3 AM, 22 March 2015 - Temp: 23*, wind: strong and cold
Well it has been an exciting night here. On my usual 3 AM check I found a cow in labor. I go back to the house and wait for about an hour as I know it will take her a while yet. I went out later and she had made no progress. I call Brett (son) to come help me get her into the big, red barn. In the meantime I try to get her to stand up. She couldn't stand - at least not for long. Her back end is weak. So, Brett brings the equipment down to the pole barn so we can pull the calf there. I call Christopher (other son, owner of cow) to come out to the farm - and warn him that we might need the pickup and stock trailer. Brett does an internal check of the cow. Bad news, the calf is backwards (coming tail first, legs down). Call Mark (hubby) to come and help. (I have a love/hate relationship with my cell phone currently it is love.) Good news, just as Christopher shows up, Brett got the cow up and she walked! The 'boys' got her up to the red barn and I carried the puller, etc. back up there. All four humans gather in the barn. The cow is in a small pen with a head gate to hold her in one spot. Brett puts on fresh OB gloves (shoulder length) and goes in for another check and explains to us what he feels. Oh no, the cow sits down (like a dog). Christopher releases her from the head gate and she rolls onto her side. This is not ideal for assisting with delivery. After both Brett and Mark try to get the calf turned enough to get the legs back, they give up. (Note, they are attempting to work inside of the cow while she is have contractions.) Christopher takes his cow to the veterinarian in Minot (about 45 miles away). We don't know if the vet will be able to pull the calf out or if she will have to do a c-section.
It is now 5:30 AM. Brett takes the 4-wheeler up to check cows again. It has only been a little over an hour since I was up there to check them. He comes back home to get me and our calf sled. There is one new calf and another should be born when we get back up there.
Sure enough. We now have two fresh calves and cows to get back to the red barn. We leave the newest calf for last so mom has time to clean and get to know it. Brett gets the calf into the sled (large version of the sleds kids have). We bring the pair back to the barn. Brett puts the calf into the calf warmer. This is a special space with a heater in it. We want to warm the calf up so it doesn't get sick or freeze it's ears off.
We go back up to get the other pair and bring them back to the barn.
It is now 6:40 AM. We are chilled and wide awake. It is common that we have to sit up for a while after being out at night. So, now we watch a bit of TV, play on the computer or just curl up in a blanket - and wait for Christopher to get home with a report on his cow and calf.
7:40 AM - Christopher just returned home from the vet. Sadly, the calf did not survive.
The rest of the day will consist of continuing to check cattle and trying to get a few minutes for a nap!