04 June 2007

Okay, So Here's What Happened

I already mentioned that the first spring cria was born to one of the landladies' girls before I got up to head to work on Wednesday. After a fairly busy night at work, I got home Thursday and went out to take this photo.


I didn't stay out watching her long because I was tired and wanted to go to bed, but I had barely gotten back inside when David got a call from New Hampshire to let us know that his oldest girl, Melinka, had delivered just after being shorn. And since it was their rescheduled shearing day because the original date had been rained out and they were shorthanded and frantically trying to get as much as possible done before it started raining again, could we drive over and watch the baby? So, no bed for me. We hopped in the truck and headed to the farm, where amidst all the hubbub of shearing day we found this little one, still a bit damp.


She was doing well, but not showing much initiative to get up and nurse. We got her up to see if she'd figure it out on her own, but she didn't quite seem to get the idea. So David held Melinka while I got baby into the general vicinity. We weren't quite sure how Melinka would react, since she's a South American import who learned early on that the way to respond to human touch is to scream, spit and pee. She's a very experienced mom, though, and was very tolerant of my milking a bit of colostrum out to give baby a taste. Once the cria smelled the good stuff on my hand, it was like the proverbial lightbulb going on and she knew where she needed to go. Actually latching on to the teat, of course, was still a bit of a challenge, because legs this long


mean that baby has to tilt her neck at an angle that is difficult for wobbly front legs to maintain. Watching this whole learning process unfold never fails to amaze me. There's a reason it's called the "Miracle of Life".

Anyway, we sat and watched for most of the afternoon (and I suggested names that I knew would be flatly rejected - Mayflower! May Apple! Maypop! Mayfly! Maypole! Eulah May!) to make sure she had a pretty good handle on the whole nursing thing before finally making our way back home. I'm told I snored a little bit during the ride, but it wasn't more than a brief nap and by the time I finally went to bed that night I had, for all practical purposes, been up for about 36 hours. I slept pretty hard and got up 12 hours later to get ready for yet another night at work.

Enter the Firemen

Friday night was a busy one at the clinic. The summer season has definitely kicked into gear (not that it ever stopped being busy during what we still refer to as the "slow" season, but it's now even busier), and we were pretty much hopping from one case to the next all night without much of a lull at any time.

Because I work such long hours, I generally maintain some small food stores at the clinic, but I've recently depleted them and had grabbed some steel cut oats on my way out the door so that I would at least have something to eat. So during one too-brief lull, I took the opportunity to set some water to boiling to make a bit of porridge. I poured in the oats, set the stove to a simmer, and zipped back to stir it occasionally in between trying to get a few records written up. Then all of a sudden the fire alarms went off and everyone started yelling my name.

Really, it wasn't my fault. My porridge hadn't boiled over and was still simmering away at the nice slow pace I had planned. The problem was that there was a bit of residue on the glass cooktop that hadn't been readily apparent and that had started smoking just the tiniest bit (the questionable wisdom of installing just such a cooktop with a group that is so domestically challenged is a frequent rant of mine at work, but we'll just leave that aside for now). That it smelled of burning steak was pretty strong evidence that it had nothing to do with me, especially since we have a receptionist who pretty much lives on steak and milk. It didn't matter, though. The fire department had already been notified by the alarm company and were on their way. Fortunately, I had another case waiting to be seen by then and had a good excuse to duck into an exam room.

KnitNZu commented, "Hope you at least got to play with the fire hoses", and I had to laugh. While there are doubtless any number of films aimed at my demographic on this very topic (well, more or less), I can honestly say that I did not even so much as see their hoses, let alone play with them.


The rest of the weekend has gone by very quickly, mostly because I've done nothing but work and sleep. I ended up working a couple hours past my shift on Saturday trying to get all the loose ends tied up. By the time I came home, all I could do was crawl into bed and sleep. I woke up for about 4 hours and David & I had dinner and watched Fried Green Tomatoes, which he hadn't remembered seeing before but then decided he had. Then it was back to bed so I could get up for my new Sunday daytime shift.

As Sundays go, it wasn't too bad. The caseload was steady all day - busy but not terribly overwhelming. In the last couple hours of my shift, though, I had two pretty sick cases that needed a fair bit of work - one of which was particularly frustrating - so it took me a couple of extra hours to deal with those and get all my other paperwork done so I could head home. At least tomorrow will be a day off that I won't have to spend catching up on sleep, but it'll be the last one for another week.


Elemmaciltur said...

Lawdy, that's quite a bit to handle. Hope you'll be fully rested soon!

Anonymous said...

The babies are adorable; I especially love Melinka's baby!

I don't know how you survive such a busy life! I hope you get to take a vacation soon; you'll need it just to catch up on sleep!

Norma said...

Oh WHAT a weekend!

I laughed when you said everyone yelled, "MELLLLLL," when the smoke alarm went off. Sheesh. You get no respect, do ya? :)

Unknown said...

One of the things I love about you, is that despite dealing with animals as part of your work, you are still able to see the wonder of birth and newborn learning in the alapacas.

Lovely post...thanks.

Barbara said...

I love the color on that second baby.

Too bad you didn't get to see the firemen - that's the only good part when our fire alarm goes off at work - our local fire station has 3 women - there's always at least one responding to the fire alarms. Nice!

Anonymous said...

Wow, that is a long legged baby! So cute too.

knitnzu said...

I really like 'Eulah May' (the name and the critter too). Good for Melinka putting up with you, maybe having a baby here will calm her down for people? Honestly, I wasn't being a smart ass about the hoses... Those stoves sure are a pain in the ass, especially when they aren't kept clean. Which is why we didn't get one!

Sheepish Annie said...

Love the babies!!! How sweet...

I also love firemen. I would not have hidden. I would have been right there, waving and taking credit for the conflagration. I will do pretty much anything for a fireman sighting.

Unknown said...

Oh, the babies! How adorable. You are such a wonderful vet, I wish you were down here. But I guess you don't do cats. Or do you? I would have loved to have seen those babies in person. What a fantastic experience, to see a newborn like that.

How about Anastasia?