Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Once In A Lifetime

Daisy is my girl, well actually she is my cow, and a girl, and I dearly love her. To tell you the truth I never thought I would love a cow so much.  The reason for this great fondness is her sweetness and gentle manner. She is much like a pet or a dog as she loves attention, petting, and treats, like carrots and apples.

This is her first year to be pregnant and we have all been watching her very carefully.  I have gone out to the pasture to visit her and check on her progress for weeks.  It was very close to the day that she went into labor and I really wanted to be there to watch. I've never seen a cow give birth because it stresses them to have people too close. 

Not with Daisy though, she lets me walk right up to her, if she could talk she would have said "could you be my midwife?"

Sophia and I took the stroller and made our rounds visiting the horses and chickens and then to check on Daisy. We had been checking on her twice a day for three days in a row and this time I noticed that she was acting a little different. 

She was walking backwards, then laying down, and getting back up with her tail standing highly arched. After watching her for a half hour I was convinced she was going into labor that's when Sophia and I ran to the house to get the Ranger, juice boxes, candy, crackers and toys. Not for Daisy but for Sophia! I had to keep her reasonably quiet and entertained so that when I seat-belted her in the ranger and ran out to the pasture to take pictures she would happily sit in her seat eating everything she is not supposed to!

This is how it went...

On the road to visit Daisy, Sophia is pushing the stroller very slowly, so slowly that Jack stopped to take a quick nap, standing up.

That must be the Basset in him, notice the short legs, he tires easily!

Jack woke up, he needed another break at the drinking fountain. 
Hey, this water is for the cows!

We finally reached the pasture where all of the cows and calves were herded together. Daisy was off by herself and acting different than normal.

This is when I knew she was ready.  Notice how her her tail is stiff and a bit erect, she was walking backwards in this shot too.  This is when Sophia and I hightailed it up to the house to get the Ranger.

Sophia is all buckled in, loaded with snacks and toys and happy as a lark while mommy runs out to the pasture like a crazy woman on a mission.

 I found a spot that was 10 to 15 feet from her and settled in among the dirt and cow poop.  At this point, I took a deep breath and thanked God for allowing me the special moment of being in the right place at the right time.  

Daisy began her first couple of pushes and the sack began to protrude. What a sight, I had never experienced anything like this before. My mind was racing with thoughts of gratitude and disbelief that I was sitting there so close experiencing something so wonderful as the birth of a new baby.  I was in such awe that I felt my eyes well up with tears.

Through the tears of joy, I continued to watch and take pictures of the pushing. Daisy was so quiet even through the more intense pushing. I could hear her breathing but I saw no signs of pain; it was a serene silence.

My eyes popped out and my mind went crazy with shock at the sight of this because it looked like two different sacks. I was thinking about the possibility of twins. 

My excitement grew with each minute of the labor.  I kept wishing my husband or my teenage daughters were with me to experience this too, but being by myself made me appreciate the opportunity even more.  

It seemed as though Daisy was in pain now, she was trying to get up and was having a hard time at it.  My heart strings were pulling as I wanted to go up to her and pet her head and tell her it would be okay.  I knew better.

She rolled onto her side and propped herself up, then the large part of the bag burst! It sounded like a water balloon burst and then a faucet turned on. The amount of water that came out was enormous and poured out for a good 5 minutes.

Oh, hello cow with giant horns standing only feet from me! 

My heart jumped for a moment and the fear quickly swept through me.

I jumped to my feet and decided I couldn't let her get the best of me. I wasn't about to let Nosy Nelly get in my way!  I stood up with a burst and waved my arms like a wild woman to shoo her away! I had to be quiet so I wouldn't upset or stress Daisy. 

 Get back to the herd girl!

Daisy was struggling to get up, I wanted to run over and help her.

She stopped struggling to get up for a brief moment and looked back at me with cutest eyes you've ever seen.  

She was relaxed and content with me being there and I felt she was telling me it was okay.

She finally got up to her feet and the other bag broke. She began smelling and licking the area where the water had broken. Maybe that was her way of getting to know her new baby.

The other cows started to hover around her and the area where her water broke.  Daisy became stressed and started walking in circles trying to push them out of the way. I wanted to run over to help her and push them out of the way but I knew I had to let Daisy do her thing.

At this point, Sophia started crying for me.

Sophia was done with her snacks, juice boxes, and candy. The toys were all thrown down to the floor of the Ranger; she had enough!

 She called out my name every 10 seconds, uuggg, what should I do I asked myself?  If I get up and go get her I risked startling Daisy and missing each moment of this spectacular event! 

Well, the caring and responsible mommy that I am, said...run to Sophia and get her whether you have to hoist her onto your back or not. I have to get these pictures!

I laid a blanket down, gathered sticks, and showed her how to stack sticks. What a concept!

 It worked and she was content for another 45 minutes while I  happily took pictures.  

(If you are wondering where I put her in the middle of all of this...I put her about 40 feet behind me and the rest of the cows so there wouldn't be any danger of nosey cows coming upon her.  

After I got Sophi settled I moved into my new spot in the dirt. Daisy had laid back down and the midwives moved in. It's funny how they all stood there like they were offering support.  

 Once again, the pushing began and the front feet began to come out. My eyes welled up again with tears at the shear amazement of this sight.  

As a mother of three I was familiar with the pain of labor. I could see the exhaustion in Daisy's face as she pushed. She was tired but kept pushing.


This moment, this sight, took my breath away. 

I had never seen what it looks like when a calf comes out during labor.  

What an unbelievable gift I received to be there at that moment.


I wished that rock wasn't in the way!

What a beauty!

Daisy laid her head down and rested for a few minutes.  

The calf began to wiggle around to release its legs. 

Daisy gave one more push.

The baby was out!

What an amazing sight.

Daisy didn't rest, she immediately got to her feet and turned toward her new baby to welcome her into this world.

Mother and daughter's first greeting.

What an emotional moment. I had a knot in my throat and the tears rolled down my face.  Daisy, the orphaned calf that came to us three years earlier, was grown and now a mother.

Read about that here: Daisy: The Orphaned Calf

She proved to be a great mother after only minutes, cleaning her little one and nudging her to get up.

Daisy's prompting helped the baby try to stand up. Even though only minutes had gone by since she was born she up on her knees and trying to get up.

Daisy continued cleaning and eating the afterbirth....

I know it's gross but that's what they do!

She's almost up.

No words.

I'm in awe.

Back down she goes.

Daisy May

Born February 8th, 2011

The end, for now.

Wow, what a remarkable day. I took 168 pictures of every single moment of the two and a half hour event. This post is a great glimpse of what it was like to be there.  I hope you can feel just a little bit of what I felt being there in the moment. 

Once again, I have to thank God for the opportunity that I was given to be there with camera in hand.


Heather said...

Good girl, Daisy! I had to scroll a little faster over some of the pics but it is amazing to witness this event from "afar". Thank you for sharing!

Carly said...

What great pictures!!! Such a cool experience for you! :)

cari said...

Oh DeEtte...I'm so glad your camera is fixed...is it?...it appears that way...I can't wait to show Codi...she absolutely loves Daisy too!!! I want your job!! I love delivery....of anything...:-)

papifrank said...

The exploding water and the eating of the afterbirth made me throw away my burrito. These are great pictures. You should sell them to National Geographic.

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