I found some jobs to do until Dora started pawing at the ground, then went home for to ring Nigel to keep him informed and to the garage so I didn't run out of fuel. On returning to the barn, there was much straining going on but none of the obvious signs of labour... the little balloon of fluid was no where to be seen and there was no discharge at all....... Very odd?
I went in and had a gentle feel round inside, there was a mass of what felt like jelly? After another half an hour I did the same, with the same result.. no feet, no nose in fact no lamb at all? I went home and phoned the vet....... Amy would come from Hawes, a 20 minute journey.... I went back again to wait.... Amy duly arrived and confirmed that Dora was definitely in labour and the "jelly" I could feel was the outside of the uterus...... Dora was suffering from "Ring Womb" a complaint when the cervix does not dilate at all... Amy could get one finger in it and it wasn't going to open.......... this meant a Caesarean Section if lives were to be saved.
We got Dora on her side, and while I made sure she stayed there, Amy shaved her side, an area appox 400 mm high and 300 mm wide, then washed it in a pink solution... then she sprayed the area with surgical spirit. Next several injections were given in a vertical line where the incision would be made to numb any pain. Amy then washed herself in cold water because it was all we had, and then arranged her instruments and equipment, covering the whole sheep in a plastic sheet except her head, in which she made a rectangular cut out over the area of the incision. The incision was about 9 inches long, skin first, then the layers of muscle until the side of the uterus was visible through a smaller slit.... I won't go into the graphics of what Amy did next but 2 huge live lambs were delivered... she put them next to her expecting them to lay where they'd been put while the stitching was done, layer by layer!
Trouble was the lambs had different ideas, so we spent the next 20 mins fighting them off...... while poor Dora lay still and waited for us to finish... They tried to get over us and under us... looking for teats in all sorts of personal places!! Eventually the stitching was completed, more surgical spirit was sprayed over the area and more injections to make sure that any potential infection was fought......... this will continue for the next 5 days......... Finally a good coverage of foot spray, a double whammy of infection control.
We both got up, straightened our cold bones and collected all the equipment, shaved wool etc, and gave Dora her lambs... The picture above was taken just about 20 mins later... both lambs feeding.... I did give them some Colostrum as I find it gives new lambs a real boost... and by the time Nigel and I went to bed the little gimmer (Amy of course) and her brother (Julius) (couldn't be anything else) were both up and running!