I’ve thought a lot about this post. I’ve wanted to write it, but it also seems to big for my little words. How do I share such a crazy, beautiful, scary, life changing experience? I’ve finally come to the conclusion that I can’t fully, but I’m going to try anyway. To share and to remember many years down the road.
Let’s just start with I was more than ready to have this baby. This is me on December 19th. Our due date had been December 12th. At this point we had tried everything we could. I had eaten various foods, bounced on the yoga ball, tried acupuncture for the first time. (Which was an amazing experience on its own.) I was ready for this baby to get here. I also felt like the baby was ready, but for whatever reason my body wouldn’t kick into gear. We would go into labor for a few hours, and it would stop. So we decided to be induced starting the evening of December 22nd.
Anthony and I arrived at the hospital ready to get going. Even though we were electing for the induction, we wanted a natural childbirth. No pain medications and minimal interventions. First we were put on the monitor to check the baby’s heart rate. Right away, baby failed the Non-stress test. His heart rate was good, steady, but didn’t spike high enough or long enough with movements. It meant that we ended up waiting at the hospital, trying to sleep while being monitored.
In the morning we started the induction by inserting a Foley bulb. This got labor going. It felt great to be making progress. After about 4 hours of labor we checked to find out I had dilated 2.5 cms. (I had started at 0 cm) His heart rate was almost passing the Non-stress test, so we decided to do an internal monitor to get a clearer picture. Maybe his heart rate would pass with more direct monitoring.
Placing the internal monitor was the hardest part of the whole deal. Since he was still so high, they had to do quite a bit of manipulation to get it placed. After trying several times, they finally got it placed and the waters were broken. That’s when we found out there was meconium in the fluid. Another stress indicator. Plus, the heart rate was the same. I stayed calm, but definitely started to worry about the baby’s health.
They started the pitocin to keep labor going, and I labored for another 7-8 hours. I have to say, I loved labor. I loved the hard work of it, the mental challenge of keeping the pain in check and the feeling that I was making progress to getting this little person in the world. Plus I had the best team. Anthony and our doula Abi were amazing. They helped me stay focused and handle the intensity of the experience. The pitocin was slowly increasing, and towards the end there was only 1 minute between contractions.
The doctor checked, and when I was still 2.5 cms, I lost all my fight. I had been working hard, changing positions, and no progress had been made. Now I was seriously worried about the baby and felt that it would be best to get him out sooner rather than later. Plus, we had seen some dips in his heart rate following contractions. Again, nothing horrible, just enough to show some more signs of stress. We decided to have a C-section.
I entered the OR, and was given the epidural. They started the incision and Anthony was allowed to join me. The C-section was a very strange experience. First, it felt weird. Second, they keep everything light hearted and jovial, which feels a little weird because they are also slicing you open. However, it makes sense. Even though it wasn’t the process we had anticipated, we were going to have our baby soon!
I could hear that they could see the baby and they exclaimed that he was big. I waited and heard one of the most wondrous sounds. Two large wails signifying our son’s entry into the world. Anthony announced that he was a boy (we hadn’t found out) and I sobbed. They were wonderful full body sobs of exhaustion, relief and most of all joy. Anthony also cut a piece of the cord. Our boy was wrapped up, and Anthony held him for the first time. He brought him over to me, and placed his cheek against mine. “We picked the right name” he said to me. All I could do was let my tears of joy run onto our boy’s cheeks.
As soon as I was stitched up and back in our room we got our skin-to-skin time. He nursed right away.
Connor Everett was born on December 23rd at 9:23 pm. He was 8 lbs 5 oz and 20 3/4 inches long.
We were able to leave the hospital a little early and got home on Christmas day. My recovery has overall been smooth and Connor was born healthy and strong. Now that he’s been with us for nearly 2 months, I can hardly remember life without him.
First, thank you for all the nice comments on the last post. It as important to me to write about my experience, and it’s nice to have such a warm response.
We’ve been getting ready for Kiddo St. Clair in this house, and of course as a knitter, I had to make sure Kiddo had a sufficient outfit for coming home. Not only because I’m a knitter, but because this baby is going to be born in December! So without further ado, here’s the ensemble!
We’ll start with the top, shall we?
I couldn’t resist the Aviatrix hat that I’d seen knit up all over the internets. Gender neutral, practical and cute. It fits our style nicely. I knit this out of a little tiny skein of handspun that I had. First the singles were leftovers from a different project. I chain-plyed the singles and didn’t really like the result. Whenever I’ve chain-plyed, I’ve felt that the yarn was over plyed and hard. In general I’ve just avoided it since I didn’t love the results. However, now that I’ve knit with this yarn, my mind has been changed. After washing, the yarn softened quite a bit. I wasn’t fully convinced though until I knit with it, and it is a beautiful springy yarn. Definitely time to try some more chain-plying.
For the sweater, I made Puerperium Cardigan. I made this out of some Ultra Alpaca that I had planned using for a sweater for me. However, I always knew I probably had one skein too few so it’ll be good to use these skeins for other projects. I had actually knit a sweater front that was two short out of my own design.
Much better as a baby sweater if you ask me. This front was WAY to short, so I would have needed to frog it anyway. It’s been sitting in the pile of unfinished projects for years so it felt great to repurpose the yarn.
Lastly, the baby pants!
I do love saying baby pants. :) I used this awesome tutorial/pattern from Made by Rae. However, my baby pants turned out a lot more leg and only a little butt. I actually think I sewed these upside down, and may be sewing another pair. Not sure a diaper is going to fit in that little butt.
I’ve also considered whipping up a quick pair of booties for the little one. This baby will never have to worry about being cold.
I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a while now. It’s one of those posts that is so personal, it just doesn’t write itself in 15 minutes.
October was the month that marks 15 years of remission from osteosarcoma or bone cancer. That means I have now been an amputee for 16 years, over half my lifetime. When Anthony and I decided to head down this road of starting our family, I didn’t know quite what to expect being an amputee while pregnant. There are a few reasons for this:
- There are not a ton of female amputees.
- In that group, there are even fewer that are of the age to have children.
- Even fewer of those have my specific amputation.
In my search to find information on pregnancy and being an amputee, I looked at the library and online. The most I could find was that I could maybe expect some carpel tunnel. I guess this was from using crutches and the swelling that often happens during pregnancy. So I figured it would be good to write about my experience as an above-the-knee amputee. Now that I’m entering the last week (or so) I’ve learned some things along the way.
First, I want to start with my overall lifestyle. I’m fairly active and very mobile. Anyone who has spent time with me when my leg isn’t working or uncomfortable knows how much I hate giving up my hands while on crutches. I’m willing to live with quite a bit of pain before I’ll take off my leg and be stuck on my crutches.
So one of my first fears was that I would quickly grow out of my leg, and be stuck on crutches for most of the pregnancy. I feel really grateful that this was not the case. I did grow out of my leg, but not until the 6-month mark. I ended up getting a new socket (the part I fit into) and maintained both my mobility and the health of my back. When a leg is not fitting properly, I often compensate by using my back muscles more than what is good for them. It has been important to me not to put any additional strain on my back during the pregnancy and maintain the long-term health of such an important part of my body.
I also had a few problems with water retention. When I retain water, my leg is one of the first places it shows up. Of course, that affects the fit of my suction socket. For the first time since I first had my amputation I was forced to wear what is called a shrinker, a compression stocking for an amputated limb.
I’ve had to think a lot about contracture. This is when the front muscles of the limb contract because they are not getting stretched with the weight of a leg. I usually stretch these muscles while laying on my stomach. Since that is no longer an option, I’ve had to find some different ways to stretch the front of my limb.
In the last month of my pregnancy, I can feel my hips and joints relaxing. Since I bear my weight on my sitting bone, this has also started to create some discomfort. Mostly, my hip seems to get very sore, and feels like it’s been pulled out of joint during the day. My hip muscles also have gotten very sore and tight over the course of the day. Since I have a very sweet husband, he usually helps me work out the knots.
There are several things I’ve been very surprised I can still do. First, I’m very thankful I haven’t had to use my crutches more than usual. I am also surprised at how I can get up and down off the floor easily. I’m a lot slower than usual, but it isn’t a problem. This is especially great because I am often on the floor as I teach.
Even though I wasn’t sure what to expect, there were a few things I did to help it go smoothly. I was lucky enough to get monthly massages from a wonderful massage therapist. She often was able to help me know what was going on with my muscles so I could make sure to stretch or massage them in between appointments. I also worked closely with my prosthetist. She made a huge difference in this experience and definitely helped to make my life more comfortable.
Overall, I have had a very smooth pregnancy (hello: no morning sickness!) and sometimes feel I’ve cheated in some way to have it go so smoothly. Here’s to a smooth birth!
Just a quick update on the belly. Here’s my 20 week photo from Myrtle Beach.
I’m 23 weeks today and the belly has really been growing fast! Will post another picture soon.
This weekend we had a lovely pickling day. It was overcast and cool which made it a perfect day to have the canning pot steaming.
I have never grown my own pickling cukes. We go down the road to the farm and get a 10 pound bag. The nice thing about this is all the cucumbers are close to the same size, fresh and ready for pickling.
Last year, we fermented all of the 10 pounds using a recipe from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. This year, we have discovered Linda Ziedrich’s books and they are now my favorite canning books. We put together 4 pounds of cucumbers to be fermented using the upper east side full sour pickle recipe.
Did I mention I love this book? These recipes came from The Joy of Pickling but we have also tried several from The Joy of Jams, Jellies, and Other Sweet Preserves. Overall, our success rate from this and her jelly/jam book has been much higher. I love the ingredients she uses. Plus, we didn’t have pickling spices, and of course, she includes how to make your own. Making it completely customizable.
The rest of the pickles were processed using a recipe from our local newspaper: Damn Good Garlic Dills. Most of these were processed, and a few jars were placed in the fridge ready to be eaten as soon as we finish of the few jars left from last year.
We’ve been having a great garden year here and while I can’t send all of you veggies in the mail, I can share pictures of some of our bounty. It’s been nice having such a great year since last year was only mildly successful.
We had a great raspberry harvest this spring. Since the canes have been growing for 3 years, they are really established now and producing beautifully. This was what we picked toward the end of the harvest. One of the varieties we have will produce again in the fall and has tiny berries forming already.
We ended up with 13+ pounds of potatoes this year. I do think this is the last year we’ll be doing the potatoes in the bags. While we don’t have to dig (we dump out the bags) we end up moving a lot of dirt around. We also don’t get the yield per bag that I would expect. Especially for how many seed potatoes we plant.
Our artichoke produced it’s first arties this year. I really would like to plant a few more of these. I think they are beautiful plants as well as so very yummy. Our homegrown artichokes were delish and I can’t wait to harvest a larger crop next year.
We planted a TON of garlic in the fall and this was the result. We always plant one hardneck variety and one softneck. Our softneck variety had smaller heads than I would have liked, but otherwise I was very pleased with our harvest. Garlic is super easy, stores well and we use it a lot. I’m hoping this will be close to enough for the entire year and am looking forward to seeing how long it’ll last.
I like storing our garlic in braids. This year we ended up with two braids (one huge and one medium) that are gracing our kitchen with their garlicky goodness. My garlic braiding skills improved a ton by watching this video and buying this little booklet with my last seed purchase. By the way, if you’re looking for a great seed source that is independently owned, Nichols is wonderful.
Finally, we have had lots of crookneck squash and zucchini coming out of the garden (who doesn’t). I had been dreaming about this recipe for a Zucchini Ricotta Galette since TheBon tweeted the link to me a year ago.
It is absolutely as amazing as it looks. It takes a little time, but is not hard. There were several steps I left out (didn’t freeze the flour and the dough didn’t sit in the fridge for a whole hour) and the dough was easy to work with plus delightfully flaky. I will most definitely be making this again (possibly this week). There is something so intensely satisfying about cooking with our homegrown food.
Back when I made my robe I started really thinking about making more of my own clothing. In high school I made a few dresses (with varying degrees of success) and worked on costumes crew in order to do more sewing, but more recently I had only done small projects. Things for around the house and babies and I felt ready for some new sewing challenges.
Now that’s not to say that I wasn’t thinking about sewing clothing. Awhile back (probably during one of the many $1 pattern sales) I picked up McCall’s 4444, fabric, and all the notions I would need to complete the project.
I chose the top middle view, put the fabric in a bag, hung it in my stash closet and let it marinate. I haven’t quite figured out why I feel fabric and projects need to have some marinating time in the stash, but I rarely buy something and dive right into the project.
When I decided to do some more clothing, it made sense to start with something that I had all the materials for and would need minimal changes.
I lined the whole dress with white cotton batiste. There are a few fit issues in the bodice, but they don’t bother me enough to not wear it. I also used black bias tape for the hem, which I really like. I will definitely be doing that again. I also love the fabric! It’s a linen blend, gets a little wrinkly, but it was great to work with and I love the print.
Even though this was pre-pregnancy sewing, I’m actually about 11 weeks pregnant in these photos, just not showing yet…
After buying the vintage patterns, I decided to try my luck at finding some at thrift stores. I found a several and at $1 each you can enhance your pattern collection quickly!
During one of my shopping trips, I picked up Butterick See and Sew 3095. I needed to size this up and since it’s a pretty simple wrap skirt, I thought it would give me some more experience with resizing a pattern. In the same thrifting trip, I found a brand new red cotton twin sheet, so I used that for this skirt.
For the most part, I’m very happy with how this turned out. Wrap skirts can often be fiddly (always wondering about flashing) but with the closure in the back and plenty of wrap, this one really stays put. I love the pockets and the fact that it doesn’t tie. Making the button closure is a nice decorative and functional touch.
The cotton sheet is SO comfy to wear. Lightweight, but not see-thru. It does wrinkle really easily though (I had just pressed it before these photos), but a few wrinkles don’t bother me. I would definitely make this skirt again. Super easy, quick and a great staple.
I was able to wear both of these a few times before I no longer fit in them and they will get more use once I’m back to my old size.