Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Meet "Mabel"

It was one of those nights where I just couldn't sleep. It was around midnight where I got up, read my Bible for a bit and thought, I'll go check on Molly quickly before turning in to bed. I got on my Sloggers (best farm shoes ever!) and jumped over her fence. It was quiet and the sounds of the birds on the lake behind us were so peaceful.  I looked at Molly and low and behold, she was in full-out labor. It was dark, but I could see her tail up and she was laying down, then getting up, backing up against the fence and very ancy. I knew she was in her second stage and it would just be a few hours.
Rob came out to check on me and I told him. He pulled up two lawn chairs and there we sat for about an hour just talking about how peaceful and quiet it was, making fun of the lake birds. I think at one point I asked him to "pass the popcorn". It was a funny comment, but I immediately felt guilty as I watched our beloved Molly in pain, contracting on the ground in front of us. I got in the pen with her and she immediately calmed down. She continued to labor and at one point, I left her pen and she followed me, mooing as if to say, "Don't leave me in a time like this woman!" I went back to my spot with her and continued in my petting her, just talking to her as if to encourage and say, "You can do this mama."

At this point, it was around 2:30 a.m. or so and Rob said, why don't you go inside and get some rest. He was wide awake and I was yawning (because I'm a girl who needs my 8 hours or I struggle). I agreed, but my sleep inside wasn't exactly peaceful. Isaac was getting up and down from his bed (which he does every once and awhile and TONIGHT was the night he decided to get out of bed, crying). I comforted him and allowed him to crawl into our bed to sleep on Rob's side (something we NEVER do, but I was desperate for some shut-eye).

The dogs were also restless and Ranger continued in noise-making in the house, but I couldn't leave him outside because it made Molly VERY nervous. At one point in the evening, I threw him into the camper, but he barked and scratched at the door, which also made Molly nervous, so that idea was out.

I finally fell asleep around 3 a.m., but woke up right at 4:30. I thought I'd go check on things and trade Rob so he could get some sleep. He opened the door just as I was opening the door and said, "She had it!" I thought, "WHAT?!" He had been asleep on the job and apparently was snoozing away in the camper with the door open as well as the windows. He had heard a large splash and then came to get me. We rushed out and saw Molly licking her baby and mooing soft, low moos. Mabel was mooing back to her and it was such a sweet, peaceful moment. We rushed in to get towels and the camera (which my lens currently doesn't work...the focus is off so I had to use a back-up). I jumped the fence to help Molly get her dried off. I was surprised how much work I was putting into drying her off, but only Molly was having success. I had my flashlight in hand and tried to look to see the gender. I saw the umbilical cord and thought it was a boy. But, then, I looked again and saw her cute, little udder. It was a girl! Stoked was an understatement for what I was feeling.
Rob picked Mabel up and put her into the little cow shed we have. We had cleaned it out well and put down fresh coastal hay. Molly continued to lick her clean and I worked on trying to get her up on her feet and nursing. It's best to have them nursing as soon as possible, within 30-45 minutes and that was my goal. She needed colostrum asap.
I texted a few people close to me and told Rob to go in and get some sleep before he had to wake up and go to work. He complied and said to come in to get him if I needed to. I knew the girls and I would be fine. I just had to get her nursing. I continued lifting her wet, limp body up to her mother's milk supply, but no luck. I was getting nervous after about 30 minutes. I ran inside to grab a bottle I recently got from Tractor Supply just in case. I was glad I did. I was able to milk out Molly a little and Mable took it just fine. She had colostrum. She was going to be okay. I curled up in the fresh hay, next to my girls and watched as they bonded, Molly licking her sweet baby. I decided to go in and leave them to get acquainted. The kids would be up shortly and I was hoping for a little shut-eye before the sun came up. At this point, it was about 6:00. I was going on about an hour of sleep.

(our milking machine)
I went in to get into my nice, soft bed, but discovered a little body was in my place. Isaac was still there. So, I went into the boys' room and fell asleep in Isaac's toddler bed. I got about an hour of sleep and woke up to squeals and giggles of, "Molly had her calf! Molly had her calf!" That was the end of my rest, but that was okay because I couldn't wait to see the kids' faces when they saw this precious little one.

(the pump)
Rob took each child and lifted them up to see them. They were so excited! The day was busy with LOTS of visitors and friends who wanted to be a part of the big day. One friend came and bought me a rake so I could muck-out the pen (our rake had disappeared apparently). We noticed that one of Molly's teats was plugged and not producing milk. I had to call the vet. She had had an infection last year and the vet that came out at that time said that we might have a 3-quarter cow.
I've been busy making udder balm, natural teat dip and udder wash from Jill Winger's The Natural Homestead book. Fabulous stuff!
Mom and baby are doing well. I even took Molly out front to graze this morning and she loved it.
Now, before Mabel became Mabel, there were a few other names mentioned and one was Daisy Mae. We thought it was in stone, but Avonlea suggested "Mabel" at dinner and we all loved it, even Rob. So Mabel it is. Norah wanted "Lilly", but one of our rabbits gave birth to a litter of kits this week, so she gave her bunny the name "Lilly" instead.

Molly got her first milking last night. We milked out her colostrum, but not for us. For Mabel or any other calf in the future. We'll freeze it in a Ziplock bag for those just-in-case moments. She did great and we got about a 1/2 gallon of colostrum.  
Anyway, it's been a crazy week that's been non-stop and this lady is ready for some sleep.
Here are some videos of the proud Mother with her baby. Please excuse the high-pitched "Mommy voice" (cause you know you all have one too...ah-hem). {grin}

This was yesterday morning (early) and Mabel was all fluffed up and dry, however this was when we were still throwing around names and Daisy Mae was in the lead. That was before we discovered "Mabel".

Molly's first milking.

Please be in prayer for us as we're contemplating purchasing a miniature bull from some friends. Trying to get fencing done at the property is going to be a challenge, but so rewarding. Remember the first bull we bred Molly with? Beau. He's 3 years old and a sweetheart (if a bull can be). He's a purebred miniature and not in Molly or Mabel's bloodline. Molly will be ready to breed again shortly too.

We also meet with our home builder this week to get paperwork rolling. No looking back now! Living by FAITH. {smile}

1 comment:

Rachel E. said...

Ooh! She is adorable. Oh my. Congratulations.