comment and have a Blogger profile (it's free to create one) you can check the NOTIFY ME box that is below and receive all follow up comments to just this specific post via email.

I look forward to hearing from you and hope you enjoy your e-visits to our farm!