Friday, March 20, 2009

Knock It Off!

*I keep editing this, because I keep forgetting things. Forgive me if you are using a reader!*

I actually look pregnant, believe it or not. It's not baby, or anything yet, of course - it's all fun stuff, like huge amounts of gas, and water (I'm Jupiter! I'm Neptune! I'm Jupiter! I'm Neptune!)

Anyway, my two favorite pair of pants do not fit me comfortably anymore unless I unbutton them. So, I made a knockoff maternity gadget, that will remain nameless (basically, it's a "Second letter of the alphabet" Band). Too effing easy to make to spend $20+ on one! Sheesh! This band hooks around the front belt loops of pants with snaps, and stretches comfortably to hide the unbuttons and resulting belly gap. Pretty nifty, imo. I might have to make them for my family for Thanksgiving Day use ;)

It's dark, and I am really tired, so I don't have a picture of the K Band in use, but I can assure you, it is in use right now. Every night, I lie on the sofa with my feet up, and my pants unbuttoned, and honestly, it just makes me feel fat. This is much better =]

Here is my little drawing, so that you can visualize my awesome new K Band. Except that mine is made of black cotton/lycra, with black snaps. The short ends are not turned & topstitched or anything; I just serged across them with black thread (they are hidden when they are looped around the beltloops, anyway. Oh, and the other half of the snaps is hidden in the diagram by the folded over ends. There are four complete sets of snaps on this.

I cut a rectangle 5in by [how long the fabric was when I stretched it comfortably from beltloop to beltloop over my unbuttoned pants]. I ironed the curly edges of the fabric flat, ironed a small strip of lightweight interfacing to each end (about 5in x 1in), folded the piece in half long-ways, and stitched up the long open edge. Back to the ironing board, I worked the piece so that the seam was centered in what became the back of the band, and ironed it flat, making sure not to slide my iron around so that I didn't stretch out the fabric much. Serged up the short ends, and applied snaps to the ends. I found that keeping the outer snaps closer to the corners kept the corners from poking out, or getting weird shaping from edges curling, etc.

I used lightweight iron-on interfacing on the very ends of the band, so that the snaps wouldn't rip through the fabric, but the center portion of the band would still remain stretchy. I wish there was stretchy interfacing...

I have some more of this type of fabric, and will probably make a couple more of these. But first, I need a new cap die for my snap press. After surviving countless trips across the country and back, little kids, big kids, men that are fascinated by a sewing "tool", this one die has finally wandered off.

If my mom is reading this: I used some of the black stretchy fabric you sent me ages ago to use on the edges of boggles my mind how I managed to hang onto so much of my stash throughout these past 5 years! I think I have a gift...or a problem ;)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Lucky Number 7!

Every birthday my kids have is so special to me. I lost so many babies before they came along, and I hope that one day they will realize how special they are to me, and how encouraging they are to me. Every day that I see them running and jumping, singing, doing their homework, complaining about a bully at school, or quivering that lower lip because they are SO SAD because they wouldn't stop jumping on the sofa and got grounded, or tying 13 ribbons around the cat's tail and beg to re-name it "Pretty Princess"...every day I see these things, and I am reminded that I created the best that the world has to offer, and that I can do it again!

My Ashley is 7 years old today. At 10:20am March 18, 2002, my awesome dr yanked that little girl from my abdomen while her father and I - and the entire staff in the operating room - were singing along to the radio: "Hotel California". Funny, I had never liked that song before. She had a platinum cord, with a TRUE knot in it, and it was also wrapped around her neck. She was in a breech position, with one foot presenting (my cervix dealt with that for 2 months!), her other foot up next to her ear, squished between my ribs. Through all of this, she came out perfect, 7lbs, 13oz, with cheeks so chubby, the drs actually measured her jaw to find out why her chin looked so "pushed in" lol!

Ashley's favorite things to do now are singing (she is very good at making up songs), any kind of art, and playing "school teacher" to her [literally] hundreds of stuffed animals. And, of course, every one of those hundreds of animals sleep with her on her bed (E.T. style ;). Every night, she whispers a prayer over my belly that this baby will come out to meet her. I think she must be the sweetest thing ever ^_^

So, happy birthday Ashley! Thank you for all that you have done for me <3

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Maybe Baby

My final hCG Quantitative results came back. To date, we have:

1999 on Monday
2600 on Wednesday
4452 on Friday

I think these numbers look wonderful; as I have previously stated, the numbers should be doubling every 72-96 hours. Since these tests are only 48 hours apart, it's hard to tell, but I think they look good. They are moving up, so, at this point, I am still pregnant, until proven otherwise.

I am getting really bad headaches, and I have to drink prune juice every morning. Tylenol doesn't do a THING for the headaches, but the prune juice has solved the problem of the cramping. Basically, I still FEEL pregnant. I just wish I had morning sickness; did you know that morning sickness is actually linked to a decrease in miscarriage risk? How fun.

What I am really scared about right now is a blighted ovum. Quite simply, this means that everything moves along in order, except that a baby never develops. Gestational sac keeps on truckin', body keeps on preparin', etc. We thought I was 6wks pregnant, at which time an embryo SHOULD be seen, but all we saw was a gestational sac. So....yeah. It would be a new one for me - I have not miscarried in that way before. In fact, if it is a blighted ovum, I will have miscarried in every way, excepting voluntary abortion.

How fun.

Friday, March 13, 2009

the shining tunnel at the end of the light

After looking up hcg quants all morning on the intrawebz, I've found that once the number gets above 1200, it takes 72-96 hours for the number to double. My dr seemed to think my pg was over, because my number did not double in 48 hours.

So I got a new dr. I did this last year, too, though. I remember my husband saying, "I know this sucks, but going to a new dr is not going to magically bring our baby back to life." Well, whatever. It's true, but my numbers are NOT showing that I am losing this baby. My ultrasound did not show that I am losing this baby. All this was confirmed when I called my new dr.

Some women's hcg is so low, that they do not even register positive on pee stick until they are 3mos pg. Some women have what is traditionally considered very low, not-viable, numbers and go on to have perfectly healthy babies. "Normal" is different for every body, and every pregnancy, and it is impossible to create an all-encompassing STANDARD for these things.

My point is, I'm not giving up on this one, yet, and I found a dr that is also not ready to give up. I kinda wish I had not gotten the hcg quants testing. I kinda wish I hadn't had the u/s that said that my baby is almost 2 whole weeks younger than we thought (this means that I implanted later than we think, or the pregnancy has already ended). Unfortunately, I do not have the luxury of sitting back, and letting what will be, be.

*As I was typing this, I found myself suddenly doubled over in pain, cramps, crying horrible cut-me-in-two abdominal distress. Could be gas. I had enchiladas for lunch. Could not be gas. We'll see...*

And one for the road...

My hcg was 1999 on Monday, only 2600 on Wednesday; it is supposed to at least double every 48 hours in a viable pregnancy. Not sure if I will try to conceive again; hubby ships off for several months on Feb 5th. If I am not pregnant within the next like, 6 weeks, he will miss the birth. Or I suppose I could just wait to start trying again until the end of the year, and be pregnant while he is gone, but so far, it takes us one year to conceive anyway, so should I even bother waiting? Could I really handle going through this again, possibly alone?

Idk. I had two perfectly healthy, easy pregnancies. Easy to conceive, easy to carry, healthy babies. Now it's just loss after loss after loss. Am I just not supposed to have anymore babies? Is it possible that the drs screwed something up during my cesarean with my last baby? Can't I please just have ONE child with my husband?? This is our 5th loss in the short 3 years we've been trying.

How do I tell my kids AGAIN that yet another baby is not going to be coming home?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Had my first ultrasound today.

We found a gestational sac, measuring 4w4d on the u/s. I started puking right there on the table...puking during trans-vag ultrasound is NOT fun! I was so sure that that empty black spot on the screen was where my baby should be.

My first hcg quants are 1999 (hubby says: "I guess we should party?"), but I have to wait another couple hours to find out if they doubled (had blood drawn this morning). Hcg is the "pregnancy hormone" that pee-on-a-stick tests are detecting. The amount of hcg is supposed to double about every 48hrs.

All in all, the dr says that I am pg, but that I am only 4wk4d pg, not 6wk3d, as we had previously calculated. My cycles are 31 days long, my LMP was Jan 25th. Although, I am looking back at my chart, and I had a neg preg test on Feb 22 that I had forgotten about! Feb 22 was 17 days ago, which means that I am most likely only about 4wks pg, I think; what do you think? Here is my chart. Am I just getting my hopes up? Am I just seeing what I want to see?

On to the other stuff: my dr is SO terrified of my Marfan's, that I really think she is "building me up" to abort! She says that Marfan's patients have a risk of heart RUPTURE, because of increased blood volume during pg. She actually said, "Well, you shouldn't bee too concerned, at least you already have two healthy children...knock on wood." Arg. Okay, I actually do like this dr, so I'll try not to make her look like a tool. Anyway, Marfan's can cause enlarged aortas, and enlargement of the heart itself, which can lead to rupture. *I* do not have these conditions. *I* can run, I chase my kids all over the beach, I ride my bike with them! I don't go rockclimbing anymore, but I can still go hiking in the mountains, and I can still swim a mile in a lake with a current!

So, she's ordered a bunch of genetic tests, a full thrombophilia work up. She has also demanded that I see an internal medicine dr, to get in to see a cardiologist, because *IF* this pg continues, she wants me on constant heart monitoring. She expects that I have some blood/clotting disorder, and is already planning on putting me on Heparin & baby aspirin. She says that I will need the blood thinners for my entire pg, and at least 6wks after birth. Oddly enough, my non-pg related drs have always told me to stay away from things that thinned my blood (alcohol *snort*). They were afraid that it would cause my superficial clots to move around.

I had been concerned about the progesterone that my previous dr prescribed for me. She says that they do not bother testing prog levels, because they vary so greatly from individual to individual, that there is no "standard" or "normal". She says that half the studies show that it can help, whereas half show that it has no effect. So, I am paying hundreds of dollars a month "just in case". Okay. Whatever, I got a fat tax return. But the box also warns about horrible birth defects if it is used in the 1T. Dr says that she has never heard of that before, and not to worry about it ~.^

The dr also mentioned that my hcg quants were low, but still higher than what the u/s showed (??), and that depending on my quants today, and again on Friday, she wants me in for another u/s soon. She suspects that I could have another pregnancy, ectopic, which may be throwing off my numbers O_O !!??@&%#^$* Great. I manage to make TWO babies, and don't get to keep either of them? This just isn't fair -_-

I'm so exhausted right now, I can barely keep my eyes open. I was supposed to get the blood drawn for the genetic tests today, but the dr wrote them in a really funky way, and some of the tests the lab isn't sure what she is talking about, and the dr wrote a fasting test, but then told me to go get it done immediately, so they are having to work all that out. I go in tomorrow morning for the blood draw, and again Friday morning for another hcg quants.

I think I need a nap. But first, here is the list of tests the dr ordered for me. Some are really hard to read, so I might be spelling them wrong:
Factor V Leiden mutation
Prothrombin G20210 A mutation
Anticardiolipin IgG
Prothrombin aPTT
Homocysteine fasting (this is the reason I couldn't get the tests done today-the dr said nothing about fasting!)
VAT III antigene activity lvl
Pro C antigene activity lvl
Pro S antigene activity lvl (my awesome lab guy told me that these "Pro"s mean "Protein", but my dr abbrev. it wrong, should be"Prot")

Google says "antigene" is "antigen"; I'm assuming the difference is that my dr is foreign (from Iran, studied in France, then got her U.S. licensing in N.Y.)

Ooookay, nap, then I will research what all these tests mean, and look for u/s pics of gestational sacs! From what I can see so far, these tests just mean I'll need blood thinners for a long time.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Savage selvages!

I am *dying* to make some of these:

*Photo belongs to Quilts by Elena. Check her out, great stuff!*

My husband pointed out to me recently how much I love to make pincushions.I had never noticed before. I guess they are just quick, instant-gratification things. I get really bad anxiety attacks if I am not being productive in some way (makes it hard for me to sleep at night!), so pincushions fill a lot of gaps in my life where I don't have a lot of time, a lot of motivation, or am suffering a creativity block. Oddly enough, I have never thought to photo and share many of them. I guess they really are just "filler" items in my life *shrug*

So, back to these lovely selvage pincushions, there are two things keeping me from jumping on the project right now. Firstly, would I sew each selvage together, or use fusible web to stick them all together? If I used fusible, would that be okay for my pins to be poking through over and over? And, secondly, I don't have many selvages! I use felt, and knits, and fleece...I have a couple boxes full of fat quarters but I haven't found many selvages in them =[

Hopefully I will win the awesome selvage giveaway over at Moda Lissa! Seriously, you have GOT to get over there and see the rad selvage ball that she made - it just makes me smile =D

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

I just can't help myself!

More baby stuff:

Free pattern for Noodle Baby Hat from Haakpoes
Free pattern for Grandma's easy 10-step Booties on Ravelry

Yarns are: Red Heart Soft Yarn in white, and Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille in Fruit Salad.

Another Noodle hat - I just love these things! I didn't put the cuff ont his one, although I am thinking I will. I don't really want to, because the cuff is really boring and long to make, lol...but the hat feels like it is missisng something =X

The booties are SO simple, and very cute, I think =] They really take about 30-45mins to make the pair. They are worked flat, and come out looking kinda upsidedown-"T"-shaped, then it's stitched up. Simple! I'm not sure I am going to leave the variegated cord in there; I have ribbon that looks just like that yarn, but would probably be easier to tie/untie.

I added the picot edge to the top of the booties: After completing final row, turn. *Sl st in nxt st, ch1, sl st in same st* across. That's def my favorite picot edge, I tend to use it a lot (like on my mushrooms in the last post).

I spent all day yesterday cleaning. I mean, ALL DAY. I didn't do anything else but clean! lol It was nice, though I still haven't tackled my bedroom (yikes). We need to have someone come in and take a look at our wiring; both bedrooms only have one working outlet now =X Very inconvenient! But I suppose I should make sure that the electrician can actually WALK through the rooms before I call, eh? ;)

Monday, March 02, 2009

Baby, it's cold, I mean hot, I mean cold, I mean....

Wow. I'm like, pregnant. FOR REAL. Puking, peeing, craving, sleeping, demanding, pregnant. Quitting smoking has been surprisingly easy - the smell makes me barf. Unfortunately...wait, I mean UNFORTUNATELY, coffee makes me barf, too! as do eggs, asparagus, and most dairy =[ I'm craving chicken like WOAH - not just any chicken, but Shake -n-Bake chicken. I bought a giant box of it, and have been eating probably 2-3lbs of Shake-n-Bake chicken a day. The last time I had Shank-n-Bake, my mother made it for me. And my mother had stopped cooking by the time I was in jr. high, so it was a looooong time ago!

Oh, for the record, my due date is November 1, but since I will be having a scheduled c-section, this baby will most like be born on Oct 26. I think that is great! I'll be fat when it's warm out- (my mom has always warned be that this is NOT a good thing, but...)-that means that I can get away with shorts and capris, instead of the $70 extra tall maternity pants! Seriously, with my two kids, I spent more on two pairs of maternity pants than I did on their carseats & layettes!

Okay, I'm done being pregnant for now. On to the crafty stuff!

I finished the doodle scarf I had been working on - it only took me a couple days =] Using a heavy worsted wool, I chained until it was ~about~ 6ft long ("Charlie, can you stand up, please?" *measuring chain vs. his height* "Okay,thanks".), and then made loops of chains, fastening each back into it's beginning with a slip stitch. I worked single crochet up the chain, between the loops. I had originally planned to go up one side, then back down the other but I got about halfway back down the 2nd side, and I didn't like it. So I stuck with the one side =] I have already gotten several complements on it and it is surprisingly warm, for how small it is!

Next up, these sweet little mushrooms that I spent WEEKS perfecting the pattern for! (that will be available soon, right here - I just need the weather to cooperate for some pics!). These were made for some swaps: 5 went to KnitSonya, for her Handmade Mushroom Swap; the red one went to Sonya, herself; there are two more, with green sequin spots instead of the white felt spots, and those are going to two different Swapbot swaps.

And, finally, I whipped out this little baby cap yesterday. The cap went really quickly, took less than an hour, but the cuff seemed like it took forever, heh. I just worked on it a bit here and there; while drinking chai, and eating the most perfect raspberry chocolate mousse at Kelly's Bakery (seriously, it was the size of a votive candle, but it was perfect!); worked on it a lot while Charles was taking a cigarette break-he's really sweet, and sits pretty far away from me when he smokes now, but I like to sit out there with him, and chit chat =] I also worked on the brim a lot while Charles was cleaning and sterilising the kitchen to bottle our most recent batch of mead (his brewing blog will be updated this evening). Oh,a nd yes, I did taste a sip of the mead! We bottled the cranberry apple, and it was a lot more dry than we expected, and also a lot more apple than cranberry. Has a weird flavor to it, I think it needs to age for a few months, but Charles drank half a bottle of it last night!

Oh yeah, the hat! The pattern is the Noodle Baby Hat on Ravelry, by Deirdre Fabery.

Oh, and here is an "in progress" picture of the Swirls Cap that I am working on for me! I totally <3 fpdc =]

So...yeah, a lot of yarning going on! I actually have several ATCs that I've yet to post, too, but I need to go work on getting the rest of my Lottsa ATCs for Swapbot!

Crap, see how braindead I am?? I keep forgetting that I have more to say ;) My husband is giving me my progesterone injections every night (100mg), and doing a very good job of it =] Progesterone is the same hormone that is responsible for PMS symptoms, so I'm just not even trying to be "normal" anymore, lol. Anyway, I wanted to publicly dote on my amazing husband, who although pretty apathetic about having a child of his own, has been incredibly supportive, and just all around sweet. I have been getting breakfast in bed, flowers, and VIP treatment since I broke the news to him =] I'm not sure if he is just hiding excitement/joy, or if he is trying extra careful to make sure that the baby and I am okay, because he was so torn up seeing ME so torn up last year.

Either way, I'm enjoying it =]