Guest Posts

Guest Post: The Gift of Lambing

March 26, 2015

This is the first in a new series on the blog, featuring posts from past Woolful podcast guests, giving a bit of a deeper look into what they do, wisdom they have to share and stories they have to tell.

I’m thrilled that Kim Goodling of VT Grand View Farm is here to share a bit of her lambing journey at her farm in Vermont, where she raises Gotland and Romney sheep. Thank you Kim! 


Keeping Watch

The ewes grow round and full with lambs and the wait begins. I have cleaned the barn, set up the lambing pen, and restocked my lambing kit. I now watch for signs of labor, spending much time bent over, looking at the back side of my ewes. Swollen udders and sunken bellies signal that a ewe will soon deliver her lambs.  Night watch will begin soon, as we near the first due date marked on our calendar, March 28.

Walk…Relax…Stay Nourished…Breathe Naturally…Make Your Nest and Push…

For ten years, I taught natural childbirth classes. I worked with couples, teaching them how to labor. We spent time practicing deep abdominal breathing and focusing on our bodies and how they work during labor. Every week we watched videos of natural births and talked about what we saw and our anxieties and fears. We became a support network for one another. Through the miracle of life, I saw grown men cry and women become empowered by the ability to take control over their birth experiences. I saw amazing new lives unfold before my eyes time and time again.

Although I no longer teach childbirth classes, I am blessed to have this rhythm of keeping watch over new life on our farm. With each season, I am reminded of the shear miracle of birth. With each delivery, I stand in awe of the process.

A laboring ewe is the perfect picture of natural childbirth, working with her body to bring the lamb into the world. A healthy ewe will labor and deliver her lambs completely on her own. She will stay on her feet throughout labor, eating hay, and chewing her cud. Every now and then, as a contraction begins, the ewe stands still, closing her eyes and breathing deeply. Once the contraction passes, she goes back to walking and eating to keep herself nourished. As the ewe’s contractions become more frequent, she quits eating, as she must focus her attention on each contraction. Ewes may squat or sway with each contraction, helping to get the lamb in the correct position. Once the ewe begins to push, she paws at the ground, as though making her nest. Laying down, she works hard during the pushing contractions. Often the ewe will nicker to her lamb as if to encourage him along the way. The lamb enters the world with front feet and nose first, slipping easily from the warmth of the womb into the still of the barn. The ewe speaks to her lamb in soft nickers as she cleans and nuzzles him.

Of all the jobs I have ever had, teaching my natural childbirth classes was one of the most rewarding. Now, I am blessed to continue to see God’s amazing gift of birth and life right here on my own farm, in my own barn, every lambing season.

Labor2

Labor (1)

Bonnie and Idris

 

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22 Comments

  • Reply Emily Abroad March 26, 2015 at 5:04 am

    I love it!!

  • Reply Alina March 26, 2015 at 5:56 am

    Oh, the face of the lamb on the last picture… So precious! Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply jonatha foli March 26, 2015 at 6:54 am

    i pass bellweather farms and another in two rock on my way to petaluma each morning. saying good morning, in the rising sunlight, to the sheep and their young makes everyday a blessing. eating their cheese and knitting with their wool is my part of the perfect cycle.

  • Reply thecrazysheeplady March 26, 2015 at 7:39 am

    What a nice post!

  • Reply Amber Karnes March 26, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    This is wonderful! Thank you.

  • Reply Mary Clare March 26, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    Such a sweet story!!

  • Reply Gracieanne March 26, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    Absolutely beautiful!

  • Reply Sylvia F Chesson March 26, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    Coming from a childhood on a farm where we raised horses…I can really relate to the birthing process for ‘larger’ animals. It is amazing, frightening and rewarding. Thank you Kim, for another lovely description of this wonder of nature :- )

  • Reply Ginny March 26, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    Beautiful, Kim!

  • Reply The Gift of Lambing « Living with Gotlands March 27, 2015 at 5:44 am

    […] over to Woolful to read my guest post on lambing season. Tomorrow, we being our watch here for our 2015 lambs to […]

    • Reply Jeanne March 27, 2015 at 10:58 am

      Babies of any variety are God’s most precious gifts…(even the ‘wooly’ ones.)

  • Reply Gina Zahn March 28, 2015 at 5:11 am

    What a fantastic post. I am reading your words in the quiet, dark hours of the morning and am wondering if the night brought forth any new lambs. I was able to deliver both of my sons naturally, and had such a positive experience doing so. Your articulation of the ewes reminds me of my sweet experiences. What a gift it all is.

  • Reply cat o March 28, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    I loved reading this – just beautiful! And wonderful photos.
    Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply Zoe March 28, 2015 at 7:30 pm

    Another great episode–I loved the alpaca birthing story. As a kid my burning ambition was to have some sort of camelid-based career. I grew up in Colorado where alpacas and llamas aren’t all that unusual and I would go and watch animals out in the field as they played and fought (so much spitting!) and ate. Got my first intimate introduction to an electric fence trying to pet a friendlier alpaca cria. My aunt, a dairy farmer, gave me a gift subscription to Alpacas magazine, which turned into a subscription to Llama Banner. I’d pour through these arcane publications, soaking up every word. Then I grew up and left my weird fiber predilection behind until last year, when I lucked into 10 lbs of raw alpaca fleece and thought to myself, time to learn how to spin yarn and knit, too, so I can do something with all this. The willful podcast has been a great resource during the course of this endeavor. I’ll definitely be using the recommendations for scouring, for instance. I know on intellectual that it’s true that the world is round, as my mom used to say, but I’m amazed to find myself at this stage in my life getting back into a world that was so absorbing to me as a child. I can’t wait for next week’s episode.

  • Reply Leslie Eaton March 30, 2015 at 6:45 am

    Such a sweet post…and the pictures are just wonderful! Thanks for sharing! xox

  • Reply Spinknitchick March 30, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    I love your blogs and podcasts more and more! Guest blog was beautiful!

  • Reply jessicac March 30, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    Loved this.. really been dreaming of running away to a sheep farm!

  • Reply Kate Insley March 31, 2015 at 12:01 am

    So beautiful!! Thank you for sharing, loved reading this so much!

  • Reply Carolyn R. March 31, 2015 at 7:52 am

    Such a beautiful picture of childbirth! A good reminder that bringing forth new life can be a calm and natural process! (Oh how cute those baby lambs are too!)

  • Reply Regina Casner March 31, 2015 at 11:26 am

    Thanks for putting together another great episode! The woolen bunnies are adorable. 🙂

  • Reply Jamie Dear April 1, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    Another very inspiring episode!

  • Reply Keren Duchan April 16, 2015 at 2:14 am

    perfect! What a perfect little lamb and what a wonderful scene.

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