Wednesday, March 24, 2010

March Midnight Madness

I just got out of the shower after a wild night and with all of the adrenaline flowing through my blood right I just can't I thought I would share the cause of my late night/early morning insomnia.

At 10:45pm, Jonathan and I finished up our chores for the night and headed over to the old barn to check on the dry cows. It's our usual nightly chore, making sure no new babies are born over night, unsupervised. This afternoon, both Jonathan and I had noticed that one of our heifers was acting uncomfortable (pacing the line fence, standing alone, and raising her tail). Knowing this I commented to Jonathan on the way over to the barn that she looked like she might be calving soon, early in fact, since her due was April 5th. Jonathan agreed that he saw the same signs. We got out of the car and walked through the dry cow pen, and what did we see???? Yep, Theresa Ann was in the corner of the pen, starting to calve! At 10:45pm, neither one of us wanted to stay at the farm and wait hours for her to calve to we decided to drive back to town (home) and I would come back to check on her in a couple hours. Heifers always take longer than cows to have their calves, so I knew since she was just getting started I had some time. I checked my e-mail, did some dishes and at 12:45am I headed back out to the farm. I walked back to the pen and found Theresa Ann still in the corner and no baby calf, in fact she had not made any progress since I left her 2 hours ago. Something was wrong!

I rushed into the barn and got some sterile gloves (the ones that go all the way to the shoulder). I proceeded to go in to "feel" for the calf and I found one leg, but not the other leg, and the calf was coming backwards! Calves are "usually" born front feet first followed by the head, to make sure that the calf is out and breathing once the umbilical cord breaks, however this calf was coming backwards....butt first! To make matters worse I could only find one leg! The other leg was pinned up against the hip bone of the cow and with each contraction the leg pushed against the hip, instead of coming out. Sometimes cows can successfully deliver calves backwards but Theresa Ann needed help and she needed it now! I tried to push and pull the calf so I could get the 2nd leg moved out, but it would not budge for me. In fact I don't think I was strong enough to get it to start with. That uterus is a strong muscle. I tried to call Jonathan on the cell phone. He was sleeping and turned his phone what to do???? If I call a vet it would take them too long to get there to help and they cost money. So I decided to rush back into town and wake Jonathan in person.

I drove as fast as I could, and thankfully there were no deer or cops. What is usually a 10 minute drive was more like 5....I scared the life out of Jonathan, yelling for him to come and help. He threw his clothes and boots on as fast as he could and we were back on the way to the farm. We ran to the dry cow pen, 15 minutes after I left, Theresa Ann was still in the corner trying to have that darn calf. Jonathan got down on his knees and when in to find the 2nd leg. He strained and struggled, but after some really hard work he got it freed!!!!!! We hooked up the rope and pulled the calf as fast, but as carefully as we could. We had to pull quickly since the calf could not stay in the birth canal, it could not breathe there and we had to pull carefully so we did not tear Theresa Ann. Swiftly we worked and with the help of Theresa Ann's powerful pushes we delivered a LIVE heifer calf!!!!! Oh how great it was to see that after all of that rushing and stress we were able to deliver a healthy heifer calf at 1:52am!!!!!!!

Theresa Ann got up immediately and started to lick off her calf. We proceeded to clip the calf's navel (to prevent infection) and make sure that Theresa Ann drank some water. Since it was so late at night we decided to leave baby Theresa Joy and her mother Theresa Ann together until morning. Theresa Joy was tired from the delivery and Theresa Ann was enjoying her success. Not every story ends like this, but it seems that this family of cows has happy endings....I hope Theresa Ann's twin sister Theresa Marie can do the same thing on her due date April 6th =)'s now 2:25am....time for bed....Good night everyone!

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I write this blog to share my passion for my cows and farming, please be respectful of that. I reserve the right to delete those comments which portray hate, call names, and are out right disrespectful. If you have an honest question, I will respond, to explain what we do on our farm, why we do it and how we do it. Please read with an open mind. My time to blog is short, as most of our days are spent caring for our beloved cows. Thank you!