Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Midwife at the Oasis

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. 


Kim said...

I love your posts. You have a way with words. Good luck. I know Katie will do great.

Marlise said...

I've been thinking of you guys, and will keep thinking of you--anxiously awaiting the news of my newest niece or nephew! :) Love you guys!

Ian said...

This is really awesome that you can do a homebirth! I wish that had been possible for us.

The eEditor said...

Geez. We don't even like to have Home TEACHERS in our house. I bet you guys have assigned seating.

Great post. I enjoyed it, as always.

Jim Julie & Family said...

Awesome, just awesome. I give you 4 1/2 out of 5 stars. Only because you used the word "meconium". Otherwise great stuff. Such a beautiful home made family. Best of luck and blessings with #7. I'm thinking about you.

Laura Howe said...

I look forward to the other birth stories, I heard someone taped Katie stand-up/sit-down routine. I also look forward to that...

Heather said...

She's amazing!! Plus, should she really look so adorable on her 7th child?? If I could like that cute, I might entertain the idea of a midwife. =)

Anonymous said...

I'm going to start a band and call it "Uter-poo" :)

Thanks Craigles. Great post and good luck with #7. Miss ya all!


Kazzy said...

Your wife is a rock star!

gillian greding said...


I "accidentally" had baby #5 without any drugs- and the fact that me, Dan, the Dr., or anyone else got out of that room alive is a small miracle.

It wasn't pretty.

Yeah-- not a fan.

Oh, and if I would have been at home-- near sharp instruments, plastic bags, drugs, anti-freeze, an oven, rat poison-- well the ending might not have turned out quite so happy.

Yes, hospitals and epidurals are good for the less "emotionally disciplined", I'd say.

Now, enough about me and Dan's near death experience...


DeNae said...

Multiple truths of which I bear record: Katie is, indeed, the funniest person on the planet. Someone really needs to get the tale of the goose attack recorded before she has the baby, because it's extra funny watching her kick the (now imaginary) goose with that baby tummy as balast.

Katie is also, indeed, a rock star, who is way too cute on baby number seven.

Not everyone should home birth. You kind of have to have a genetic malformation called a "Valium gland," which you two both seem to have been born with.

Considering that Katie labored to something like a 9.75 while entertaining company on your last child, might I suggest you just clear out the guest room for Margie the Midwife? Like, today? Or it could be baseball mitts in the potty all over again, dude.

DeNae said...

p.s. I want you to know, I "got" your title. But I've never really heard the song. Instead, it was on one of those record collections they used to advertise on television, where they only played the first lines of, like, 85 songs. So you spent the rest of your life thinking the lyrics were, "Midnight at the oasis, Jeremiah was a bullfrog, and you light up my life." Which, honestly? Just sounds stupid when you sing it at ward karaoke night.

DeNae said...

p.p.s. I'm never sitting on your couches again.

Vickey said...

Best of luck with baby #7! I will be rooting for you from Utah.
I am with DeNae, though, I will never sit on your couches either. That is, if we ever get to meet in person-at your house.
Kiss that fresh-from-heaven baby once for me!

Mitzi said...

Katie was hilarious that night. (And I've been congratulated several times since for putting on pants.) That whole night was the funniest thing we've been to in a very long time. My face hurt afterward from smiling/laughing so much! :)

Jill said...

Dang it, I wanted that photo to be a video! Just thinking about it makes me miss Katie. Have a heart for those of us that live WAY further from the Craigs than we want to and get it on tape before the baby comes! P.S. Lots of love to Katie as she gets so close...and past... her due date! And the facial pain Mitzi referred to--I miss that from those Garrens days!