So I got in touch with the guy who I thought owned the bearing ewe, and it turned out it wasn't his but he's a nice guy and offered to come help me sort it out. He happened to have a bearing retainer as well, which is always a bonus because they work better than safety pins.
WTF is a bearing retainer? This:
The tongue part goes into the vagina once you've turned it back the right way round, and you harness it there. It holds everything in place, and amazingly the ewe can lamb right round it. Then, once she's over lambing, you take it out. And if you have any brains, you mark the ewe for culling, and also her lamb, because proneness to prolapse is hereditary.
Anyway, so my boss let me leave work early so I could go sort it because she could see me stressing about it. Quick call in home to change, grab a dog, a bucket and some detergent for cleaning of said prolapse before putting it back in, and I'm good. Off to the farm to be Ms Fixit. Yay!
When I got to the farm there were 7 ewes hanging out by the woolshed gate, none of which were the bearing one. Luckily, there were no dragon ladies there and I got through the yards unscathed. A walk around the farm revealed - no sheep! Whut. I walked the whole place (around 100 acres) to no avail. It was a sheep free zone, apart from the 7 by the shed. So I went back, got the 7 into a holding paddock by the shed for removal tomorrow by their owner, and went to look at the other side of the farm (another 100 acres). On the way through I stopped and left a note for the horse girls asking them to not let the 7 sheep out, since they'll be taken away tomorrow.
I found the rest of the sheep at the back of the farm. Someone, it seems, had decided to take matters into their own hands, and had chased them back across the gully (which requires opening a padlocked gate) - unfortunately, they'd missed some (the 7 I found), and had upset them thoroughly so that when I found the bearing ewe, she took off flat knacker down the hill through the gorse away from me.
I watched in abject horror as the bearing came further and further out, followed by the ewe's bladder and part of her uterus. As she ran, the dangling stuff got longer and longer until it was wrapping around her legs as she ran. Then it caught on something in the grass, and blood started to pour out.
At this point I realised that I wouldn't be needing the bearing retainer because the sheep was going to die. So I followed her slowly until she stopped running and hid in some bushes. Unfortunately she was on a steep siding above a creek, and slipped halfway down it amongst the trees. I got hold of her front legs but I couldn't pull her up because heavy in lamb, a ewe weighs 65kg+. So I hung on for a while, but realistically she was going to die in pain and I was going to have to watch it happen, so I decided to make it quicker and suffocated her. It took about a minute.
Apart from having to shoot a dog once, it's probably the most horrible thing I've had to do in farming. As I walked back over the hill, I was shaking and I have to say it was mostly with anger. Anger at whoever interfered with a mob of ewes a week off lambing, anger at myself for not ignoring the woman yesterday and getting the sheep in anyway. Wondering if I'd approached the sheep differently, she wouldn't have taken off down the hill. So I decided to take the long way round and check the other sheep on the way. They are, I'm happy to report, all looking well and happy, if a bit skittish.
By the time I got back to the stable, I was composed enough to have a conversation with the ladies there, who were very pleasant and offered to tell the other horse people not to let the 7 sheep out (remember them?) so that they can be collected tomorrow. It was nice to meet nice horse people.
On the way back up the road I ran into the guy (remember him?) who was going to help my with the bearing ewe. I explained what had happened and he invited me back to his place for coffee and to wash up. Turns out he wants someone to mind his stock while he's away in October, may know someone who'd be keen to rent our spare room, and has three phase power in his shed and needs a grinder for his own shearing gear. HaHA! And to boot he's an interesting guy and easy to talk to.
See? Clouds. Silver linings. Clouds. Silver linings. This is my mantra for today.