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5 months later... the pollinating of goats revisited

Clara and Hazel birthed their babies this week, within 1 1/2 days of each other. Not without a glitch or two, mind you, but all babies and both mamas are healthy. All six babies are nursing and sleeping and jumping and jostling as three- and four-day old baby goats are wont to do.

Hazel gave birth early Monday morning, just after midnight, to a boy and then a girl, both chocolate in hue and splashed with silvery moonspots. Hazel wanted me close and I wanted to stay close, to remember how a labor was supposed to look in a goat, and to see how a birth with live babies was supposed to turn out. That she birthed first came as an unexpected and welcome gift.

Tuesday morning Clara's nickering, restlessness, and the "disappearance" of her ligaments affirmed her body had begun to labor. She didn't want me leaving the barn, even to go into the house to pee, which I did anyway, glad for the chance to shake off some of my nervousness for her. For me.

Clara remembered what happened last year when her body felt this way, did this work. Of course she did. Her memories got stitched into her body in ways my memories did not. So I stayed, and massaged her shoulders and hips, and head and spine and told her this year would be different.

She pushed her first boy out at 5:26 p.m. and her fourth boy at 5:35 p.m. Three boys and a girl in nine minutes. I know these details on account of Grace, my granddaughter, who followed along on the barn camera, installed on my i-Pad, which I had loaned her, given her keen inquisitive interest in Clara and Hazel's pregnancies. Four miles away, but present to me in a precious way that I will not forget, she texted questions and observations, and took notes that I spoke out loud, knowing she could hear me and would write it down. Mark, too, had checked the camera just as birthing started, and told me later I calmly and sweetly said, "I know, I know," as each baby came out sputtering and trying to clear their head of goo and get a sense of what kind of miracle they had fallen into.

Speaking of goo, Clara had a lot of it to tend to, that and 16 lanky legs, four wobbly heads, eight long ears and four slender slippery bodies, all of different hues. I felt an indescribable joy in being present, in helping clean up and untangle the babies. I chose to think Clara felt as pleased for me to be bearing witness to this new thing, this reparative, redemptive experience as I was glad-hearted for her to be having it.

All is well.

So yes. A healing happened Tuesday for Clara and also for me. A reminder that things broken don't always stay broken, that new things, in due time, can come out of broken bodies, broken hearts, broken communities, even, with time, broken and devastated countries.

Dear God, in the midst of great losses, may we yet see and rejoice when things go right, and not lose sight of hope.


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