Friday, April 30, 2010

The Birth of Alex Moses

It was early, very early - 12:36am to be exact. I woke to dreams of contractions yet again, but for some odd reason the annoying cramping stayed with me into the foggy haze of reality. I decided I must be dreaming but as I laid there trying to get comfortable the nagging cramping returned. I decided that since there was no way I would find a comfortable position that would allow me to go back to sleep I would stare at the clock and see if there was any regularity to these cramps. Sure enough, the cramps would return about every 10 minutes or so. At around 1:30 I decided I just couldn't lay in bed any longer. So, I got up and read, check e-mail and face book and otherwise tried to entertain myself. Half hoping the cramps would go away, and half hoping I was in labor, just so I could be done with it.

At 2:00am, the cramps were getting pretty strong, enough that I was pretty sure I was entering the realm of early labor. I decided some company would be nice, so I woke Kyle, who bless his heart began packing a bag just in case. I had some bloody show so we decided to call the midwife just to give her an FYI, and find out when she would like me to come in should the contractions progress. Since we live a good hour+ drive from the hospital the recommendation was that we head in when the contractions where about 7-8 minutes apart. Everyone including us thought this labor could go faster than my labor with Colton, which was a total of 16 hours.

Sure enough, even after a bath the cramps where stronger and coming about every 6-7 minutes. It was now close to 4:30am, so we woke Colton, started the truck and made two quick phone calls to our parents to let them know that we were headed into the hospital.

It was different driving to Helena in the pre-dawn light, I remember the sky being crystal clear with diamond stars shining so brightly, I remember thinking "what a beautiful night to be born." The sun was just starting to light the sky as we came over the pass. My contractions surprisingly began to fluctuate between every 10 minutes and every 7-8 minutes. Kyle and I looked at each other nervously wondering if we had jumped the gun a bit, but the contractions where still coming, so we continued on. Thanks to the early hour it took us just an hour to reach the hospital. We went in and they whisked us up to the Labor and delivery wing. Hooked me to the monitor and we waited. My contractions had slowed to ever 8-10 minutes. The nurse checked me and I was still only dilated to 2 1/2-3cm. The same as I had been all week. They decided that maybe a walk would help things progress. Which timed out about right as Kyle and Colton where hungry. So, we walked down to the cafeteria, Colton and Kyle got a bite to eat, and I walked, and walked and walked. So, long as I was moving the contractions would come about every 5-6 minutes. After an hour we headed up the the labor and delivery wing again to see if I had made any progress.

Just like earlier, if I laid down my contractions would slow to about every 10 minutes. I had dilated another 1/2 cm. But not enough for them to want to admit me. So, the discussion was whether I be released or I could stay, but I would probably need to walk a whole lot more to progress and I was already getting tired. My other option was to have the midwife come down and break my water and see if that got things going.

I knew I didn't want my water broken so early, that would put me on the clock for delivering in the next 12-24 hours and who knows what host of interventions I could face. I didn't want to stay in the little exam room, I just didn't feel comfortable. My gut told me I needed to get something to eat and I needed to get comfortable. The trouble with leaving was where would we go? We had no friends in Helena, and home was a good hour away. Kyle was also getting tired, after all we had been up all night pretty much. We decided to see leave and see if just getting out of the hospital would help. I was starving so, we went and got something to eat. I thought if we could find a nice park I could try and get some sleep in the truck. Colton slept for about 20 minutes, but he was the only one who got rest. Kyle and I just could not get comfortable. We talked about getting a hotel but, the cost alone made us wary. We did not want to spend $100.00 just for a couple of hours, then of course it could be all night, who knew? I had already been in labor for 11 hours, much longer than either of us expected I would be. We decided that since I had made some progress walking we would go to a store and I would walk. We chose Murdocks, because Colton loved it and he would easily be entertained by their toy isle.

I walked around the store, but I just couldn't get comfortable. What can I say, I had a hard time with the store clerks asking me repeatedly if they could help me find something. Of course I'm sure I looked lost as I wandered up and down pretty much every isle. Kyle stayed with Colton in the toy section. I didn't want to share with them that I was in labor, and risk them following me with a bucket and mop or asking us to leave.

I finally told Kyle, that I really needed to get comfortable. We decided that even a few hours of sleep would do us all good. So to the Super 8 we went. Kyle went in to reserve a room, I was worried about the cost if he let them know I was in labor. But amazingly they charged us about 1/2 price because I was in labor. What a blessing.

The time spent on the hotel was the best $50 I think we have ever spent. Kyle got to cat nap, Colton got a solid 2 hour nap, and I was finally able to get comfortable. I cat napped between contractions. They pretty much remained about 10 minutes apart, but each time I dozed it felt more like an hour between them. I was quickly getting recharged. I also, took time to do some hip opening stretches, anything I could do to encourage the baby to move down. Kyle rubbed my back and legs. We cuddled and waited. Every once in a while Colton would come up and encourage me saying, " Your doing a good job Mommy." After every contraction it seemed like I had to pee. Finally, I prayed. It was a simple prayer: "Lord I believe you can move mountains, and I believe you can move this labor along." I went back to sleep. A few minutes later I had a really strong contraction. I immediately got up to use the bathroom. As I stood up my water began to leak. I rushed to the toilet, there was no doubt my water had broken. We were on our way. I told Kyle to get things ready. Almost immediately the contractions really started coming. They had gone from every 10 minutes to every 1-2 minutes and were increasing in intensity. We called the midwife and let them know we where headed back to the hospital. I think I had 3 or 4 contractions just on the short drive to the hospital.

Kyle dropped me off at the door. I went in to re-register. They where very quick and efficient. Kyle and Colton met me in the registration room. And soon we were taken to the 4th floor labor and delivery wing. Me having contractions every few minutes on the way.

The birthing room was lovely, spacious with a private bath and a big beautiful tub. The nurses tossed me a gown and in between contractions I changed. They hooked me to the monitor, and checked me. I was still only dilated to 4 1/2 cm. But my contractions were strong and regular. The baby's heart beat was steady as well. They would have liked to monitor me longer, but I had to pee, not to mention laying on my back was making the contractions extremely painful.

I kept thinking about that tub. I wanted to wait until the contractions were unbearable before I got into my only source of pain relief. But the contractions were so intense and so close together I decided it must be time. The room seemed extremely warm to me, I remember the simple hospital gown felt suffocating, my wedding ring and necklace I was sure were strangling me. So off everything came. Forget modesty, forget what anyone else would say. It was like I was in another world. Far removed from reality, all I could do was move with the contractions. Moan and groan, and try to welcome them.

Meanwhile, Kyle my beloved labor partner was pulling double duty. I had no real concept of this but he was wrangling Colton, getting him set up with a movie. Reassuring him that Mommy was o.k., and running back to me every time I called so that he could apply counter pressure to my lower back with his lovely large warm hands. At one point during a brief break from a contraction I heard Colton call; "Daddy I need you!", then a contraction came and I called; "Kyle I need you!", he came back to the tub and applied pressure to my aching back. Just as Colton called again; "Daddy I need you!", He left to tend Colton. But no sooner I was calling for him again. Kyle said in a kindly way; "I've never felt so needed in my life!" This statement made me laugh, which made me relax. Every once in a while Colton would pop in to the bathroom, and ask if I was having a hard time. Or he would tell me I was doing a good job. Once he made the suggestion that I should "MOO" something I had read about, and he liked the idea of.

In the tub each contraction intensified, I swayed in the water on my hands and knees with either Kyle or one of the nurses applying pressure to my lower back. I could hardly grasp the breaks in between. It seemed as one would leave, another was coming right on it's heels. I was so thankful for the research I had done over the past months. I'm sure the coping techniques I learned from Ina May Gaskins book, where primarily responsible for hanging on to my senses enough to cope with the intensity of this labor. I drew off the stories of women in labor before me. I tried to welcome each contraction, I wished it goodbye as it went. I felt my self open up more and more. I wished Alex to come on down, I repeated the mantra, "I'm going to get huge" to keep me from fearing I would tear. Kyle even reminded me of this when I was extra tense, he encouraged me to relax my face when my brow would furrow. He would tell me I could do this, that I had done it before. He was my anchor. Holding me steady. He kept me from being swept away by the intensity of the contraction.

Pretty soon the tub was too hot for me. I climbed out, and sat on the toilet. The thought of sitting was unbearable, but so was standing. The nurses gave me a cold wash cloth for my neck. I could feel Alex coming down along my tail bone. As I approached transition the contractions suddenly got easier to cope with. I no longer felt the need to moan. I just breathed. As the contractions intensified I reached deeper with my breath, and as I exhaled I allowed the release. Much like you would doing a difficult yoga pose. The nurse commented on my ability to control my breathing. That simple word of encouragement made me feel like I could do this all night. (Though I'm glad I didn't have to.)

Before I knew it I could feel stinging at my cervix, I knew Alex was ready to be born. I called for someone to get my midwife Carol. She came quickly and recommended we move over to the bed. I was so close to delivering, I could barely walk, Kyle and Carol had to support me as I moved to the bed. As I walked to the bed, I told Colton that Alex would be here soon. He grinned and went back to watching his movie. Once again, I labored on my hands and knees. It was unbearable to think of sitting or laying down. I could feel Alex coming, but I never made the conscious effort to push. I just felt him moving down, I felt my body pushing, I tried to just let it do its job. I breathed.

Carol thought maybe the baby could have big shoulders. she suggested I roll over and sit in a kind of squatted position. For a moment I thought, "How am I supposed to do that?", but I changed my thought right away to: "sure I can do that." Kyle supported my back so I could be as upright as possible. The nurses supported my knees hugging them toward my chest.

It was much easier, for my body to push in this postition and Alex came very quickly once I changed. Almost as soon as I flipped over his head was out. My body gave one more push and the rest of him slipped out.

Alex was here! He was beautiful too. dark hair, pink skin, and did he ever smell good, brand new and sweet. He hollered about the transition from womb to world. Carol handed him to me. He had a pretty short cord, so it was hard to get him to my chest. He quieted quickly after he was in my arms. We waited for the cord to stop pulsating, which happened a lot faster than I thought it would. Kyle opted to not cut the cord. Carol offered me the privilege which I gladly accepted. It was rather tricky to cut the thick slippery cord with my left hand but I managed.

I held Alex taking in every inch of him. He was so much smaller than Colton had been. But he was amazing and perfect. The nurses dried him off in my arms. No one took him from me. Pretty soon the placenta came. I was so pleased to not have any bleeding and no tears. No drugs of any kind were needed during my labor. It was wonderful. I felt like I could do anything. Kyle kissed and hugged me. I'm sure he was as proud and happy as me. Colton also was all grins. I couldn't pay attention to it at the time. But Kyle told me that Colton watched the whole birth with a huge smile on his face. Though he did not want to come over and see Alex right away. I imagine because he was still a little messy. (Colton doesn't even like the calves when they are brand new. He won't get close to them until they are clean and dry.) He said he would see him after his bath.

Alex soon was looking for my breast. He latched on easily and had his first meal. When I was finally ready, I handed Alex to Kyle. Then we let the nurses clean him up. They applied the antibiotic ointment to his eyes, and gave him a vitamin K shot. I opted not to have him get the Hep B shot. They gave him a bath, and I also slipped blissfully into a nice warm bath.
Alex weighed in at 7lbs. 12oz. and 20inches long. My labor was just over 20 hours.

As a family we stayed in the hospital room. Colton was in love with his new brother kissing him gently and examining his fingers and impossibly long toes. We all enjoyed the next two days of close bonding. I really enjoyed snuggling both my boys in the hospital bed. Though Colton would finally take it over.

Alex is a champion nurser. He nursed almost non stop the first 24 hours. We snuggled together that night. No one asked me to put him down. I have to give Carol, and my nurses credit for the amazing birth experience. I know without their support for my wanting to have a natural labor and birth it would not have been near as good an experience. I feel so blessed to have had such a beautiful time.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The new Bull

Yesterday Mr. and Mrs. H went to a bull sale and bought a new Charley (I'm sure I didn't spell that right) bull. He is pretty cute - as far as a bull can be.

Right away this morning Kyle got his first lesson in branding. Everything went well except Colton did not enjoy the ordeal. It wasn't that he feared for the bull. No, my child has quite a dose of self-preservation-instinct. He did not like that bull banging around in the chute, and was not happy until we had one more fence and gate between them. Once he had the space he needed he watched with rapt attention.
Of course, if I had not been assured that the bull would not have even a chance to escape, I would not want to be in that corral either!
This bull made quite a show bellowing and blowing, kicking and making a general fuss anyway.

But, the branding went of without a hitch, and I think Kyle is even more excited about our branding in May. This is after all his dream.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Kyle's new Pride and Joy

This is "JD" or if you ask Colton; John Deere. Kyle has finally satisfied his desire to have a horse again. I am thankful, because in all honestly, I do not enjoy studying the same three Internet advertisements as much as he does. To be realistic I just have other things on my mind right now. Probably sometime next spring I will be craving a horse again and bugging him the exact same way. Anyway, I am once again convinced that God truly cares about us and that he not only seeks to provide what we need, but cares enough about the desires of our hearts to give us a some of our wants as well.

In the past month that Kyle has been looking for a horse, we have consistently run into the same complication. Everything, and I do mean everything is quite a drive from the ranch. The search for horses has been no different. Even the closer horses seemed to be at least a good 100 miles from here. JD was the exception, though we didn't know it at the time.
Kyle had found him and another gelding that he liked on a website. The ranch they where on was in Twin Bridges. A good 100 miles away, of course. But the price was reasonable and Kyle thought if he could figure out a way to have him delivered we could work it out. Well, one morning Kyle asked me to call and buy him one of the two geldings. I grumbled about this, only because my negotiation skills are very poor, and I didn't know all the questions Kyle would have wanted asked. But, alas, I do love my husband and he had been working so hard, running (literally) to work the cows around here. So I called. The woman on the other end of the line turned out to be a dealer for these horses. One had already sold, but "JD" was still available. The second amazing provision of God was that not only was the horse still available, but he was near Deer Lodge a mere 40 miles away. To make things even better Kyle and Mr. H had already planned on going to a ranch horse competition clinic in Deer Lodge the following day.
Kyle was thrilled to say the least, he called and made final arrangements and when they left the next morning, they had trailer in tow (just in case). As it turned out the woman who owned this gelding was a friend of Mr. & Mrs. H. The negotiations where made and agreed upon and home they came.

JD is pretty cute, his only fault is he toes out slightly in the back, and his feet have never been trimmed. He has hardly been handled at all, but Kyle is making fast progress with him. He also, has not had hay or grain. Which to us Michiganders is amazing, there would be no way a horse could survive the winter and look as good as this colt does on Michigan forage. Oh and did I mention he is very cow bred? Kyle says this horse should eat, sleep, and breath cows. A very good thing for Kyle.
So a new chapter in the story of Kyle and his horses has begun. I thank God for working out all the details of this horse. I pray he will be a good partner for Kyle and that he will be satisfied.

Oh wait, Kyle just told me now all he needs is a new bosal...sigh... this too shall pass right?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Baby Shower

Here are pictures of the lovely baby shower Mrs. H threw for us. I am continually amazed at the gernerosity and kindness of the people of this valley.

The Blessing of Friends

When I was 15 my family packed us up and moved us to Michigan. It was a difficult transition for a teenager. I had always lived in North Idaho, I had many friends and those that were part of my extended family. It was very hard to leave everything I had ever known. I grieved it as most teens would by acting out. But the reality was it was the best thing my parents could have done for us. And slowly but surely (over the course of 12 years) I grew to love the Midwest as I had North Idaho. Of course there were many difference about the two places. We had traded purple/blue mountains for the emerald green and gold of farm land. We had left the quiet small town for a string of moderate sized cities. Exchanged living by what day brought to living by the clock. Both places had their attributes despite their sharp cultural and landscape differences. We also traded small town hospitality for the much more populated and busier life style. Don't get me wrong people in Michigan are nice. But their are some cultural differences when you move to such a population. One distinct difference was that because I had lived in such a small town before, were everyone knew everyone. The idea of making friends was rather daunting. Thankfully, I had many cousins in Michigan to start off with, and slowly but surely I carved out a small niche' of close friends. I even found the love of my life, but it did take time.

So, when we made the decision to pick up and move across country, and start a new life - the life we always dreamed of out west- I thought I knew what was ahead of me. I knew we would be o.k. that in time we would all love it as we had our old home, probably even more because we would be living the life we dreamed. I thought in time we find friends, and be accepted as members of the community. But, it would be over the course of years.
We prayerfully asked for a smooth transition out here, prayed about the job, I prayed that Kyle would be welcomed, I prayed that Colton would have kids to play with. I prayed for a good church. But I skipped friends for myself. I thought; I will make friends in a few years, there will be somebody as new as me eventually. I'm good at keeping up with old friends anyway.
But, God in his faithfulness had other plans for me and our family.
The first week we were here it was evident that this community was different from any I had ever encountered before. Mr. & Mrs. H themselves were unlike anyone we had ever met. They took us under their wing immediately, introducing us to as many people as possible, involving us in community events and making sure we felt welcome. I will be eternally thankful to them for their hospitality. We had never encountered employers who cared about more than the day's work performed before, it has been a great blessing. But, what was even more amazing was the blessing of this community. That as we where introduced, and involved the community seemed to have open arms for us as well. I have never so quickly felt welcomed. I know I have a lot to learn yet about the way things are done out here and the people who have called this valley home for generations. But, because this community has been so kind my fear of making a cultural flounder has greatly diminished. There are even people here that only after a month-and-a-half I can call friends. God is so good and beyond faithful.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The hands of a Ranchers Wife

I have long been fascinated by the human hand. With an amazing 27 bones. All of which work in exact synchronization to complete any myriad of tasks with minimal thought on our part. The hand is certainly an amazing part of human creation. The bible references the word "hand" an astounding 1,466 times. Trumping, Eyes, Ears, Nose, and Mouth by a significant number.

So, why today am I so fixated on the hand? Well, like I said I have always found the hand interesting. There are so many things about the hand that are special. The over all structure is of course amazing, and the functions that the human hand performs on a daily basis without much consideration are none the less extraordinary. But what really intrigues me about the hand is the stories that they tell. And out here the hand of a ranchers wife has many tales I have no doubt. Just like the completely different structure of the land here, I have noticed that the shape, texture and structure of a ranchers wife's hands are just as varied.

Kyle and I have been pondering the lives of the many locals that call this valley home, and there are always two things in common. We notice that those in the "Mature" age range look and act much younger than their respective ages. Second, the ranchers wives are much stonger and more independant than most women we've met in our life times.

The other day we were at an event and I was introduced to one of the members of the community. I have to say that she was an extraordinarily beautiful woman. She was introduced as someones daughter. My immediate thought was, "Oh, another woman my age here in the valley!" As we were talking, I confess I was trying to discern her approximate age. There was not a crow's foot, wrinkle or ounce of sagging skin about her face. (I have more crow's feet than this woman did). She was obviously in her 20's. Then she introduced me to her teenage daughters! But I digress, it is not the age of her face that threw me over the moon for this woman. It was her hands! I have never seen hands like these apart from around here. I suppose they are observed as the norm, in this area. But, really they where beautiful!

Her hands told the story of her life I'm sure. A ranchers daughter and/or wife, raised in the west. She had worked hard to raise her family. Simply manicured for practical reasons. These hands where for using. (I know I'm not capturing the amazing structure of her hands so use your imagination.) Yes, they showed an age her face did not. You could see in those hands the skill to prepare a meal, do the household chores, and also be a useful hand on the ranch, these hands where skilled at handling animals, equine and bovine. Yes, these hands I'm sure had worked countless branding's. vaccinated rowdy calves, loved her husband and her children, They had wiped away tears, sweat, dust. Where tender and yet strong for the millions of work days performed. They where the exact picture of what I imagine the Proverbs 31 woman's hands where.

Never idle, always moving, completely productive, strong, soft... Need I go on?

So, to the point: This woman's hands were extraordinary to me, but here in the valley, it is a story I have been reading over and over again. I have yet to meet a single woman of any age who's hands don't at least tell some of these tales. Some are adorned with fine jewelery, or none at all, some even have french manicures - though I'll never know how they do it. They are out in the coral working along side their husbands, doing what must be done.

Yes, the hands of a ranchers wife are extraordinary. They are a cutout of Proverbs no doubt. Maybe someday, my hands will have a story to tell as well.

The Virtuous Wife
Proverbs 31:10-31

10 [a] A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
(Tags & vaccines)
and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar. (At least 50 miles)
15 She gets up while it is still dark;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her servant girls. (The ranch hands)
16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. (she plants a hay field)
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff (In her hand she hold the branding iron, and
grasps the calf bander with her fingers.)

and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet. (are clothed in Carhartts)
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple. (she is clothed in Denim and Polar fleece)
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate, (at the water board meeting)
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes. (makes wild rags, and sells them)
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 "Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all."
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31 Give her the reward she has earned,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
(let her works bring her praise in the corral)

P.S. Please don't consider it blasphemy, the adaptations in blue are just to humor the soul.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Newest Interesting Birth - You may need a strong stomach for this one...

Uterine Prolapse: The name just sounds terrible. In short uterine prolapse, is when a female uterus is expelled from her body before/during/after birth, (Please note, this is not a condition I have.)

A few weeks ago, Kyle noticed a cow getting ready to calve. She seemed to be having a hard time, they moved her up with the new mama's so we could watch her more closely. It was the weirdest thing, she would lay down like she was going to have her baby, push laboriously, then get up and go eat hay. She did this for almost a week.
Toward the end of the week when she would do this we noticed that she may be making some progress. But, it still didn't look quite right.

Normally when a cow Calv's the first thing you see is the water bag. The water bag can range in color from almost clear to a deep pinky-red. This soon breaks and then you will see the feet (hopefully front feet), labor then progresses, and the cow will push front feet, nose/head, neck & shoulders etc... you get the idea.

With this cow however, Where we should have seen a water bag or front feet (if we had missed the water bag because it had already broken.) We would see a large round protrusion, it looked solid in mass, which was confusing because a water bag is noticeably fluid filled. It was also a fleshy pink color. We where all baffled.

I had read about prolapse recently on the Pioneer woman's blog. It sounded like a terrible ordeal. I wondered about the possibility, Kyle and Mr. H wondered too. But typically with prolapse you deal with it after the fact, not before, and rarely are you aware of any symptoms leading to it, other than a difficult labor.

Thankfully we already had the vet scheduled to come to test bulls that week. While he was here, Kyle and Mr. H had him look at her. Sure enough she was beginning to prolapse.

In most cases this is not caught in time, and turns into a terrible ordeal, The cow can bleed to death very quickly, and even if it is caught and treated early (ie. right after birth) the risk of infection is very high. The calf is also at risk.

Well, like I said we had been watching her very closely, ( I had been praying for her and the calf inside a lot as well) and she had managed to make it until the vet arrived.

We were thrilled to learn there is a treatment for uterine prolapse before it happens if you can get to it. I'll see if I can explain what he did: First he took this purple disk approximately 3-4 inches in diameter, it had a long wire attached to it. He threaded it through her pelvis and uterus and out the other side. Where another purple disk was attached. This device was meant to block the uterus from being expelled while she was in labor. He also checked and the calf was alive which was a great relief, however, he did say it was a very large calf, which could still complicate things.

Over the next couple days we watched her like a hawk. Then Saturday morning, Kyle couldn't find her out with the other cows (She had been the only one without a calf). He went out and to his great surprise was E22 (that's her tag #) with one of the biggest bull calves he had ever seen. Both Mama, and calf are doing well. And there was no mess whatsoever! Now, of course this will have to be her last calf, and she will have to stay home for the summer to raise her calf. Also, sometime next week they will have to stitch her up just so everything stays in place.

I know that this may be a stomach churning subject for some of you. But, I found this supremely fascinating. I praise God that we did not have to deal with the horrors of a uterine prolapse after the fact.

If you want to read how the Pioneer Woman documented the ordeal on their ranch you can click on the link below:

And of course here is a Picture of E22 and her amazing calf. She is a good mama too.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

This is how the week has gone...

I have been trying to find time, energy and a subject all week to post. But the reality is I am 36+ weeks pregnant, very tired, and really nothing new has been going on.

More calves have been born. Mostly uneventful births with the exception of two. One is another miracle calf that through Kyles sheer determination now is thriving.

So, I'll start there:
Earlier this week a calf was born, it seemed like a normal delivery, except that the weather was terrible, it was snowy and blowing. It was also the end of the day. Since the calf was so new Kyle just carried it into the barn. At his early morning check he noticed that it did not look like the calf was up yet. It turned out that she couldn't stand if she had wanted. She was born with contracted tendons. Kyle held her up and she would suck, Kyle assisted her nursing through the night. By the morning, Kyle was tired of holding up an almost 100lb. calf. So, Kyle came up with a brilliant idea. He rigged an old cinch, and some rope and hung the calf from the head lock rails. It worked great! Colton claimed the calf looked like an angel hanging from the rails.
The calf has since been dubbed "Angel", she is a hearty eater and is gaining strength every day. As of yesterday she no longer needs to be hung up to eat and and her tendons are stretching out. Kyle says tomorrow or the next day they should be able to remove the splints they had put on her.

Our second unusual birth happened this morning. and does not have such a happy ending. Earlier today, a cow in the calving lot went into labor, everything looked normal, she was laboring hard, but not very long. I watched with my binoculars just in case. Kyle and Mr. H both were aware of her labor being hard. The calf came just as it should, feet first, then head and body. The Mama cow stood right away and started taking care of it, but the calf was already gone. Kyle and Mr. H were right there within minutes of the birth, but there was nothing to be done. It is still a mystery as to why we lost the calf.

In other news, Colton received a hair cut this week. It was the first time in probably a year that he got through it without having a complete meltdown. It only cost 4 bribes: 1. He had to watch a movie while he was getting his hair cut, 2. I promised not to wash his hair at every bath (washing hair is our other battle), 3. a chocolate reward when we were done. 4. I had to order him a Stegosaurus (which cost $10.00, shipping not included). But, it was all worth it to have a smiling boy at the end of the procedure.

Wednesday, we participated in the Helmville Easter egg hunt. Which was great fun. It is located in the Helmville Catholic cemetery of all places. But the kids didn't mind. Mr. H I think had as much fun as Colton. The Easter egg hunt is a very well organized event. All the kids line up at the names are recorded, (I think there may have been 12-15 kids in all.) They are then informed how many eggs they can find and keep. Two group pictures are taken. One while they are in line and one on the grave of the Banker of Helmville. They then get a quick history lesson from Ms. Camile; " My grandmother told me the banker of Helmville was never married - But he had a house-keeper." All us adults try to keep a straight face, and the kids look slightly bewildered. The history lesson is followed by a quick, "Ready, set, GO!" So no real time is spent dwelling on the lesson. It is an interesting sight to see kids scamper through a cemetery. And the older kids where wonderful about helping the younger kids. The event was followed by a lovely dinner at the Copper Queen with Mr. & Mrs. H.

Yesterday, we got together to die Easter eggs. Colton had a blast. It was amazing to see the skill and coordination he has developed just since last year.

Tomorrow we are planning on going the Mr. & Mrs. H's for Easter dinner. I'm sure we will have fun. But, I will admit I am missing our own families at this holiday. But, soon we will have most everyone with us. We are in the final count down before the baby comes. I'm looking forward to not being so big, and to meeting our new little guy. I am a little nervous about the whole transition. But, I know God will see us through this transition like every other.
Well, that rounds out the week. Hopefully I will keep up better next week. Until then God Bless all we know, all we don't and all we have yet to meet.