Harvest is rapidly approaching, but here on the Cwach farm, we already have our eyes set on March, when we’ll be waking up often in the middle of the night to check on our spring calves – and a new baby.
Yes, Farmer Dan and I couldn’t be happier to share that we’ll be welcoming a new addition to the farm in early spring. For the first time ever, I’ll be joining the farmer in getting up every few hours, bleary-eyed, to check on new life, and will experience firsthand the utter exhaustion that accompanies nightly rounds.
And I couldn’t be more excited for that experience. After being diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and struggling to conceive for nearly two years, pregnancy is a blessing I was not always sure I would experience. The journey to get pregnant – which I always imagined would be fun and exciting – instead turned arduous, with numerous rounds of pills, shots, ultrasounds and check-ups, as well as plenty of tears and prayers. Achieving ovulation became a science, and treatment plans and progress became practically dinner table conversation amongst my closest family and friends. Though uncomfortable at times, being open and honest about my struggle to get pregnant proved helpful when I learned that so many of my friends and family members experienced the exact same diagnosis or struggled with infertility themselves.
Finally, however, the day came when a pregnancy test came back with the faintest of lines – the kind where if you squint and close one eye, you can perhaps make out the trace of a second line. Though I had intended a romantic pregnancy announcement for Dan, my plans were abandoned as soon as I saw that indistinct line. Instead, I raced up to him, shoved the test excitedly in his face and asked if he too could see a line. Not wanting to disappoint, he responded with an unconvincing, “Maybe if you look in this light… but don’t forget that I have bad eyesight.”
Undeterred and possessing little (if any) patience, I took a handful of tests each day until the day when a digital test gave me the conclusive answer I was seeking. At last, our family of two would become three!
In the three months since that day, we’ve talked about nothing but baby – and in that time, I’ve learned that having a baby with someone who raises livestock makes for very interesting conversation. As we tried to figure out what the due date would be, Dan insisted it should be two weeks later than a due date calculator predicted, as the “bull dates” (as he calls it) were nearly identical and cows and humans apparently have very similar reproductive cycles. (As it turns out, the gestation period is slightly different. It was the first, but not last, time that I told my farmer, “Cows and humans are not the same!”)
Similarly, our conversations of labor and delivery have led to lots of laughter and a few warnings. After Dan recounted his experiences of pulling calves and helping his heifers (first time moms) through labor, I (only half-kiddingly) warned him that I had better see his hands at all times during labor and at no time was I to see the metal calf jack anywhere near me.
Still, despite the light-hearted teasing and pregnancy comparisons that inevitably come from somebody who deals with cattle all day, there’s tenderness and strength that comes from a farmer that is difficult to match. Even today, as we went through a minor scare at the doctor’s with an abnormal measurement (something that thankfully proved to be nothing), I felt comforted being with someone who starts every day knowing that we are ultimately not in control – not of the weather, or the crops, or health or life. Nobody knows this as well as the farmer, and I couldn’t be happier to have a farmer to lean on during this exciting, terrifying, life-changing time.