My husband and I are in a perpetual state of waiting. On a baby, on calves and on the unofficial start to winter on our farm.
With the fall crops harvested, wheat dormant for the winter and equipment tucked away from the elements, my husband now spends his days preparing for the arrival of several hundred new, bawling baby calves.
Meanwhile, I’m spending my Christmas break from work enjoying the last few moments with my son who will soon take on the role of big brother. It’s literally a race to see if our second son or a baby calf makes their appearance first. For my husband and myself, it’s a waiting game that’s proving exhausting.
Not knowing when I might go into labor keeps my husband near his phone and on his toes. It also keeps me sticking to my routine as much as possible while always remembering that at any moment our lives will forever change.
What we do know, however, is that our new son and the baby calves will eventually arrive and life on the Sawyer farm will never be the same again.
Calving season brings with it unpredictable hours, unknown challenges and the pure joy of seeing a baby calf take its first steps. Many of the challenges faced during our calving season (which starts the first week of January and will conclude in mid March) is determined by Mother Nature. Wet, cold conditions are less-than-ideal for welcoming new calves and require my husband to keep a close eye on all of our new and laboring moms. If the winter proves to be cold but dry, then our mother cows will often deliver without incident but will still require daily care and feeding.
At home, the pace and routines of caring for one child will be turned upside down as I attempt to readjust to life with two kids needing two very different things from me. Unlike many new fathers, my husband doesn’t have the luxury of taking a few weeks off work to stay home and help everyone adjust. In fact, we will be hard-pressed to see him with any regularity the first few weeks of baby being home – as he and his father take turns keeping watch over the mother cows and their newborn calves, which is a 24-hour-a-day job.
Thankfully I am able to remain at home from work for a few months to hopefully help everyone adjust, enjoy the changes that come with our new additions and make a few lasting memories.
Welcoming a new life into the world is never easy. Doing so while also welcoming hundreds of new calves to our farm will undoubltly come with a few long nights, challenging days and frustrating experiences. But I’m not the first farm wife to enduring calving season with a newborn and I certainly won’t be the last. I just hope this time next year, I have two little boys excited about baby calves and a husband ready to play caretaker all over again. (Oh, and no newborn at home!)
Until then, we wait . . .