Monday, November 25, 2013

Announcing My New Baby, Hillary

 There are certain red flags that immediately identify hippie-freaks. 

“Oh, we don’t own a TV.”
“Waitress, are these ice cubes in my Diet Coke organic and locally sourced?” 
And finally...
“We’ve just loved homebirthing our eight children.” 

I had to ask myself some hard questions this weekend. 

If you are unfamiliar with the culture of the Craig family, let me explain. No. There is too much. Let me sum up. 

We use a midwife. 
We home birth. 

Apparently we are hippie-freaks. (Though we admittedly enjoy TV and the only thing we care about our ice is that it's pebble-ice.)

Not everyone wants to or should use a midwife. You may have health risks that prevent this opportunity - or bottom-line, it may not be what you’re comfortable with. And that’s fine. It is not everyone’s choice; but we are grateful that it can be ours. We have loved the experiences. 

This experience was different - in a few ways. 

1. I got The Call. Until this birth, I had never gotten that awesome call at work. “I’m in labor! Come home!” Wherein I then hastily throw out any papers on my desk, slam the computer, and flee the office while yelling to the front desk, “Hold my calls! My wife is in labor!” I finally got to do that! Though, just like all other media-versions of birth, that’s not exactly how it happened. But I’ll take it!

2. We had a new midwife. We’ve used the same midwife, in Las Vegas, for our last six children. It was not fun to realize she would not be here for this one. We found a new midwife here in Utah. Katie loved her because she is old, experienced, and holds the wisdom of an old, experienced midwife. I wasn’t so sure, but then, during Katie’s labor, when I was sitting behind Katie, holding her, and the two of us naturally had our hands on Katie’s tummy...and the midwife said, “Somebody please take a photo of those hands, I want it on the cover of my website. That is the photo of the century.” Well, when she said that, I thought, “You know, this midwife has something.  A certain eye for beauty and awesomeness. She really IS so very, very wise.” 

3. This baby was way overdue. We may never know how accurately overdue. You know they base the 40 week pregnancy cycle on the date of your last period. But since Katie has either been pregnant or nursing since 1997, she’s had, like, two periods. (My apologies to any men who... no. You know what? I don’t apologize. If you can’t talk about women’s periods, then you are no man. There I said, it. Now good day, sir.)

4. Ok, actually, I wasn’t done with my last point. I got going on my soapbox and forgot where I was. That’s right, Katie’s monthly menstrual periods. Anyway, so we really had no idea when her last period was, so we guessed. Well, we knew it was on the day we had used a gift-card to this bbq place in Orem, but there was no credit card record to confirm the date. And I think we guessed wrong. Because this baby was late, though not record-breaking late. 

5. We called the midwife early. We have traditionally called the midwife to come for the delivery at either the perfect time (baby born 15 min to an hour after the midwife arrives) or too late (Roxanna and Rebecca, who arrived before the midwife). This time...too early! I couldn’t believe it. That’s a rookie mistake, and this was our 8th baby. But Katie was tired and wanted to know how far along she was.  Midwife came at midnight on Friday, left at 2 a.m. and came back at 6:30 a.m. (Saturday morning), when we and the baby had stopped messing around. 

Katie’s contractions never got super-close together, but they got harder.  They got even worse whenever she got up to do something. So I had the brilliant/marriage-ending idea that Katie should just be up, moving around. I said it out loud. The midwife agreed (she is so, so wise, you guys). And Katie told us we were both fired.  

But that kicked things into high gear. Soon she was sitting on this awesome birth-chair that the midwife brought, and making these deep, bass-sounding noises that meant she was getting ready to push. More than the timing of contractions, more than any instruments, I know Katie’s status by the labor noises she makes. It’s more visceral, but it’s the best gauge I know. 

This is Katie, about 45 second before pushing out a head. I sat at her feet watching her. With all apologies to the women I know, plus my daughters and future daughter-in-laws, plus Pink (who I imagine to be pretty tough) - I told my children that their mom was the strongest woman they would ever know. 

I couldn’t believe we were finally at this point. I had had impressions this baby girl was coming a year ago, before Katie was ever pregnant. I’d had feelings she was a girl from the very beginning. I had been anxious to meet her. When I finally caught her, I felt gratitude beyond measure. She was here. She was healthy. Katie was healthy. The world stopped and for was perfect. What us hippies call “zen-tastic.” 

It is a unique challenge to write about miracles. Often, you can chronicle the framework of the occurrence. You can describe the specific circumstances. You might be able to articulate how it changes you. But there is some portion that eludes you. You can’t put words to it. It is sacred and otherworldly. And those divine moments generally involve people you love, with a power that cannot be manipulated. And you are simply grateful you got to be there. 

Hillary Craig
November 23, 2013
9 lbs 20.5” long

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