i was able to catch Jesus Christ Superstar (the show Kenny’s been working on with Butler’s Musical Theatre Guild) last night with my mom. before i get to what this post is about, i have to shout out to all the actors and musicians of this very difficult musical.
i think JCS is one of the most moving musical depictions of the passion story. the match-up of Andrew Lloyd Webber (music) and Tim Rice (lyrics) is just perfect. i just don’t think any church pageant does the story justice like JCS does. it’s always been one of the most perfect musicals (with the exception of the later addition of the song “Can We Start Again Please” which is just awkward). our little town’s Musical Theatre Guild production was full of talented acting, singing, and dancing. there were some moments that could have been done better, but overall, the performance was excellent.
kenny and i returned home at 10:30 and since one of our ewes had been hanging out alone most of the day (a sign that either a sheep is ill or beginning labor. sheep like to be together, and when they remove themselves from the herd, you know there’s something up), he decided to check on her (rosie) before we headed for bed. within five minutes, he texted me from the barn telling me that she was, in fact, in labor.
my dad, who had stayed with the boys while mom and i attended the show, was in the barn with him. i changed and headed down with my phone as the only source of light except the sky full of stars. we all had our phones and small flashlights since there isn’t electricity in the barn. all the other sheep were out grazing. she was contracting every three minutes and we could see the start of a hoof with each contraction. it wasn’t making much progress coming out. at one point kenny thought it might be an upside-down hoof (which means an upside-down lamb). after feeling around on the hoof with my hand, we decided that it wasn’t upside-down. which was great! but we were still concerned that there wasn’t any progress of the lamb coming out.
it was 11:30 at this point. rosie (mama) was tired and beginning to punk out on us. her contractions had all but stopped, so we decided to intervene. kenny started by trying to pry out the hoof and get her to contract again. she began to push once he started to pull on the hoof, and finally he found the nose. once again, the tongue was hanging out of the side of the mouth. there was still no sign of the second hoof (you really want to see two hooves and THEN then nose resting nicely on the hooves, as though it is napping peacefully), so he kept pulling on what he could.
rosie pushed and contracted as he pulled. nothing was budging. he had to reach in farther to find the second hoof. after a few minutes he found it and pulled it out. once you have two hooves, it’s much easier to pull. again, we weren’t sure if we were pulling out a living or dead lamb. the remaining pushing/pulling was hard! that poor ewe was not happy and was yelling at us with each push. the lamb wasn’t moving its tongue or chin or hooves until it was out. then we noticed movement.
at this point, kenny grabbed the lamb by the hind legs and swung it through the air. we knew that this would help clear the lungs of any liquid it might have inhaled. after a few swings, he put the lamb in front of rosie to begin cleaning. she didn’t want to do anything but lay there (she was exhausted and in pain, i’m sure!). after a few seconds, she began her cleaning of the lamb and that lamb was holding its head up, and trying to move. within minutes it was standing and within 15 minutes, it was already walking and trying to nurse.
kenny and i left the barn at 12:45 after witnessing that the lamb had found his milk. another ram: lanky and long! we think his “name” is ramburger.
sheep births don’t have to take this long, and really shouldn’t take any effort on the part of the farmer/caretaker. the past two births have needed much assistance from us. our first two years of lambing really spoiled us: three lambs born without us needing to do anything but watch in amazement. this year is taking its toll on us!
but if those stinkin’ lambs aren’t the cutest things. this morning, after the boys woke up and learned about another new lamb in the barn, we all walked down together and watched the other four lambs bound and jump through the pasture, find their mamas, nurse for a second, and then find a spot to curl up together and rest.