Tuesday, October 26, 2010

33 days. . . or less. . . left

And now comes the hard part -- the last weeks are tough for any pregnant woman, and I've seen several of my compatriots fall to the "term starts at 37 weeks" fallacy that leads them to believe that their discomfort and contractions will lead to a baby 3 weeks before their due date.

To be clear: for some, it will. For many, though, it'll simply lead to the idea that every moment they endure still pregnant past 37 weeks is agonizing. I know, I've been there. But it's the wrong mindset to be in, it really is. We are blessed to be here - ask any mother of a NICU baby, any mother of a child lost, any woman unable to have a child. We are blessed to be in those long, miserable last few weeks of pregnancy.

It's hard to remember, I know. I give myself a short pep talk and lecture each morning, because here's where I am today: I am in the last 5 weeks of what will most likely be my last pregnancy. This is likely the last time it'll be socially acceptable for me to walk around with a gigantically bulging belly peaking out from underneath my t-shirts. It's likely the last month I'll have to feel the bumpity bump of a baby on the inside. The last time to enjoy moments with my family of four before we become a family of five.

I cannot imagine wishing away these times - despite the sleeplessness, despite the physical difficulties, the breathlessness, the lumbering and clambering, despite it all, I cannot in any way, shape, or form wish this time away.

There is but one thing I could do without over these next 5 weeks: the crushing anxiety of pregnancy after loss. That is all. In the meantime, bring on the prodromal labor, the waddling, the reflux and heartburn and every agony of late pregnancy. I am lucky to be here and I refuse to allow myself to wish it away.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Aaaand now: What I've cast on

I can't tell you what I'm finished with because I suspect this is a long-term project. Please, oh please, don't let me lose interest!

Ater watching me knit for baby Elsa for the past :cough: 5 months, both kids have requested something of their own. I committed to making the Moderne Log Cabin blanket for Carter in Autumn Red, black, and gray Caron Simply Soft. Lilly requested that Star Blanket I made for Nana, Grandma A, and baby Elsa -- I'll make it a little bigger for Lilly so it has some staying power - and likely knit it in a Caron Simply Soft as well. It's a workhorse yarn but it lasts - and knits up smooshy if you can get over the fact that it's acrylic. And well, to be honest, if I'm going through the work to knit up blankets for my kids, they'd better be acrylic. :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I'll start by saying this: I'm no artist

But I was hopeful that I could pull off just the teeniest art project for Ms. Elsa's room - some letters and a facsimile of this card:
And I like to think that I did OK. We'll see, I may go back in and add more flowers but I don't know. Because I used a lighter pink, the white dots for the chain link fence don't really show up as well and I'm not sure what to do about that, but it's decent. The plan now is not to frame them, but to paint the edges in the bright turquoise of the owl, cover the staples with a ribbon (and some hot glue), and be done.

We'll see. I'd like to simply get it up on the wall and move on to the curtains - because she *NEEDS* curtains, right?
Here are the letters I did for another wall:
I'll be purchasing a couple of smaller canvases and having the kiddos each do a painting too. The whole room will be a family affair. :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

I am the Face of 646.3, "Habitual Aborter"

A year ago on this night, I ground my teeth so hard I cracked a back molar in anticipation of my impending due date and the bittersweet birth of my sister's twins. They were born the next morning while I was in the dentist's chair learning that to crack a molar in that way required greater than 200 pounds per square inch of pressure. I wasn't feeling pressure - or even stress really. I was blessed to have a sister who handled me with a grace and empathy I only now understand. It was simply that looming date - October 19th - that was weighing on my heart and mind in ways I really couldn't fully understand or anticipate. 10/19/09 was the date we were to anticipate welcoming our third child into the world.

October 19th is the anniversary of Tim and I coming back into each other's lives, so it seemed an auspicious due date when I calculated it after staring at the shocking result of a "PREGNANT" blinking back at me on February 12th, 2009. We were not quite in the business of seeking another child yet, and *poof* one was on its way. After a few days to adjust, we were excited - delighted even. Our other surprise child, the first, had been nothing but a blessing unfolding herself in front of us for the previous 6 1/2 years, so why not anticipate a new journey of joy.

As many people are unfortunate enough to know, though, pregnancy doesn't always bloom in that way. Sometimes it unfolds into a terrifying series of moments and terms - the spotting, the dark blotch on the ultrasound screen where a flicker should be, the doctors and nurses unable to meet your eyes when they tell you "there's still a chance", the words "threatened abortion". I remember walking into our room at the ER and flashing back to the sights and sounds and smells of my stepfather's last days - whether we knew logically or not, I knew in my heart this baby would not be. Just as quickly as a third child appeared in our lives, it was erased. *poof*

We went on, over the course of the next 11 months, to lose a staggering three more pregnancies at different stages and for, presumably, different reasons. At one point, while watching the nurse take fourteen vials of blood to try to discover what was wrong with me, I remember feeling as though this was it - we were done, we had two uneventful pregnancies and births, we'd played out our luck, and we were quite blessed. My understanding of pregnancy and birth had gone from something that happened quite easily to the deep feeling that my children were lightning strikes - miracles of chance illuminating my life that might never be repeated.

Before we started this journey, I had a textbook understanding of pregnancy and infant loss - I have friends who have gone through losses - multiple, single, first, second, third trimester loss - even post-birth. I understood in my head what I could only glimpse from my heart. Even now, I feel quite certain that I have not suffered these losses as others among me have - coming home from the emergency room to two concerned children, to their hugs and their hearts thumping deep in their chests - it was a blessing.

Now, though, I have a deep understanding of my losses, of the subsequent journey of hope, desperation, reflection, and spiritual struggle of these past twenty months. I also sit here and feel the quiet thump of my daughter, now at 33 1/2 weeks gestation and I know that my love for her - and my other two children - has fundamentally changed in ways I could never anticipate. It is, in many ways deeper, stronger, perhaps even a bit more patient.

Tonight, to honor October 15th as Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Day, I will light four candles - one for each of our potentials (to borrow a phrase from Joss Whedon, because I still personally struggle with the idea of angels) and I will hold in my heart all mothers - whether they went on to bear living children or not, whether their journey turned to one of live birth, adoption or a life without children- those mothers for whom "How many children do you have" is rocky and dangerous emotional territory. I am thinking of you - and grateful to have had your hands, your faith, and your hearts along this journey.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Coming Home Outfit

And another thing I haven't yet blogged -- baby girl's coming home outfit. Admittedly, it's much less rustic and far more beautiful than the red baby sweater (looking at a pic, it seems a hot mess. Hopefully a wash or two will make it. . . less of a hot mess?).
But back to this outfit - I made the Sweet Baby Cap, Yoda Sweater, and some mitts and boots - all with free patterns from Ravelry to go with Elsa's sweet embroidered Gap dress.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ensuring an unseasonably warm winter,

I've knit another baby sweater. I'm so so on the results for this one. Some stitches are too loose, there are several things I wish I'd done differently, but overall, it's a fair representation of the Dincadoo Baby Sweater. I wanted Sock Monkey buttons for it, but those are hard to come by.

Monday, October 11, 2010

And one more post about the kids. . .

Regarding the gestating one: 4-7 weeks left. Wow.

And the Budge: You know you're raising a nerd when the boy says to you, while watching football, "Which is the side that we're on, the ones that look like Dr. Horrible in the beginning (in white) or the ones that look like Dr. Horrible in the end (in crimson)?" And you know you're a nerd when that brings to your heart a deep warmth.

The Budge's new joke, the day after the NU/KState game: Knock knock, who's there, SUCK IT FANCY WILDCATS!!!! Clearly the boy sneaks out to the living room under the cover of darkness to read Rants from Mommyland. Kate and Lydia should be proud.

And Monkeymoo: I had an excellent modern feminist raising an awesome girl moment this weekend. After spending the late morning and early afternoon running around a dusty farm eating gritty pumpkin pie and finding our pumpkins, my girl had a playdate with her BFF. They snuck downstairs, got into the costumes, and prepared for a "Crazy Fight". I couldn't actually ascertain the rules of said fight, other than something along the lines of "Become a superhero of your own making in princess dresses and soccer cleats with a handbag or a tin-can-drum as your only weapon." Then the girls went outside, dug up worms, and (much to my chagrin at cleanup time), set up a secret fortress of wormdom in the Fisher Price Bat Cave.

But the most awesome part about that is that Monkeymoo & her BFF were both making AND breaking modern gender roles, which is, after all, what we modern feminists should strive for, right?

Friday, October 8, 2010

The latest knit? Another pair of tights/pants

I couldn't help myself - these are scraps from the coming home outfit I made as well as from mom's scarf that got eaten by dogs.

They turned out pretty cute, I must say. :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

But wait, there's more. . .

Mom: Please be sure you get your water bottles closed. When you don't, they leak all over your papers.
Lilly: (mumbles) Oh. Yes. I see. I see right here in my damp sweater.
Lilly: My sweater which is partially wet but not soaked making it D-A-M-P. Did you think I said something else?


And then this one: Carter and I went to Home Depot to get a new deadbolt for our iron screen door. We purchased the deadbolt, after looking over 101 different knobs and locks. On the way out to the car, I was explaining that he could help me fix it so he could learn to fix it himself.
Mom: Because someday, you'll have a house, right? And then someday maybe your lock will break and then what will you do?
Carter: I'll have a wife who can fix it!!
(Man nearby loading wood chuckles)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Some days, it's terrifying,

that brief moment before my children open their mouths (if, that is, they've been temporarily closed after vuvuzela-ing) to answer another person's question. See, I have a friend who likes to remind me that apples don't make pears and why in the world would two sarcastic, witty, smartasses ever make children who were compliant and sweet? And she's right. More interesting, in my opinion, is the fact that I often reflect to imagine a world with sweet, compliant little children, dressed neatly with combed down hair and, like Cordie after her ascension to the heavens, I want to exclaim I'm so. . . bored. Not that kids like that aren't great - they serve the fantastic function of being walking mannequins for their parents and fulfilling their own parents' needs to have children just like them. They often grow up to be highly beautiful and successful and rarely attend a party with a Chiquita banana sticker stuck to their buttocks. They also write Thank You Notes often and on time. Like I said, they're important. They're even cool in that retro-chic kind of way. But they're not my kids.

My kids? My kids are the ones with the sticking-up hair dressed like eighties tv star Blossom in clothing inappropriate for the weather and, recently, with temporary tattoos on their necks. My son's teacher recently exclaimed With the Budge, everything's a full-body experience. And she's not wrong. My kids are also the ones, when asked a question, suddenly pique the interest of all around. My kids have that whole post-modern-meta-George-Michael-Bluth thing down pat.

For example, The Budge goes to a preschool that is connected with our church. Recently, during one of their first Thursday morning chapel sessions, Pastor Julie asked the group of preschoolers the following question: Did you know that God loves you very, very much?

Without missing a beat, my son answered, throwing his hands in the air: Yes. YES! YES! Why do you people keep telling me this! I know this! When are you going to stop?

I'm delighted that my son's got that whole faith thing down enough to understand the deep and abiding love of Christ. I think that's awesome. Equally awesome is the depth of his understanding being deep enough that to say it out loud seems as meaningless as to say Did you know the sun will rise tomorrow? Perhaps even more awesome, of course, is that the ensuing hijinks in his expression have earned him a spot in the hearts of many and the consistent greeting from family and friends: Hey Carter. Did you know God loves you very, very much?

Church, actually, is the place we, his parents, live in fear. Every time he clambers (and he really does clamber, for the record) up for the Children's sermon, we begin our silent prayer: Don'taskquestionsdon'taskquestionspleasegoddon'tletpastoraskanyquestions. But God's too busy loading up the perfect scenario for Carter's answer to hear our prayers, I think.

On another Thursday morning chapel, Carter decided to share his excitement regarding the impending birth of baby Elsa. My mom's going to have a baby soon. And we're going to have it hypnomatized here. We're all set. I've put in my personal request that the hypnomatized baby be told to sleep well, be a good eater, and be very well behaved, but I'm going to guess, judging from the two we've got, that it's not very likely.

And I shouldn't solely focus on The Budge. After all, his sister, she's a handful in and of herself, though as I tell my students, one can rarely convey proper tone in text and these days, that girl is all about tone. It's not so much what she says - it's how she says it. From the physical ticks to the eye rolls and intonation, I can tell you this: She's growing into a force to be reckoned with, that's for sure.
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