Saturday, June 28, 2008


Things that make me feel good, right now:

  1. new baby smell
  2. two hours of sleep strung together
  3. lanolin- for knits, and for my tender, tender bits
  4. garter stitch- it's almost impossible to screw up at 4 am (bibstravaganza continues!)
  5. backrubs, footrubs, and hugs on demand from a fantastic partner
  6. my fantastic partner (he gets his own bullet point)
  7. not needing anything but motrin for discomfort (and not even that)
  8. thunderstorms
  9. dreaming of knitting something not-too-girly for my little girl
  10. watching them sleep
Naptime 2

Monday, June 23, 2008

Welcome to the world

Vivienne Beatrix 052

Vivienne Beatrix
June 20, 2008
12:00 pm
7 pounds, 15 ounces
20.25 inches

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

FO (just about!): Nursery

Well, here it is. I'm a little disappointed in the photos. It's been so stormy and gray in Michigan this last week, but I wanted to get something posted before what I assume will be radio blackout starting on Friday. :P My parents want to know what I want for my birthday (last week!), and I think a better wide-angle camera lens just shot to the top of the list.

Little Mutie's Nursery

Dan painted the walls, and I did the sewing and crocheting. The crib is vintage (it was mine, when I was a baby), and the art on the walls I put together from things from the Martha Stewart aisle at Michaels. We were aiming for a gender-neutral theme based loosely on Katamari Damacy, one of our favorite video games. We had a limited budget- I'd estimate that I spent about $60 on fabric, $15 on craft supplies, and $60 on furniture (the rocker and the changing table)- the rest we already had and repurposed or were given.

The crib

The crib bumpers and the quilt are in the bed (now with a mattress!), ready to take over for mommy as the baby house (although it's going to be a long, long summer before anyone in this house needs a quilt!).


The house next door has really reflective siding on it, so even though it's a northern exposure, there is a lot of light thrown on the crib. I made these curtains from scraps from the bumper project and some broadcloth to match the green wall. Now it's really dark in there with the curtains closed! I'm a little shocked that they match as well as they do- I was winging it, and I have been fighting the sewing machine all week (more on that later, though).

The alphabet

This is what happens when your budget is exhausted (and small to begin with). These are alphabet cards scored on clearance at Michaels (that Martha Stewart craft aisle is killer), strung on black satin ribbon.

Katamari Art 1

Katamari Art 2

My sister and I made these. Dan wanted a Katamari-themed room, and this is where it came out in a more literal sense. They're printed on glossy paper, mounted with puffy tape (you know, the 3D stuff) on scrapbook paper in those Martha Stewart shadowboxes (on clearance for $3!). These were a lot of fun to make, although cutting out the little Katamari cousins was not easy. They're only an inch tall, at most, and my scissor skills can be rivaled by any dexterous third grader.

Bibstravaganza continues apace, although I did stop to finish stuff for the baby's room and then got sidetracked by sewing diapers. I was all set to just do prefolds and rubber pants or butt sweaters, but then the nesting instinct blindsided me. I was transported to the flannel aisle at Joann Fabrics, where I proceeded to throw caution to the wind. Once I have more done, I will show them off. They really are cute... I hope they fit.

I have to go clean the house. Apparently my in-laws are coming down tomorrow, not Friday. Which means, of course, that the night before the birth, the night before major surgery, the last night Dan and I have as a couple (ahem) will be spent entertaining houseguests. Sigh. I leave you with one of the last pictures of the baby on the inside. The bump really only is visible from the side in a lot of my clothes, even now. I'm kind of shocked. I think it means I'll be back into my old clothes relatively quickly, but it probably also means I'm going to look like the old me with a rapidly-deflated beach ball taped to my front. :)

39 weeks and change

Saturday, June 14, 2008


I can't believe that in less than a week, I will no longer be pregnant. That seems like a feat in itself, but on top of that, Dan and I will be fumbling with a newborn baby! I have been dragging my feet in packing for the hospital, but Friday is looming ever closer and I don't want to be caught at the hospital without my favorite nightgown (that's part of the problem- I don't want to pack something I want to wear all the time!).

Scheduling the c-section was hard. Really hard. It is so strange to have the mystery and excitement (and everything else) taken out of the experience. I cried a little after I got off the phone with the OB's office. I cried even more when I rewrote our birth plan. It was so hard to replace things like "We wish to have our parents present for labor, and for delivery if we desire" with "I would prefer my arms aren't restrained, and that oxygen not be delivered through a mask, if possible." I wish it weren't the case, but I am terrified of this surgery, and there isn't a damn thing I can do about it. At least Dan is being a real friend and advocate, and our midwife spent about an hour in the office with me, going over the entire procedure and giving me a lot of reassurance. I'm better than I was a week ago, but I don't know that I'll be ready, even when it's happening.

So, I engaged in a little retail therapy. Sugar 'n' Cream yarn was on sale for a dollar a ball at Michael's, so I bought $10 worth (hey, it was my birthday, after all). And I cast on for a bib- a simple, garter stitch bib loosely based on the one from Mason-Dixon Knitting (but I don't like buttons on baby clothes, and my gauge is never going to be their gauge). And when that one was finished, I cast on for another.


And another- I'm on to the orange ball. I can't wait till I have nothing but bits and bobs, and I am making little Frankenbibs and embellishing the solid-colored ones. I'll probably go back and get more yarn, too- I actually like the feel of the cotton, and it doesn't wear my hands out, at least not on size 6 needles (knitting the soakers on 1s was killing me! sometimes I don't like being such a loose knitter). And seriously- that's a lot of meditative garter stitch for the low, low price of ten bucks.

My birthday, by the way, was nice. I was feeling pretty damn depressed, so our plans changed in the middle of the afternoon from a movie to a walk around the Henry Ford Museum (one of my favorite places to loiter). We had fondue for dinner, and although I got oil on my silk blouse (just a little) and the cake I made wasn't so great, the day ended up much better than it started. I even had the pleasure of falling asleep during a massage and reading a little from a Terry Pratchett novel. It was a welcome respite from all the baby fretting.

Friday, June 13, 2008

FOs: Baby Butt Sweaters

Butt Sweaters

Pattern: Curly Purly Soakers (size small)
Needles: US 1,2,3,5
Yarn: Lion Fishermen's Wool, dyed with Kool-Aid

Red Butt Sweater

These were pretty fun to make- I enjoyed the dyeing process, although it's kind of obvious that my sister and I were working on the same skeins, but from different ends and with different objectives. She also thought that we shouldn't waste the Kool-Aid, and made sure that every drop of the howevermany colors we mixed ended up on the yarn somewhere*. Sigh.

Green Butt Sweater

The pattern is really straightforward, although I need to use tiny needles to get gauge, or something like it. I don't enjoy weaving in ends or picking up stitches, so these took a little longer than an evening apiece. They're really adorable, and I hope they keep the pee in!

*And she's the one with the art degree. :P

Sunday, June 8, 2008

A finely attuned sense of gravity

This is a long, long baby-related post, with no pictures and no knitting or sewing. I have finished objects that need to be photographed, so feel free to skip this post and wait for the next one.

So, it's a c-section for me. I even went through the manual external version, and it just wasn't enough to convince the kid to move.

We had it performed on Monday at the hospital, in L&D (just in case...). I was up early, and ate a small breakfast (I'm used to this being a big meal), even though they didn't want me to. I was pretty nervous, but optimistic. After all, the midwife said the baby had plenty of room to move, right?

We got registered and shuffled around and eventually put in a bed in recovery. On the other side of the room, a man was standing over a wailing baby in a bassinet. She was only about fifteen minutes old and so! tiny! He told his visitors that she was six and a half pounds. Her mother was wheeled in about an hour later, and it was then I made Dan promise not to leave me in the operating theater- I am terrified of being alone in there. I was getting more nervous as time went on, but it helped to sneak a peek at the baby on the way to the bathroom.

They shuffled nurses around and eventually took a history (in stages), and the doctor came in to talk to me. I haven't met her (there are a ton of OBs in my practice, and I've been working with the midwives, so...), but she seemed nice. She went, and a nurse put in a heparin lock and took some blood. I realized that I was exhausted and thirsty and dizzy from the blood draw, but I couldn't have any water. She brought me three ice chips in a styrofoam cup.

We waited an hour, because a c-section trumped my procedure. By then I was nervous, tired, thirsty, dizzy and hungry, and the nurses started flitting about, looking for my consent form. I hadn't signed one yet, but as they're looking for it, a nurse injected me with the muscle relaxer/stimulant stuff and then they shoved the consent form in my face. Which I proceeded to read and sign, even though I was nervous, tired, hungry, thirsty, dizzy, and my heart was racing from the drugs. In retrospect, I should have spoken up, but I haven't been in the hospital since I was seven, so what did I know? Next time, I'm not getting into a hospital gown until that form is produced, my questions are answered, and I sign it in a (relatively) calm state of mind.

The OB came back with her medical student, and they gave me a nurse's hand to squeeze. Dan was told to stand at the foot of the bed, and he gently held my left foot. They talked for a minute about the procedure, mostly for the med student's benefit (she had never done a version before), and then it was one-two-three push. Dan's hand squeezed my foot so hard I thought I was going to lose toes. I closed my eyes and breathed as deeply as I could, trying through the jitters and fog to be relaxed and not inhibit the process. It wasn't that uncomfortable, although it was nerve-wracking. Only twice in the six attempts did I feel like I was pushed hard enough to leave a mark. The med student was tentative in her actions, which is understandable, but the OB was really giving it all she had. The baby, unfortunately, was like a rotary phone. They'd move it down into position, but once they let go, it would dial its way back and land with a thud and its head wedged under my right ribs (which are still sore).

Like I said, they tried six times. They went clockwise and counter-clockwise. The baby rotated on every axis but the one they were aiming for. Fortunately, I felt like I could take it, and the baby's vitals remained strong, so they kept going. In the end, though, it didn't work. At one point, I heard the nurse tell Dan there was a chair behind him, and I almost laughed. When I opened my eyes and saw him, he looked so pale! I assured him that it probably looked worse than it was, and that earned me a weird look from all of the staff attending to me. I think they were a little shocked that I didn't make any noise- I get the impression they're used to more screaming and cursing.

Eventually they stopped trying, and everyone left but the OB. She told me to schedule a c-section and apologized that there wasn't more she could do. She told me that two of her children were breech, so she understood some of what I was feeling. She also told me that if a version didn't do it, chiropractors/standing on my head/moxibustion probably wouldn't either. Those were the magic words. She let me off the hook.

She let me off the hook! Ever since the baby has been found out to be right-side up, everyone and anyone has been telling me what to do to turn the baby. I have been feeling a lot of guilt and frustration because I thought that maybe the baby hadn't turned because of the way I sit in a chair, or where the waistband of my super-comfy maternity jeans hits my abdomen, or because there was something that I didn't do that other people did as a matter of course. Well, guess what- it's not my fault, any more than mothers of babies who flip over deserve congratulations for a job well done. It's something that just happens, and for most breech babies, there are no discernible reasons for their breechy-ness. If you have stumbled on this page because your baby is not a spinner, then I'm letting you off the hook, too. Your baby has a finely attuned sense of gravity, and that's all there is to it. Don't let it get you down, and hope if you want to (or, if you're like me, let it go, don't bother with hope, and prepare for what is the next step). Being the mom of a breech baby is tough, especially if you have had a healthy pregnancy and have been planning for a natural childbirth. It feels like being disqualified from a race I've been training to run for a year while I'm standing on the starting block. But I will get over it. I read up on c-section awareness (which is frustrating, because most of the advice is "don't let them cut you!" and doesn't really address breech births, or only does as an afterthought to all of the proselytizing), and I will be talking to my midwife about maximizing my potential for a VBAC in future pregnancies. Like my baby, I am looking upward and forward.

Friday, June 6, 2008

FO: Crib Bumpers

FO: Crib bumpers

I used the pattern that came with the crib bumper batting, which was already cut to size (yay!), but needed to be shortened to fit the sides of my (totally standard) crib (boo). The ends of the crib are closed, so the bumpers need to be tied a little differently than the pattern assumes.

FO: Crib bumpers

I used a crazy six-patch motif based on this ingenious idea. There are twelve fabrics in total, from Joann and Reprodepot, divided into two stacks of fronts and backs, and I figured the seam allowances in to the total dimensions required for the bumper pattern (so... I expanded the long dimension of the base rectangle by 2", and the tall dimension by 1", assuming .5" seam allowances). The pattern suggested making 17 yards or so of bias tape for the ties. I bought twill tape and hand-rolled and tacked the ends- way easier.

FO: Crib bumpers

They're a little lumpy in parts where my impatience won out over ripping and trimming, but I don't think the baby'll mind too much. I love love love the Alexander Henry paper doll people fabric- it's so sweet and creepy at the same time!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Start of summer

the fire pit

I went to Houghton Lake with my parents over Memorial Day, which was a nice distraction. I promise, the lake is there, beyond the trees.


The dogs went with me, although Dan stayed home. Vandal was pretty sick the whole time we were there, but she still seemed to enjoy trotting around in the yard and sniffing all the things we don't have at home.

Vandal at the lake

I wish my husband could have come up there with me. I was pretty nervous about the dog being sick, and I wasn't feeling great either, and I felt a lot of pressure to make the most of it because I'm not going to get a vacation for a while. In the end, I tried to have a good time, and we came home early.

At least I got two pairs of shoes for five bucks at the outlet mall in West Branch. Score!


My Life in Pictures
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I love language. I love knitting. I love photography. I love my husband. I love my daughter. I love my puppies. Reach me at vmachak at gmail dot com.

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She Has Arrived

Vivienne Beatrix

June 20, 2008
12:00 pm
7 pounds, 15 ounces
20.25 inches


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