All in Due Time: Perspectives on Childbirth from Deaf Parents

Kraft: Introductions

Christine and Roger introduce themselves and talk about their life and work. (1:12)

English Summary

Roger and Christine have four children; Calvin, 7; Natalie, 5 and Teresa, 2 (nicknamed Tessa) and #4 is due any day now – April 1 (and it’s not an April Fool’s day joke). They live in Sioux Falls. Christine is a part time assistant professor in a deaf education program with 4 students. She teaches ASL. Roger is a project manager for CSD. They’ve been in Sioux Falls about 6 years. In that time they’ve seen the community grow along with their family. Christine reminds Roger that this next baby is their last and Roger reminds her that there’s suspicion that something’s in the water in Sioux Falls, so you never know.

Kraft: First Child

They describe the events surrounding the birth of their first child–with particular reference to Cal Ripken’s baseball career. (4:58)

English Summary

When the Krafts got pregnant with Calvin they were living in Wisconsin. They lived in the middle of the state with Roger commuting to Madison and Christine commuting to Milwaukee each day for work. When she got pregnant, they decided to have the baby in Milwaukee, about an hour away from their home. It made things a bit difficult to have everything so far away. When the due date came closer, Christine got a job in Madison and so they moved there. The only problem was that Christine wanted to stay with her ob-gyn in Milwaukee. The doctor was one of the top ones in the state and they had been through the whole pregnancy with this doctor so it was hard to think of switching so late in the process. It meant driving an hour and a half for Christine’s appointments, which were weekly in the last month. Christine was planning to switch to a local ob-gyn, but she delivered a week early and never had the chance until 6 weeks later.

The birth itself was not a big deal. They had to drive to Milwaukee at 4 in the morning through highway construction – in the rain. Christine backs up and reminds him of what happened just before all that. She was still working in Milwaukee. Roger was watching baseball because he wanted to see something about Cal Ripken. Roger explains that Cal Ripken used to play for the Baltimore Orioles a while ago. Christine says it was a long while ago, now. On that particular day, Cal was expected to break Lou Gehrig’s record for consecutive games. Roger grew up in Maryland and was a big Cal Ripken fan so he was really looking forward to the game. Ripken did break the record, although Roger can’t remember the exact number of games like he used was something around 2,000.

The game wasn’t broadcast on local TV, so Christine met him (like a good wife) at an Applebee’s restuarant to watch the game on their TV. She went back and forth to the bathroom and paced around during the game. Roger did take time out to talk to her, with an eye on the game at all times, of course. Christine was doing her best to leave him to enjoy his game. When they got home, she told him she thought her contractions were starting. Because it was her first pregnancy, she wasn’t really sure, plus she still had a week to go. Later that night they called the doctor who told them to come on in because they were so far away. Roger didn’t want to start the drive until she had some pretty hard contractions. He didn’t want to go all that way for false labor.

When they got to the hospital, the interpreter was there and they went into the delivery room. Christine was fully dilated and ready to go. The doctor offered to break her water to speed up the process and Christine said she’d have to talk to Roger about it first, which makes her laugh now to even think that she somehow needed to discuss this when everything was going along. Her parents got to the hospital around 10 a.m. and the baby was born at 2.

Christine remembers that when she left the hospital with the baby, she experienced some kind of “baby blues” or something. She felt like she had no idea how to be a mother. She’d see kids playing outside and just cry, wishing her baby was that old already. Now their son is 7 and in school, and Christine still gets sentimental about him.

Kraft: Second Child

They discuss the birth of their second child, which happened on Thanksgiving. (2:02)

English Summary

When they got pregnant with their second baby, Roger was working in Fargo, North Dakota. Christine was still in Wisconsin trying to sell their house so she could afford to quit her job and move up with him. Calvin was 1 and Christine had to manage him and the house. She had an agreement with her boss to spend two weeks at work and then two weeks with Roger. It was a crazy time. They would be lonely for two weeks, together for two weeks and she had to keep the house ready for prospective buyers while taking care of a one year-old. When they finally sold the house they celebrated and ended up making a baby. By the time the baby was due, they had left Fargo and moved to Souix Falls. The baby was born on Thanksgiving day. Christine’s parents came in the day before, knowing the baby was due around that time. Actually, the baby was a week late, which was annoying to Christine. The first one was a week early and she had expected the second to be the same. By the time that week went by she was all over the doctor to explain when this baby would come. The doctors said she was actually just due, not overdue, even though it felt like it to her. At that time, the doctor didn’t want to induce labor because she was not overdue and because it was a holiday. But it turned out the baby came on the holiday anyway. So they had Thanksgiving dinner in the hospital and then had a real Thanksgiving meal the next day when they went home. Calvin went with his grandparents to a buffet of some kind on Thanksgiving Day. So they all had a bit of a weird holiday that year.

Kraft: Third Child

They discuss the birth of their second child, which happened on Thanksgiving. (2:02)

English Summary

Their third child was born on Super Bowl Sunday. The first was born on the day Cal Ripken set his record, the second on Thanksgiving and the third on Super Bowl Sunday at around 6 in the morning. The game was that night and all the women who stopped by to see them fussed over the baby while all the men were glued to the TV watching the game.

Christine was teaching that January. She remembers telling her class every day that she might not be there the next day because the baby might come. And then she’d show up the next day and they’d all laugh. She was very impatient to have the baby all during that last month. Tessa was actually born just one day late. Given that Calvin was a week early, Natalie a week late and Tessa one day late, they figure baby number four should be one day early. Really, it’s due any day now. Roger is hoping the baby isn’t born on April 1, but on March 31. He calculates that should be exactly 40 weeks. The doctors agree with Christine that April 1 is much more likely the due date.

One funny thing that just happened was that Christine’s clinic was doing a kind of advertising blitz and chose her doctor to be the face on the ads. So everywhere Christine’s gone for the past week she’s seen her doctor’s face plastered in all the newspapers, plus face to face. What she really hopes is that she’ll see her doctor tonight or tomorrow for the next baby’s delivery.

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