Must. Knit. Something.

Funny story.

She came over that evening and she actually brought her knitting. She always forgets her knitting, but on this night she remembered. Then she actually knit on her project as we visited! She hardly ever does that. Usually I’m the one knitting and she knits a few stitches and then talks and then knits a few stitches and drinks her tea and then holds the baby and then… This time she was really flying across her rows, knit. knit. knit.

So there she is knitting in my living room and I had nothing in my hands at all. I had two projects on the go, and both of them were colorwork and I don’t like to knit colorwork while I’m talking (remember the socks? Yeah. That lesson was still fresh in my mind).

So I was sitting idle.

Watching her knit.

Weird, right?

Right. Totally weird.

Desperately, I grabbed the nearest ball of yarn and cast on some longies. Then as I talked and without any planning or thought, I started switching colorways from my scrap bag.

And I was knitting, too.

All was right with the world.

And The Blessing was getting another pair of longies. One can never have too many longies.

Win, win.

I am giddy with happiness at how lovely these scrappy longies turned out. They took days to dry after lanolizing, but this morning they were ready for the photo shoot.

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The Blessing, however didn’t want to do a photo shoot.

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No, she’d much rather crawl around and put leaves in her mouth.

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Or grab for the camera.

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When I finally got her to stand, it was only for a second and then she was down again.

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But she did like climbing on her chair that Uncle T made.

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I realize that this post started out as a knitting post and has quickly turned it’s focus to a cute baby. Can you blame me?

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I didn’t think so.

Okay, so knitting details. Well, for starters, the Ravelry project page is here.

Just for kicks I decided to try Russian joins. It’s clever and I like eliminating the ends to weave in later, but it isn’t very smooth as far as the knitting goes. It leaves big bumps. It’s only longies, so it’s cool, but I doubt I’ll use it again.

The yarn is all Mosaic Moon Targhee Aran. Some of it I picked up in a scrappy swap and some I had on hand. I did use one bit of Mosaic Moon Licorice Twist Aran (the pink zebra at the knees and just before the cuffs) as the legs were looking too blue for my girlie-girl.

These ended up being just a tad too big, you can see that I rolled the cuffs. And I should have used a smaller needle as the gauge is looser than I usually like for longies. But she will grow and they are just too cute.

I am extremely happy with the results.

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3 21 Blessing

Wondering how The Blessing is doing? To avoid inundating this knitting blog with random facts about Down syndrome and drowning out pictures of knitting with pictures of our new baby, I started a new blog just for her. As we adjust to having a child with special needs and experience the blessings that are sure to come with the struggles, I will be keeping a sort of journal about it at 321blessing.com. Check it out. Or don’t. Either way, look for more knitting posts here on woolandchocolate in the coming weeks.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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