Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Two FOs, One Almost FO
Jerome continues to grow and is still a very sweet baby. He nurses like a champ, has from the beginning, and is a quiet and easily calmed child. He does need a lot of mama time, but I don't begrudge him that. Today is my first day at home without full time help, as Rich went back to work. Rich gets Amira up in the morning, and comes home at lunch to check on us and do the things I can't right now. Fortunately, meals are taken care of for the most part, and we have enough in the freezer to last until I am up to cooking regularly again.
Monday, August 21, 2006
Biggest FO of the Year
Jerome Malaak was born at 8:20 a.m. on Friday, the 18th of August, 2006. He was 7 lbs 11 oz and 19 1/2 inches long. Both he and I are doing very well. This was the neatest c-section I've had done, and I lost very little blood out of a very small incision. Our doctor basically delivered him as though he were being born, only through the incision, so head came out, then shoulders as though he were coming through the birth canal. Our friend was able to be there to do my anesthesia, which was a huge comfort, and I've been recovering quickly as usual.
The picture above is the best shot we got while playing with the photo kiosk on our walk around the maternity floor. We didn't dress him up for fancy pictures, mostly we just wanted to see how the machine worked. We were glad that the baby photographers didn't come annoy us in our room like they used to do. Here are a couple more pictures.
The flash really threw him, so he looks kind of confused in this one.
And here he is up close to me.
Not surprisingly, I didn't get any knitting done while I was in there, but we were able to expose him to Jane Austen, as we were reading Pride and Prejudice aloud. I finished all the seams on Joe before Friday, and picked up for the neck, but never did the ribbing. If Jerome stays asleep long enough this afternoon, I may try to get that finished. If not, I have some time.
Our doctor told us that we should be in the hospital about 48 hours, and it was pretty close. The doctor on call came in at around 7:00 a.m. on Sunday to get the paperwork ready for her part of my discharge, and we were out of there by around 10:30 a.m.
Of course, because he is so small, relatively speaking, when we got home, Amira and Elijah just looked like giants. Amira is coping pretty well, and loves her little baby brother "Jerone," though it has been hard for her to be told she can't climb up to be with me. I try to let her sit next to me, and cuddle her a lot so she knows it isn't because I'm upset with her. Since I've been feeling so good, I have to be better about resting enough, so I don't push myself too far. I've spent most of today going in and out of sleep with Jerome. I won't have a whole lot to post about for some time, but I thought I'd make the announcement here. I don't think we have any photos of Jerome in his hat, but he is very cute in it, and he loves his blanket.
Monday, August 14, 2006
Still Working on Joe
Thanks to Venita at Vintage Knits Wool Shoppe, I will have some nice sock yarn to play with, and she also special ordered some Helen's Lace in Aslan for me. I thought I'd put in a plug for her here because of that. She has great prices, great service, she usually has a good sale on something going on, there are discounts if you spend more than $100 or $200 and if you get on her mailing list, she will send you additional coupons to use. I like her quite a bit. And the Helen's Lace was the cheapest price I have ever found it anywhere, she let me use the current month's coupons on the order, even though it was a special order.
I have most of the things we need for the hospital set aside and ready to go, including the knitting I am planning on bringing. I always bring too many books and too many projects with me, anywhere I go, let alone to a hospital where I will be having deep abdominal surgery and a new baby to look after, but I pack them nonetheless. If all goes as expected, I should be home Sunday or Monday morning at the latest. I've already told Rich that I'm going to ask the staff to start working on my discharge papers at around 6:30 a.m. on Sunday. I doubt I'll be blogging much right after our baby is here, but I will get at least a photo and some statistics up for our biggest FO of the year.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Rapid Progress on Joe
In order to make this actually fit my son and not have him swimming in it, I knit a size smaller than it said for his age, and I knit it to 4 3/4 sts to the inch rather than the 4 1/4 sts to the inch of the pattern. Partly to make it smaller, partly because I preferred the fabric made at that gauge. It was a simple thing to just knit longer on the sleeves and the body so the lengths would work for him. Like I said before, I just reversed the shaping on the left sleeve, rather than make it with a zipper on a sleeve seam. I'm just sewing it all up. Also, I did the increases and decreases one st in, rather than on the end as indicated in the pattern, except on the final two rows of the front (where it wasn't possible), because it makes finishing easier, and I also didn't bind off the sleeves or the back, so I could just use live sts when knitting the neck from those spots.
Anyway, here is the front and back with the right sleeve sewn in:
And here is the sweater with the left sleeve hanging out next to it.
I am leaning toward making this a birthday sweater, and making a hat to go with it for Christmas, even though that adds one more Christmas gift to knit. It would be a quick knit, and would allow Alexander to wear this for school pictures.
One more thing, please be in prayer for Dominic. I may not be the only member of our family to deal with surgery this year. His tonsils are so large that they are larger than the scale the doctors use to grade them. He has a hard time breathing, and because of them blocking the back of his throat so much, he is having hearing problems because he cannot equalize the pressure in his ears. Fortunately, the hearing issue is a symptom, and not a case of actual hearing loss, but the effect will be the same until something can be done. The ENT we saw is not knife happy, so we trust his judgment, and he thinks Dominic is a good candidate for surgery to get his tonsils and adenoids out. This is something we've been discussing with his pediatrician for a good year now, so it's a matter of deciding how and when to take care of it.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
I have been working on Alexander's sweater almost non-stop for the last week and a half, and I am already half way up the front. I started with a sleeve, did the back and then the other sleeve, so I may have the knitting finished by this weekend. If I can, I'd like to have it finished before the new baby arrives.
Rich and I were talking about perhaps making this a birthday sweater for him, so both he and Dominic have new sweaters to wear for school pictures. If I do that, I'll have to make something else for him for Christmas, maybe a matching hat or set of gloves.
Monday, August 07, 2006
Quality vs. Sanctity of Life
We've sure come a long way, haven't we? Now that we have all those "rights" to kill. It takes someone who doesn't think that life is sacred to decide whose life qualifies to continue. I wonder that people can say these things in the presence of the people they wish to kill or to have been killed. I think of the "wrongful life" suits that people are bringing and winning in some cases, where a woman or set of parents sues a doctor/hospital/clinic for somehow misdiagnosing something on ultrasound or not getting the information to her soon enough so she could abort. They bring these suits and continue fighting until as late as ten years afterward, when these children are now born and in their care. Why not put them up for adoption at birth if you don't want them, and it's "too late" to abort? Why can't you get over it eight or ten years later? How can you possibly continue with a lawsuit like that, saying that you would rather your child hadn't been born, and that even now, you would rather have killed the person who is coming into the courtroom as "evidence" than let them live, and still face that child?
It reminds me of a woman I used to communicate with on a usenet group some time ago. She was having infertility issues, a discussion about treatments came up, and I said I had some moral problems with the artificial treatments available now. There was a little debate, and eventually this woman ended up asking me to describe the healing I received which allowed me to bear children. I was reluctant to speak, since this was a highly secular and pretty anti-religious crowd, but she was very interested and insisted. I then related our story, being very conscious to make clear that I was only speaking for us and our experience. She then came back at me saying something about how I was telling her she didn't pray enough. I should have known to disengage at that point, since she was clearly not thinking all that straight, but I tried to explain that I was just telling our story. Well, things got heated after that, and I learned not to reply to her about things in that subject.
Fast forward a year or so, and she's in the middle of treatment, she relates some things about her marriage and the treatment that would have been red flags to me, but I knew better than to say anything at that point. They eventually have success, and she conceives twin boys. This is wonderful, or at least I thought so, and aside from having a truly strenuous and difficult pregnancy, which is hard to live through, I thought she would be thrilled. After all that work, and arguing that she deserved to have a pregnancy and getting all bent out of shape at anyone suggesting that the methods she wanted to use might be questionable, she makes a statement that after all it turns out that she probably should never have been a mother and she was making her husband go get "fixed." She complained bitterly about how much she disliked being at home with the boys, caring for their needs, and the hard labor that goes along with being a mother (let alone a mother of twins) entailed.
I really knew not to speak at that point, but was shocked at the turn around, and at how blindly supportive this crowd was about this decision as well, not a single person pointed out that she was the one who fought and pushed so hard for the "right" to have a baby, and that she was angry and defensive about anyone who questioned her methods, and actually made arguments to the effect of "You think because of my condition I shouldn't be a mother." Last I heard, she still thinks that my story, which she asked to know, was somehow an indictment of her, and laughably, that it was my indication that she didn't go to the right church/believe in the right things. What makes that such a laughable thought is that, of course, I never connected my story to her, and only talked about our experience, making clear that I didn't think it was such an easy proposition, and that it occurred in the context of a church that was not our own, not one we have much theological sympathy for, nor would we send anyone to that type of church or recommend it.
Anyway, what made me think of it was how in all these situations, the only thing I could hope was that the children wouldn't know or understand what was said about them. I grieve over the thought that these children (and adults who happen to be handicapped or mentally disabled) would hear and understand what their parents, the doctors or the courts say about their right to exist. I think of what I read recently which quoted an adult man with Down's syndrome, who spoke of the disparity between two positions Ted Kennedy holds (he is a vocal proponent of and, I believe financial supporter of the Special Olympics and also insists that no woman should have to bear the indignity of a "defective" or unwanted child). The man said "I may be slow, but I am not stupid. Does he think that people like me can't understand what he really thinks of us? That we are not really wanted? That it would be a better world if we didn't exist?" The commentator ended by saying "This seems to be exactly what so many of our fellow Americans actually think, though they prefer to say that they want to spare such children suffering." I would only add that they include adults and the elderly as well.
Meanwhile I am going into a surgery in a state with very "progressive" ideas about euthanasia, abortion, right to die issues, etc. I hereby wish to publicly announce what my health directive terms should be (modified from the Junkyard Blog's post last year). This is my Living Will:
No matter what happens to me, you are to keep me alive at all costs, financial, physical, temporal, emotional and spiritual. You are to use both ordinary and extraordinary means to keep me alive. Who knows, by the time this document is needed, a Tylenol may be seen as extraordinary means? Rather than being put in a hospital or questionable hospice facility, I want an in home nurse, who has no vested interest in hastening my demise (or anyone else's for that matter), and any necessary equipment brought in, so as to limit idiotic hospital protocols which will be detrimental to my care.
If I wind up severely brain damaged you will perform all the tests. You will not rely on the word of some clown who's too lazy or stupid to do a proper examination, you will do an MRI and a PET. Poking me with car keys does not constitute a proper test to determine my mental acuity. A slap to the forehead is not a valid measure of my pain threshold. Forty-five minutes is not enough time to make a diagnosis that will get me killed. Do it right, with a real doctor who has no connection to the Hemlock Society. I hate those creeps.
You will engage me in conversation. You will stimulate what remains of my mind. My children will be allowed to visit me, I will be taken outside for daily walks, given cats to pet (as well as I am able), and otherwise involved in the world. You will not keep me locked up away from the world, the better to expedite deterioration and death.
I will have rehabilitation. If there is even the slightest chance I can improve you will encourage that improvement.
Anyone who has no knowledge of my case who claims that I am in a persistent vegetative state shall be taken to court for defamation. The money gained from such suits will go to my support. The same applies to those who do examine me, and then lie about my condition. Especially if they have ever had any connection to the Hemlock Society, or Planned Parenthood, or the NEA (either NEA--I'm not choosy). If it turns out they have had such associations, then sue those groups too. They have lots of money that would be better used making me well.
If I need a feeding tube, any attempt to remove said feeding tube shall be considered attempted homicide and prosecuted accordingly. In addition, if said action was ordered by a court of law the judge presiding is to be charged on civil rights grounds and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Any pundit of any stripe who states that I would not want to be in such a state is to be stripped naked, his skin rubbed raw with scrubbing pads, salt placed on the wounds, and then tossed into a vat of carrion beetles. After being given drugs that heighten sensation. This action will be taped and distributed on the internet.
If provided with a guardian and said guardian petitions to have me killed, that guardian is to be charged with attempted murder and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. See above paragraph for hints of my other wishes involving said guardian.
I'll die when I die. You will not rush matters. You will leave well enough alone. Death happens soon enough for us all, don't be so darn eager to hurry it up.
Labels: Faith and Morality
Friday, August 04, 2006
Modifications to Square Play - Knitter's Summer 2004
I cast on 14 sts for the first square, and followed the directions for the smallest size in the pattern throughout, matching the charts and direction of the entrelac squares as given in the pattern. Wherever the pattern said 20 sts, I used 14, wherever it said 19 sts, I used 13, in the few places where it said something like 17 sts, I worked 11. If it said to knit 22 rows, I knit 16, if it said 24 rows, I did 18. When it was time to pick up for the neck, I picked up 84 sts and worked the mitered decreases in each corner, it would have been fine using 82 sts. For the armhole bands, I picked up 78 sts and worked the mitered decreases only in the bottom two corners, the corners where squares 7 and 15 and 27 and 28 met on the front and where 7 and 15 and 29 and 30 met on the back. All other directions for number of sts or rows, I followed as per the pattern.
This resulted in a top that was 24 inches around, 10 1/2" from the front neck to the hem and 13" long from the back neck to the hem.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Tilting Blocks Baby Blanket Pattern
Eating, Sleeping and Knitting
Edit: I did find a photo online of Joe, it is the sweater on the left in the following picture.
Thank you to all for the compliments on the blanket and top and for your words about Amira. We are in awe of her, and only hope that she grows in goodness so as to be a truly beautiful woman, not just a pretty one. As for where I will post the blanket pattern, it will be on the free pattern site linked in my side bar, but I will post something here as well, with a link so people can find it. The only thing holding this up right now is measuring how much yarn I used, exactly, because I used a discontinued yarn, and not much of the third skein.
I'll also post how I changed the Not Square Play pattern from Knitters' so other people can make it the way I did, if they are interested. It wasn't too hard, really, and I made it figuring it would fit her this year or next. It should fit her at least through next summer and maybe even the following spring.