Tuesday, August 18, 2009

How Buttons Came to Be - Part 1

Here is the story of Buttons, Cade's Hereford Bull calf. Since this has been a huge part of our life the last 6 months it might get to be a long story, mostly because Cade's been hilarious talking about him, I'm going to break it into installments for your reading ease. Enjoy!

Buttons started his life as an embryo in a tank of liquid nitrogen. Jim B., a good friend of Jay’s family, raises Hereford cattle. At the Ozark Empire Fair a couple of years ago he had a silent auction for 2 embryos. Jay called me all excited about the possibility of purchasing these embryos. At that point in my life I was extremely skeptical about buying these things. For one, it was a considerable amount of money and for a couple who was spending a lot to get their adoption started it just didn’t seem like a good idea to me. Secondly, I was extremely grumpy when it came to talking about anything to do with embryos, fertility treatments, babies, etc. I really didn’t want to go from talking/focusing about my infertility issues to talking/focusing on those issues in a cow. Yes, fun times around our household for a few days.

Once Jay had the go ahead to get the embryos he was the happiest guy. His dreams of owning show cattle were just a thaw and implant away. I was grumbling because I had to open up the checkbook and shift money around to pay for the things all while my attitude towards us being able to produce a baby of any kind, human or bovine, was very very pessimistic. Jay was also a little scared because he knew if this didn’t work out his chances of ever doing something like this again were low (we’ve had numerous “livestock” disasters during our marriage).

After months of talking about it, observing the cow, and hauling the tank with the little embryos in it around FOREVER one of them was finally implanted in a Hereford/Dairy mix cow that now goes by the name of “Sally”.

Of course the big implant day couldn’t slide by without some sort of an incident, because after all it is US we are taking about. Cade, who has always been a good child, did something he had never, ever done before. He never got into things, he never emptied out our bathroom cabinets and tried to eat cleaning supplies. He never wrote on walls or furniture. We never had an incident until that day. For some unknown reason he decided to use a permanent marker, used to mark calf ear tags, and scribble on the inside of a tailgate that was attached to the truck of the man implanting the embryo. I’m so thankful that I wasn’t there and that Jay got to explain that one. Luckily the man laughed, shut his tailgate and rolled on. We were horrified.

So after some anxious weeks of daily phone calls to Jim and Sharon to make sure the cow wasn’t in heat it was safe to assume she was pregnant. Fast forward to February 14, 2009 and it was show time. Jay started making several phone calls a day to his parents to check on the status of the cow. Jim and Sharon were as anxious as we were. It was like we were all nervous first time parents. I think Sharon called the vet twice because the cow was acting funny. Finally a few nights later we got the phone call we had been waiting for….our baby calf was here. Sharon was so excited she called us before Jim even had a chance to see if it was a heifer or a bull. We were a little disappointed because it wasn’t a heifer, but we were just tickled that it was born alive. Since it was almost 10 at night I think Jay had a hard time containing himself until the next afternoon when he could go look over the calf. At this point the baby bull still did not have a name. That was to come later....thanks to Papa Jim.

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