I live and write on Lingít Aaní, and gratefully acknowledge the past, present and future caretakers of this beautiful place, the Jilkaat Kwaan and Jilkoot Kwaan.

You may know that my daughter Stoli is expecting in mid September, but her first baby was born quite healthy on her own time, about two weeks early, so we think this one might be early.  She’ll be leaving for Sitka to stay closer to the hospital on August 12. I will be on standby, waiting to rush down (or rush as much as ferries and planes allow) to babysit Lani when Stoli thinks she is about to commence labor so she and her husband can both be in the delivery room. Last night at dinner Stoli said she’d been feeling some contractions. I poo-pooed them as the false labor variety, but she said they felt like the real thing. We all agreed a check-up today was in order. That was on on my mind when I cleaned the stove this morning. All the family were home this weekend except the fishermen. The kids are bacon, pancake and grilled cheese eaters. I was in the kitchen scrubbing and listening to the radio and my husband Chip and oldest daughter Eliza  were in the living room watching the TV news. There was a lot of background chatter when Chip hollered, “Heath, come here.”

 “I’m cleaning,” I yelled.  

“No, come here. Now,” he said. 

 “Can it wait?”

“No”, he said.  “She’s in labor.” What? Did he just say  that Stoli’s in labor? “Just get in here!”  

I ran in the living room.

“Watch this,” Chip said. Was Stoli Skyping from next door? Had she already flown to Sitka in a Coast Guard helicopter? 

 Eliza said, “Not Stoli. Kate.” 

Do I know a pregnant Kate?

“It’s happening on every channel,” Chip said.

“Kate who?” I asked.

“Kate the Princess or whatever. William’s wife,”  Eliza said.

Oh. That Kate. 

They were covering it like a terrorist attack with red Breaking News banners. Special coverage had preempted regular programming. I heard someone say Royal Gynecologist.

How much exactly are they going to cover? Or uncover?

That’s when a reporter said that The Palace had released a 45 word statement saying the Duchess was indeed in early labor and in the hospital. He also said that is all they expect to officially hear from the family until after  the Prince telephones the Queen that the Heir to the Throne has been born and a royal courier is dispatched to run from the hospital to the palace with a paper bearing the details–sex, weight, time of birth– and posts it on a glided easel in front of Buckingham Palace. It could take hours, the reporter said. Or, if this is anything like my first granddaughter’s birth, a couple of days. Poor Kate. This is the downside of marrying a prince.  

I told all this to my friend Beth a few minutes later  while we walked the dogs, and she laughed–  I mean, all that fairy tale language of Princes and Palaces and Queens and Heirs to Thrones in a news story in 2013? Plus, can you imagine reporters covering the play-by-play of any birth, and especially this one? The questions? The answers?  The hats? But when I told Beth about the notice on the golden easel, she put her hand to heart and said it gave her the chills. 

When you think about it, isn’t it nice that for one day anyway, a birth is news, instead of all that death?

What  child shouldn’t be welcomed into the world like royalty? 

Once this latest grandchild is born, which hopefully won’t be for a month or more, I will have to call home and have Chip put out the easel that I will trim before I leave with foil and streamers, announcing the birth of  another little princess in the family.