I was in the middle of my normal feeding schedule when I noticed something was not as it was supposed to be. I had actually walked right past it to begin with but something felt off so I turned around and saw a calf sprawled out on its side. I dropped the full feed bucket, which hindsight was not a good idea, and went over to the preemie calf. It was breathing and had a strong heartbeat which was a good thing but it was weak. It was now a 3 day old calf and our black lab was bigger than him.
I am the last person to ever give up on a living animal, I ran back and forth from the barn to where it was laying to get a hay bale, a bucket, halters, and its mom, Jana. I was very much alone but my dad was on speaker phone sitting in the feed bucket! I was leary the cows would eat my phone and then I would definitely be up a creek but it was all I had in a pinch. I got the calf onto the hay bale but because it was so small dad said it may be putting pressure on its lungs so I sat on the hay bale and held it. I sat there all alone praying and hoping Jana would understand to get her udder close to us so he could nurse and regain strength. I eventually called my mom and grandmother to come help. Like I said, I am the last one to give up on an animal so when my mom got there and saw it her words devastated me but didn't discourage me. I sat there holding this tiny calf trying to tell my mom and grandmother what I needed but also seeking advice from the mothers of Volunteer Simmentals.
My mom kept telling me there was nothing I could do and my grandmother kept quiet knowing I couldn't handle two people saying it. We tried and tried and prayed and prayed for an everyday miracle for this preemie calf. I made my mom feel its heartbeat trying to convince her it was very much alive but when she went down to feel for it...the heartbeat was gone. I was holding a dead calf. I didn't put it down until I was positive there was no life left in it. I eventually put it down. And like any farmer started thinking of the other animals. I still had to feed the group I was originally headed to, I had to run the cows out of the hay field, fix fence, and now bury a calf.
But on a farm, life always comes from death. I had an idea!!! We lost a cow Easter morning but she left a calf behind. A calf come to be known as Henry to us who was being mothered by my grandmother. I carried the dead calf away so his mom could worry about our new situation. Operation get Henry onto his new momma!! You read that right. From death comes life. We may have lost a cow and a calf but God has a plan and he planned for these two to be a pair, mom and baby. He did not however give me the talent to dig graves so the calf is buried in a big hole which took my an hour to dig.
Fast-forward a little bit late: Henry is nursing Jana and all is well!