Monday, June 16, 2008

Pacing around in the lobby of the maternity ward

Beth and I moved back to the Hamster Ranch last Monday because Mama was going to let go "at any time" and we were going to take the pictures of the event.
Monday: it was hot and nothing happened.
Tuesday: it was even hotter and nothing happened.
Wednesday: things were calm (and hot) until evening and then "the storm" moved in. First the wind came. Amazing. The porch light was on and we see this fine mist blowing sideways past the door. I stuck my hand out and it didn't get wet... it was a fog of pollen. Beth stuck her head out to see where it was all coming from and instantly realized her mistake. Her eyeball was instantly coated with pollen and she bent over and started blinking and rubbing her eyes frantically while I looked over my shoulders to make sure that there wasn't a herd of bees zooming in for a free meal.

Then the lightning came. Oh yeah, then there was the gush of water. This wasn't just "precipitation", this was a wall of water that would have set off alarms if we were sitting in a submarine at the moment. Lots and lots of water. Ooooh look, one of the guests for the B&B is coming up the driveway. I hope she can find the door because I would rather not run out there.
But wait! Carl realizes that the door was open on the camper so that it could air out and Carl knows that this wind was going to rip the door right off. So he got out of bed, pulled on his pants and scurried out into the darkness.
The guest splashed through the door and dumped one load of luggage and then splashed out again, when she came back in she was still standing in the doorway marveling at the weather when out of the darkness popped Carl. An eighty year old man dressed like one of the guys from the Chippendales, barefoot, jeans, red suspenders, and absolutely no shirt. Fortunately he also forgot his glasses and hearing aids so he wasn't aware that he had popped out of nowhere and had scared our guest so badly that the storm suddenly seemed trivial. Carl wasn't aware that the person that he was stepping by on his way back to bed was somebody that didn't know him, and he really didn't care, he was going to bed. Noel told our guest Enid that "That's Carl, he lives here" and left it at that. Enid told us about how she had made it up the hill before everything had let loose and was glad to be here even with the "all male revue" part of our little B&B. I would like to note that I was wearing most of my clothes at the time. I was pretty proud of that.

We all settled down to watch a movie and the lightning was still zapping around. I spent a lot of time out in the glass room enjoying the light show, and Beth was in her room reading. I came in to sit back down on the couch and Barnum had taken my spot (Barnum is the farm manager disguised as an orange tabby), well I was bending over to negotiate with the cat when lightning hit a tree right behind the house. Barnum's eyes opened up to the size of.... wait a minute... did I already write about this? wait here, I've got to check something...
OK, I'm back, Yep! I had already written about the lightning strike. Sorry. Well anyhoo, I hadn't told you about Carl the male dancer or Enid, so there you go.
Anyhow, as I was saying, Leslie was on her way with proper eatin' supplies and we partook (which is the past tense of partaken) of strawberry shortcake ice cream and anything else that we could shovel in. After a lot of chatting tweaked the lighting for the Barn-O-Cam so Noel would have a good view of the Mother to be if things started to happen.
Leslie, Enid, Noel, Beth and I all went to bed. Carl had been sleeping a while and Barnum wasn't going to be sleeping for quite a while if his wide eyes were any indication.

Ten minutes after we were in bed Noel let out the alarm. "It's happening, lets go!"
We all jumped up and pulled on our stuff and headed out to the barn.
Mama was laying down but jumped up as soon as our large crowd stumbled into the "viewing area". We backed out of the barn and stayed as quiet as we could while we waited for Mama to feel safe enough to proceed. We slowly stepped in to sneak peeks. While Mama paced around I ran up to Noel's bedroom and turned on the VCR to record everything. When I got back down to the barn I started taking some pictures.
There was a splash that was similar to the deluge that happened earlier in the evening and we knew that her water had just broken. [insert scratch and sniff sample here]

My camera is lousy in dim light so I wasn't expecting much.

Then through the viewfinder I saw a large white egg where an egg wasn't supposed to be.
I dropped my camera to see what I had been looking at and quickly wished I hadn't.
I went out of the barn and told Beth that she should get back in there so that one of us was going to see this in all of it's grand lubricity.
Beth trotted in and I tiptoed carefully.
Mama dropped to the floor right against the wall that the camera was mounted on so that she could assure her privacy and avoid the paparazzi. Noel went in to see if she could help. Mama looked back at Noel with a "let's get this over with" look and started to push. Five seconds later Noel called for Beth to help and of course, Beth was all too glad to dive into the activity. I was attempting to take photos while Noel is barking out commands to Beth "grab there, move this, now, OK, hard, yes, perfect, wow, good" and lots of other things that just confused me.

Noel had told us that the delivery would be in the form of a hundred pound "envelope" and then when the foal is out of the envelope and then it is like somebody puffs into the the foal balloon and everything inflates and takes shape. That was a pretty good description except that the "envelope" looks more like a bright white lubricated condom that you might see on the "Paul Bunyan in Las Vegas" DVD. Noel showed no signs of queasiness while sitting on the floor next to a condom that was as big as she was and in fact she didn't notice me jump like I did when she suddenly tore into the condom right above the baby's face and she wiped the forehead and yelled out "It's a CHESTNUT!" and then happily unwrapped the rest of her present.
It had a banana shaped head with large ears and very very long legs with knobby knees.
Mama kept looking back and seemed impressed with her little wet chestnut colt.
The entire delivery took about 90 seconds. There was more wetness and grossness and wonderment in that minute and a half than I have seen in a very long time.

I have some pictures of a long awkward goofy looking creature nose to nose with mama.
Then mama stood up, the umbilical cord breaks and the goofy baby is officially on his own.
At this point we were supposed to sit back and wait for the kid to figure things out.
At this point we had NO idea that our long night was just getting started.
more later...

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