Showing posts with label miracle lamb. Show all posts
Showing posts with label miracle lamb. Show all posts

Miracle is back in the house


Tuesday morning I went out to the barn to take pictures of Rory and Miracle and when we got out there it was obvious that Miracle was not well. He had been slowly showing signs of poor healthy over the previous 24 hours, and when we went out for morning chores he was barely able to stand on his legs.

Rory called the vet and immediately she suspected pneumonia. She said there are many cases of barn animal pneumonia this spring because the humidity and temperatures have fluctuated so greatly for such a long time. She recommended a special medicine that they only carried at their Owatonna office. So Rory brought Miracle back in the house for extra warmth and care and then made the drive to Owatonna.

We were very worried about Miracle and unsure if he was going to rally. But the little kids were so pleased to see their pal back in the house.
So Miracle is hanging out with the family once again. Which means he will not be lacking for entertainment. This week Ivar and Elsie have been building a kitty cat club house for the kittens out of boxes and tape. It is darling and hilarious and very, very entertaining.
Now Miracle has been in the house another whole day and has had two doses of antibiotic and b-complex. And he's looking better. I will tell you what, this is one very well-loved lamb. And he's got quite the life story to tell!

an update on Miracle

This may be a bit redundant for regular readers, but Shepherd of the Valley is going to do a follow up on Miracle for their Good News for Kids this Sunday...so I'm sharing an update here. Their text for the morning is The Good Shepherd. Here's my thoughts on our shepherd here at the Grovestead who loves his sheep.

Also, I wrote this out on Monday night. Since then a whole lot has happened and I will be back this afternoon with a big follow up. It has been quite the week with Miracle. 
We just began our fifth week of bottle feeding Miracle. The first week he lived in the house. The second week he moved back out with the sheep where we continued to bottle feed him every 3 hours. Thankfully that week there was a bright full moon to guide my walk out to the barn for his 2 am feeding. The third week we wisely dropped the 2am feeding. Something had to give. The fourth week we made our way out to the barn in a 48-hour blizzard, every three hours. And now we're moving into the fifth week, greatly reducing the bottle feedings as he transitions to hay.
We really love this little lamb and Rory is a really great shepherd. He knows his sheep and his sheep know him. When he walks into the barn with the bottles for Miracle, Miracle jumps up and runs right to the place where Rory feeds him. Miracle loves his shepherd, and his shepherd is trying to do what is best for Miracle: to help him integrate into his herd. This will be best for everyone once they are led out to pasture. We want Miracle to know that he is a sheep, afterall, and not a human. But he still has this memory of life with the family, trotting around our living room, having four kids love and adore him all day long.

We keep an eye on him all day long through the Lamb Cam. He is always being watched over, even when he feels very alone. He often looks very sad and lonesome.
But he has a twin sister who we named Big Sister because she is so much bigger. And she adores Miracle. She bounds around on all four legs, jumping around with joy, nuzzling Miracle and snuggling with him when it's time to sleep. She lays her head on his body. It is darling. She is a gift to him.

Just this week Rory noticed a change in the Mama Ewe's behavior. She was boxing Miracle out when the hay was given and pushing him around with her nose at other times. She was rejecting him. It is interesting that she did not do this from the start, but now she isn't being kind. So Rory, wanting to protect  Miracle and keep him safe, built him his own special pen with his own personal heat lamp. And that's where he is now.
It all makes me wonder about our own lives with the Good Shepherd. Do we all know or feel, on some level, that there is a heavenly home out there where we are fully seen, cherished, cared for in every way and loved in a way we crave every day? Do we remember that there is a Lamb Cam watching over all of us every day, aware of every hardship and trial, joy and success. (Except that behind that Lamb Cam is the one who created us. A Creator Cam). He sees every moment and wants what is best for us, withholding no good thing.

Rory is a very good shepherd. He knows his sheep well. It is sort of a funny thing, but all of our sheep are totally different to us in temperament and looks. To an outsider they would likely all look very similar, but to us they are each completely unique. I recently read The Shepherd's Life, a memoir of a shepherd in England who shepherds hundreds of sheep and knows them all, one from the other. Even after months of grazing and being up in the mountains. He knows them all!

Beginning the day of the blizzard, Miracle began acting very differently. By Tuesday morning he was hardly able to stand on his legs...

Miracle moves back to the barn

Huge news in the world of Miracle. On Monday afternoon the vet told us he should be reunited with his mother with hopes that he might nurse from her. We all felt sad at this idea as the imprinting seemed to have happened both ways, but we also knew it was the best for the little lamb. Plus, changing a lamb's poopie diaper isn't actually as charming as it sounds. There's a lot of wool. And a tail. An honest part of me was relieved that Miracle might go back to the barn where no one needs their diaper changed. Three in diapers in the house was a little much.

So we brought Miracle out to his Mama, Fluffy Cloud. A few things before you watch this video. 1) Fluffy Cloud looks very ratty because while she is eating her hay each day, her next door neighbor, goat Darcy, will reach over the wall of their stalls and eat her wool off. It looks worse than it is. Basically, if we could get Darcy to do an even job on Fluffy Cloud, we wouldn't have to sheer her in a month or two. And that would be awesome. 2) The other baby goat that appears at the very end is Miracle's twin sister. And she's huge! Like double the size of Miracle. I have so much to tell about her, but until then, just know that we have named her Big Sister. 3) This is basically two full minutes of lambs sniffing each other. So I won't be offended if you skip through it.
All of this happened on Tuesday morning. And now it is Thursday night. Rory summed it up best when he said, "well Fluffy Cloud fully accepted her baby back. But her baby won't accept his new living arrangement." And it's true. He is so sorry for himself. We can watch him on our LambCam from the house (a webcam Rory set up so we can always see our animals. It's seriously the best thing ever.) and for a whole day he lay with his head pointed to the corner, the corner where we walk out of the barn. He was flat out depressed and clearly enjoyed his life of diapers.

Also, he wouldn't nurse off of his mama. Still won't. So every 3-4 hours we walk out to the barn and bottle feed him. But we're trying to get him less attached. It sounds so harsh, but the truth is, he is a lamb. And his best life would be with other sheep, walking happily out to the pasture. The worst thing would have been if he had been unaccepted by the other sheep. That would be unsafe for him and then really bad news as he gets older. So his best life is out in the barn. It's just hard to tell him that.

But Big Sister. Oh man. I will leave you on this high note because it warms my heart so much. While watching the LambCam I have seen SO MANY happy moments when Big Sister is trying to make friends with Miracle. I sit at the computer and give words to what everyone is saying and here's what I imagine:

Big Sister: Hey! Where have you been! I missed you! I was born and then you were born and then you were just gone! And now you're back! You should try jumping on your feel like I am. It's so fun!

Miracle: Go away.

Big Sister: Our Mom is awesome! She's so nice! She feeds me whenever I want to eat! And she snuggles with me at night. You're going to love her!

Miracle: I miss my family in the house.

Big Sister: You mean the farmer? Oh he comes out here all the time! You'll see him plenty. He's always near. He gives us HAY! Have you ever had hay before?!! We go bananas for it! Really, you should stand up and jump. Here, I'll nuzzle you and try to get you to stand.

Miracle: I don't like it out here. I want to go back where I was. I was so comfortable.

Big Sister: Well, if the farmer brought you out here, then this must be the best place for you. He'll never leave you, but he probably just wants you to be what you were created to be. A jumping, frolicking, happy sheep! Oh it's gonna be so great! Mom said that in a couple weeks the farmer will open up those big doors and he'll lead us out to a pasture. A green pasture! And we'll just eat all day. Maybe just lay in the shade. And for sure we'll frolick. Oh come on, stand up and jump with me! I'll nuzzle you again.

Miracle: No. I just want to be sad. I'm just sad and alone and confused and...so sad.

Big Sister: Well you're not alone. And it's fine that you're sad but I don't think you will be for long. The good news is that you are a lamb and you are now back where lambs belong. So I will just lay down here beside you and stretch my neck out reeeaaaal far and lay it on your body. Because you're not alone. And the farmer is here all the time. You'll see. He'll bring us all food in the morning and at dinner time. And often he just comes in to work on things. You still have him. And you have me. And Mom and Bubble Gum and Sugar Cookie and December. And we clearly have a very special life ahead of us full of blue skies and new grass and warm sunshine so lets just...go...to...sleep...

Imprinting

Miracle is fully one of us. He now can jump this little play pen with ease and follows us wherever we go. If I go to the fridge, he clip clops behind me. If I go to the bathroom, he'll keep me company. Same goes for Rory and Ivar. But he knows the ones who feed him, and is most attached to Rory and me.

We took this little video to show how connected he is to us. He does not want to be any distance away from where we are.
good shepherd from Becca Groves on Vimeo.
And Rory is happy to oblige. Miracle is not lacking love and he's got six housemates who adore him.

to brighten up your monday

Another favorite, right here. Reading a book about the 23rd Psalm, no less. This post is for my niece Mara who told me on the phone, "and don't you worry about over-blogging. I want to see pictures!"
...and honestly, what else would I write about? This is the greatest and we're all in love with Miracle.

Susie, I just got your comment and was so grateful for your kind words and also wanted to answer your question of what our long range plan is for Miracle. The honest answer is that we have no idea. We are in actual one-day-at-a-time decision making. Rory would like to get him back to the barn in a separate pen with a heat lamp, just so he knows that he's a lamb. But neither of us are super eager to walk to the barn at 10pm, 2am and 6am to bottle feed him. We will go the vet this week and she will hopefully be able to tell us what is possible. So we will see, day by day, we will see!

his name is miracle.

This picture kills me. His little hoof! There's nothing left to say! Except that I have the best news to share. We have a full blown walker. A jumper. A sideways hopper. Last Monday night my sister was putting her three very sad girls to bed, and they were devastated that Little Love was going to be put down. Annika texted me and said, "Svea says if the lamb can ever walk it's name should be Miracle." And then on Tuesday morning Ivar said the same thing. And at that moment it definitely felt that way. There was just no chance. It would be a miracle if his legs could ever bear weight.

In a super cool twist, our sermon that Sunday had been on different spiritual gifts and one of our pastors shared that in order to see a miracle, you have to be in a position where you need a miracle. And most of us don't actually ever want to be in that position. It's a dire place to be.

Rory and I talked about that line of the sermon at 5 am on Monday morning, watching the Mama Ewe fight for her life. We were in the position of needing a miracle and it was terrifying. And then with Little Love. We needed a miracle, and it didn't feel very likely.
But here he is. With a crooked neck and a front left leg that bows way out, our Little Love now walks all around. Especially once we figured out we could wrap a second diaper around his mid section. This leaves him fully diapered so he now walks around our living room. He follows Rory and is very sad to be left alone. He's become a pet, definitely. We love him so much.
And now his name is Miracle. It's doesn't quiet roll of the tongue but I like that every time we call for him we will remember what we have seen. And when we call to him he will joyfully remind us of his troubled legs, now sufficiently working, as he bounds sideways, sometimes backwards, once in a while forward, so excited to get to us and nuzzle his head into us for some love and affection.

a joyous update on Little Love

I wanted to post all of this last night, but when the time came, I wanted to go to bed more. First, the mama Ewe is doing great. We are completely amazed that she is. Of course there still could be complications with infection but so far she is doing great and nursing Twin One and is eating and drinking and looking quite healthy. 

And then there is Little Love. I want you to know I had hope that he might be able to walk by next week, but I wasn't actually very hopeful. His hind legs could support nothing. They bent in under his body and I had to stretch them into position over my thigh to get them to extend properly. He couldn't support his bottom, so I always was holding his diaper up with one hand, trying to train his legs where to go. Rory was working with him a lot too. 
And then last night, just before dinner, we tried his exercises again. The truth is, Little Love wanted to stand so badly. He was trying so, so hard. And for just a few seconds, he stood on his own four legs. Then he stood a little longer, and backed up a bit. Rory kept catching him and helping him back to his feet. And then, all at once, he took a few steps forward.
We were overjoyed! None of us saw this coming! We thought we were just being kind to this guy, giving him the best life possible, as long as possible. And now we're watching a flat out miracle, right in our living room. Ivar and I have been singing, "We call out to dry bones, come alive! come alive!" one of our favorite worship songs. And we're watching his bones come back to life!

It's fun to have a little lamb in the house, especially with Holy Week beginning on Sunday. There are so many things we will talk about...the resurrection of the body, life everlasting, the lamb of God, the ultimate sacrifice, conquering death, defeating sin, death and disease. And the Hope of Glory filling our hearts because we know what we are seeing is true.

Tuesday with Little Love

Tuesday we woke up after bottle feeding the lamb during the night and found that not much had changed. The lamb could not stand. He would kick his legs wildly trying to get to his feet, but it was hard to watch. He would spin around and it was clearly frustrating for him.

So we made the very hard decision that we would bring him to the vet to put him down. Ivar cried a terrible cry. He couldn't catch his breath. Elsie was slower to understand what was happening until she clarified, "wait. are they going to kill him?" And then she was a wreck. I wanted to be the one to bring him to the vet. I wanted to be there and felt really bonded to the little guy. Elsie had decided earlier in the morning that we would call him Love, and it stuck. We were all in love with Little Love.

So I loaded him up, crying hard myself, and drove the truck to the vet. But just before I got there Rory called and said, "I just found another case like this on a lamb forum. And I think there are a few things we could still try." So I brought our little lamb into the vet, ready to ask her opinion, still uncertain of the ending of this day. I waited in line a long time behind a family with a big dog. And when I finally got to check in they couldn't find me in the system and we realized I was at the wrong vet.

So I loaded back up and drove two blocks down the road to our actual vet. And there I was told that I just missed my vet by five minutes, and she was on her way to do surgery on a cow and wouldn't be back in today. So I called Rory and he said to go back to Vet #1.

I did and she was as great as our other vet. And I just want to say that vets are great. This vet gave our lamb a bunch of shots of vitamins and talked to me for close to an hour and sent me home with a bunch of B complex shots and penicillin.

So we came back home! I had been gone for 3 hours, arriving home just before dinner. And when I got home I found this on the table from my incredibly thoughtful friend JJ. She had been at Taco Night and heard all about my day and then brought this over for me. What can I even say? I wanted to cry. Dinner was literally on the table when I came home from my emotional day. What a gift.
Rory and I gave Little Love a bucket bath in the shower. We scrubbed him well with Johnsons and Johnsons and got him all fluffed up and dried off. And then we fed him, I set my alarm, woke up to feed him again and then it was Wednesday.

I should say that I am super exhausted this week. Alden is still waking up to eat and now the Lamb Alarm is also waking me up. Rory does the 6am feeding, but I'm on for 2am and that's a real hard time to crawl out of bed and change a lamb's diaper.

But it is good. This is fun. We are living an incredible week. I keep asking the Lord what he wants us to learn through all of this. And ultimately, it is just darling to have a little lamb hanging out with us all day long. And the lamb made incredible progress today! If it can continue to make strides each day like it did today, we will be on our way to walking.
He can roll up now and keep his front legs in front of him. That's a huge difference. Every 4 hours he is fed a whole milk/raw egg/heavy cream mix and I give him some serious Physical Therapy. I want him to make it so badly. He has to walk if he is going to get to stick around. A terrible thought, but we are literally doing all we can to help this Little Love. I know we could be setting ourselves up for serious heart break, but we are going to give this guy his very best shot to survive.
So that's the update! I know I've been over-blogging but I just wanted to be caught up to real time so badly so that I can share each day how he's doing. And now I've done it! I'll feed him here at 10pm and go hit the hay until it's time to feed him again.

Little Love

(Continued from yesterday's post...)

So I have lots of things I could write about that all happened on Monday. I could write about co-hosting 45 women to a taco dinner at our church. Or I could write about having my nieces here for the day and how awesome they are and how in a sad twist, Sonna got the flu right before they were to leave. I could write about how we are suddenly bottle feeding a lamb in our house and how I burned through every beach towel and old towel before someone at Taco night told me I could put a diaper on the lamb. I could write about how Rory evaporated 35 gallons of maple syrup during all of these events in our new Sugar Shack. Or I could write about how I saw an entire uterus first thing in the morning.

I think we'll start with the uterus...

At 5:00am on Monday morning Rory went out to the barn to check on the little twin lamb #2 that didn't seem quite right. And he called my phone immediately, "Becca. The mom is dying. It's so bad. I need you out here."

So I joined him in the barn, leaving a walkie talkie for Mara, Sonna and Svea with a note that said, "we're in the barn, let us know if you need anything." And when I got to the barn it was bad. Really, really bad. The mama had birthed her entire uterus but it was still attached to her insides. She was laying on her side, barely alive and let me tell you, you don't actually ever want to see an inside out uterus. Ever.

Ever.

It had octopus suction things all over it and it was huge and blobby. I could say more but I guess I'll leave it at that. Rory was on the phone with the vet and I was watching a youtube video on how to put a uterus with straw all over it back into a Ewe. It didn't look very promising.

Also, Twin #2 was still in the same position as the night before and definitely not thriving. I told Rory I was going to go get a warm bottle of milk for Twin #2 and he said, "please don't be gone long. I really want you here with me." This was traumatic. It was still night outside, the stars were brilliant in the sky and after seven healthy mammal births, this experience was about to turn us into real deal farmers.

The vet arrived and she was wonderful. I told her we had seven kids in the house and she said she had two in the car she had running. Her 5 and 2 year old were along and watching a movie because her husband milks cows in the mornings. Later, when she drove away I told the kids she had her kids in the car and Svea said, "That is not a lazy lady." Nope. She was awesome. Rory and I watched as she slowly put the Ewes insides back on her inside and stitched her up. It was much more involved than that one sentence but I'll keep moving.

She took a look at Twin Two and couldn't figure out what was wrong. He was kicking his legs wildly, but unable to stand. His neck was curved, so it seemed like it might be scoliosis or something with his spine. But he was unable to walk, and since his mother had just gone through quite the ordeal herself, he was unable to nurse. So we were told to bring Twin Two into the house to warm it up, feed it and make it comfortable.
Which is obviously the most exciting thing that could happen to a house full of children. A darling lamb coming in to be bottle fed? So fun. The trouble was that everyone knew the fact that it couldn't walk was a really bad sign. The vet said to give it a day or two to see if it improved, but then we'd likely put it to sleep. And that was a terribly sad thought.

We went along with our day together. We held the baby kittens (we had three born last week!) and did a morning of homeschool, the kids all went out to play, Rory fired up the evaporator in our garden shed (we turned it into a sugar shack!), and we fed the lamb every four hours. Between the maple syruping, the seven kids, the little lamb pooping all over my beach towels in the downstairs shower, and the still-uncertain health of the Ewe in the barn, life felt a bit full and over the top.
At 4:00 I had to leave because I was hosting 46 women at my church with a friend for a Taco Night. (Which, by the way, I totally recommend as a fun gathering. We just had five get-to-know you questions on the table and asked that everyone get to know two new women throughout the evening. It was fellowship at its finest with no programming or agenda. And it was so good.)
I got home from church around 8:30 and found all 4 kids still awake, excited to tell me that poor Sonna go the flu and threw up all over the upstairs bathroom. And how Dad had cleaned it all up and was still tending the maple syrup and that the girls went home (which was planned) and that the baby lamb needed to be fed. I went out to the Sugar Shack and caught up with Rory about our evenings and then fed the lamb until 10 when I positively fell into bed. I woke up to my alarm at 2 and bottle fed the lamb. And then Alden wanted to nurse. Rory fed the lamb at 6 and I woke up at 8. It was hard to get out of bed because I was exhausted and because today was the day we had to decide if Twin Two would ever walk or if he needed to be put down...