29 January 2017

Working towards another finish

This is my project for the week.
I have no idea what the actual name of the kit is called, I know I bought it when I had just gotten back into stitching. It's been kicking around my house since 1999, maybe 2000 at the latest.  I thought it would be lovely to wrap one of the babies I thought I would have with my then-boyfriend in, but obviously we didn't have kids together. I finished the stitching years ago, but didn't know how to finish it without a sewing machine at first, and then it was a pretty intimidating project to attempt to finish. I am not good at tying knots, and the idea of tying the knots all around the aghan was distasteful. So, it got put away and forgotten about.
In the meantime, I did two afghans: Santa's Journey, from an old issue of the UK Cross Stitcher, and this cat afghan from the American Cross Stitcher. I had done a freebie tabletopper from Dutch Treat Designs that used nun-stitching to edge the finish as well and I liked it. It seemed like a more pleasing option to finish. So to find out you could edge an afghan!  But it's not a quick technique, so I still didn't use it.  I probably wouldn't have used it on the other two except they were fair entries.  So it stayed in the drawer.
When I found out I was pregnant, I remembered it was there, and what I wanted to do with it, so it came home, where it spent the summer by my couch . . . Do you see where I am going with this? 
Anyway, now that we may be starting to get closer to the end of our NICU stay, I really want to get this done to cover Lolo when he comes home. I started working on the edging a while ago, but I miscounted threads, so all that came out and I restarted it. So far it seems to be moving along. There are 24 block-lengths to do, I have 9 completed. I should have it done by mid week, then I will have this washed and ready to go when we need it. I am not planning on backing this one. I find putting the batting in makes it stiff, and I can't find a flannel I like, nor do I have time to put it on correctly. This project is far from perfect, but it's intended to be used. It was stitched with love and hope, so it needs to be useful.
I have found out that this is not one of the more commonly-known stitches, so I have included a diagram tutorial on how to do it. One of the tips I picked up through the year is to take the threads that are going to be pulled off the sides to do the stitch--it matches the afghan, you're using threads that would be thrown away, AND it costs nothing extra. I like the look of it. Just don't pull them from close to where you're stitching til you are done that side.
So that is all that is going on here. I hope everyone is having an enjoyable stitching week.

22 January 2017

2016 year in review

I am so far behind in updating my stitching projects. It's almost the end of January, and I haven't had a chance to finalize what I did last year.

2016 Finishes

  • 30 December-A Child is Born-JCS 2016 Ornament Issue
  • 20 December--Sleeping Peace Fox-JCS Ornament issue 2016
  • 17 October-Brittercup-JCS Ornament issue 2011
  • 6 October-Friendsheep freebie
  • 28 September-Mitten Mitten-Cricket Collection freebie
  • 21 September-In My Daughter's Eyes-custom chart
  • 4 September-Snow Kid-JCS ornament Preview 2014
  • 31 AugustHallelujah-Little House Needleworks
  • 10 August-Noel freebie
  • 4 August-Winter mini-block-Hinzeit
  • 15 July-Snow Baby-SamSarah-JCS Ornament Issue 2014
  • 8 July-Little Fan Freebie-Cricket Collection
  • 6 July-Icky Spooky
  • 29 June-Salem Sisters-Plum Street Samplers
  • 22 June-Delivering Summer-Homespun Elegance
  • 16 June-Haunted Tea Party-Brooke's Books
  • 27 May-Celebrations-Summer--Country Cottage Needleworks
  • 10 May-Birdsong 1-Prairie Schooler
  • 23 April-Autumn Shadows-Gathering Place
  • 13 April--The Gift-Blackberry Lane Designs
  • 24 March-Rabbits-Prairie Schooler
  • 5 March-Frost is on the Pumpkin-Just Nan
  • 3 March-Santa's Pets-BH&G 2009 Cross stitch Calendar
  • 28 January-Kitty's Life-Prairie Grove Peddler
  • 21 January-Fox Ornament-Bucilla
  • 20 January-All Dressed Up for the Holidays-JCS 2005-Vermilion Stitchery
  • 15 January-Language of Flowers-UK Cross Stitcher
  • 12 January-Autumn-KissyCross
  • 8 January-Pumpkin-CM Designs

I had 29 finishes last year. 17 of them were Bin of Good Intentions finishes, things that had been started and put aside. I am pretty proud of that. Since I had at least 80 WIPs and UFOs at the start of the year, That is over a 20% reduction in that number, and it included 2 very large projects: Santa's Pets and In My Daughter's Eyes. In 2015, I kitted up SC Noah's Sub, but have never started it, because I set myself the rule that I could not start it until I had finished my Dimensions wolf cub kit, Sleepy Hollow, the 12 monthly floss tags a designer put out in 2009 and the above-listed charts. I only have to finish the floss tags at this point to start the project, which is awesome because getting 4 large projects completed in just over a year is a big deal for me.

I don't have any set plans for 2017. I started the Frosted Pumpkin Happily Ever After SAL this week. I am stitching it on Crystal Barnwood Lugana from PTP and I have to say, as of now, I like it. I think it's going to be a project I can complete while Logan is still a tiny guy.  I will try to post pictures this week of it. I also have a project of seasonal snowmen from Sanman to work on. I noticed a couple people on Flosstube were planning on doing seasonal projects, and only working on the season they were in during that time, so I figured I could do that. Sanmans aren't that complicated, so it should be something I can do quickly. And I want to focus on finishing things. I actually completed 4 projects this year, the pillow I showed in my October post, a small winter pin pillow, and two ornaments. I am getting a little more comfortable with my sewing machine, and starting to learn some better finishing tips (Twisted Stitcher's YouTube videos are wonderful, but I also have some exceptional finishers in my stitching group), so that helps.

I know that I'm not going to be able to have a lot of finishes this year. Not with a small baby who will require more doctor visits than typical. Not with trying to get the house ready to move. But I'm learning to live a little more contently. Every stitch is one more than I had. And that's OK.

21 January 2017

My life now

Since the last time I posted, my life has become very different. Most of the people that read my blog know me via other forms of social media, and so they know that, at 9:29PM on October 7th, our lovely little boy, Logan James, was born. They had wanted to try to keep me pregnant for another 5 weeks, but my blood pressure soared out of control and he was born to save my life. I was all by myself; Left-brain had been in to visit, but he took Someone Small home, and the call came just when he walked in the door, 45 minutes away. He wanted to know what he should do, I told him that he wouldn't be able to get back in time, and he couldn't come into the OR with our 4 year old, so it was what it was.

The anaesthesiologist was my birth coach. The entire high-risk staff was awesome. My OB was able to do the c-section for me; he teaches at the hospital once a month and it was his night to be there. Someone was watching out for me. The nurses were talking to me and letting me know Lolo was OK. And we'd get through this. They were actually playing music and talking about their weekend plans while everything was happening and it was bizarrely comforting. This is what that team does and they do it well enough that they can chat about the weekend.  

 He was 2 lbs, 4 oz, small, but not with any real health issues. Since then, he has been in the NICU, growing and getting stronger. He did have some issues coming off the nasal cannula and the caffeine they give preemies, but those resolved by Thanksgiving. He is now having some feeding issues. The doctors are still trying to decide if they want to send him home on an implanted feeding tube or if it's just a matter of waiting. He also has reflux issues, which could be adding to the problems--the NG tube he is on now holds his stomach sphincter open and allows acid to go up and then when he eats, it irritates his tummy. Feeding is a slow process for him and stresses him out. He is doing a little better now that he is on some reflux meds, but it's a slow process.

 I have been off work since I went into the hospital.  8 weeks of that was healing from the surgery, but I had an addition time that was unpaid. A lot of parents with long term NICU patients will go back to work, and then take the rest of the time when the baby comes home, but I did it all at once. I was SO sure that he would be home by Christmas that I didn't want to go back for two weeks, then go back out for 8 weeks. So I took the time, made sure we had a beautiful holiday ready for him. We were even trying to figure out how to get Christmas pictures of him, would it be possible to get them before Christmas, or do them after the holiday and pretend. And then he didn't come home. And it was devastating. His presents were still under the Christmas tree when I took it down earlier this week. One of the NICU nurses gave us a tremendous gift of photographing him in a Santa hat and wintry ensemble, so we have our Christmas photos. It was a little piece of "normal" and I treasure that. 
They have all been so kind to us, even when I walked in that room, looking like death warmed over, sat by his warmer, and cried because the future is so unclear, and I just want to know he will be OK. Several times I have had to remind myself or have friends remind me, to "Be still and know that I am God." This is Lolo's journey, this is how he was meant to come into the world. I am so very grateful for the time I have been given to sit with him and enjoy him. I am so proud of him, honored he was given to me to love.

I go back to work next week. I had the legal option to leave my job to take care of my child, but we need my income and benefits, so it's back to work.  It is going to be a hard transition; I went from 60 to 0 overnight when I went in the hospital and now back to 60.  At least for now. My career stuff is up in the air as well. I am trusting that this is happening for a reason.

What kills me the most is that all this has happened because of a disease no one talks about. Before this, it was something that killed Lady Sybil on Downton Abbey, not something I thought would affect me. A lot of people we talk to since this happened have had family members affected, but no one can give a good explanation for why it happens.  75,000 women and 500,000 babies die from pre-eclampsia every year and the best explanation I could get from a medical person was that my body was allergic to the placenta. One doctor even asked me if my children were with the same father. YES!  There isn't even a decent treatment for it other than delivering the baby, which, as we see, isn't really a great option when you are only 28 weeks along in pregnancy. And I know it has to be frustrating. Obstetricians work to get babies in the world healthy and safe, and to see a tiny person fight to live has to hurt. 

So I decided to chronicle our journey on Facebook. I post Lolo's pictures. Even the early ones that are painful to look at because he has this worried look on his face and he is so tiny--his head fit with room to spare into my palm.  I want to bring attention to this, I want to show our journey as we recover from this awful change in our plans. We survived pre-eclampsia twice, it has to mean something. We didn't live to be the same as I was the day before it happened.  My hope is that maybe someone sees this and it spurs them to be a researcher and figure out why it happens. Because no mom should have to wait three days to hold her baby to keep him from having a brain bleed. No mom should have to choose her life over her baby's health. No mom should have to worry that, when she walks out of a NICU, she won't see her baby again.

So that's me in a general sense. I have been stitching. I will keep stitching. Tomorrow, I will probably post something stitch, I just wanted to explain where I have been and what I have been through.

I do my thing and you do yours. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, and you are not in this world to live up to mine. You are you and I am I, and if by chance we find each other, then it is beautiful. If not, it can’t be helped--Frederick Perls