It was late afternoon, I could hear her breathing heavily.
No outward complaining as she labored.
It seemed to take forever but, finally, she arched her back and I could see four prongs of two white hooves.
There they are again…now with ankles.
Mother gave a low,almost inaudible, moan …then there were knees.
The small perfectly pink nose sniffed its first breath before the whole head appeared.
Then…in one fluid motion, the calf slid to the barn floor.
Mother started licking her infant immediately.
Head and face to stimulate breathing…then back and legs for blood flow.
Baby bawled a “hello” to this world as if the washing was painful.
She just needed to announce herself.
Her ears, still wet and curly , stood out like side-view mirrors.
Within the hour she was standing on wobbly stilts.
Each step seemed as though she’d cave-in and all four legs might spread outward.
I held my breath…mother just kept cleaning her.
Wonder if I shouted, maybe mother would give her a moment to balance? I thought better of it and stayed silent. It was their miracle…I was not meant to be part of it.
One tentative step followed one more. The calf resembled a bobble-head doll more than a mammal.
Her tongue licked the air then curled inward.
Baby’s nose tracked along her mother’s side until she found that treasure of warm, sweet milk.
Even in these early moments she tests her mother’s patience and butts her belly asking for more. (I’m sure this is the way she helps her mother’s milk to drop for feeding.) It seems as fresh as any baby though.
Once you watch a calf being born…well,you HAD to be there.