Our visitors were scheduled to arrive for lunch at 12:30—a colleague of Ian’s visiting from overseas and some members of her family. Lunch was in various stages of preparation at 12:15 when I got the call from my vigilant children that my goat Artemis was in labor. Leaving the production of meal entirely to Ian (with quick instructions as to what to do with the muffins when the oven timer went off), I dashed outside, pulling my boots on as I went.
It wasn’t long before our guests pulled in the driveway. I greeted them in my blood stained coveralls (from Ish’s kidding last week), leaving the paddock only long enough to explain my predicament and hand them over to Ian.
Back in the paddock, Artemis was looking decidedly uncomfortable. She leaned into my leg as I scratched her back. How Ian was getting on with lunch and guests, I didn’t know. After a while, her contractions seemed to slow, and I was starving, so I took a break for some food. Everyone was relaxing on the porch, food and drinks in hand. I raced to fill a plate and a glass, and sat down, apart from the group, where I had a view of the paddock.
Less than a minute later, I was up again, shrugging on my coveralls, lunch left mostly uneaten on my seat. The first kid was coming, but Artemis was lying down, and the big boy she was trying to deliver needed either gravity or me to do some pulling. Artemis refused to stand, so I pulled her first kid out and proceeded to wipe the mucous off him while she ponderously got to her feet to check him out. I called out his gender to my children, nervously waiting in the yard.
Number two (a girl) was already visible, but she was breach—coming out back feet first. She, too, needed some help. While Artemis licked one, I towelled the other. I called out the gender of the second kid to the children, and they cheered and raced to tell Ian (we’d been hoping for a girl from Artemis this year).
Artemis still looked awfully round, and I was pretty sure I could feel at least one more set of legs in her belly. Labor had stopped, though, so I ventured back to the house, covered in fresh blood and all manner of birthing fluids, to see if I could finish my lunch during the lull.
I had just enough time to finish my dried out bread and cheese and my wilted salad before kid number three made his appearance. He was out by the time I got to the paddock.
It took another hour or so before all three kids were on their feet and nursing well. I waved to our guests as they drove out.
When I finally stripped off my coveralls and washed up for the last time, I asked Ian, “So…who were those people?”