We are coming up on Amelia's first birthday. The invitations have been sent out, RSVPs have been coming in, menu has been planned, and the crop work is even finished, so all the farmers can attend! Happy day! However, we cannot pass by this date without thinking about what was going on last year at this time.
I just wanted to get down on paper (virtual paper) what it was like the days leading up to her birth, just to demonstrate how from year to year, farming can potentially make you a crazy person if you try to plan or predict anything.
Amelia was to be born around June 16th, which we thought was perfect, because in a perfect year, that would be right after the first cutting of hay, and long after the planting season wrapped up. However, the best laid plans are NEVER followed when your profession relies on the weather.
The weekend before her birth, I had some false alarms. The first one I ignored, but the second one I took more seriously. It just happened to be on a Sunday night, when I was watching my 9 year old cousin, and Joe and my uncle were still in the field planting beans. When I called Joe to tell him I thought something was happening, he asked me if I could wait 30 minutes because he was almost done with the field he was working in. Seriously? 30 minutes? What am I supposed to do, cross my legs? By this point, I had also called for my aunt to come and get my cousin and put the kids to bed because, like a mama cow (so I was told by Joe after the fact), I just wanted to be alone.
All the while, our landlord, my dad, my aunt (who came to pick up my sweet cousin), and uncle were out in our driveway placing bets on whether or not I was going to go that night or not.
Then the toilets backed up.
Oh the joy of living on the farm! A septic system that went on the fritz.
Thankfully, no baby that night, and the beans ended up getting planted before another little shower came along. The septic system was also fixed the following day, thanks to my frantic "I'm about to have a baby" voice on the phone.
Fast forward to Tuesday: a doctor's appointment where he told me he'd see me next Tuesday, a dry day for the men to finish the bean planting, and my parents' moving day. They had made the move from my childhood home 35 minutes away to "town" a mere 5 minutes away, and I couldn't have been more excited! The big girls and I headed to town to see if Mom needed any help, because of course, a 38 week pregnant woman and her four year old and two year old are great to help move heavy furniture! As we headed home, tired from playing in the neighborhood, I came to the realization that I was going to be pregnant forever, and not have a husband either because of the crazy wet weather that spring.
As I put the girls to bed that night, alone again, I thought about how lucky I was to have my parents so close now, and heard the door slam. A happy Farmer Joe was fist pumping and exclaiming that the dreadful spring of 2009 was over, planting was completed, and I could have the baby any time!
We fell in a happy heap on our respective couches and promptly fell asleep. Not 30 minutes later, my water broke, my parents (now only five minutes away) came to stay with the girls (so much for the first night in their new house), and we were on our way.
Did I mention that when you live out in the country, going to the hospital to give birth is not just up the street? We are nearly 35 minutes from the hospital, and as we were timing my contractions, they went from 8 minutes to 7 minutes to 6 to 5 to 4 with every one. Joe had made numerous comparisons to me and his bred cows during my three pregnancies, and even proclaimed as we got close to each birth that he could probably "get the job done" and deliver me if "push came to shove." But that night, as we drove through construction and the contractions got closer, he proclaimed he did NOT want to deliver this baby, and it's NOT the same as pulling calves.
We made it. I received the necessary drugs (I'm no martyr, give me drugs), and had Amelia Jane at 2:20 AM.
Our life with three kids has truly changed how we parent, what we deem important, but the biggest difference that this year has brought me is my interest in what's going on with our farm operation and agriculture's role in our world. I have seen the looks of desperation on the farmer's faces as the rain continued to pour this fall and nothing was drying. I have felt the nervousness as the grain was harvested, and hopefully would be accepted at the elevator, because if not, no grain check to pay down the operating loan and buy groceries. I realized we have a story to tell.
2009 was a crummy year, as far as crops put in and crops harvested go, but for me, it was a turning point. We had our beautiful baby girl; we made it through the terrible fall, and I made the decision to understand more about this life I lead, rather than fight it. I became an ag-vocate.