After supper last night I hit the sack very sleepy.
Philip went out to the barn for the last check up on the little heifer.
She hadn't nursed at all. Her temperature had started to drop and he was worried. He could have woken me up at that point, but instead he proactively called my dad for advice. Daddy suggested tying up Coco to get some colostrum and feeding Carmelita right away. Philip roped her, milked her, and managed to wrangle some creamy gold down the baby's throat. He did so again this morning before he went to work.
I am so proud of him! I am sure he saved her little life. When we went out later in the morning she was still shivering and unable to nurse. We read that extreme cold can throw little calves into shock and make it impossible for them to nurse. I milked out some colostrum and we gave it to her in a bottle, but she wouldn't warm up, so we did the only sensible thing: we carried her to the house and put her in front of the dining room fireplace.
It wasn't an easy task. Long legs wiggling this way and that, Mama cow bellowing at our side furiously, we slid and skated over icy patches, hauling the heavy thing to the house. I sure am glad that Patrick and I are so strong!
I put Maggie and the other kids on feeding duty and we cuddled her up to the fire. I believe she is thriving, but she still doesn't suck well. We have moved to the bulb syringe (a must have tool for the farm medicine kit) and Maggie definitely has the touch. Although I have to say I was pretty amazed when Philip got home from work and gave her a feeding. He has a knack for knowing how to hold her head that I do not have. He also brought home a very large heating/ac component box from work that we converted into a little holding pen. I didn't know if I should laugh or cry when he and Patrick brought in the bale of hay into our beautiful dining. room. I decided I might as well laugh.
Philip, Thomas, Patrick and Rose went to pick up some more wood from a friend's house and that left Nora, Maggie and me on calf duty and midwife watch. Priscilla appears to be in early labor. I think I am going to go to bed right away and take the very early shift. We don't want that little baby to get chilled. It is still so cold. Teens and single digits at night, twenty degrees in the day. Wind is raw. Thomas is sleeping in the living room to make sure the woodstove stays burning.
Winter is here. Even though I am still wishing I had planned better to prevent mid-winter calving, I am thrilled to know that we will be back in the milk again. Thankful for Philip going the extra mile to save a baby's life, glad for a big barn with lots of hay and wood to keep the fire going. May God give us grace to complete the tasks on the agenda this week. And sweet rest when the head hits the pillow.