(TW - Miscarriage)
This is my cow Pearl. In this picture, she is eating dead leaves for no apparent reason.
Today when I got home from work, my husband had bad news. He found two baby calves in the pasture. He said, "They're not breathing, does that mean they aren't alive? I mean, they might be alive but they are definitely cold and not breathing." Umm, yeah, that definitely means they are dead. Leave it to him to unintentional inject humor into this sad situation.
None of the cows in this pasture were due to have their babies for at least 3 weeks. None of them were supposed to be carrying twins. Pearl was the only animal with signs of having given birth. She also looked dehydrated and she was shaky. She hasn't expelled her placenta, which is a big risk factor for a uterine infection. My neighbor milks all my cows for me once they have their babies (I do not have the machines to milk yet). I called him and told him what happened, and told him I would be bringing her over. We put her in the trailer and took her. She doesn't have hardly any milk like she should. There is a very high likelihood that she won't make it. I feel like a dick for dumping a sick cow on my neighbor, but I can't milk her here. She will get better care with him.
The calves were one boy and one girl. They were so small they probably wouldn't have lived long even if they had been born alive. The boy was mostly white, the girl mostly red like her momma. We took an hour to dig a hole to bury them in. I called my grandpa to ask for advice. He said it should be at least a foot deep to keep wild animals away. I don't want to lure wild animals in that could harm my other cows and calves.
I wish there was something I could have done. Why didn't the vet see the twins like he normally does on the ultrasound? She was kind of on the thin side, should I have known something was up? Should I have seen that something was wrong yesterday? If I knew any of these things, would the outcome have been different? I guess the answer is probably not. Miscarriages happen and most of the time there is nothing we could have done to prevent it. But it doesn't stop me from having a good cry tonight. I have worked on a lot of farms where I have delivered babies for lots of cows, but I have never been present to deliver one of my own (in the ten years that I have had cows). This is not a good start.