It’s spring, and usually when you were raised on the farm, this time of year would conjure up all kinds of happy memories. However, some of my kids’ family memories from their “farm life” are probably going to result in some psychotherapists making a fair bit of coin somewhere down the road.
For example, when the kids were about 7, 5 and 3, we had a few cows that we would breed every year. One of our mother cows evidently skipped Lamaze classes and didn’t know the part about you have to stop pushing once the baby comes out, so when I went out to check on her during the day when my husband was at work, she had delivered the calf just fine but she also had her entire uterus spread out behind her like a giant gross parachute. I was home with just my little 3 year old daughter… and I had to call the vet. He arrived alone, and announced that it was a classic case of “prolapsed uterus” and that I was going to have to help him put it back where it belonged. He also warned, “It’s going to be messy”. Luckily, when you live on a farm you have cool functional fashion choices like coveralls, so I put those and my rubber boots on and we headed out. Little Laura had to accompany us to the barn – we had learned the hard way that she liked to dial 911 when left unattended for any length of time.
First the vet washed the giant parachute very carefully using a highly sanitary boot brush and sterile bucket of water with some iodine squirted in it. Then he announced that I would need to “lift it up and hold it up high” so he could stuff it back in. There were 3 problems with me “lifting it up and holding it up high”:
1. It weighed approximately a thousand pounds.
2. The “right height” turned out to be at exactly my head height, and the right position turned out to be about 1/2 inch away from my own face.
3. Holding “it” up and keeping it there required both of our combined strength and we had it pinned between our bodies so it didn’t touch the ground, meaning that I was plastered right up against this guy, far closer than I had ever been with a stranger before — at least without the benefit of drinks and dinner.
Throughout all of this little Laura sat on a bale with her “green baby” (her favourite doll) and looked on, with eyes the size of saucers.
We finally had everything put back in its rightful place and the vet stitched things closed — he had me put my finger on each knot as he tied it, like we were wrapping presents at the mall (I think at this point he was just taking advantage of my good nature). When we stepped out into the daylight I looked down at myself to see that I was completely soaked in blood, right through to my bra. I should have opted for the garbage bag poncho instead of my super absorbent coveralls. The vet handed me the bill and drove off, and then I remember walking toward the house looking like Carrie after the pig’s blood scene at the high school prom – except for I was walking hand in hand with a toddler. Little Laura seemed unphased at the time, and just wanted to get into the house to have cookies and watch Lion King, as was our bargain.
She seemed unphased, but who knows when these memories might make their way back into her consciousness. I’m on a first name basis with enough esteemed doctors of the human psyche (Both Dr. Phil AND Dr. Drew) , to know that the human mind is a mysterious thing, and nothing ever really goes away, but is merely suppressed. I fear that I will ultimately be featured in some investigative episode of 20/20 or something when my famous daughter (it’s inevitable, eventually – she’s awesome) starts having flashback memories and goes public with them. The thing with flashback memories from when you were 3 years old is that they are known to leave out critical details. I’m afraid that Laura’s revisionist recall might just leave out the key elements of the cow predicament– and only retain the terrifying image of me, and my blood splattered sweaty face, looking like a homicidal maniac, bribing her with promises of snacks and a Disney movie.
PS – The cow and the calf went on to live long happy lives – at least long as long as can be expected when your lot in life is “beef cow”.