Tuesday, December 30, 2008

last post for 2008

Hey there! Thanks to the three lovely ladies who took the wool soakers off my hands. Not sure if any of them read here - I'm guessing no - but still, a public thanks! It's nice to be able to share something handmade with others who will value it, don't you agree?

I just want to drop one last brief post for 2008. Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you faithful readers who saw me through another somewhat difficult year (not nearly as bad as 2006, but still...). Hubs, the kids, and I deeply appreciate all the prayers and good thoughts that came our way throughout my pregnancy and the ensuing chaos.

Luckily, and knock on wood, everything is going wonderfully now and we have high hopes for '09. Baby AJ (he deserves some sort of blog name besides "the baby") had his 4 month well visit today and he is doing very well. He has cracked 11 lbs (by 2 oz) and should hopefully intercept the growth chart by his 6 month well visit. Yes, four months old and only 11 lbs. Compare that to your babies! Yeesh, even Daughter was almost 13 lbs at the same point in her life. Little guy has some catching up to do, but at this point we seem to have figured out his feedings such that he gains at least 1 oz per day, so almost a full pound every two weeks. He's getting there. His therapies are going very well, he is improving in every way. Still lagging in gross motor skills like lifting his head up when on his tummy, but his little neck is skinny and it's hard to lift that big bowling ball noggin. The doctor suggested we start thinking about rice cereal - already?!? But I guess we are reaching that age! I'm praying he will be able to swallow it efficiently and we can start working our way towards 1st foods.

And I am rather proud of myself for making it through 1/3 of AJ's first year pumping breastmilk so he can have it exclusively. I know it's a little nuts, and it takes up a HUGE amount of time and energy, but I breastfed Daughter for 10 months and I'd like to give him at least that much. He refuses to nurse - cries when I offer, which breaks my heart in ways I cannot describe - but I can give him the benefits another way, so I feel I must. Can I keep it up? I will surely try.

I look forward to a new year, and have just a few modest goals (ahem).

  1. Sell house. Oh please, please, please someone buy my house.
  2. Get Daughter into some sort of play/preschool-type program.
  3. Find some time for myself.
  4. Save money, live below our means.
  5. Find happiness in the midst of our chaotic life.
There are more, I'm sure, but those spring to mind. I hope you all had a truly marvelous Christmas/Holiday season and I wish you a beautiful, blessed New Year! Be careful, stay warm, and I'll see you in 2009!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

quick plug

I have listed a few wool soakers on Etsy while I still can. There are two newborn size, and one small. I'm selling them cheap and including parcel post shipping to the lower 48.

Check them out




Friday, December 12, 2008


Last Sunday we went to the annual communion breakfast hosted by our local alumni club. It's the first time I've gone since I was a teenager, and the only reason I went back can be seen below:

This is the same Santa sprinkling "magic dust" in my hand who sprinkled it into my hand when I was Daughter's age. She was enthralled. Wouldn't she have just keeled over to know she ate her eggs and waffles right across from Santa just a few minutes earlier? He is truly the best Santa I've ever seen, and it was all the more special because he knew all of us personally. It was just perfect.

And yes, I an in DIRE need of a haircut, I know. (It has been growing since April...bleh!)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

elfin pants

Well, our son's surgery went great this morning. I was most impressed that it went off on time...and totally blown away by how different outpatient surgery is compared to inpatient-in-the-NICU surgery. First of all, free Beanie Baby when you check in! Neat! Second and third, the scrub nurse just carried him off to the surgical suite in her arms, and after recovery, I carried him back to his room in my arms...no rolling along on a warmer or in a crib. Weird! And then, once we'd fed him some Pedialyte, they just pulled his I.V. and shoo-ed us out the door. The whole shebang, start to finish, took 5 hours.

The audiologist said things look good, and after the swelling goes down he should hear within the normal range for learning speech and language. We won't know if it's perfect until he is at least 1 year, but for now we are thrilled.

So! Onward to the Christmas season!

I have done quite literally nothing to prepare for gift-giving. I did take advantage of the sale prices at Old Navy to get things my own family needs, which I tend to do every year. And last week I got the nutsy idea that I needed to knit some Christmas pants for the wee one. So I did.

These wee elfin pants are based on the pants pattern in Last Minute Knitted Gifts. This pattern is just OK...I'm not thrilled with it. I made a pair of these pants for a friend's baby, to use as soakers/longies, and she said the crotch pulls and there isn't much room in the rear. I now see what she meant. There are no short rows, so no extra space in the bottom area for a big, cloth-diapered baby butt. Also, the shenanigans involved in joining the legs and knitting upward are horrendous. I love these, and he will wear them all month at least, but I won't be using this pattern again.

I made these using leftovers, as we poor people are wont to do (I am on a yarn-buying hiatus at the moment). This is some crimson Patons classic merino, and some pine green Knitpicks wool of the andes, both worsted weight. I made the 0-6 month size, but changed the foldover waistband to a ribbed waistband. Much easier and faster. I have, since taking these photos, crocheted a drawstring to go through the waist for better fit (you can see the eyelet holes).

Love, love, love! And they put me in the Christmas spirit, at least a little. I want more little wool pants for him, so I purchased the original longies pattern from Little Turtle Knits and made a start on a new pair while in the surgical waiting room this morning.

And check out this sibling love-fest! My sweet boy developed some serious "right-head preference" in the NICU because all his care was performed at the right side of his crib, so the muscles in his neck are actually messed up and he does NOT like to turn his head to the left. Part of his therapy is to get him to turn his head that way, so we place everything on his left now - his toys, mirrors...and, yes, people. Say it with me now...awwwwwwwwww!

back to the hospital

Today is ear tube day. We are off to the hospital in 15 minutes. I'm very nervous.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


Oooooh, people. Life is hectic.

I reached a new high yesterday...I ventured out to the library and WalMart with both of my children. It went ok, except it's hard to put much into a shopping cart with a baby carseat in it and a tall gangly 3 year old in the front.

I'm sad to say I've become a Hisser. You know exactly what I mean. I'm now the mom who screams really quietly at my child, who in turn has become That Child Who Will Never Be My Child out in public. You've seen this child...perhaps you have one. This is the child who drags herself across the filthy library carpet on her belly despite repeated hissings to stopitrightnow, or runs away in the parking lot despite a billion warnings that a car could come and squash her flat in a second. I am doing my best, I really am. But my best feels pretty crappy these days.

I am eating crow constantly, I must say. I always told people I wasn't nervous at all about having two children. What's the big deal? Practically everybody does it, and lots of families have many more than two. But then again, maybe not everyone has a son with special needs, who can't just be picked up and nursed while attending to the other child(ren), who has appointments at various offices and hospitals 1 to 3 times a week and physical and occupational therapy 4 times a week, who has to be monitored constantly so he doesn't choke on his own saliva.

On the upside, he hasn't been choking, and forgive me if I am repeating myself, but he no longer has to be on his monitor 24/7 - only when sleeping or out of our sight (like when riding in the car). And I haven't turned on that hideous suction machine in 3.5 weeks. My goal is to never use it ever again. I have researched feeding issues rather extensively and - no surprise - putting something like that in an infant's mouth and throat can lead to serious oral aversion. Anyway, he can cough really well now and clears his airway nicely, so things are improving, albeit at a glacial pace.

The adrenaline has worn off, though. I am starting to really hate waking up at 3 a.m. to feed my peacefully sleeping baby. I sure hope he gains acceptably so we can quit that miserable job. He packed on an ounce a day last week, so let's hope he keeps that up. Still, only 9 lbs, 7 oz at 3 months old is pretty lame. I worry about him so much.

I'm trying not to be selfish. But I am tired. So, so tired. My number one favorite thing to do right now is sleep. And I miss doing the things I like to do. I get to knit a few stitches here and there, but there's no chance of getting out my sewing machine for the foreseeable future...and I want to! My fingers itch to whip up Christmas gifts and quilts and clothes for my kids. I want to blog about fun stuff, and take nice photos to post. I want to have fun and be happy but life feels like 99% work, 1% enjoyment just now.

Eeeeeeeeeeeeehhhhh. This too shall pass.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

giving thanks

Well, I think it is obvious what I am thankful for this year.

May all of you who celebrate have a blessed Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 24, 2008

nap denial

Oh, internet friends...I love how you get all indignant for me. I may indeed write that letter to the medical director of the NICU. I'll let you know.

Onward to another issue - one that does not involve my baby, believe it or not. Or, rather, does not involve him directly. The issue is sleep. I am not getting enough (obviously). But Daughter is getting too much.

She is just over 3 and a half, and has consistently napped in the afternoons forever. She will eat lunch, play a little, go potty, and then sack out for 1.5 - 3 hours. Yes, really. The problem is, she doesn't want to get up. Much like her father, she wants to just sleep the day away. Mind you, I love the solitude in the afternoon, and I would love to nap also, but you just know the baby refuses to sleep for the entire time she does. Boo.

Anyway, she finally gets up after much cajoling and poking and prodding, and she's totally nasty to me, kicking and fighting as I try to get her up. I've tried waking her early. I've tried just letting her get up on her own. No matter what I seem to try, she is miserable. And then when bedtime rolls around at night, she is wide awake in bed until 11 p.m. Unacceptable!

So yesterday we went out in the afternoon and she just cat-napped in the car. She was bathed and in bed by 8 p.m. and asleep by 8:30. YES! Today I tried to keep her up...and she begged me for a nap. BEGGED ME! What kind of alternate universe do I live in where my 3 year old is begging me to let her take a nap? She has just fallen asleep on the couch, which is fine, the regular noise of the household will wake her shortly. I just don't know how to navigate this issue.

She obviously still wants (and perhaps needs) some afternoon rest, but I need her to go to bed at a reasonable hour and get a good night of sleep. Ah, parenting. Where's that manual, again? Can't seem to find my copy...

Saturday, November 22, 2008


There is a portion of my son's healthcare/diagnosis that I have not blogged about yet, both because it felt quite personal and painful, and because it has been rather up-in-the-air.

Because his problems are related to cranial nerves, many symptoms present themselves that don't necessarily seem to make sense at first. The first neonatologist, at the hospital where our son was born, suggested he might have hearing loss because that is often a result of cranial nerve damage/deficiency. We were frightened of that, especially since there was some question of whether or not he could see, also.

At the second hospital, it was determined that his eyes were ok, and we now know that he definitely sees. But his hearing seemed deficient in every test. Two ABR (or BAER) tests were performed in the NICU, both with questionable results because he was not sedated and moved a bit during the tests. They were performed by EEG techs, and read by a neurologist, but no one in the NICU seemed to be able to tell us what the results meant. It was frustrating, to say the least. Eventually, after the second test was performed, and we begged for some answers, a nurse practitioner looked at the results and told us our son had complete bilateral hearing loss.

Oh my goodness, imagine what that was like. Complete bilateral hearing loss. Our son could not hear.

We went home, told our family and friends to start learning sign language, and I immediately began investigating deaf infant programs in our area. I was so sad and scared. Our son had enough problems with his feeding issues...why this too?

A day or two later I asked to speak with the neonatologist on duty to confirm this hearing diagnosis. I got another nurse practitioner, which did not surprise me as they are the liason between the medical team and the family. She gave me the same information as the first NP.

The next day, I finally got the neonatologist to come talk to me. As an interesting aside, his own 4 yr old daughter has cochlear implants, so I thought surely he would be sensitive to this issue and give me some answers. He came into the nursery, informed me that a) they were more concerned about his feeding than his hearing and b) he had not seen the test results. He then proceeded to tell me all the possible fixes for hearing loss, all the while not really knowing if any of them applied to my child.

Perhaps some of you have had children in the NICU - I wonder if getting information was like pulling teeth for you as well.

Finally, after a couple more weeks when discharge was looming, Hubs and I demanded a meeting with audiology and the NICU team to determine what, exactly, we were to do with this hearing situation. During that meeting, the audiologist, who I have come to know and love, looked at the test results and said she could not confidently say our son had complete hearing loss. We went around the room and NONE of the medical professionals in the group could even INTERPRET the results, much less give us an informed diagnosis. (The two NPs who had told us our son couldn't hear were not present at this meeting - it was not their shift.)

So. I was ready to kill someone at that point and told the room as much. I let them know how angry we were to have been told incorrect information, and I told them who disseminated it. I know that original NP was spoken to, and it was suggested that I write a letter to either the director of nursing or the medical director of the NICU. I am still pondering that. It is so, so irresponsible to give families incorrect information like that. I wanted to throw a brick at her face, I'll tell you what.

Fast forward a week or so, and we have the same test performed in a sound-proof booth by the actual audiologist. She also performed a tympanogram (puff of air blown against the eardrum to check for movement). She determined he has very mild loss bilaterally and it is conductive. That means the cochlea works, and the nerve is taking the sound info to the brain stem. The problem is somewhere between the outside world and the middle ear. His eardrums did not really move, so something was definitely structurally wrong. She confirmed that he can, in fact, hear us, and can hear very high pitches quite well. If we speak loudly he should be able to basically understand us, but it may be muffled.

Fast forward again to this morning. We had an appointment with a pediatric ENT specialist, who took one look in our son's ears and said, "yep, there's fluid in there." That is why the eardrums don't move.


We went from "your son is deaf" to "there's fluid in them thar ears."

In 3 weeks our son will (unfortunately) have surgery again, this time to place tubes in his ears. While he is anesthetized, he will have the ABR performed again by the same audiologist to determine that the tubes did the trick. The ENT guy is pretty sure that should do it, though, and our son will hear just fine.

It turns out this is a common problem for kids with cranial nerve trouble. The muscles that open the eustachian tubes don't work properly, so fluid does not drain.

Last night before I went to sleep I prayed a shoddy little prayer - something along the lines of, hey God, how about you give us a break on this one? And he has. Oh, praise Him, he has cut us a major break. I wish surgery wasn't required, but people, fixing this will give him language! Praise God!

So to wrap up, I want to remind all of you parents out there that you have a right to ACCURATE information about your child and their health care. Sometimes you have to fight and be demanding and even be kind of a pain in someone's ass, but that is our job, no?

Monday, November 17, 2008

thirsties wanted!

I would love to blog, really I would...I just don't have the time to even come up for air right now. Bear with me, I WILL be back.

There is even some knitting! My poor, neglected Daughter was going to have some cold hands if I didn't bust a move making her some mittens, and there is a hat and scarf combo in the near future...I am thinking that will make some quality 3 a.m. knitting when I am waiting for the baby's milk to run through.

Good news, briefly: The child no longer has to have his monitor hooked up 24/7! Only when he is sleeping and/or out of our sight. This is so awesome, because that thing is like a freaking ball and chain, literally. Also, barring anything unforeseen, tomorrow he gets his temporary feeding tube out and the new "button" put in, which will be almost flush against his skin and only be opened/closed when needed. He currently has about 18" of tubing coming out the front of his clothing at all times, which is dangerous, scary, annoying, and quite frankly, rather unsightly. Also, it blows "tummy time" to smithereens. My child is 11 weeks old and cannot yet hold up his own head. Sad, I know. He is certainly behind. He also just cracked 9 lbs. Ay-yi-yi.

Ok, so - things have normalized enough that I have made the big switcheroo to my beloved cloth diapers. I only bought one thirsties cover when I made my order back in the summer, because I didn't know if I would like them. And I DO like them! In fact, I LOVE the thirsties cover, and I want more. The question I have is, does anyone have any XS thirsties covers they no longer need and want to sell to me? I am just looking to pick up a few more at a lower price than the brand new ones. Medical bills and such, you know.

If you have some, or know someone who does, please leave a comment or drop me a line: momwhoknits AT yahoo DOT com. Thanks!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

a day in the life

Where shall I begin? How about 3 a.m.-ish? Ok, here we go:

2:40 a.m. - wake to alarm because child sleeps through the night (thank God for that blessing)

3:00 a.m. - bring warmed bottle of fortified breast milk upstairs, feed to sleeping child.

3:15 a.m. - collapse back into bed.

6:20 a.m. - wake to alarm again. Go downstairs, pump bottles of milk, warm prepared bottle.

7:00 a.m. - feed prepared bottle to still-sleeping child. Collapse back into bed for a few more precious moments of rest, or grab shower if we have appointments that day.

7:20 a.m. or so - get back up to change horribly stinky poopy diaper, generated as direct result of 7:00 feeding.

7:30 - unplug monitor from outlet, throw that and the suction machine over shoulder, grab some clean clothes for the child, grab child, make way downstairs.

7:30-8:00 - perform morning cares for smaller child (clean g-tube site, change gauze, dispense eyedrops), change poop #2, dress child.

*8:00-9:30 - wrangle Daughter through breakfast, potty and dressing. Attempt to eat something as well.

9:30-10:00* - pump and mix bottles

*If this is an appointment day, wrangle Daughter much faster, throw still-damp hair into a shitty-looking ponytail, pack up wee child's machines and diaper bag, and throw everyone in the car...while desperately trying to avoid the use of 4-letter words. Arrive late to appointment, sit and wait anyway, get through 30 second appointment, head home.

11:00 - attempt bottle or breast-feeding, then finish with g-tube feeding.

11:30-12:30 - attempt to feed Daughter something healthy for lunch

1:00 - pump and mix bottles

1:30 - read stories and drop-kick Daughter into her bed for nap

1:40 - end of naptime - attempt to do some laundry, make the bed, eat something, pay bills, or heaven forbid...relax for two seconds.

3:00 - feed baby, cuddle, play, spend quality time

3:30 - wrangle Daughter onto the toilet for post-nap pee, have snack, hang out playing go-fish, candyland, playdough, or coloring while still trying to do some laundry and/or finish (my) lunch.

4:30 - pump and mix bottles

5:00 -7:00 - work on dinner, attempt to calm fussy baby, eat something.

7:30 - pump and mix bottles

8:00 - chuck Daughter in tub or wrestle her into pajamas.

8:30 - read stories and bodyslam Daughter into bed.

9:00-10:30 - hang with baby, try not to fall asleep, perhaps knit one or two rows if baby is sleeping.

10:30 - pump and mix bottles

10:50 - change baby for bed, warm bottle, take baby and all equipment upstairs.

11:00 - place baby in bed, administer final feeding of the day.

11:20 - collapse into bed.

Rinse. Repeat.

I must add that we are currently living with my parents in their large home so that I will have help with just about all of the above while Hubs goes to work. Our house is going on the market, and there is no way I could leave for showings in this situation.

A child with special needs is a handful, even when those special needs are not extremely complicated.

Life is a tad overwhelming just now.

Monday, October 27, 2008


On Friday afternoon, after 53 days in two NICUs, my baby boy breathed the outside air for the first time.

Off the hospital monitors and dressed to go home.

Heading to the car in the NICU buggy.

We are happy. We are exhausted.

We are home.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

on our way

People! Listen!


The doctor told us this morning that once we have our training on how to care for the G tube (which is tomorrow), we can TAKE HIM HOME.

Discharge is planned for Friday afternoon, as long as he doesn't do anything silly between now and then. We are not telling him he is going home, because whenever you do that, something rotten happens and the kid ends up staying. No, thank you. It is time for us to wave goodbye to the NICU and be a family again.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

it's the little things

Baby boy is on breastmilk already! As of this morning they discontinued the Pedialyte and started him on breastmilk again. I couldn't be more thrilled at the speed of his progress right now. He is only getting 5 ml this morning, slowly infused, but it will increase by 5 ml each feeding until he eventually gets back up to a reasonable level. If his system tolerates it well, they will do bigger jumps.

He is also off morphine now, meaning hopefully one of the IVs will come out. The other will be decreased until he is on full feeds, and then will be discontinued.

His nurse also told me he is off the warmer for good, dressed and wrapped up, and will be going back into a regular crib.

They are baby steps, literally, but feel like giant leaps to me right now.

Friday, October 17, 2008

just a little update

For those interested in the medical happenings, our son is resting relatively comfortably. He continues to receive tiny doses of morphine as needed, but he has not needed much. This morning, 48 hours after surgery, he is finally being fed, though it is just Pedialyte. They are literally administering it drop by drop through the GT and it is agonizing to watch it drip, knowing he is hungry and that's all he can have.

In a couple of days he will go to a very slow feed of breastmilk again, and hopefully by next week we will begin bolus feedings so we can start thinking about discharge.

We haven't been able to hold him yet, as he is tethered to the pump that administers the Pedialyte. That will continue on a constant, around-the-clock drip for now. Plus he is still in pain and I wouldn't want to pick him up and hold him if it means his abdomen would be scrunched up.

As for me? Well, I am doing my best. I am angry and confused and hurt and sad, mostly because my little boy has to suffer. I'm tired...the kind of tired where you don't even fully realize just how tired you are until you lay down in bed at night, flip on the news, and miss it because sleep comes instantly. I'm straight-up worn out and just want this all to be over...as much as it can be. This morning Hubs and I went to training for CPR and to learn how to use the apnea/bradycardia monitor and suction machine our son will come home with, a real reminder that things won't be the same around here for the foreseeable future.

I guess that's it for now. Just muddling through as best we can.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

post op

My little man had his surgery yesterday morning. It went remarkably fast, and he came through great. No problems with anesthesia, and the surgeon said his anatomy is normal so no complications when they opened his abdomen. We were able to be with him right up until the anesthesiologists took him away, and we rejoined him immediately after he returned to the NICU. As for me...well, I managed to get through using only 3 tissues, so I guess my crying was minimal.

I went back to see him last night, just to check on him, and he was laying splayed out on a warmer, his middle covered in bandages, moaning and crying and startling a lot. He is used to being swaddled and held, so this is something of a surprise to him. The nurses were giving him teeny doses of morphine every couple of hours to keep him comfortable, but he didn't look comfortable to me.

They will start feeding him again, slowly, slowly, starting tonight or tomorrow. It is the first step toward bringing him home. I might be able to hold him today when I go in. I sure hope so - I think it would be a great comfort to us both.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit, either. ~Elizabeth Zimmerman

Oh hi.

I am so exhausted. When I finally lay my head down at night the room spins. Our son has now spent all of his 5 weeks of life in the hospital, and it won't end soon. His surgery is still a week away (next Wednesday the 15th), and then there will be recovery, and our education as to how we care for him. And the bills have just started to roll in. Heaven help me.

I don't want to drive back and forth to the hospital even one more stinking time. And have I mentioned that the route to the hospital takes me right past the cemetery where my daughter is buried? How fun is that? But I can't skip even one day or I wouldn't be able to sleep at night. I get about 2 precious hours with my son each day. The whole thing just sucks.

The knitting has not fallen by the wayside, believe it or not. I finished up a couple of sweaters before the birth, and since then I have managed two pumpkin hats for my two little pumpkins. Baby's is way too big, but Daughter's is a-ok.

Photo credit goes to my mom, who, along with my dad, took Daughter to a local farm last weekend. Thank God for my parents, without whom I would be totally dead right now.

Anyway, that there is the ubiquitous fruit hat, knit in Knitpicks Wool of the Andes (colors: pumpkin and fern) and the Knitting Pure and Simple children's neck-down cardigan with the knitted collar option, knit in Lion Brand Fisherman (color: nature's brown). For the record, one skein of that yarn is enough for this sweater in the smallest size (2-4 years, I believe), making it one of the cheapest heavy wool sweaters ever - about 6 bucks. Hey, I am stressed out and anxious beyond belief, but I am still frugal. I wish I could show the awesome wooden toggle buttons on the front, but all the front shots show her face and you all know how I feel about faces on the blog. They're gorgeous, though.

Time to go pump breastmilk. Now I know how dairy cows feel. Sheesh.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

heads i win, tails you lose

When you decide to have a baby, you're really just flipping a giant coin, or rolling a giant set of universe dice. If you're lucky, like so many of us, you get a mostly perfect baby with no outward signs of dysfunction. If you're not so lucky, like so many of us, you get a baby with some serious problems.

We are about to be placed on the OR schedule for placement of a permanent gastrostomy tube. It is the only way my baby can come home and eat safely. Part of the surgery will also tighten the sphincter muscle in his tummy so he will not reflux and choke. I watched him do that very thing yesterday and he turned blue right in front of me. It was horrifying.

I hate this. I hate it so much I can barely breathe. Mostly I hate that if I say the words "feeding tube" people will think I have a disabled baby or something, and I DO NOT. My baby is so beautiful and perfect and I love him so desperately...and I don't want anyone looking at us with pity. He just can't eat. And right now I will do anything to get him out of that NICU. To get him away from the many, many doctors who come in and poke and prod him every damn day. He needs to come home and be loved and cuddled and held and played with, and yes, fed through a stupid old tube into his belly so he can grow and get strong and hopefully show all those stupid old doctors that he will be just fine.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

more stuff about my baby

I just want to say that I do not write these posts fishing for comments...but that all the amazingly kind and supportive words you've shared over these couple of weeks have meant so much to me. It sounds cheesy and trite, but it's true. I find that I can relax a little, knowing so many are lifting us up in prayer and hope.

This has been one of the most stressful weeks of our lives, and oddly enough, we have come full circle. Our son was admitted to his current hospital one week ago yesterday with feeding difficulties, and he is now hanging out in the NICU...with feeding difficulties. But God is good, people, and don't you forget it - each day of this harrowing week has allowed us to tick one more horrifying potential diagnosis off the list and move forward. We have now found out that our baby's brain is not damaged, he can see (the O.T. examined him and confirmed he tracks visually, thank you Lord), and despite having "low tone" he moves his body in typical newborn fashion. The only somewhat scary thing that is still up in the air is his hearing. They attempted to do their more sophisticated test more than once but he kept waking up and ruining it, so it was finally completed yesterday. We'll find out the results soon.

There are specialists beginning to work with him on feeding once again - they have confirmed he can drink from a bottle (which we already knew but they did not) but the milk collects in his throat at times and he becomes uncoordinated, causing him to choke. They haven't let me nurse him again - yet - but I think it's coming soon. He tends to do better with nursing because he can pace himself more naturally than when he is given a bottle. Also, he gets a better latch, probably due to the size of a human nipple as compared to a smaller bottle nipple.

Bear with me - I'm just trying to chronicle some of this stuff. And please, if you would, continue to keep us in your prayers. It is working, we are so blessed. Thank you!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

my son, the enigma

Our son's MRI came back looking normal. So thank God for that. The doctors let us know yesterday that they were pretty sure something was going to be abnormal in his brain stem, but the radiologist said if they hadn't told him what they were looking for, he would have questioned why they were having the MRI done at all. The scan wasn't good enough to see the exact cranial nerves they wanted to check out, because babies are too small (and therefore the nerves are too small to be seen). But his brain looks fine.

So we're still nowhere on the gag issue, and they are worried about his hearing because he failed the very first hearing screen (last week at the first hospital) bilaterally. His optic nerves are present and we believe he sees, but we can't be totally sure about hearing. So that was redone yesterday after we left for the day and we will hopefully find out some results today. However, his hearing is not my main concern - if there is a problem we have lots of options (and I am not convinced there IS a problem...I swear he responds to our voices and when Daughter came to read him a story the other day, he perked up, opened his eyes, and looked right at her when she started reading).

Basically right now we have the world's most expensive day care (and night care) - all they are really doing with him is feeding him through the teeny tube that goes down his throat. I spend all of my time either at the hospital holding him, home pumping breast milk to bring to the hospital, or spending time with Daughter so she doesn't start to hate us and resent her baby brother for taking so much of our time.

He looks so beautiful and perfect - I am so frustrated that I can't just bring him home. The doctors won't let us even try to feed him (via bottle or breast) because they don't want to put him in danger. The neonatologist heading up the team (who happens to be the father of some kids I went to high school with: cue "it's a small, small world") sat with us for a long, long time yesterday discussing our son, and he basically threw up his hands and said our baby is an enigma. A medical mystery.

So we drive back and forth. I hook up to my Medela. And we wait while more specialists are called in to see if someone, anyone, can figure out what is wrong with my baby.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

prayers needed

I'm sure everyone thinks I haven't posted because I'm busy at home with a new baby...and I wish so much that that were true.

Our son was born in some distress, and his respiration was too rapid for the first several days for him to feed normally. He was on an IV for a couple of days, then went to a feeding tube through his nose, then to bottles, and finally I was able to nurse him. I went home after 4 days, he stayed in the NICU. We drove back and forth twice a day at two of his feeding times so I could nurse him and we could hold him and visit.

The problem is that my baby lacks a gag reflex and if he either burps up milk or gets too much in his mouth at once, he can't choke and clear it himself. The nurses had been able to solve it with suction and he was getting better at recovering from these episodes, until the other night when a nurse was feeding him and he choked so badly he had to be put on a ventilator for recovery. Luckily he did not aspirate much of anything and was taken off the ventilator after a few hours.

On Friday he was transferred to a different hospital with a more sophisticated NICU and a billion specialists. We've watched as geneticists and neurologists have poked and prodded him, and waited very impatiently for the doctors to allow him to eat again (he went back to IV only after the ventilator incident). They have finally allowed it, 5 ml at a time, again through a tube. He was taking almost 50 ml per feeding before, or nursing a full feeding. Watching him cry with an empty tummy almost killed me.

My baby looks perfect. He breathes fine on his own, nurses successfully, cries, kicks, waves his arms around, fills diapers, coos, and snuggles into me when I hold him. He is in most respects a normal, healthy, gorgeous baby. But something in his craniofacial nerves or musculature is not right, and we need to find out what it is and fix it before he comes home. Sometime between now and Monday my sweet, tiny boy will be sedated and given an MRI so we can see his whole brain/nerve structure and hopefully get an answer to what is causing him this problem.

I don't know what I did wrong, if anything, during my pregnancy. I don't know what my child did to deserve this. I don't know what I did to deserve this. I'm so frustrated, and sad, and very frightened for my son.

So if you wouldn't mind keeping up the prayers for my little family, and mostly for my little boy, I would truly appreciate it.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

the new man in my life

Our sweet baby boy made a grand and frightening entrance into the world on Tuesday, September 2, 2008 at 7:56 pm. He arrived via emergency c-section and weighed 6 lbs, 6 oz.

He's still at the hospital in the special care nursery (code for NICU) due to some rapid respiration and feeding issues, but is improving hourly and we should have him home soon.

Loooooooooooong story and a photo to come. Suffice it to say he is beautiful and perfect and we are so, so happy.

Thank you all so much for the love, support and prayers.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

nope, not yet!

I just realized it's been many days since I posted and I wouldn't want you all to get your hopes up on my behalf or anything.....that's right, STILL no baby.

Good heavens. This is getting ridiculous.

I have felt all along that it would be August 29th (no particular reason, I just looked at the calendar and said, August 29). Wrong!

Mom thought surely it would end up being August 31st, because that was my grandfather's (her father's) birthday and people in our family are just about universally born on someone else's birthday or anniversary. Well, it's almost 5 pm so there is still a chance, but I'm thinking no.

My doctor, many months ago, joked that maybe we will have the first baby born on Labor Day. Perhaps!

Along with the 'born on other people's birthdays' thing, maybe he will come on my sister's new husband's birthday - Wednesday, September 3rd.

But I'm thinking it's going to be a long slog through this coming week, and we will end up strolling into the hospital on the 8th to be induced. Oh well.

In the meantime, we're hanging at the beach enjoying the end of summer, taking naps in the warm afternoons, and knitting A LOT. I have some sweaters to show off tomorrow...but I have to get the camera out of the hospital bag which has been living in the car for the past 3 weeks.

Happy labor day - here's hoping it really will be!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

new plan

I had my 39 week appointment this morning and NOTHING IS HAPPENING.

But that's ok, because now we have a plan. Baby has until September 8 to come out on his own or we are evicting him by force. I'd kind of prefer not to have to be induced, so it would be nice if he would make an appearance before that, but I am comforted knowing there is a plan in place to get the show on the road.

My doctor promises me I will not be pregnant past September 8. Good enough!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

let's talk about something else

Maybe if we ignore him, he'll get upset and come out!

Let's talk about knitting instead of babies, yes? (Or at least knitting for babies...)

Just a few things...

Baby's blanket has been done since the night my boyfriend Michael Phelps won his 8th and final gold medal. I was working on the border as the race took place and dude, did I ever knit fast watching that. Yowza!

Here's a closeup of the pattern. I really love it - and it's a good thing, because it's a large project and takes a loooooong time to knit for some reason. I made the same blanket for Daughter in a sage green, so now they're matchy-matchy.

The yarn is just some Caron acrylic (not the cheesy soft stuff, but more akin to Red Heart...can't think of the name just now). It was tough on my hands, but I do like acrylic for the baby blankets that will get washed and used a lot. Holds up really well...Daughter's still looks just about as good as it did when it was first made. And after washing, it is surprisingly soft and drapes beautifully. I used US size 9 and 10.5 needles, and the pattern is from a Leisure Arts book called "Beautiful Baby."

My latest knitting obsession is this new yarn from Red Heart - Heart & Sole sock yarn. This is the best product I've ever used from Red Heart. It has actual wool content! I originally bought the bright yarn you see made up into the socks on the left (colorway: "spring stripe") to put in my hospital bag when I thought I was having a c-section. When baby turned, I figured I'd race him to the finish and see if I could just get the socks done for Daughter. Hmmmm. No problem there.

Then, because I liked working with the yarn so much AND because I had a coupon, I went back to AC Moore and got another skein (colorway: "toasted almond"). I found out all the colors don't stripe the same, so these socks are fraternal. Got those done over the weekend.

And today, I simply couldn't help myself. I stopped once again at AC Moore and picked up two more colorways: "congo" on the left in the photo, and "rustica" on the right.

Hey, you can't beat it for quality, inexpensive, entertaining knitting! One skein costs me $2.60 if I use a 40% off coupon, and I get both a pair of warm winter socks for Daughter AND several hours of knitting fun. And it is a good yarn, people. Washes up fantastically well. I can't wait for cool weather so Daughter can start wearing these.

They are knit up on US size 2 needles over 48 stitches.

A simple top-down raglan cardigan sweater for baby boy. If home heating costs are truly going to be as high as they say this winter, we will all need to bundle up in some woolly warmth.

I'm also trying out a new yarn - this is Caron Country, a wool/acrylic blend. It comes in stunning colors and is almost unbearably soft. This is the charcoal colorway, which I chose because it was boyish and goes with most everything. I love the look and feel, but it's a bear to knit up. It is not tightly spun, so the plies split all over the place. I have to watch while I knit it, which stinks for a simple project like this. Usually I can knit one of these while I watch a movie, read blogs, or whatever. Not so this time. Oh well, it is only a 6-month size so it is going quickly. I've just divided for the sleeves and will zoom through the body portion in the next day or so. If I have enough yarn I'll add a hood for extra warmth.

Let's see...can I finish it before he comes? That's a challenge, baby boy - you hear me??

Aaaaaaaaaand, because I seriously fell off the wagon with the yarn purchasing today, I had to grab a skein of the new colorway of Lion Fisherman's Wool. I have a bunch of skeins of the natural color, but now they have "nature's brown" and I luuuuuuuurve it. I will use this one skein to make a top-down cardigan for Daughter, and if I like it I will get 3 or 4 more to make a cardi for myself. Not, like, immediately - I know my knitting time will be tragically cut short until at least Christmastime once baby comes - but it's nice to have some simple projects planned out. I picture these sweaters with either leather buttons or wooden toggle buttons. Classic, hearty, and warm.

Well, now my back hurts and my stomach is growling, so I'm going to make several attempts to stand up from the couch and go get a snack. And just a wee bit of baby info for you: as of this morning's bpp, he is still head-down, still shoving his feet up into my ribs, and still adorable. Oh, and still INSIDE. Arrgh. :)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

good job, internet!

Well, I don't know what you all did - did someone organize a mass headstand without me knowing about it? Whatever it was, it worked, and baby boy has flipped himself BACK TO HEAD-DOWN.

So thank you. Now I can at least go into labor with one less fear (a foot or cord presenting first).

Last night I was having some contractions that felt worse than braxton-hicks, but not nearly as bad as the real deal, so hopefully that means things are on their way to getting started. I'll see my doctor this afternoon and - yee hah! - have one of those very pleasant late pregnancy pelvic exams to see what's going on.

As an aside, in the category of "crappy bedside manner" I want to nominate the sonographer who did my bpp yesterday. When we expressed great relief at baby's head-down status, she gleefully said, "doesn't mean he'll stay that way!"


Saturday, August 16, 2008

i swear i am not making this up

Earlier this evening I was measuring Daughter for some new winter socks I'd like to make her. When I was done she took the measuring tape and proceeded to "measure" me and make little "notes" in her notebook. Then the following conversation took place:

Daughter: I have to measure Daddy when he's done mowing the lawn.

Me: Ok, sounds good.

D: I have to measure his belly.

Me: ?

D: Do you know why? Because I'm going to sew him a shirt!

Me: Oooh! Daddy will love that.

D: I'm going to sew him a white t-shirt. And it will have PINK letters on it!

Me: Oh? And what will the letters be?

D: H-O-T-T!

Me: (barely stifling hysterical laughter) Awesome!

D: Yeah, and he will wear it for work!

For the record, Daughter knows how to spell and write many, many words, but I'm 99.9% sure she had no idea what she was saying here, which makes it extra, extra funny.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

the plan

Well, no dice. If my stubborn baby does not turn himself around by next Tuesday or Wednesday (my next two appointments), we score ourselves a scheduled c-section.

Not my first choice, but given the alternatives, it is for the best. I have made peace with it, and now I'm just hoping I don't go into labor before we can schedule the procedure - I'd rather it be 'planned' than 'emergency.'

In the meantime, please think head-down thoughts for us! There's always a chance he could turn...


Huh. Now this morning I am feeling what I would GUESS are feet slamming me under the ribcage. Unless my dear boy has turned completely upright and is currently "raising the roof," it could be that he has settled his head back down and is kicking upward. I definitely feel two distinct "hits" and I am hoping it is two feet.

Probably not, but a girl can dream. We'll see what the doctor says this afternoon.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

am i getting insufferable yet?

This morning I completed the tour de doctors at my OB's office. I see one particular doctor for my care, but any of the 4 in the practice could be at the hospital when I deliver, so I get to see them all toward the end of my pregnancies. Fun fact: "my" doctor hasn't delivered any of my babies yet. I'm hoping he will be there this time.

So this morning I saw the newest doctor, who happens to be a woman. She was nice enough, but appeared to be barely older than I am, and I didn't love her bedside manner. She informed me that we can either schedule an external cephalic version, or schedule a cesarean section for 39 weeks. My baby is not actually full breech right now - he is transverse (laying across my abdomen folded in half so his feet and head are pushing against my right side). So he could possibly turn by himself and get head-down. The ECV might work out because it is more likely to be successful with a transverse baby (rather than a baby that must be turned entirely around). If they do the ECV, it is done in the hospital and labor is induced at the same time to prevent the baby from flipping back. It can be painful and have complications, though, so if we do it I could very well end up with an emergency c-section. Barf. NOT my first choice.

This chick doctor was pretty into the idea of a scheduled c-section...she seemed to think that considering my history I might prefer it. Which, ok, I can see the benefit of a scheduled delivery, but she actually stated avoidance of the trauma of a vaginal delivery as one of the reasons.

Huh? How is being slit from stem to stern and having abdominal muscles cut and sewn back together less traumatic than a regular vaginal birth?? I had great recoveries from my previous deliveries and, despite my apprehension about the pain of labor, I was really looking forward to another good experience in that regard.

Oh well, when I explained that I have a 3 year old to care for as well, she made a face and admitted that the recovery is a bit long for a c-section. Well, duh.

Tomorrow I go back to meet with my regular doctor so we can discuss options. I know this probably sounds stupid to some people, but I really just wish someone would tell me what to do. I obviously want the safest thing for baby and for myself - I don't want it to be up to me, I want the doctor to say "this is what we're doing" and set it up.

More to come.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

not what i was hoping to hear

Sonographer: Sooooooo...does your doctor know your baby is breech?

Me: ..........

Hubs: ..........

Me: (tears flowing)

7 lbs, 2 oz, measuring 38 weeks 5 days, and facing the wrong damn direction.


Monday, August 11, 2008

this and that

Dear Son,

Please stop trying to push your way out butt-first through my belly button. That hurts.



Well, as evidenced by my last post, I have my good days and bad days. That last post was on a very bad day indeed. I was in a lot of pain and really struggling. Baby is so low, and the underside of my belly actually aches and the skin hurts. I've never quite experienced that before so it's difficult to deal with, especially as I try to deal with an energetic 3 year old.

So I apologize for the bitching and moaning.


Tomorrow is my baby girl's birthday. I'm struggling with that this year, more so than last. I'm not sure why that is, but it's a bit of a challenge to keep from crying just now. Exactly two years ago this minute I was lying in a hospital bed, surrounded by random people and machinery, absorbing the knowledge that the baby in my belly was no longer alive. I suppose that would make anyone cry, to think about how that might feel. I went through it, and I still don't know what to think - I find myself looking back in a detached state of wonder, like, how did I live through that?

But I did. And sometimes it still feels really fresh. Especially now, as I close in on my due date. I mean, the best and worst experiences of my life happen(ed) in the exact same place under almost identical circumstances. That's screwed up, man. And tomorrow, on her actual birthday, we will be at the same hospital for another biophysical profile of baby brother. Oy. Is it any wonder I'm an emotional basket case these days? For real.


Here is what helps: knitting like mad and watching the Olympics. Seriously! How can you be sad while watching Michael Phelps? I was a competitive swimmer for many years and watching those Olympic swimming races brings it all back. So awesome to see such physical prowess. Plus, I cannot lie, the man is the HOTness. What? It's ok, I can say that, my husband openly ogles the beach volleyball players and I'm cool with that.

Also, chocolate chip cookies. Those help too.

Here is what I am racing to finish before baby arrives:

I made the identical blanket for Daughter in the days leading up to her birth, but her blanket is sage green because we didn't know she was definitely a girl. I'm into the third (and final) repeat of the pattern, hoping to get it done before I go into labor.

So. BPP tomorrow, then 37-week OB appointment on Wednesday, where we will find out if any progress is being made.

Friday, August 08, 2008

36.5 weeks and counting

Hello there. Still here. Still very, very pregnant.

I haven't been posting because I don't know what to say. I am quite uncomfortable and starting to get anxious and nervous about labor and delivery (well, not so much the delivery part as I'll be comfortably numb from the waist down by that point). Despite all our positive tests and examinations I remain on pins and needles about my baby and will feel that way until he finally arrives.

Time is dragging and flying by at the same time, if that is possible. It's making me crazy. Every twinge I feel sends me into a tizzy of "oh dear, what's that, is that pain? A contraction? What's happening? Is it time?" even though I know it is not yet time. Still, my bag is mostly packed and ready to go, just in case. Grandma and Papa are on alert to come get Daughter. The house is mostly clean and I'm focused on keeping up with the laundry as much as possible. I'm filling the freezer with simple-to-prepare foods and baked goods. There are juice boxes galore in the fridge so Daughter can serve herself in those first hazy days after baby arrives.

I'm ready. And yet I'm petrified. What's up with that?

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Daughter 'n me

Daughter woke up from her nap today literally crying to go to the beach. It was already 4:30 so I called Hubs, told him to bring home a pizza, and threw her in the car to go spend an hour playing in the sand.

I am trying - through my exhaustion and discomfort - to savor these times with Daughter, for they are fleeting. Soon it will be so different, and I'm just now realizing our 3+ years alone together are coming to an end. We are all excited about Baby Brother, but it will be strange to have to split my attention, and strange for her to have to share me with another child.

So today we sat on our towel while the wind whipped around us, watching the windsurfers and shoveling sand into a bucket. The wind was so loud we couldn't hear ourselves think, much less talk, so it was kind of nice. We just hung out and watched the waves roll in. After awhile Daughter wanted to "cool her feet off" in the water (she calls the lake "the beach pool" which cracks me up), so we moved to the edge of the water and she played in the goopy wet sand for 45 minutes while I stood in ankle-deep frothy lake water. It's not glamorous, people, but it's free.

The beach is one of the only places where Daughter will completely amuse herself for long periods of time, so I let her play as long as she wanted to. I've been such a crappy mom lately, tired all the time and with no energy to do anything, nervous and anxious, and did I mention tired? This baby is my biggest so far and he is determined to either kick his way out through my belly, or headbutt his way out through the baby chute - very uncomfortable all the time, so I'm not feeling very patient or easygoing. Poor Daughter bears the brunt of it, struggling to keep herself busy while I loll around on the couch.

There I go again with the complaining. I'm sorry.

Well, Saturday is my sister's wedding, so tomorrow is the rehearsal. It's looking to be a busy weekend. I'll be back next week, hopefully with something other than whining...

Monday, July 28, 2008

40 weeks is a lot of weeks

Whoa, July is like, over already! What is up with that? How come sucky old February seems to last forever, but the rest of the year whizzes by in a blur?

Also, how come pregnancy lasts for twelve thousand months but children go from newborn to 3 years old in a flash?

I've hit 35 weeks and I officially feel fat and tired. I can't sleep for myriad reasons, and baby boy is extremely low in my pelvis so no matter where/how I sit, stand, or lay, I feel like I'm crushing his poor wee head. I now realize it is possible to be both completely grateful for a healthy (so far) pregnancy and deeply resentful of how lousy it can make me feel. Oh well, it is all worth it for a healthy baby in the end. I'm just not "good at" being pregnant. God bless those of you with the big families - any more pregnancies than I've had and I think I'd lose it!

So, blah blah, whine whine, etc. I'm doing some pretty hard-core nesting now, which tells me baby is coming soon. I want to be fully prepared by 38 weeks, as that is when Daughter was born. I ordered 2 dozen prefold diapers last week, along with a Thirsties cover to test, from Baby Cotton Bottoms. All are washed the required 3 times for fluffiness and absorbancy, folded, and ready to go. I also have some regular old fashioned Gerber vinyl pants, and I've knit up some wool soakers to try:

Two newborn size and one small. All made with worsted wool scraps from my stash (mostly Patons Classic Merino). I'll hopefully be lanolizing these today or tomorrow - they are going to take forever to dry in our current tropical rainforest-like weather.

I'm also working on a blanket and a couple sweaters, though nothing is in really good shape to be photographed right now. I flit back and forth between projects depending on my interest, the temperature, and my level of discomfort each day. Frankly, I do a lot of laying around on the couch.

Nothing else too exciting to report. I'm anxious and restless and just trying to keep my house in some semblance of order so when baby comes, I don't return to a disaster.

35 week biophysical profile tomorrow morning at the hospital. As always, thank you for your continued prayers and good thoughts!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

pattern wanted

Hey sewing people, I have a request. Anyone know of (or have) a relatively simple pattern for overalls in at least a size 4? I was reading through some old posts looking for something, and I came across these pictures of Daughter at 18 months, wearing her Osh Kosh overalls. I almost wept at the cuteness. The denim! The wee hat! The tiny chuck taylors! Well, we still have chucks and hats, but the overalls are long outgrown. I'd like to make some more. Because, you know, I have so much free time. HA! I figure the next 6 weeks will go by much faster if I just load up with projects I can't possibly finish.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

more baby knits

We had our 33 week biophysical profile this morning. Baby scored 8 out of 8 on the sonogram portion (I do not know what that means but 100% has to be good right?), and I am assuming he scored the other 2 out of 2 on the fetal monitor because his heart rate rose and fell according to his activity. We will find out next week at my regular OB appointment, I guess, but so far so good. Thank you all for your continued thoughts, prayers, and encouragement!

And now, a sweater suitable for a two-armed baby:

I got the second sleeve finished a couple nights ago, washed the sweater, and put some buttons on. The buttons are not a very inspired choice (just clear plastic) but despite the nice button collection I have amassed over the years, not many of them are suitable for boys. Oh well, clear goes with everything. And I am trying to stick to a budget, so I make do with what I have.

"Beloved Blue" sweater from Leisure Arts booklet called "Sweet Layettes to Knit"
Size: 6 months
Yarn: Lion Brand Baby Soft in pistachio - sport weight
Needles: US 4 and 5
Buttons: cheesy plastic
Dates: Cast on 4th of July, finished 14th of July

I love this sweater. This is the 5th one I've made, and I bet I will make it again. It knits up surprisingly fast and has NO seaming. Love that! I'm going to try to find some soft flannel with this green color in it for wee pants, and baby boy will have a warm winter outfit.


Yesterday during naptime I cast on for a wool soaker. I am planning to order my cloth diapers soon (I told myself when I get to 35 weeks I can place the order...again with the jinx thing, I don't know, whatever), and I think I will experiment with covers to see what I like.

I knit a newborn size, all the while thinking it looked too impossibly small to actually fit on a real baby. However, for comparison, above you can see a newborn disposable diaper, the soaker I made, and a Gerber vinyl diaper cover in size 0-3 months (which I believe is the smallest they make). It's quite stretchy and I do think it will go over a newborn's diapered bottom.

Note it is not finished - I grafted the crotch seam last night as the TV news was ending and I knew I had to be up super early this morning to get to the hospital, so I will be making the cuffs once I finish this post. I originally wanted to make them in white to complement the waistband, but I'm thinking white will show poo stains. Eew. Maybe I'll use the blue.

I plan to make at least one more of these in newborn, and then one in small just to see what will fit. They use precious little yarn - I used the white at the waist because I was sure I did not have enough blue, but it turns out I didn't have to do that. So I'm just stash-diving for scraps and leftovers of 100% wool to make these. This one used a bit of Cascade 220, leftover from a hat I made my sister 2 Christmases ago, and Ella Rae Classic leftover from a sweater I made for Daughter.

Well, now I really have the baby knitting bug...watch for more wee sweaters and accessories to come. I swear all my nervousness and tension flows right down my arms and out through the needles, as if I could knit my way to a successful pregnancy. The faster I knit, the better things will go. Makes perfect sense, right? That's what I'm going with, anyway.

Monday, July 14, 2008

and a choir of angels sang "hallelujah"

Oh, sweet relief! The in-laws did not come over this weekend! I repeat, the in-laws DID NOT come over! I was able to avoid scrubbing the toilet in 90 degree weather (though I still had to mop the bathroom floor due to an unfortunate waiting-too-long-to-run-to-the-potty incident). And we were able to relax on Sunday and read the paper, lay around, watch movies, grocery shop, and even take naps. Don't ask me why they didn't end up coming...my m-i-l got her panties in a twist about something, as usual, and gave my husband an earful on the phone before saying they weren't coming and then hanging up on him. Oh dear. Please don't punish us this way, wah wah.

I even got some quality knitting time in yesterday evening once the temperature dropped to a nice, breezy 70.

(Color is waaaayyy off here)

It's coming along nicely. Because of our forty-seven sonograms, we have personally witnessed the existence of two arms on our child, so it's not done yet. Perhaps today during naptime, if I don't fall asleep...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

knits for mama and baby

A couple of months ago I dug out some bright, fun sock yarn from my stash because I needed something to cheer me up - May was cold and dreary so I decided to make myself something happy. These have been my waiting-room and sitting-outside-while-Daughter-plays project, but I pushed through and finished them a couple of days ago:

Plain ol' socks for me.
Yarn: Knitpicks Sock Memories in Geranium (no longer available)
Needles: US 2
Pattern: Wendy's toe-up socks (for a change...I always knit top-down socks)

This stinking yarn is quite pretty but it felts like the dickens. I'm glad they discontinued it because it is SO frustrating to work so hard on something and have it practically ruined after one wash. I put these in the washer on COLD, in a mesh bag, and hung them to dry. Still, they felted. I knit them larger than necessary because I knew that would happen (I have used this yarn in the past) and they still seem a bit small now. Bummer.

I'm thinking I should get crankin' on some footie socks for the hospital, eh? 7 weeks or so, and it's flying by. I'll be sure to use some superwash yarn.

I also decided that it's time to start knitting for baby. I'm a real freak about jinxing myself (which makes my husband crazy), but knowing I'll have so little time for sewing and knitting between September and, say, Christmas has goosed me into starting some stuff. I've got a blanket and a sweater in the works. The sweater will look familiar to at least one of you reading this:

I have made this same sweater 4 times for other people because it always turns out adorable, and because it's hard to find a nice infant sweater pattern appropriate for a boy. Other than plain socks, I've never made the same thing over and over, so you know it must be a good pattern! It knits up quickly in a sweet basketweave pattern combined with cable twists. I believe it's a Leisure Arts pattern but it isn't handy right now - I will post that info with the finished sweater.

I can tell you that after making it once I modified the pattern to knit the sleeves down from the body. The pattern as written has you knit and seam the sleeves, then set them into the armholes. Bleh!

This was originally a post about knitting projects, but I managed to snap a halfway decent photo of Daughter's flower girl dress. My sister's wedding is in 3 weeks so I've really been working at getting both the flower girl dress and my own matron of honor muumuu finished!

The on-the-hanger shot does NOT do this dress justice. It looks so sweet on an actual person. I will post a photo of Daughter actually wearing the dress once I can get her to put it on for more than 4 seconds. I realize it looks all crookedy and narrow on the hanger, but really it's got a nice full skirt below the sash. It needs the slip/underskirt and a human being to fill it out.

Pattern: Burda 9757, size 2
Materials: party taffeta from Joann Fabrics (100% poly) for the dress and, I believe, polyester shantung for the sash. One regular white zipper, white thread, and a yard of eyelet for the slip/underskirt.

This was a nice, simple pattern to put together, but it was odd. The bodice is self-lined with the taffeta, which is good because the fabric is see-through. But you construct the whole dress before putting in the zipper, meaning you have double raw edges on the bodice, and you are sewing over some major bumpy material at the waist. The zipper has to be sewn in under the doubled bodice fabric and the gathered skirt. Not for the faint of heart...and even though I have some experience my zipper still came out a little 'off' at the neckline. I'm hoping no one will notice the 1/8" discrepancy because I'm so NOT re-sewing the zipper into that taffeta.

There was no provision for lining the skirt, so I made a really long half-slip with a gathered waist. I used eyelet both for looks and so I could avoid yet another hem. To keep it hiked up to the empire waist (where it needs to be to avoid any see-through-ness) I've just tacked it to the waistline seam allowance of the dress. Yes, it's jury-rigged, but it should keep the long slip from sliding down to her waist and dragging on the ground under the dress.

My dress is actually finished as well, but it's just a boring navy crepe sheath with a sash to pull it in under the bust (not that there's much space there for a sash, but oh well). The sash I spent 3 hours making yesterday turned out super crappy (I tried to use chiffon so it would be a bit of a fancy touch on such a plain dress) so it's back to the drawing board. I'm leaning heavily toward just buying double-faced satin ribbon and calling it a day.

Well, it's 90 degrees and humid today, it is our 5th wedding anniversary, my in-laws are supposed to be coming over tomorrow (supposedly with food and cake - it was Hubs' birthday two days ago) and to cap things off my brand new iron crapped out yesterday while I was sewing. So that means I have to try to exchange the dumb iron, and then I get to scrub the toilet and vacuum in 90 degree weather. On my anniversary. Oh, and did I mention I am feeling quite fat and tired? And impatient? And there are little feet jammed up under my ribcage 90% of the time? AND my m-i-l actually called this week to ask me to hem a dress for her? Hubs told her no way, and she had better not show up with it.

I'm going to try to have a nice weekend. Hope you all do too!

Monday, July 07, 2008

32 week update

We had our first biophysical profile this morning at the hospital. 32 weeks and all seems to be well. Baby boy is so active that the nurse actually had trouble starting the non-stress test. We've reached the "Alien" phase of pregnancy where something appears to be trying to emerge from my navel. Creeeeeeeepy!

It is kind of fun to have these repeat sonograms. We've got lots of good pictures of his wee face so it's like we're getting to know him in advance. For those who asked, no, these are not the fancy 3D sonograms, just regular ones, but they are quite high-tech so the pictures are fairly clear. I'm thinking this is going to be yet another child who looks just like my husband. Ummm, hello? I'm doing all the work here. It would be nice if one of my children at least resembled me.

In other pregnancy news, I'm not sleeping well due to the burning pain in my hips. I'm so tired but I can't get any sleep. It's a vicious cycle and it's making me crabby. Boo. I've tried the pillow-between-the-knees thing and that only makes it worse. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

feather and fan shawl

I suppose I should hurry up and post some sewing and knitting stuff before this becomes the all-baby blog, eh?

Last week Hubs attended a computer training thingy in Las Vegas, so Daughter and I camped out at my parents' house. Yes, I am capable of staying alone in my home, but we figured that in my delicate condition I should be around people that could help if anything went wrong. Plus, an entire week of solo parenting might have gotten a little stressful.

I didn't really have any chores to do (my mom doesn't even require me to make my bed anymore...how sweet is that?) so I had ample time for some crafty endeavors.

First up I desperately wanted to finish the shawl I started over a year ago. My goal was to finish it before baby arrives, though I was really shooting for the end of June so I could move on to other things.

Crappy picture, I know, but it was really hard to take a photo of a blue shawl on a pink sheet inside the house on a cloudy day. I had to use the flash and try to adjust the color - this is the best I could do.

Anyway, whatever, it's DONE! Tens of thousands of stitches! And it is finished!

Feather and Fan shawl by Eugen Beugler, from A Gathering of Lace
Knitpicks Alpaca Cloud laceweight yarn in Stream Heather - 4 complete hanks
US size 5 needles (16 inch and 24 inch)
Jump rings (for making jewelry) as stitch markers
Eleventy thousand million T-pins for blocking
Mom to help with blocking out each crochet loop around the edge

The finished measurement of the shawl is listed as 68" across in the book, but mine is nowhere near that size. I knit fairly tightly, so I used less yarn than called for and when we were blocking it we were terrified it would rip if we stretched it to that measurement (I read about that happening to someone with this very shawl on Ravelry). It just wasn't working and the pins were popping out all over the place. So we eased it back to more like 60 to 62 inches across, which is still quite large and useful, but didn't stress the yarn so much.

I still have one full hank of the yarn left over, wound into a center-pull ball, if anyone could use it. Just leave a comment.

I'm rather proud of this project. It wasn't difficult, per se, but definitely tedious and time consuming! It came out just about perfect, except for one gaping giant error that you can't really see in this photo. I must have made a mistake waaaaaaayyyy back when I started and didn't know how to fix it or something, because I left it and now there's a hole. I guess if I wear it I will just have to fold it over to hide the hole (it is about a dime-size hole). For now it goes into the cedar chest and I will move on to finishing something else...

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

bargains for baby

So in light of the relatively positive news we received yesterday morning, I went and did a little shopping. It turns out we are drowning in newborn clothing (I was given 2 showers while pregnant with Daughter - one fam/friends and one with work people) but it is all white/yellow/green and primarily duck-themed, which I guess was the thing in Spring 2005. We did not know for sure that Daughter was a girl, thus all the unisex clothing.

It just so happens that Babies R Us and Toys R Us are having a really good sale right now. Gerber layette items and lots of Carter's clothing are an extra 20% off the already marked-down price. Do check it out if you are in need of baby items as you will score some major bargains. I got a few blue wee side-snap shirts, onesies, cotton mitts (to keep the child from scratching himself) and little knit pants. All that Gerber stuff was way cheap (less than $10 for everything). Then as I was at the checkout, I spied some Converse boxes in a bin with a clearance sign.

I must quickly state that I adore Converse All-Stars and have owned at least one pair at any given time since I was in 5th grade. Daughter has owned, I think, 4 pair already in her 3 years, starting with toddler size 4. I am keeping the brown pair and the white pair for baby brother, but the pink high-tops and the black high-tops with pink tongue will go to someone else's little girl someday.

Anyway, in light of my deep affection for these shoes, I sprinted to the clearance bin. People. Listen to this. They had 4 pairs of these sneakers. Black high-tops in size 8 - snatched those up for Daughter as she is just getting into size 8 right now and these sneaks run quite big. Red high-tops in size 5 - snatched those for baby brother. Black high-tops in size 5 - ditto. (The last box contained one more pair of black h-t in size 5 but obviously I don't need 2 pairs the same.)

Guess how much they were? The clearance sticker said $2.00. TWO DOLLARS. For twenty-dollar shoes!!!


When the girl scanned them at the checkout, they were also part of the additional 20% off clearance sale.


Some people might not put their little girl in black high-top sneakers. But I sure will. Especially for $1.60.

So awesome.

Monday, June 30, 2008

"this baby looks good"

The specialist said many things this morning, but what I keep hearing in my head is "this baby looks good."

And he does! Plump little cheeks, sweet tiny feet, all the parts where they should be. He is in breech position right now, which will hopefully change over the next couple of months, but right now I'm actually enjoying it because there are no little feet jammed up under my ribcage. He is measuring right on for gestational age (a few days ahead, in fact) and at an estimated 3 lbs, 12 oz he is right smack in the 50th percentile for size.

As of today, there are no detectable problems. I've been asked to come back each week from now until delivery for biophysical profiles - a fancy way of saying a sono and a non-stress test. According to the perinatologist they can often detect problems that way before the baby is in serious distress, so that's what we're going to do. But as of right now, well, the baby looks good.

Thank you for your continued prayers as we make our way through these final weeks.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

checking in

All is well. Been away from the house (and therefore computer) all week, so no posts. :(

Super-duper sonogram at the hospital tomorrow morning.

More to come.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

my baby knows kung fu

You all have seen The Matrix, right? (Shut up, you so have...either you watched it because you wanted to or your husband/boyfriend/ex-boyfriend/kooky buddy made you.)

Anyway, you know how Keanu Reeves gets plugged in and they download all that martial arts stuff into him and then he wakes up? And then he says, in that way only Keanu can, "I know kung fu."

It's a total Ted "Theodore" Logan moment in the middle of a much more sophisticated movie and it cracks me up every time I see it. And now I crack myself up because every time this baby pummels the crap out of my insides (and he does, oh how he does...my other two were languid stretchers but not this one), I give my husband my best blank-faced Keanu look and use my best wonder-filled Keanu voice to say, "my baby knows kung fu."

Hmmmm. Re-reading that, I guess I am probably the only one who finds it side-splittingly funny. Oh well.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

belated birthday gift

It's only 60 degrees today, which means it is cool enough for me to sew. The upstairs room in our house (it's a 1.5 story) tends to be 900 degrees all the time and is therefore not usable much of the time. Even with the windows open at both ends of the room the temperature hovers around "surface of the sun." On a nice cooler day like this it's ok, and in the winter I can sew up there with all the windows open - I'm not even kidding about that. Something in the construction is waaaayyyy wrong up there.

Anyway, I started a birthday gift for my youngest sister last month, and intended to have it finished long before now. I got the embroidery done but then it became too warm to sew upstairs and the project languished.

Finished it up today:

These are standard pillowcases with a monogram, trimmed in blue batik. That strip is actually a folded piece, so it's kind of 3-dimensional. I used french seams throughout because my serger is not cooperating, so these took awhile, but the pattern is awesome and they always come out perfect (I have made lots as gifts...really fun in novelty prints).

Yes, you can still see the embroidery hoop impression - the pencil markings I used to mark the center for the design also show, so I will wash, dry, and press these before sending them off. But at least they are done!

I had this dumb idea in late winter/early spring that I needed to load myself up with projects to make my pregnancy go by faster and keep me occupied. It would be embarrassing to actually list all the things I thought I would accomplish this summer. With only 10 weeks or so left, I can see that I will quickly run out of time before anything actually gets done. Hopefully this is the last of the handmade gifts that need making and I can just shelve all the lofty goals I had, focusing on a few relaxing items for the next two months.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

big girl bed

Well hello there! Where did another week go?

Actually, I know exactly where the week went. Last Monday Daughter's Big Girl Bed was delivered. We shopped around and discovered that we could get the best combination of price and quality by ordering the same bed we recently purchased for ourselves (but in a twin size). This is the platform portion, and this is the mattress. We have the exact same thing for ourselves but in queen size, and I cannot recommend these beds highly enough. Great price, super comfortable, fast shipping, and easy to assemble.

So we put the bed together the day it arrived, rearranged the room to accommodate it, and pretty much told Daughter the crib is now off-limits. I know it sounds really weird that we had to do that, but we have the one kid in the universe who never once attempted to climb out of the crib, and in fact has been quite happy in there for 3+ years. So we had to kind of insist that she use the big girl bed now (with a rail, and pushed against the wall for safety and security). In order to make it happen, I have had to lay there with her, chatting, rubbing her back, and singing to her. Hubs also comes in to sing some songs and make her feel comfortable.

She hates it.

At least she says she does. She keeps asking to sleep in the baby bed, but we have now told her about her baby brother and that we will eventually be needing to 'share' the baby bed with him, and now she is a big girl of 3, and big girls who are 3 sleep in big girl beds, etc, etc. So it's going ok, and though I have been laying there for less and less time each night, I still do have to snuggle with her a bit so she will not feel scared or uncomfortable.

That is not the real issue, though. The real issue is that she has figured out she can get out of bed herself now, and she has been doing so...earlier and earlier each morning.

Look, I try to keep it real on the blog, and I try to always be honest, so I will go ahead and admit that my family routinely gets out of bed between 8 and 8:30 each morning. I know that is ridiculously late to most of you, but Hubs works a later schedule than his boss so they can cover the whole office day, meaning his boss goes in at the crack of dawn, and Hubs rolls in between 9 and 10 but stays later in the evening. This is the schedule that Daughter really set when she started sleeping through the night, and it's been just fine with us for 3 years. She would always hang out in her crib, talking to her stuffed animals or whatever, until we came for her, and often would be just opening her eyes at 8 or 8:15.

Now, for reasons I cannot understand, she is waking up super duper freaking early. It started a few nights into the big girl bed experience...first it was 7:25, and I took that shift, then it was 7:01 yesterday morning, which Hubs took on, and today? Today it was 6:30. In the A.M. I haven't seen that hour since Daughter was a nursing infant, and I have been very happy with that situation. I made her get into bed with me for a half-hour, because what am I going to do with her at 6:30?!? I even pointed to the alarm clock (useless device these days) and showed her that the '6' means it's too early to get up. We had to wait for it to be a '7'.

Now I know well-meaning folks will suggest that we close her door (nope, she can open doors), or put a gate in the doorway, or just tell her to stay in her bed until we get her. Well HAHAHA, don't you think we've tried that sort of thing? The problem is she wakes up frightened to be in a dark-ish quiet house, and when she appears next to the bed, and I suggest she go back to her bed for awhile or even come into our bed, she quite literally bursts into tears, telling me the sun is up, it's not time for sleeping anymore. She begs us to please, please wake up now, and what are we supposed to do with that? Our bedrooms are on the first floor, and I can't have her just wandering out into the rest of the house alone...so we do want her to come wake us up. We just wish it wasn't so blessed early. This morning I told Hubs it won't be long till we're getting up at 4 a.m., like old people.

Oh wait, pretty soon I WILL be getting up at 4 a.m. And 3 a.m. And 2 a.m. and every hour of every day because hello, I am having a baby in, like, ten weeks. Aaaaaak! Maybe this is just Daughter's way of helpfully preparing me to be awakened from a lovely sleep on a near-constant basis. Woo hoo.

Anyway, I am not really looking for solutions here, because we don't really think there are any. I am just hoping she acclimates a bit better to the new bed and sleeps in a bit more once she is more comfortable, but whatever. If she doesn't, she doesn't. Our awesome sleep schedule couldn't last forever, I guess.

But it is my excuse for being away from the blog for a week. I've just been tired and pouring lots of energy into these bed issues (and also lots of cleaning...summer in an ooooooold house in the woods means extra vigilance about bugs 'n stuff, which requires a lot of constant wiping/laundering/mopping/etc). I continue to slog through the end of the blue shawl - 10 rounds to go, but at 1320 stitches per round, it is slow going. One or two rounds per day at best. Today is a nice, cool day, so perhaps some sewing will take place during naptime and I will have something new to show tomorrow.