My in-law’s have goats. Every year I wait and wait to witness one being born.
We are at my in-laws to visit. We do this most every Sunday afternoon because that’s what you do on Sunday afternoons around here. Today is hot and humid and we’re having fresh corn on the cob for dinner. Austin and I help husk it while Waylon plays close by.
After the corn is husked we take the garbage to the field to feed the goats. Almost immediately we see a mama goat in labor. I am ecstatic! It’s happening! Where are my shoes? Forget shoes!
I am running around and running my mouth. I go inside to get my camera. Waylon is unaffected.
Soon Jim, my father-in-law, prepares a birthing suite which turns out to be a pile of hay. I am doing nothing to help except ask important questions like, “Does it come out of her butt?” and “What happens next?”
I am a goat birthing idiot.
The whole time it’s happening I can’t help but think about my own labor. I shudder as the goat bellows and lays on her side. She is uncomfortable. She is swearing. This is her first time.
At one point Austin notes how goat births are different than human births because the sister goats eats her mucus plug. I had been trying to ignore this fact, but now it’s all I can think about.
An hour passes by and I am on close watch. I leave her side only once to get a drink. Apparently this is a long labor for a goat so I try to look sympathetic. Really I’m still thinking about my own 23 hour labor and how this goat should probably suck it up.
Everyone else goes inside except Gavin (Austin’s brother), Jim, and myself.
It is raining.
Finally her water breaks. The billy goat chews on his cigar like it is 1965. I try not to be annoyed at his ambivalence.
It’s really happening. This young animal is about to be a mother for the first time. I hold my breath and soon enough, a baby boy.
It was gross and then it was beautiful. Tears were in my eyes. Every new life, a miracle.