Thursday, March 10, 2005


Miss Scah-lett, I don't know nuttin 'bout birthing goats.

And YET ... yesterday I became a goat midwife. Here's the scene: I had just gotten out of the shower and dressed around noon yesterday (readying myself for yet another doctor's appointment), when my cell phone rang. It was Dave, who I knew would be coming home soon to pick me up. What I didn't know was that he was already home and calling from the pasture.

"She's having the baby!" was his greeting to my "Hello."

"Who is?" I'm still thinking he's at church. Perhaps some pregnant woman had wandered in ...

"The goat! Come out here!"

We'd been closely watching Whiney, the mama goat, all week. It was clear she was very close to giving birth, so we had fresh straw spread out for her in the goat barn. But she didn't go in there. Instead, for reasons known only to her, she found the most difficult-to-get-into brush in the whole pasture and settled herself there on the dirt.

When I arrived, the kid already had her face and two front hooves out. Mama had been on her side, so baby's little snout and mouth were covered in bark and dirt. I cleaned it off as best as I could and asked Dave to go get warm water, clean scissors and an unused, white cotton shoelace ... wait, scratch that. That wasn't this birth. That was a birth I attended back when I lived in that little house out on the prairie and my name was Laura ... No, I asked him to go get the goat book in the house. I'd remembered the camera, but forgotten the book, and since I have to try to hop over the electric fence to get in and out of the pasture and it scares the life out of me to do so and he has much longer legs and hops that fence like it's the curb on a sidewalk, he obliged.

Those hooves didn't look right snugged up tight around the kid's face. I worried that she wasn't getting enough air, and sure enough, as I stood there, her breathing became more labored and her little "baahs" turned to gasps. That really worried me, so I tried to push her hooves back in so they wouldn't strangle her. Whiney didn't like my plan. Even without a "Goat to English" translation book handy, I could tell her bellowing meant, "Knock it off." So I quit. I tried to maneuver my hand in past the kid's head to give a little tug on her shoulders--and did manage to pull her out another inch or so before Dave returned with the book.

He took over while I read. At this point, only the tips of my thumb and index finger on my left hand and index finger on my right hand were NOT covered in ... you know. We'll call it "goat birthing delight." This was just enough clean finger useage to turn the pages of the goat book and take pictures. Lucky for the goat AND you.

The book said that having the head and front hooves come out at the same time is what you want, so I felt simultaneously relieved and ridiculous. Dave talked Whiney through the rest of the process and, as you can see by the picture, helped to pull the baby out.

I'm just amazed at that whole thing. What's ironic, to me, is that just before my shower, I finished a chapter in my next book. For those of you who don't know, I'm writing a book entitled: Inconceivable: A Journey to Peace After Infertility. I'd reached the chapter where I had to describe the overwhelming grief I felt when we lost yet another adoption (we lost thirteen altogether). This time, I was holding the baby in the hospital nursery when the call came telling us the mom had changed her mind. I'd already bonded with that child, and I couldn't let go easily. At the end of the chapter, Dave had found some peace over the situation by being reminded that God is worthy of worship anytime He creates something, and that this child was a miracle ... just not our miracle.

Maybe because those words were so fresh in my mind, I found myself worshiping as I looked at that newborn miracle, wobbling there on its skinny little newborn legs. God had created something amazing, something with the instinct to pull her little hooves up close to her face to make it easy on her mama, something with the instinct to know where to go for nourishment, and the determination to nibble her way to just the right spot. (I'm thinking that if Dave and the kids approve, I'd like to call her Nibbles.)

If we humans put all our little pea brains together, we couldn't come up with one newborn goat. We couldn't make the dirt she was born on, or the air that filled her lungs, or even the brambles that surrounded her birthing spot.

Oh, God ... You are amazing.

The God of glory thunders; The LORD is over many waters. The voice of the LORD is powerful; The voice of the LORD is full of majesty. The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars, Yes, the LORD splinters the cedars of Lebanon. He makes them also skip like a calf ... like a young wild ox. The voice of the LORD divides the flames of fire. The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness ... The voice of the LORD makes the deer give birth, And strips the forests bare;
And in His temple everyone says, "Glory!"
~ Ps 29:3-9NKJV

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5 Comment:

At 3/10/2005 3:21 PM, Blogger Ken had this to say ...

Shannon -

I loved this story. I'm glad that everything turned out for your goat and her new kid. What a wonderful even to be a part of!

Have I told you recently how much I've enjoyed reading your daily writings? For 5-10 minutes every day, I feel honored to get a little insight into what you're thinking.

One of the biggest gifts that I've ever received has been your gift of friendship. We've known each other for almost 30 years, and across all of that time and all of the miles, you've always been one of the most special people I've ever met.

Your Blog page has opened up doors that I haven't been through in a long time. It's nice to hear about your daily happenings. About reflections that you want to share. About Zac and goats and your awe of God.

Thank you for being so special. And for the smile that you've brought to my face today. Thanks for being such a dear friend.

Much love -


At 3/10/2005 3:22 PM, Blogger Ken had this to say ...


That's supposed to be "wonderful EVENT," not "wonderful even."

As my daughter would say, my bad.


At 3/10/2005 4:46 PM, Blogger Darlene had this to say ...

Shannon, I just received your comment at my blog and so I thought I would mosey on down to your coral. The odd thing is that I said to myself, "I was on this blog yesterday!"

I had gone through Maurice's blog checking things out, and I should have left a comment but then he would have known I was snooping around! Anyways, I am glad you made a connection.

I am also glad that you experienced new life today. Our minds turn to God through life and through death, as he guides us in and out. It's almost as though that little life is being pushed out by the hands of God and being pulled out by your hands.

At 3/10/2005 7:16 PM, Blogger Kim had this to say ...

Shanny - That is such an awesome story! I felt as if I was right there with you. I'm so glad you were able to witness such a miracle. :)

At 3/11/2005 10:40 PM, Blogger Lori Seaborg had this to say ...

Congrats on the Baby! (goat) And thanks for having the clear mindset to take photos. Priceless!


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