Fresh Air

 

Lately, we have been inside a LOT. New baby, c section recovery and just plain bad weather have kept us at home more than I’d like. Last week we were very happy to see sunshine and blue sky and jumped at the chance to go for a walk. It was still very cold but that’s ok, we have coats! We walked the path under the castle and along the lane to see the chickens and the two big porky pigs basking in the sunshine. Andy walked with TTB and I pushed TTG in her pram, making the most of the chance to use my SLR. I’m trying to use it as much as I can so that I don’t forget the things I learnt last year. I really enjoy noticing things when we are out and about: a Grey Wagtail hopping about on the rocks, a submerged tree trunk that looks like a crocodile, the first blossom (blackthorn?) a twisty creeper growing around a tree trunk. TTB is a noticer as well and it makes me beam with happiness listening to his joyful chatter when we go for walks. How privileged I am to hear about all of the things that he sees.

Blankets for Tiny Tin Girl

Right! Blanket photos as promised. I made about 23552984 blankets in January and February (ok, slight exaggeration it was more like 9 or 10) and I feel slightly twitchy about not posting them in the order that I made them but I’m just happy to be posting them at all! Shouty baby has been very shouty the last couple of evenings which has not been conducive to blogging. Well, that and because we’ve been using my laptop to watch Grand Designs on. I love Grand Designs!

As usual, this is Stylecraft Special dk and I’ve used a 4mm hook. It’s a granny stripe blanket and I used Attic24’s instructions which you can find here. I used: Saffron, Spring Green, Pomegranate, Sherbet, Turquoise, Aspen, Fondant and Magenta for the main blanket body, and then I used Meadow and Pomegranate for the border.

I did a starting chain of 105 stitches and the blanket is 72 rows long. I’ve been experimenting with wide stripes and colour blocking because it works up SO quickly and I only had to plan out one set of colours and just work through them, rather than having to choose 35 or so colours if I was doing 2 stripes per colour. Each colour block here is 8 rows. I did have measurements for the blanket somewhere but I can’t remember where I put them and TTG has just started to cry. Bear with me! I’ll edit them in if I can find them. Aha ok, it’s about 72 x 56cm. Just right for a pram or carseat and general snuggling.

The second blanket I made for TTG is bigger, I did a 120 starting chain and it’s 25 stripes long. Each stripe is made up of 3 rows of TR stitches. Proportionally I think it’s a bit too narrow for how long it is, but I miscounted my colours: I thought I had 20 colours but I had 25 so instead of being 80 stripes long it’s 100. It doesn’t matter though, I use it all the time to bundle TTG up for sleeping.

The idea for this blanket came when I was making yarn pegs of all the yarn colours I had. At that time I had all my usual bright colours as well as a whole lot left over from the Cottage Squares blanket. They are two quite distinct palettes that don’t sit completely harmoniously with each other but the more I looked at my yarn pegs the more I just wanted to go for it and make a stripy blanket with every colour that I had. I think it would look great as tiny squares too, an every colour blanket of tiny squares. That would be ace.

I was unsure for a while about adding a border but in the end I went with a simple pomegranate one – just two rounds of HTR (half trebles) and I think it finishes it off really nicely.

Let’s talk about the colours then! I like to think of this as a kind of rainbow gradient, but I started and ended with blues because I had the most of those and it looked more balanced to bookend the blanket with them rather than have it effectively half blues and half everything else.

From left to right: denim, aster, sherbet, cloud blue, lavender, wisteria, violet, grape, plum, magenta, raspberry, pale rose, fondant, pomegranate, spice, saffron, camel, parchment, mocha, lime, meadow, spring green, aspen, turquoise and petrol.

I hope this post is coherent, I wrote half of it last night and half of it just now and then when I tried to publish it, wordpress just deleted the half I’ve just written and I had to write it again, pausing to settle Grumpy “I want to sleep” Baby and I just hope I haven’t missed anything! Quick summary: I made two stripy blankets, one with lots of colours that don’t quite go but they kind of do. And I like stripes. But I think you knew that already.

x

The Second Time Around

 

Thank you for all your wonderful congratulations, I’ve had such a lovely time reading through all of your comments. I think she is beautiful as well :-) and I’m so happy that she’s here. Baby Girl will be two weeks old tomorrow (edit: I wrote this last week. She’s 3 weeks and 1 day now.) and that both feels right and wrong – I can’t believe it’s been so long since she was born but I also can’t believe how busy we’ve been and that we’ve sort of hit the ground running this time. We’ve seen a lot of family and friends in the last couple of weeks and it’s been brilliant. I didn’t organise much help when TTB was born and sorely regretted it. My recovery (particularly mentally) last time took a long time and I was determined to make things as easy as I could for myself this time around.

After TTB was born – hang on for a tick. I hope that my nicknames and acronyms aren’t going to be confusing. I don’t particularly want to reveal my children’s names on here (and I’ll stop doing face photos after this again, too) but I do like to talk a bit about them. Are we ok with TTB and TTG? That can still be Tiny Tin Bird or it could be Tiny Tin Boy, but TTG = Tiny Tin Girl. Hope that’s ok. I’ll put something in the sidebar or something.

Anyway as I was saying, after TTB was born I wrote out a huge lengthy birth story, totalling some 9000 words and I don’t even think I finished it all. I put a shorter and less grizzly version on here and it felt very cathartic to do so. I also wrote about how his birth was still affecting me six weeks on and that I spoke to my (wonderful) midwife about it all and felt a lot better for it. I still took a long time to come to terms with what had happened and it definitely affected how I approached birth this time.

At the start of my pregnancy I was relatively sure that I wanted to try for a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean), but that I would choose to have an elective caesarean rather than be induced again. The consultant agreed but wanted to do a growth scan at 34 weeks and if the baby was big (as TTB had been 9lb 07) they would recommend a caesarean at term. I was ok with that. In some ways I wanted them to just tell me to have a caesarean! But then as time went on, the more I thought about it the more I realised that I just couldn’t go through with it. I was at peace now with what happened during TTB’s birth … but the thought of going through it again made me feel very panicky. I know that every birth is different and it wasn’t definite that the same things would happen again but I just felt like I couldn’t risk another long and exhausting labour and end up having another emergency section and be so ill again afterwards.

I made up my mind and at my consultant appointment at the start of February I requested an elective caesarean. No problem – we went through the risks, I signed a consent form and then they gave me the date: 3rd of March. Oh it was such a relief to know! I called my mum so that she could book the time off of work (her work have been super, thank you Robyn!) to enable her to come up here and look after TTB for me while I was in the hospital. (I was worried about him as I’d not spent a night away from him but he was so good. I was really proud.)

Our first morning together

On the morning of the 3rd March, we said goodbye to TTB at 7am and drove to the hospital to be at the post natal ward for 7:30am. There we were shown to a room, and I was given a gown to change into. We were taken down to the Labour Ward and given a bed on the Induction Suite (I was not expecting that bit but I felt ok even though the induction was the worst bit last time.). Then we basically just waited all day! There’d been a mix up with my dates and the main calendar that all the doctors work from had me down as the 4th not the 3rd, so I had to wait for another elective and three emergencies to go before me. I’d been fasting since 10:30pm the night before so I was really hungry! But it was ok really, I’d been so busy for weeks trying to get everything sorted and parent an energetic two year old that it was lovely to just lay around and not have to do anything! It was quite surreal that we were going to meet our baby that day and I spent a while just holding the little hat and clothes we’d brought for her.

At half past three, my Amazing Student Midwife came and got us and we walked to theatre. They let Andy come in while they sited the spinal (took two attempts and I was worried they’d have to do a general) but it was fine. Then they laid me down on the table and tilted it back and to the left, and then tested the spinal was working with a really cold spray. It was bizarre going through all of this while not exhausted, in pain and in tears! The whole team were really jokey and happy and it was just a really different experience. I was still incredibly nervous and scared, particularly when the surgery started but I just concentrated on having a conversation with the operating room practitioner, we talked about his 19 month old daughter and my TTB and their language and the funny things they do. He was SO calming and encouraging and was just wonderful and I don’t think I’d have been so calm without him talking me through everything.

When my baby was delivered, they held her up over the screen, Andy was able to take a couple of photos of her being held up like that and they’re just brilliant, I will treasure them for always. I cried and cried and cried when I saw her, and heard her cry. I think they were mainly tears of relief. I have been very unsure whether to mention the next things on here as it’s not really mine to share, but in the three weeks leading up to her birth, two very special (and completely unrelated) friends suffered very tragic losses and I had been so overcome with grief and sadness for them that I had felt very disconnected from, unworthy of, and scared for, my baby. So to have her born, and be safe, and mine, was such a huge relief. I’d been worried about bonding with her, or that I wouldn’t recognise her, but I did, and I do, and she’s mine and it’s ok to be happy about her. (This is also why I didn’t blog for a month. There was just tragedy and sadness everywhere and I had no words to say anything.)

Andy held her wrapped in towels, and then later cut her cord. She was weighed next to the bed and I was able to use my phone to take photos. My Amazing Student Midwife photographed things for me too, with my camera. She played a huge part in helping me to have a positive birth experience. It was just luck really, that I was due at the right time and that she was at my 17 week appointment. But she’s just been wonderful: she’s done all my antenatals, has attended my consultant appointments and my growth scan. She was compassionate and supportive when I was struggling with grief, she was at the birth, took lots of photos, and did all my post natal care. I was rather sad to say goodbye at our ten day check!

I was well enough to be discharged the next day, just 28 hours after TTG was born. My mum and sister were waiting at home for us and it was fantastic to come home to a warm, lighted house and be welcomed in. All of these things made such a difference. TTB met his sister the next morning and has been very taken with her ever since. He’s been so good, but now all of our family have gone home he’s feeling the changes a bit more I think. He’ll be ok, he just needs love and attention. It  is a big change for him.

***** Three weeks old now!*****

I wrote this post last Monday and never had the chance to finish it. TTG is now three weeks and one day old and she’s just fab. We’re getting on fine, TTB still wakes up a lot at night (he always has) which is tiring, especially for Andy, but other than that we’re ok. I’ve managed to leave the house with them both a couple of times and I felt like superwoman for doing so haha. It was fine. TTG just slept in her pram and I got TTB to playgroup on time with no worries. The bigger tests will be things like taking them actually out somewhere on my own rather than just doing playgroup drop off. Saying that, it’s Easter holidays at the end of this week and I feel that’s going to be a huge challenge: two weeks of entertaining TTB at home with none of the respite that playgroup brings!

At the moment I’m trying to get all my thank you cards written and keep some semblance of order in the house. It’s messy, but I’m up to date with the washing. I just need to find some motivation to do proper cooking! I know it’s mostly important to spend time with my baby and my boy, but it helps if the washing is done really.

We had our first trip away, too, at the weekend to stay with my mum and introduce TTG to her Great Grandma. That was really lovely. It means more than I can put into words really. Very special.

I have lots of crochet blankets to show you too! I’ll see if I can get the photos sorted and post them soon. I made loads before TTG was born! Right, I’m off to do that now. Back soon! xxx