7 Things I Learned From Watching a Pregnant Giraffe For 2 Months

The addiction began in mid-February. I saw a Facebook post about Animal Adventure Park live-streaming the upcoming birth of a giraffe on YouTube and thought it would be an amazing thing to see. What a great nature lesson for my boys! So, I kept the laptop open on the dining room table and we refreshed the page throughout the day and once more on our way to bed each night. I just knew it was going to happen at any moment!

Two months later, we did finally get to see the breathtaking birth, and I realized I had learned quite a few things from staring at a pregnant giraffe for two months.

  1. A female will do everything on her own terms. Even in the animal kingdom, females prove time and again that we know what’s best for our bodies. April the Giraffe was in no rush to deliver her calf, and no amount of hay or treats or viewer begging was going to make it happen until she was ready. I think she may have even been playing with us, throwing in a few fake contractions for added drama. Or that may have been gas. Either way, that girl was running the show.
  2. Giraffes, like moms, never sleep. No matter what time of day or night I was watching the screen, April was awake. Her caretakers assured the viewers this was normal, so we could all stop worrying about her lack of sleep. Every once in a while I’d see her awkwardly sit down (I thought she was going to fall or break her legs EVERY time), but the poor girl only closed her eyes for short increments here and there, never settling down for a nice long stretch. It took me right back to my end-of-pregnancy days when I couldn’t get comfortable, and my giant belly and wandering mind kept me awake. And now, even without a prego belly, my mama duties and to-do lists still keep me from snoozing. April, you are all of us.
  3. Nature is amazing … and totally laughs at us. We are so accustomed to the process of human births, with our due dates and inductions and birthing coaches. To watch a completely natural, wild animal labor and birth (something most of us would never see in our lifetime) was a bit surreal. I was stunned by her calm demeanor, even when having obvious contractions, and then again when the baby was being born. I kept wanting someone to rub her back or give her some ice chips. I had to remind myself this is how it goes down when there isn’t a camera, or a human birth plan, in place.
  4. Boys are boys. I’m a mama to four boys, and while they’re all very different, they all have something in common — their need to play! The male giraffe that was partnered with April was kept in a separate area during the last part of her pregnancy. Many viewers questioned this, until the zookeepers let him in her stall while they cleaned his, and then we understood. Oliver is a young bull and as the park owner explained, “A bull is a bull is a bull.” We were able to witness him jostling with her and trying to roughhouse, while I imagined her rolling her eyes and sighing as she walked away from him. Those silly boys…
  5. Animals bring people together in any circumstance. While all kinds of craziness was going on in our world, thousands of us were watching this sweet giraffe, her baby daddy, and her amazing zookeepers prepare for the new arrival. People from all over the world participated in live chats and joined Facebook groups dedicated to April. Leave it to a four-legged creature to calm us all down and make us remember how to like each other.
  6. YouTube is more than music videos and Minecraft tutorials. Before we kept April’s YouTube page open for two straight months, we really only went to YouTube to watch a music video (usually with the lyrics so I could finally sing along), for Jeff to find a DIY video on fixing our washing machine, or for my boys to learn yet another Minecraft secret from DanTDM. But, those convenient suggested videos that pop up along the side of the screen while you’re watching can completely pull you in to the YouTube world. We actually learned a ton about other animals, habitats and fun science stuff. (I will be using this come Science Fair time. Shh!)
  7. I could now identify a giraffe’s nether region in a line-up. Every time that tail popped up, I leaned in and stared. (You know you did too!) My boys and I played the “What’s it gonna be?” game … baby hooves or poop? And every time it was poop, our shoulders dropped and we moaned like a 2-year-old at bedtime. And when it finally was hooves, I couldn’t. look. away. Oh, yea. I’ll never be able to unsee that.

(Photos via Facebook.com/AnimalAdventurePark)

Who would have ever thought streaming a live video of a pregnant giraffe would turn in to all this? I know my little family will remember this whole experience for years to come, from checking on her progress as soon as they woke up each morning to the exciting birth on that Saturday morning during my 6-year-old’s baseball game! They may be slightly scarred by seeing her lap up the puddle of amniotic fluid, but hey, that’s that whole amazing nature thing, right? 🙂

Love (and learn) more,

Dana

*Here is the Facebook Live of me sharing this post aloud. 🙂

2 COMMENTS

  1. Jenny @ Unremarkable Files | 20th Apr 17

    That’s something your boys will never forget!

    • Dana | 25th Apr 17

      It really was a cool thing! Even if it took 2 months to get to the finale! Haha! And now they’re showing the mama and baby cam once a week, so we can still check in on them. 🙂

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