The Very Worst Week of My Life

Yesterday I shared my birth story. Such a sweet, peaceful, and quick birth it was that brought The Blessing into our lives. For almost two whole days we basked in the afterglow of that birth, adoring our new little baby, beginning to understand what an extra chromosome meant to us. And then it happened. My world threatened to collapse in top of me.

I have been considering exactly what to write concerning this nightmare that we had entered into. Words fail me as I try to remember how it all happened. Do I just list the events in chronological order, separating out the emotion from fact in an attempt to accurately tell a story? Or do I try to convey the despair, terror, and desperation that haunted me every second of that week? Is any of that even possible? And so I beg your indulgence as I muddle my way through my tale, knowing that words can never really express accurately the things I am trying to tell you.

The diaper was filled with blood. Not a little streak, not a tinge, but filled with blood. As I wiped the blood from her bottom, she grunted and more blood came pouring out where poo should have been. And to the emergency room we sped.

I laid her pale, limp body on the warming bed as the doctor came in the door. “And what brings you here, tonight?” he asked us pleasantly. I pulled the diaper away from her leg, exposing the gobs of dark red blood filling it yet again. “This” I said.

And the room exploded with activity. We were rushed to a larger room where the shouting and bustle began. Blood transfusions! Oxygen! Antibiotics! The Man and I stood against the wall, clinging to each other and silently crying while we helplessly watched this crowd of people try to save our daughter’s life. A social worker appeared and through a fog I heard her explain that she was there to answer any of our questions. She explained what was going on at any given time – “now they are drilling into her bone to administer the iv because they can’t find her veins”.

After what seemed like an eternity, she was stable and ready to be transferred to the ICU.

1070039_10201552952731165_238324334_n

Then the testing began. Brain scans, ultrasounds, x-rays, blood tests. We spoke to a slew of specialists as tests results came back and needed explaining. All the while, my Blessing laid on that warming bed with so many tubes and wires coming off and out of her body that I could barley touch her. I stood by her bed, crying so constantly and endlessly that it took days for the swelling around my eyes to subside. I wondered if we would be taking her home or if I would never hold her again. I prayed in the wordless way one does when sobs and sighs will just have to do. My post partum body ached from the many long walks to the pumping room where I would try to express milk in hopes that she would one day need it. My feet became more swollen than ever they were during the pregnancy and my head ached constantly, whether from the crying, the exhaustion, or my rising blood pressure we will never know. But wild horses could not have pulled me from that bedside. My whole heart was laying there, struggling to survive.

1079046_10201565393802184_862093015_o

And survive, she did. The glimmer of hope was already shining as every test came back with good news, and everyday she improved just a little bit more. And then the tubes started coming off, the ivs were removed one by one and finally we were transferred out of the ICU and to a regular room. And then we were discharged and able to come home. We had been there for six days.

The Blessing has been home for a week, now, and seems to be doing well. She is breastfeeding with only a little supplementing needed. We will be seeing the pediatrician later this week for a follow up visit, but for now we are back to enjoying our new baby, learning about her and her specialness, and recovering from the most awful week of our lives.

IMGP9464

We are overwhelmingly grateful to all of our friends and family who supported us during this trial – bringing to us food, hugs, and pleasant company while we lived at the hospital, keeping our kids happy, fed, and carefree during our absence, and upholding us in prayer through every heartbreaking minute of our ordeal.

Above all, I am beyond thankful to God, who in His mercy has allowed us to keep our Blessing a little longer. Every moment she is with me is a moment to treasure.

IMGP9432I realize that this account leaves room for lots of questions. This really is all that I can bear to say at this time. I am ready to get back to blogging about happy things like yarn and fiber and itty-bitty baby knits.

 

Advertisements

Birth of The Blessing

I was awakened by a very painful contraction late one night two weeks ago. I pressed the Indiglo button on my watch. 12:30. “Was that a real contraction?” I wondered, “or did it seem so painful because I am so tired?” I had been having contractions for days and days that never quite turned into labor so I wasn’t about to get excited about this one.

I laid there in the dark waiting for the next contraction before I would decide whether I should get up or go back to sleep. I didn’t have to wait long. The next contraction came on strong and hard and I knew that this was probably the real deal. But I waited for one more, just to be sure. The third one did not disappoint.

Rolling out of bed I said to The Man, “I am having some good contractions. I’ll call you when it gets serious.” He grunted and rolled over knowing that he didn’t have much longer to sleep.

I decided to text my midwife and let her know we would be needing her in a few hours.  “Sorry to wake you, ” I wrote, “but I am pretty sure I am in the beginning of labor. Was 4cm this afternoon. Contrax are about 8 min apart and nice painful ones. Will call you when it gets interesting.” Then I sat on the couch and decided to knit. I figured that when I could no longer knit through the contractions, I’d wake up The Man and get serious.

I knit through four contractions.  The fifth one found me closing my eyes and moaning softly as I tried to relax. I set my knitting aside. Two more contractions like that and The Man was out of bed.

After checking on me, The Man went into the bathroom and started cleaning the bathtub. I heard the water running as he filled it and I started making my way to the bathroom, stopping twice to breathe through contractions. Then the shivers started. By the time I got to the bathroom (and, folks, my house is very small, it wasn’t a long walk), the contractions were right on top of each other. By the time I crawled into the blissfully hot water, there was no break between them.

As if in a dream, I heard The Man say something about calling the midwife and my mom. I gasped that he needed to wake the big kids, too. I was thinking that I couldn’t keep this up much longer, and assumed I still had hours to go – I had only just begun, after all! I heard The Man whispering a prayer, “Oh, God. Please slow it down.” And then out loud, “This is going really fast!”

“Don’t say that to me,” I panted, “It’s not helpful!”

And then the contractions stopped. I knew this meant I was complete. Pushing was next. I looked up and there were my four big kids, all crowded in the doorway, sleepy eyed and pajama clad. The Man sat on the toilet looking intense and confident.

“It’s almost time to push,” I said, as I relaxed in the water, waiting for the next phase to begin.

And then it began. I panted through the first pushing contraction, thinking somewhere in the back of my mind that I needed to wait for the midwife and for my mom. After the contraction subsided, sanity returned and I realized how silly this was. I have had two planned unassisted births! I can do this! So, with the next contraction I pushed.

Three pushes later and out she came! A teeny, tiny baby emerged from my body and I lifted her out of the water onto my chest. It was 3:01. She blinked in the light and serenely took it all in. She was beautiful in an unexpected way. I knew instantly that she had Down syndrome. I looked at The Man as he looked at her. He didn’t see it, yet. I looked back at her. This was not what I had pictured, not what I had expected. But I was okay with it. I knew it would be alright.

IMGP9382

After a short time, I felt it was time for the placenta to be birthed. The Dancing Queen cut the umbilical cord and The Bookworm wrapped the baby in a towel and took her in the living room. The Man helped me finish the process and got me out of the tub and into bed. There I had my new baby handed back to me and I looked at her again. She was so very tiny! My first six babies averaged 9 pounds, but this little squish was only 7lbs, 6oz!

My mom and the midwife both arrived about this time. Baby was checked out and given a clean bill of health. My mom put a movie on for the kids (who, at 4 am were very awake and excited) and I just stared at this tiny little girl in my arms.

IMGP9418

The first two days with her were lovely, I stayed in bed and we had skin-to-skin time round the clock. She had some trouble nursing, but as we worked on it, she improved with each feeding. The kids all adored her and lined up for their turn to hold her. The Man and I slowly adjusted to the idea of parenting a child with Down syndrome, focusing on the great blessing that she is and will be.

And so, my Encore Baby, The Blessing, entered this world, changing our lives far more than we ever expected. She is an amazing blessing and quite an exciting addition to our family.

IMGP9505

But the story continues. I’ll write about what happened next tomorrow.

Loved and Lost – Knitting Teeny Tiny Charity Items

When she lost her baby boy at seventeen weeks gestation, she wrapped his tiny body in a blanket that she had knit for him. It was so comforting to have that handmade baby blanket in the midst of such grief and turmoil. That one little blanket served to comfort her in the weeks to come as she mourned her lost son in a way that no mother ever should.
Emerson was due on July 13, 2013 and on that day the family will be scattering his ashes and saying goodbye. On that day she will be making her first donation.

As a tribute to her son, Morgan has organized Elephant Tears, a group of knitters on Ravelry who make teeny tiny knitted things for other babies born too soon, gone too soon. It is a way to comfort those who mourn and show respect to those who are lost. “Elephant Tears collects small preemie blankets, 18-24” squares/rectangles, to donate to the birth center at the University of Colorado Hospital. These blankets will add a personal touch to the bereavement packages provided by the hospital to families who have lost a baby due to unfortunate circumstances,as well as giving those parents a very tangible item to bring them comfort in the coming days, weeks, or months.”*

Please consider joining me in supporting this sweet mother as she reaches out to those in need and in remembering her sweet boy, Emerson. It takes only a few hours and a small amount of yarn to make such teeny tiny things and bring comfort to a grieving mothers heart.

This is the beginnings of the box that I am putting together to send to Elephant Tears – (detailed notes on my Ravelry project page here)

IMGP9239

If you are local to me, please feel free to contribute. I hope to get my box in the mail by July 5 and would love to add whatever you make, too. Just bring it by anytime.

For more information, please check out the Elephant Tears Ravelry Group or contact HolyCuteness on Ravelry.

*this is directly quoted from the Ravelry Group page

A Collection Of Randomness

First off, I would like to thank all of you who have been asking me if I am still alive. Yes, I am here, still pregnant, and healthy, and extremely uncomfortable. Hence the lack of blogging. I don’t want to make this blog my whining place about all of the ways that this pregnancy is torturing me, so I simply stay away. And then there is The Cave, which is once again beckoning me to hide away and finish off this gestation in solitary confinement, preferably in a warm bath with soft music and occasional, brief visits from the little people whom I love, but are who so loud and energetic!

There are some things that I can share with you, though, of the knitting and spinning variety, that would make a decent blog post. So, here is a random collection of my yarnie activities from the last month. (to shorten my sitting at the computer, I am not going to provide individual links to all of these projects. The details can be found in my Ravelry notebook here.)

1. Rainbows!

IMGP9174_medium IMGP9194_medium IMGP9198_medium

 

2. Billowy Blanket

IMGP9139_medium IMGP9137_medium

IMGP9134_medium3. Fishie Socks!

IMGP9096_medium

 

4. A baby sweater that came out too big (and so was reassigned to The Fraggle) and a second version that came out just right.

IMGP9197_medium2IMGP9192_medium25. Some sewing has happened, too. Necessitating some matching knit shorties, of course. (Super easy and cute sewing pattern from here and adorable fabric from this Etsy shop – you gotta check out her fabric. She has Mo Willems Pigeon fabric! Oh my! Too cute! )

IMGP9200IMGP9206_medium

6. And, of course, some spinning. It feels like cheating to not properly post about these yarns – they were all great learning experiences and I have a lot to say about them. Maybe I will come back to that later. (Notes are on the stash pages if you can’t wait) For now, just enjoy the pretties. ooooooo, pretties!

IMGP9167_medium IMGP9211_medium IMGP9131_medium IMGP9171_mediumIMGP9162_mediumThere is knitting in progress, some baby related, some not. Spinning is on hold for now, as my feet swell horribly after I sit at the wheel for any decent length of time.

In other news (since this is a random post), my three June Bugs are turning 6, 4, and 2 years old this month and there is a super frilly, pastel pink, girlie-girlie, ballerina tea party coming up that will be very fun to show you. I think that I enjoy planning the parties more than the kids enjoy the actual event, which really is a good thing, because it is a lot of work!

And, now, the obligatory belly shot – 35 weeks down, 5 more to go (give or take)

IMGP9219

 

SO, that is me for now. I’ll try to check in again before baby comes, but I make no promises. Just know that when this pregnancy finally ends and I have a wonderful new baby and a body that doesn’t torment me anymore, I will surely return to being a good blogger. Thanks again for all of your support and well wishes. I enjoy hearing from all of you, both here and on Ravelry. I have such a sweet group of cyber friends. Thank you for hanging in there with me!

 

 

 

Mama is a What?

Season passes to the zoo are wonderful things. We can pick up some In-and-Out and then go watch the giraffes for an hour while The Fraggle pushes her stroller around in circles and into passers-by. Going to the zoo for an hour or two is much more doable than spending an entire day trudging around in the hot sun trying to see everything and get our moneys worth. As it was, two hours did me in and this old pregnant body reminded me of it for days. But we had fun, and that has been in short supply since the pregnancy began, so at least I went to bed that night feeling like a good mom for the first time in a few months. 

So, there we were, looking for a parking spot so that we could spend a couple hours at the zoo. I always drive right up to the entrance first, you know, because there might be a space waiting for me right by the gate. It happens. This time, however, it didn’t.

“I don’t know why I always do that,” I remarked to the kids. “I always think there will be a spot open this close. I guess I am just an optimist.”

After a brief pause, The Munchkin piped up from the back seat, “Mama! You’re not a octopus!”

And that is why everyone should have kids. They keep you smiling.

IMGP8488