Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Tails From the Farm

New Arrivals

I wasn’t the sort of person, to let things slow me down. That included, expecting my first child. I still rode horses … bareback, though as the months moved along, I chose my little Smokey instead of Thow-ra. She was much shorter, and lower to the ground meant easier to get on. She did put me over her head though. As I slid down her neck like a slide, right into the snow-filled ditch, I wondered if naughty was a good choice in mounts. Still, I loved to ride and she was the easy choice.
I drove truck right into my seventh month, only quitting out of necessity, not because, I wanted to. The plan was to drive until the bitter end. Sometimes, the best laid plans aren’t ones that can be written in stone. I had done really well. I was driving one of the tandems that winter, and hauled limestone out of Stonewall, about an hour drive from home. The mornings would start out well enough. I woke with more energy than I have now, would start the truck, go back into the house while it ran and warmed up a bit then would head out. Without fail, by the time I got about half the way there, I would be too queasy to continue. Pulling over, I would upchuck then be good to go again. Hours later, I would have a bit of lunch, which would make me queasy all over again. I’d upchuck then continue on without any issues. This was the order of the day for the last couple of months I still drove. Funny thing was, I never got sick on weekends. It was the movement that was my downfall.
At about seven and a half months, driving suddenly became an impossibility. As per usual, I woke, went out to start the truck and something strange happened. As I went to step out the door of the quonset, I was suddenly unable to move one leg. It was as if it was caught in a vice. The pain was excruciating, yet I’d done nothing to cause anything to complain. I was stuck there in the doorway, unable to move forward, unable to go back, simply frozen in place, with no explanation as to why.
‘Oh no,’ I worriedly thought, ‘what’s going on? What’s wrong?’
Hubby had gone a good hour before me, so there was no help coming from him. I would have to figure this out by myself. Somehow, I was going to have to get off that doorstep, and back to the truck. It couldn’t just run all day. I had to shut it off. That was about the longest it has ever taken me to walk twenty feet or so. Never mind the walk; I had to climb up into the truck to get at the key. Somehow, I managed to do it. Then there was the journey back to the house. I vividly remember how hard it was, to climb the two steps from the landing into the house. a hour later, the pain was suddenly gone. It left as inexplicably as it had come. I had called the doctor and he said it was likely caused by the baby pressing onto a nerve. A nerve … really? I couldn’t believe that much pain could be caused by such a thing as that, honestly. It seemed rather bizarre. With the pain gone, I decided to head into work. Better a few loads hauled than none.
All went well for a few days then it happened again, this time at work. Thankfully, it didn’t last long, maybe a few minutes or so. The problem was, it began to happen more frequently. I stubbornly carried on, until it happened. I started the truck one fine morning and halfway between the truck and the door of the quonset, I was held in that now familiar, painful vice. It took me a good hour, before I could drag myself back to the truck, got it shut off then headed for the house. I had to admit defeat. If such a thing happened while I was on the job, I wouldn’t be able to carry on. It was time to stay home.
Though I couldn’t work, it wasn’t all bad. I got to play with the ponies and do all sorts of fun stuff. For the first time since I was a kid, I was free to do whatever I wanted, within limits of course. The baby room was ready. All the necessary ducks were in a row, and we were ready for our new arrival. When nine months came and went, I grew tired of sticking close to home for the inevitable. Too big to do any riding, I was bored and we began to go out. Of course, there were the inevitable doctor visits which multiplied as I was interested in being induced. I figured the baby was a boy, and simply needed more time. A friend who owned a dairy said that bull calves often needed more time, so I was going to give mine all the time he needed. This meant multiple checks to make sure all was well with baby, but I was okay with that. Perfection takes time, and I wanted my baby to be perfectly healthy and ready for the world.
I was three weeks overdue, when it finally happened. Even then, I wasn’t sure if it was ‘time’. I was carrying two five gallon pails of water to the horses while doing morning chores, when I was caught and held in place by a mysterious force. There was no pain, nothing that said the baby was getting things started, yet there I was, frozen on the spot. After about a minute, the sensation passed, and I continued on with my chores. I had almost forgotten about the strangeness, when it happened again. Once again, it lasted about a minute, and I was stopped in my tracks as if frozen on the spot. By noon, it was happening far more often. I figured it had to be labour, I should use the baby beeper to let hubby know it was time to come home. After all, he could be away on a load, and it could very well take a couple of hours for him to get home. Well, I sat at the kitchen table, snacking on the little bag of Skittles he’d bought me several weeks before, and waited. After a good deal of time had passed, I finally phoned the pit to see where he’d been sent. For all I knew, he’d been sent on a long load, and was out of range of the beeper. To my surprise, he was sitting there in the scale shack, waiting for a load. The beeper hadn’t gone off. On the way to the hospital a short time later, he had to tell me that he’d been up next. The next load would’ve been his.
“Well,” I laughed, “maybe you had time for another load. Maybe, this baby isn’t in an all-fired, big hurry. After all, it’s taken this long to decide to come. It could be ages yet. Oh,” I glanced at the speedometer, “and you can slow down, too. This isn’t an emergency.”
Right then, I experienced the worst contraction ever, and promptly revised my request, “I change my mind, don’t speed, but don’t doddle either. I don’t want to have my kid in a pickup truck.”
We arrived at the hospital without incident. Our son made his way into the big world, a couple of hours later, and on top of that, I didn’t have to worry about the horses, as I’d managed to get all the day’s chores done. My friend had been right. The baby had needed time to finish and be perfect, all ten pounds of him.

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About Trudy Andrew

Trudy Andrew lives on a small farm just east of Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she enjoys her Morgan horses. A dreamer since she was a child, its no surprise to those who know her well that her imagination would find an outlet in writing, as it has in the past through artwork.
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 Oakbank, MB