Birth

“I wonder if I’ve been changed in the night. Let me think. Was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I’m not the same, the next question is ‘Who in the world am I?’ Ah, that’s the great puzzle!”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Written from my hospital bed almost a week ago:

The past few days have been part of a dream- the kind of dream where you wake up in a foreign land and then realize, no this is actually not a dream.

A dream like Alice in Wonderland. Nothing follows the rules. Everything is baffling and strange. But you get the hang of it, and there really is so much beauty.

I am a mother! I have given birth, at 30 weeks through an emergency cesarean section, to a beautiful 3 lb boy. He has all the parts. He has ears and eyes and a nose! Long, agile fingers that reach out searching for me, and grasp me when I’m near. Beautiful feet that are attached to slender legs that curl up and rest as I cup my hand under his hips. Lips that quiver and express such a wide range of emotions in a split second! Eye brows that say things he can’t possibly articulate. He is absolutely covered in hair. And though chances are he can’t see me well, when we pull his headband back and turn the light down, he searches my face with his eyes- I feel like he can see straight down into my soul.

My world is upside down. Two weeks ago, I began showing signs of preeclampsia. It was only manifesting in high blood pressure. For two weeks, the blood pressure was the only symptom. It was completely out of control. And it caused partial blindness in my left eye. For two weeks, I struggled blindly and dependent lay to find some way to find a balance. To lower my BP, maybe continue working, find some way to relax. When my BP didn’t balance, my doctor made the decision to monitor me very closely with twice a week non-stress tests, a measure usually reserved for later in pregnancy. At that point I became aware that I wasn’t going to get better. My dreams of natural childbirth in a dim, calm room with beautiful music and a massage began scaling away. I started contemplating the measures that would be taken to control my BP if I carried to full term. It’s often considered medically necessary to induce at 36 -38 weeks for high blood pressure, and to control the pressure with an epidural. I spent a few days coming to terms with this idea. I began intensely practicing breathing exercises and visualization. Controlling my wandering mind. Combatting the panic feeling that I always get when I think if hospitals and medicine.

My doctor and her colleagues respected my dreams and aspirations for the birth of my son in every aspect of the process and in return I trusted my doctor implicitly. She connected with me empathetically and I trusted her intuition. Above anything else, I wish all pregnant women could find such a connection with their caregiver. The emotions I feel for my OB right now are intense and grateful. My dreams were shattered, but they were never disrespected. When the close monitoring decision was made, I switched my focus from childbirth to breast feeding. What you can’t control you shouldn’t fret over.

I lasted one non-stress test. Lab work returned in less than 24 hours that showed my organs shutting down. Full blown preeclampsia replaced erratically high blood pressure. I had to interrupt Austin while he was teaching in order to get to the hospital. More blood was drawn. The conversation went from delivery in weeks to delivery tomorrow to delivery in 10 minutes.

There is a lot more to this story, but it is going to have to come out slowly. This morning, I sat in my hospital bed during my 6 am pumping, crying deep sobs. It was the best cry I’ve had so far- very healing. Pumping is an emotional relief for me. It comes so naturally. And as I cried, my nurse and the on-call doctor both came ( during their rounds). The doctor (not MY doctor) was concerned that maybe I was depressed and wanted to give me something to make me stop crying. I don’t the she has any idea how soothing that cry was. I’ve spent the last few days feeling like Alice in Wonderland. I’ve had simultaneous sensations of floating and falling; of skin numbness; nerves firing for no reason. When I close my eyes, I hear strange sounds- doors slamming, in audible murmurs, confusion. I cannot hold my baby because he is laying in a pod in NICU. I get scolded for sitting up in my bed.

My old normal is gone. I am finding my new self. My life has transformed beyond the boundaries of my imagination. And I have a son! So, here’s to a new life!

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The Hills are Alive, and So Is My Bug

Tuesday night, Kate, Alissa and I watched The Sound of Music. It’s an old favorite, and having Kate and Alissa to watch it with felt almost as wonderful as being able to watch it with my own sisters. My childhood echoed with musicals much in the way most of my peers did with Saved By The Bell or Boy Meets World.

Over the past week, I’ve made a fascinating discovery. The bug responds to music. And the more music there is, the more he responds. This is incredible to me– his inner ear is newly developed, and he has begun to recognize noises outside of the womb. I am so excited by this! All I want to do now is play music and sit and feel him as he dances around in my tummy, kicking and flapping his arms and squirming around. I imagine that he is enjoying himself.

Just thought I’d share what I’ve been lost in lately 🙂

Chicago and Back

Time really seems to be flying by this summer…we have just over a month before the new semester begins. And once the semester begins, it will be no time before our little guy gets here!

UntitledI spent 28 June-1 July in Chicago for a conference, and learned a lot about traveling while pregnant. Lessons like “don’t count on the hotel having anything remotely good for you to snack on or reasonable access to good-tasting drinking water” and “you really can’t walk around as much as you could when you weren’t pregnant!”

I’m afraid I over-did it and really irritated a ligament in my lower abdomen that is still hurting today. I did finally get the hang of eating right while at the hotel (it was a very nice hotel.) Despite the physical discomfort, Chicago was lovely and I really enjoyed the city. I’m hoping to go back soon– perhaps in January when Austin has a conference there. Bug and I can explore the city in a way that we couldn’t during my conference 🙂

Since I got back, we have been focusing on getting the house ready and preparing our ever-daunting baby registry. And of course, I’ve been doing lots of knitting and not photographing any of it! But November is right around the corner!

Because He’s Done So Much…

Wedding planning 26 May 2013- one month to go!I am so proud of this guy. He has done so much this summer!

Congrats, baby, on your article publication! On finishing your book revisions!

Thank you for going to the store when I forget things, and making sure I have tatter tots, and for helping me shift furniture and pack some of our treasures for storage, and for sitting with me in the waiting room at my doctors appointments even though you have a lot of work to do. And for doing it all and more, even though I insisted on cutting off the cable and cutting our budgeted allowance and rearranging the living room and getting rid of your desk!

I think you’re the bees-knees!

Next week is his birthday. I’ll have to figure something special out…

Our little bug is…

A boy bug!

So the knitting needles will be clicking. In the queue: a Jayne Cobb hat, a Dalek outfit and the above cuddle bug sheath and hat (Hungry Caterpillar Baby Cocoon and Hat by Angie Hartley picture from Ravelry.)

We are planning to remain rather gender-neutral with his initial belongings. I am in favor of bright colors (reds, turquoise, sunshine yellow, apple green) and autumn hues.

Today was a good day!

Birmingham with Mom and Jenna

Birmingham weekend- Jenna and mom visit

Saturday and Sunday were spent with mom and Jenna in Birmingham. We ate a lot of food, and saw some fun things! We started our outing at Flip Burger Boutique, but I didn’t get any pictures there… The above photo was at Nabeel’s for dinner.

Birmingham weekend- Jenna and mom visit

And then desert.

And after desert, we headed up to Vulcan Park for a nice night-time view of Birmingham. Jenna and mom braved the observation tower– I accompanied them to the top of the stairs, but couldn’t make myself step out onto the grated deck. My fear of heights has gotten kind of intolerable, but it wasn’t the night to conquer it.

Sunday Brunch was Chez Lulu. Crepes were delicious!

Mom and Jenna visit

Then the Civil Rights Institute, and Rojo.

It was a full weekend. What did you do?

New Look

Once and a while I like to rearrange the furniture in our house. I’m in the process of doing this at home, and well, it just seemed like it was perhaps time to spiff up the blog as well! Hope you like the new look!

Weekend Stitches

I worked oh-so-hard this weekend to finish the afghan that I started last summer. It is my tradition to make one every summer…and I’ve not even begun to think of what to do this summer. But I can now say that I have finished last summers. Kind of.

Boulder Afghan

Austin photobombed my picture. It’s a hard piece to photograph- it’s all lumpy and uneven, mostly because of the yarn that I used! It’s a handpainted chunky think and thin wool from Gypsy. I love it. The colors remind me of Colorado.

Boulder Afghan

On to the next project! The next four weekends are going to be crazy. Mom and Jenna are coming on Saturday and we’re spending the weekend in Birmingham together. The following weekend is my Game of Thrones marathon with Alissa and Stephanie, then the wedding weekend!!! And then I will be going to Chicago for ALA. July, you’re coming too soon! June, where have you gone??? Updates to follow!

More Knitting

I don’t have Memorial Day off work, but over the weekend we were able to go visit our families (which was super awesome!) Saturday, friends that are scattered all over the place were able to gather at my in-laws for an after-dinner bonfire. We saw friends from high school and undergraduate school, the kids running around and roasting marshmallows while moms and dads held their breath praying the kids wouldn’t fall into the fire! It was lovely. On Sunday, we got to my parents’ house in time for a late morning omelet. After breakfast, we sat on the patio in the beautiful sunshine and talked, and in the afternoon, we meandered over to the old antebellum house that my sister will be married at next month. We wandered around the grounds, sniffing roses and chatting about ceremony plans and reception food and general wedding loveliness. It was a beautiful day. And traveling (especially driving!) is always good for knitting!

Wedding planning 26 May 2013- one month to go!

The last week or so has been rather gratifying for my little knitter’s heart. I started the week with a good weeding and sorting of the stash, and an inventory of unfinished projects. I’m still making slow (but steady) progress on the stitching-together of my afghan, and I have begun the cuff of Kate’s second mitten (my progress is mostly impeded by the necessity of having to follow the chart for each side of every row- slow going!) But I have accomplished a few other things!

Bug Gear

This little rainbow baby surprise jacket is my little bug’s first knitted item. I love the vintage buttons.

And I finally, with a bit of focus and determination, was able to achieve gauge for my little red hoodie!

Gauge

Here is my progress (and a peak at my very pregnant belly!)

Travel knitting- Memorial Day weekend 2013

We’ve hit the 17 week mark, and our next ultrasound is 11 June (we will find out if it is a boy bug or a girl bug!) I have about 3.5 more inches to go with the diamond patter before I start the shaping for the sleeves (which I think are knitted separately and then grafted on).