Last Christmas Eve
If you are just tuning into this program, I would like to bring up something that will more than likely make you think twice about where you are going to sit once you are visiting us inside this here Casa de los Craigs: We homebirth.
Yep, we have six children, and five of them have been born at home. Two on two different couches, one on a bed, and two on a toilet. Yes, we employ the services of a midwife. Margie the Midwife, if you are going to press me for details. And yes, the toilet births were not intentional, and yes, the midwife wasn’t here, and yes, it was totally our fault for not calling her at the appropriate time.
Actually, this is probably more information than any of you would care to know about. Unless you are partial to words like “afterbirth,” “placenta,” “mucus plug,” or “meconium.” (Don’t even look up that last word. Basically, it's "uter-poo.") But here we are at the top of a week when we are expecting Baby #7 to arrive on the scene at any moment, and I’ve got babies on the brain. In fact, let me go check with Katie… I’m back. Katie’s asleep, so I’m guessing she is most decidedly not in labor.
Over the years many people have wondered why we even considered using a midwife in the first place. Did we have a bad experience with a doctor? Do we not have insurance? Did we want to plant the placenta in the backyard and see what magically blossomed? Are we only a year out from moving to northern Idaho and living in a compound? Are we hippies? Does Katie shave her legs and/or armpits and is Ken growing his own crop of hemp?
See how quickly you got there? “Oh, the Craigs homebirth? I had no idea they were hillbillies.”
The answer to your inquiring questions is this: maybe. No, not really. Really, it all began when Katie was three months pregnant with Abbie, our first child, and suggested she would like to explore the possibility of using a midwife. I laughed and laughed and laughed…and laughed...but then I noticed she wasn’t laughing. Then it got awkwardly silent. Then I cleared my throat, squinted as I pretended to look out the window, and told her about how I thought we should grow some hemp in the backyard.
Truthfully, my knee-jerk reaction was to not entertain this idea for even a nanosecond. This stemmed directly out of me having no idea what using a midwife meant, but assuming it involved angry women, posing as doctors, who would try to exclude me from being involved in the birth of my baby. I also pictured large, Swedish women coming into our home with some medieval tools and a pot of hot water, instructing Katie to get up on the kitchen table and start pushing.
But in a still and tranquil moment one night, Katie quietly explained to me that she had a desire to experience birth naturally and she knew midwives would be supportive of that; and that she liked the idea of this personalized, nurturing care that would be more innate with a midwife than with a doctor who would not be standing by your side for the entire experience.
And sure enough, with each appointment my conviction also grew that this was the only way to have a baby. The personal involvement and intimacy that comes with having a baby with a midwife is, from my own perception, unparalleled in the medical profession.
After that first experience with Abbie, we moved to Las Vegas. We couldn’t find a practice of only certified nurse midwives, like we’d found in Utah, so we began looking at the option of a homebirth with a homebirth midwife. And that is how we found Margie the Midwife. And that is why our other five were born at home. And that is why our hemp/placenta tree in the backyard is really comin’ in nicely this spring!
I haven’t officially blogged the birth stories of my three oldest children, but it is my goal to do so and post them on their birthdays this year - July, August, and September. In the meantime, here are the birth stories of…
Roxanna (where we didn’t call the midwife on time and I freaked out)
Tanner (where Tanner was born only 15 minutes after the midwife arrived)
Becca (where we once again didn’t call the midwife on time, but I freaked out much less)
And here is a photo of Katie, recently doing a stand-up (read: sit-down) comedy routine about being pregnant. She is the funniest person on the entire planet.