Wednesday, December 07, 2005

And Baby Makes Seven

Katie woke me up early Saturday morning to tell me that she was having contractions. Well, how do you go back to sleep after that?! (Pretty easily, it turns out.) Katie crawled back into bed and we went back to sleep for a few more hours.

When Katie actually did get out of bed, she ventured to the potty room and promptly lost her mucus plug. For those of you who know what a mucus plug is, you understand that this means things were progressing. For those of you who don’t know what a mucus plug is, I can only assume that it’s a conscious decision and you don’t want to know what it is; and far be it from me to put such images in your head. So just skip to the next paragraph.

By mid-morning the contractions weren’t any harder or more regular. This was frustrating for Katie, and a little boring for me. Then, all of a sudden, and without warning, they stopped completely. Katie took a nap, and I went to do some Christmas shopping at Wal-Mart. Don’t get me started. No, seriously. Do NOT get me started.

By late afternoon Katie was up and moving, and I, bloodied and war-torn from my Wal-Mart excursion, was wrapping Christmas presents while visions of shoppers being pelted by sugar plums (that I was throwing) filled my head. The contractions had picked back up, but were still irregular, and according to Katie, not all that painful. She could breathe through them as she kept busy with other things.

We had a meeting at the church building that night (adult session of Stake Conference, for you LDS folks), and Katie decided to go, feeling that maybe the distraction would help her to not sit on the couch and look at her watch and wait for the proverbial stork to show up. Throughout the two-hour meeting I would occasionally hear Katie breathing louder than usual, and I knew she was having a contraction. But that didn’t stop me from shushing her, because I am all about the reverence. At one point I thought she was making a gesture, but it turned out she was just telling me that the contraction was “one” minute long.

We got home from the meeting, got comfortable, and put on a movie. About an hour into it it became obvious that Katie was having more consistent contractions and also that Tom Hanks wasn’t leaving that Terminal anytime soon. Even though there were more contractions, they were not regular. Seven minutes apart, then four, then six, then five – and then the contractions were a minute long, then 30 seconds, then a minute-and-a-half. Weird. I mentioned to Katie that we should call Margie the Midwife. Even if we didn’t think she needed to come over immediately, it would be a good idea to let her know what the day had been like and see what her take on it was.

Her take on it was that she was coming over immediately. I can’t help but think that this was due (to a large degree) to how our last labor and delivery went. (For those of you just joining this saga, the last labor and delivery went without Margie the Midwife.)

Margie showed up around 11:45 p.m., and we all decided to adjourn to the Birthing Room (aka, our bedroom). Katie sprawled out on the bed and tried to get comfortable. The contractions were getting a little harder and no position on the bed was working for her. Margie suggested she check Katie and see how dilated she was. Ta-da! Katie was completely dilated to a 10!

“But…” said Margie… “I can’t feel a head.”

“Oh, GREAT!” I said. “No head!? The kids on the playground are going to be ruthless! But I suppose the upside is that our food bill will be about the same.”

My funnies fell on deaf ears.

Margie explained that the amniotic sack (or “water bag”) was in contact with the cervix, and the head was up and off to the side. At this point, you could literally see the shape of the baby – where its head was and the length of the body. The head was not engaged in the necessary location, and that was Margie’s concern.

“I can break the water and control the leak so it’s slow – that will allow me to guide the baby’s head into place.”

“Oh, good,” we said.

“Yes…and that should work. Even if the bum or feet come first, we’re okay.”

“Okay,” we nodded.

“…but if a hand comes out first, we’re in trouble. You would need to be rushed to the hospital, and you would most likely need a c-section.”

I nodded as I listened to Margie, recognizing her need to give us a Worse Case scenario, just in case we needed to jump into action and she wouldn’t have to explain as we went. But I completely trusted Margie. She had done this kind of thing hundreds, if not thousands, of times. One of them with one of our other children. And she explained it very calmly and matter-of-factly, indicating to me that she was not at all concerned about it happening.

But the timing was such that Katie was already feeling vulnerable. And all she was hearing was “Blah, blah blah – hand coming out first – blah, blah, blah – you’ll need a c-section – blah, blah, blah – Tom Hanks is never going to get out of that Terminal.”

I was kneeling on the side of the bed, holding Katie’s hand as she lay down. We were both listening to Margie, and I thought we were on the same page, when I felt Katie squeeze my hand. I looked over at her, and for the only moment through this entire experience, I saw concern in her eyes.

“You have to fix it.”


“You have to fix it,” she pleaded.

It broke my heart to see this uncertainty in Katie’s eyes. This makes no sense to you, I’m sure, but having been around Katie for over 10 years now, and being deeply in love with her, I easily cracked her code. She just wanted to be reassured that there was no way a hand was going to come out first. And I reassured her that Margie was only giving us the “disclaimer” and that everything would be perfectly fine.

With that, Margie broke the water, and our baby fell right into place, head first, right on cue. I got up on the bed and helped Katie scoot to the side of the bed. I sat behind her and held her up under her arms, so she was in a squatting position. Margie laid out all the pads and cloths and assumed her position on the other end of Katie.

Katie began pushing – so consciously and by design – and after only a couple of pushes, the head was out. Another push, and Margie was holding a new baby. Our new baby. A baby boy. A 10 lbs. 4 oz. baby boy.

If you are just now regaining consciousness from reading that, I will now confirm what you’ve read is true. A 10 lbs. 4 oz baby boy…with a 15 ¾ inch head. And he is beautiful. He nursed immediately. And my favorite characteristic so far is that he sleeps through the night.

The name we finally decided on is Tanner Bruce Craig. Tanner is my mom’s maiden name, and rich in heritage, which I love. Bruce is Katie’s dad’s name, as well as New Jersey’s own Bruce Springsteen. (No relation, I just thought I’d point it out.) He was born at 12:18 a.m. on Sunday, December 4th. (Tanner, not Springsteen.)

Katie made this delivery look so graceful and smooth, it was like something we just did every Saturday night. I am always in awe of her abilities and the strength she exhibits at moments when I would certainly do some real damage to whoever else was in the room. Of course, I do exhibit my own kind of grace and restraint in the lines at Wal-Mart. You can’t take that away from me.