Whoever said childbirth was a beautiful thing was a flat-out liar.


Whoever said childbirth was a beautiful thing was a flat-out liar.

I have a story to tell, but I’ll spare you the gruesome details. It’s calving season right now, and more often than not a mamma cow will pop one out pretty easily. But last Thursday, one unfortunate soon-to-be mother was having trouble.

In the pasture down by the river, I was riding shotgun with mom. It was our second or third trip down there to check on one particular cow, for she had a little hoof emerging from her you-know-where. We called my cousin, Chad, who lately has been working the same hours as a doctor on call.

The first step was ropin’ her. She did not cooperate.

We chased her from one side of the pasture to the other. She even jumped a fence to get away from us, but eventually, with the help of Frank (the fifth character in my tale if you include the cow) we got her roped … back in the original area where the chase began.

The guys got her down, and Chad covered her eyes. I learned later that eye cover material was my cousin’s brand new vest. Now that we had her down, we needed Chad’s truck that had the necessary tools to pull the calf … Everyone seemed pretty busy so I ran across the field to fetch it. I jumped in the cab and started her up, all of a sudden I felt this warm, gooeyness all over my cheek. It was Purdy, Chad’s puppy who comes along for the ride. She surprised me, but I was happy to see her perky little self.

When a calf normally comes out of the womb, its front legs come out, then its head, then the rest slides on through. Our little fella having trouble had one leg in the right place, but the other was down, well, where it wasn’t supposed to be. Mom had the rope, Frank on the cow, and Chad was reaching in the cow to pull the other calf leg up. I stood by with a mortified expression.
Things were not going well.

Chad needed another set of hands, and I wanted to be helpful.

My job was to pull when Chad told me to pull … oh we had everything but the calf coming out of that cow. I know my mom and Frank had to be laughing at me the whole time, but the last time I was this close to birth, it was me being born.

I was grimacing, Chad was sweating, Frank and Mom were laughing and Purdy was barking. After all those gruesome details I said I would skip, we had the calf out of that cow, which brings the character tally up to seven.

As we were driving away from the scene, I wondered how far I would have gotten before being roped. But then, I saw the momma cow nuzzle that little calf and claim him in front of everybody. And that made it all worth while to me.

To Chad, Frank and my mom, that was just one of many projects in a long day on the farm. I couldn’t imagine doing that every day, and it makes me admire those who can. It’s a hard and dirty job, so I hope you all can appreciate and recognize them for all that they do.