‘April’ Love: How a Pregnant Giraffe Helped Me Get Ready to Move

April 18, 2017

Well, April the Giraffe has finally delivered her calf despite snide and stinging comments from naysayers and trolls lurking behind their laptop screens:

“She ain’t pregnant,” sneered some.

“That’s a male giraffe,” sniped others.

“Best April Fool’s joke ever,” scoffed one too many.

On the evening of the last Saturday of February, I became aware of the pregnant giraffe and the Harpursville, New York zoo called Animal Adventure Park. Earlier in the day, Jeff and I had returned from an afternoon of shopping for a fifth-wheel RV to move onto our lot.

The first thing I learned about April, the Giraffe, that night, was that her blessed event would not happen any too soon.  A giraffe’s average gestational period lasts around fifteen months — six months longer than a human pregnancy. (Did I just hear shrieking from a few women out there?). As April had mated  more than once, no one could pinpoint the exact date of conception. Still, every day and around the clock, people worldwide tuned in to watch the “live giraffe cam”. Having read the signs of impending labor, including the raised tail, spread legs and “crowning” hooves, we held our breaths every time April raised her tail and watched her for any sign of hooves.

When April didn’t “domino” during February or March, some irate viewers blamed the park, the caretakers, the vet, even April herself — anyone  who didn’t produce April’s calf according to their royal timetables.

“Do a C-section,” urged some.

“Give her Pitocin,”  demanded others.

Knowing it was all just a matter of waiting for God and Mother Nature, I leaned back in my recliner to wait for the delivery whenever it came to pass. While waiting stressed out many viewers, I found the event to be a refreshing break from fussing over our plans to move.

In early February, as April was growing her calf, Jeff and I returned from the coast to set  our moving plans into motion. We were set to close on our property down south during the second week in April. The first potential buyer surfaced but promptly cancelled in March.  So we started the process again, bringing in a different company to help us. As the process progressed, I couldn’t help observing that this house sale was exponentially different from the sale of my childhood home when when I was able to  move into my new home  — the one Jeff and are now selling — in September 2006 while a crew worked on updating and renovating my other home before my realtor sold it, only a few months later.

Since we found the property in February, the name of our ‘game’ has been “hurry up-and-wait”. Hurry and clean for the next showing. Wait for a buyer. Hurry and pack. Wait for closing. Many false starts, it has seemed. Much like waiting for April’s calf. The pace of the move might have been brutal if I had not been able to relax by watching a majestic giraffe with breathtaking  eyes deliver her calf. In fact, I fell asleep at night while watching April stroll around her pen, chew her cud, lick the walls and the camera with her long, black tongue; eight hours later, I tuned in, again, to catch the update on the giraffe cam.

Last Saturday, on April 15, around 8:00 a.m., I awoke to a long-awaited surprise: April, in active labor, starting with the hooves. After she waddled around at least thirty minutes after the hooves crowned, I saw the snout and, soon, the entire calf, encased in its amniotic sac, tumbled six feet to the ground along with a great gush of fluid. After a few heart-stopping minutes, the calf came lifted its head, tried its wobbly legs, flopping into walls and collapsing to the ground. Finally, with Mommy’s help, the little fellow managed to stand.

Now, in the month of April, not only has April the Giraffe delivered her calf and the little booger, bonded with Mommy and Daddy, Jeff and I now have a contract on our home and are packing  to leave during the second week in May. By this time, next month, we expect to wake up in our RV on the coast.

As I continue packing, I can’t help wondering which of the Park’s animals will get pregnant, next. Will it be the camel? The wolf? The zebra? The monkey? Who knows? For more information about the park, visit the site. The park is closed, for now, before it opens officially in a few weeks. For your information, the source for this photo is Animal Adventure Park.

So, who else waited along with me for April’s little bundle? What was the most fascinating fact or observation you took away from this event? I’d love to read your comments. Please scroll down and leave a comment in the allotted space. Coming up soon, the next installment of the “Living On Island Time” series: “‘Southbound and Down”.


HUMOROUS HOW-TO’S: Baby Makes Three

Another semester down, another batch of how-to’s up. Follow Jeannine’s  tips for surviving your pregnancy and, I promise, you won’t kill even one person in the process..

Baby Makes Three

            You are pregnant, congratulations! Having a baby is a life changing experience

filled with a cute little nose and ten wiggly toes. I bet you are wondering what you

pregnancy test
pregnancy test (Photo credit: Konstantin Lazorkin)

should do next. Here is a quick how- to that will get you through even the toughest      pregnancy. This will help you with everything from cravings to baby gear. All you need to do from here is enjoy your pregnancy. You have nine months to milk it for everything it is worth. After that, you will sink into non-existence, as the baby will from that day forward be the center of everyone’s attention.

            Pregnancy makes a woman glow; I bet you have heard that ridiculous line more than once. Truth is only a handful of women glow during pregnancy. These are the same women who only gain fifteen pounds and never get morning sickness. Ignore any advice these women have to offer. They are evil. Here is what really happens and what you need to do in order to survive all three trimesters of pregnancy. During your first trimester, you will be nauseous all the time and quite often get sick at any sight or smell you come across. Carry a bucket wherever you go; print out a sign that says “Go Away or I will throw up on you next!” and paste it to your bucket. Now no one will bother you. When you are not throwing up you will be hungry for anything and everything. Go crazy. Your husband already married you and clearly stated in his vows “for better or for worse”. Eating and throwing up is really all you do during the first trimester of pregnancy, so do not be surprised when family, friends, and co-workers start thinking you have become a pot- smoking alcoholic. Plan to announce your pregnancy at the intervention that they will plan for you. Everyone will already be together, and you will not have to go through the hassle of planning an announcement party.

            If you have reached your second trimester and have not killed anyone, you are doing great! The next few months will be easy. It will include finding out the baby’s gender, if you plan on it, and shopping. Oh, and of course eating. The eating is fun and should be done throughout the whole nine months of your pregnancy. Who cares if you’ve already passed the two-hundred pound threshold? You will lose most of it immediately after the baby is born. If you doubt this, just look at any tabloid in the supermarket. Actresses lose their baby weight in two weeks, and when has a tabloid ever lied? Going shopping is one of the best perks of being pregnant. You will actually have an excuse to spend money. And now that you know what the baby will be, it is time to load up on goodies. Do not let anyone talk you out of buying anything. You do need it, and it is a necessity. During these trips, your husband may be tempted to question things like whether or not you really need twenty tubes of diaper cream, “what is a birthing ball used for anyway?”, and the thousand dollar stroller that you see as an absolute must have. He will see that you can purchase a similar one with a different name on it for over half the price. Ignore him. He does not know anything. In fact, it may just be better to leave hubby at home. That way, no blood will be shed.

            The third trimester is by far the hardest; your ankles will now be the size of softballs. If you can still manage to fit your feet inside of your shoes, you will not be able to reach the shoe laces anyway. You are better off wearing slippers from this point until the baby is born. At this point in your pregnancy, everyone will want to touch your very noticeable baby belly. It is okay to smack people who do this. They are annoying and need to be stopped. You may also hear comments about whether or not you are having twins. If you are not having twins, it is okay to smack these people too. As the impending date gets nearer, you may start to get anxious over your baby’s birth. Not knowing what to expect can be terrifying, so here are a few simple guidelines to remember: When contractions start, call the hospital ahead of time and have them prepare your epidural. If anyone tries to talk you out of trying to go through labor without drugs, they clearly have never had a baby. Repeat after me “epidural is good.” Your husband will become the most annoying person you have ever met. It is okay to tell him to go away and never come back. It is also okay to tell him to never leave you again thirty seconds later. After everything is said and done, you will have your baby in your arms. Keep in mind, newborn babies look like wrinkly, bald old men. Do not be alarmed by this, most babies get cuter over time.

            Pregnancy is the only time in a woman’s life when it is completely acceptable to act hormonally insane. You will want to receive hugs one minute, and stab someone the next. This is okay as long as you do not actually stab anyone. Most of these crazy moments and acts of aggression will happen in front of your husband. It may be safer for him to set up a tent in the backyard for the next nine months. All of this will be forgiven and forgotten once you both get to hold your little, wrinkly, bald bundle of joy. Enjoy going insane. You will not be so easily forgiven with your next pregnancy.