In Good Hands

June 9, 2022

I shivered, tucking my hands into the pockets of my brand new Carhartt coveralls. Just the year before, I wore dress pants and skirts and walked the halls as a high school counselor. My old life in the city was a world away from my new life on the farm. Now, cows mooed around me, their breath turning white in the chilly barn. My husband, Rich, pitched golden straw into one of the pens, where it floated down and landed on a new calf. The calf shook its head, trying to clear away the dust. 

“Hey, could you grab the hook and get the afterbirth from pen 10?” he called. 

Walking to the pen, I reached in with the shepherd’s hook and yanked the slimy placenta away from the cow’s mouth. My stomach churned, and I began to dry heave. My pregnancy test had only turned positive two weeks ago, but my gag reflex was already strong. I gritted my teeth, pulled the afterbirth to the wheelbarrow, and ran outside into the fresh air. 

Once I came back in, Rich leaned against the pitchfork and gestured toward the cows, “You know, if I had to deliver the baby, I could. I’ve delivered a lot of calves.”

“I’m not a cow, babe,” I rolled my eyes. “I think we’ll make it to the hospital.” 

He placed his hand on my still flat belly, “Alright, but I’m just saying.” 

I kissed him on the cheek. His answer reminded me of one of the reasons I fell in love with him—he was confident but never arrogant. And always true to his word. 

We spent the rest of calving season together in the barn, working side by side. We were still newlyweds, and our love grew over manure and afterbirth. 

That fall, I delivered our first baby. While laying on the hospital bed with our son, Rich stroked my hair and whispered, “I’m so proud of you, babe. You were amazing.” He spent the rest of the day gushing over our baby and praising me. 

//

Click over to Coffee + Crumbs to read the rest of my essay.

Fiction

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