Saturday, May 17, 2014

Late night haiku

Before sleep, enjoy
Moon rising through clouds and trees
Large, bright peacefulness

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Silk Garden Skirt

Silk Garden Skirt

Size 8 (5mm) needles, one skein Noro Silk Garden

CO 72 sts, place marker for beginning of round. Work in round in k2p2 rib for 1.5" (note: my actual knitting was not this precise, this is an estimate you can fiddle around with.) Next round, k1, kfb, p2 around, for a total of 90 sts. Work in k2p3 rib for 1.5". Next round, k1, kfb, p3 around. Work in k2p4 rib for 1.5". 108 sts.  Next round, k1, kfb, p4 around. Continue in k2p5 rib until running low on yarn or at desired length. 126 sts. You could continue increasing and use more yarn if you wanted to make a longer skirt. This is a pretty simple recipe for a skirt, the only semi clever thing is how to do the increase without it being obvious.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Shocking Internet Sensation That Will Turn Everything You Know On Its Head

...
misleading blog titles, calculated to make you get up in arms until you read what is actually written. Who doesn't love confusing, controversial, ridiculous, sarcastic, grandstanding headlines? Wouldn't it have been better if Dickens had used the title, "The Guillotine Was Awesome" instead of "A Tale of Two Cities" ? I bet it would have been famous then, instead of dropping into obscurity. Oh, wait.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Love, Sandwiches, and K-Drama

An abrupt change of topic here, because I am not really ready to post anything more about my health saga, largely because I don't know any more yet. Hopefully September will bring something to light. In the meantime, a post about the serious and frivolous things I am doing.

Part of my intentions for this summer was to improve our food spending as well as eating healthier. I am making baby steps in this area, and one of my early focuses has been packing lunch for my husband. And here is my confession: I have been packing him a lunch for every day out of the house since last Monday save one, and that is the longest streak I have had in our 5 1/2 year marriage of doing so. Which means he has had to eat out almost every weekday lunch of our marriage.

This makes me sad, probably a lot moreso than him. He enjoys healthy food if tasty, but he really likes "grub" and junk food too, having been a bachelor for 35 years before I joined him in this life adventure. But I've long wanted to do this for him, especially since having breakfast together is not important to him. The reasons for not doing it seem paltry now that I am doing it. He didn't like the bread to get moist from the mayo if I did it ahead, and he gets up sooner most days than I do, since I need more sleep of the two of us, so I didn't want to get up in the morning to do it. Basically it came down to a mild pickiness on his side and a decent amount of laziness on mine.

How did it change? Determination, and feeling convicted that I ought to be doing better. Convicted to act out of love more than self. Convicted to be a helper more suitable to him and the life he leads and the work he does. Convicted to do a better job taking care of the one I love in the ways that fell to my responsibility. Desiring to show love to my husband in a tangible way. After all, the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. ;)

How is it working out? I do mainly make the sandwiches of varying sorts the night before, but so far, since I am packing him lunch with fun sides and accompaniments, he isn't complaining. When I forgot to do so the night before, I got up when he did, made it while he got ready, kissed him goodbye, and went back to bed. The average lunch takes me 10-20 minutes to prepare, depending on things like if there is cheese already sliced or if I am going with something more simple or complex. So, I stay up 15 minutes later, and he gets a fun, hopefully more healthy lunch. Why didn't I do this sooner? He also made comment that he feels fuller lately for some reason. Hmmm...

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Korean Drama review: Scent of a Woman

I watched this series on Netflix, and I really enjoyed it. The story is about a 34 year old woman, Lee Yeon Jae, who discovers she has terminal cancer and tries to figure out how to spend her remaining days.

The male lead character, Kang Ji Wook, and second, Choi Eun Suk, are both really good, though the lead male has a hint of dead fish to his neutral expression. Yet when he emotes he does so well, in my opinion. The second goes from kind of a porcupine personality to someone you really admire and feel for. The second female, Im Se Kyeong, is an interesting character, wavering between scum of the earth and someone you feel compassion for. The mother is loving but occasionally sharp, and her story is an enjoyable part of the series. The best friend is very sweet, though her morality seems a bit inconsistent late in the series. "Ramses" is a funny element in the story.

The story itself was moving, as a story of dying well done would be. I don't tend to be a crier, but between my hormones and the touching scenes of grief in the process, I cried fairly often. Aigoo! I thought the pacing was the best of any of the series I have watched. The acting was decent, the English phrases sparse and not too embarrassingly bad, but then with the tango, they introduced botched Spanish that was rather amusing to me, haha! My only beef with the story is there should have been a third wedding. It seems like it would have completed things and make sense given the devotion of the couple, yet it never even came up, much less happened. Boo. But overall, the thought provoking nature and sweetness of the series makes it worth the watch, to me.

Content warnings, for those who mind: Toward the end of the 13th episode, there is clothed foreplay and a wakeup afterward scene. You know what happened but don't see it. You can fast forward through it easily. It does do a flashback of waking together early in the next episode, number 14. There is talk of moving in together, and it happens in the last episode, though not much is shown about it. One person, who was condemning of adultery, gets pregnant out of wedlock and rushes her wedding. There are tango classes and performances, so occasionally notable tango moves show up. Modesty is an issue, lots of thigh seen, an episode or two with swimwear, and flirty tango outfits on occasion. That all said, it is largely clean, with little language in the subtitles, and the society there in general seems to have more reserve in sensuality than our own.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Losing Benjamin

Trigger Warning: I have another story of loss to share.

My last post announced we were expecting again. I am now a little over a week past the day I miscarried again, a precious little boy. We named him Benjamin, and this is his story.

We were surprised to find we had conceived so soon after losing Enoch. It was only six weeks later, and I was still reeling a bit. But we were glad and hopeful. At 5 weeks pregnant, in April, I had a weird pain going on. I went to the doctor, and they didn't really find a reason. My pain, of course, took a break when I went in, so they weren't super concerned about it. Later that day, though, I was feeling worse with every moment. My sister had spent the night, thankfully, so when my husband could come home, he took me to the ER. I was vomiting from pain, it was so intense. They gave me pain relief and did some minor testing, and all they found was a small subchorionic hemorrhage near the implantation site, but there was a baby there. But there was no explanation for the pain, so I left the hospital with only something new to worry about, my first experience in the ER and with powerful drugs, and a big bill. The only thing I found out from my doctor visit that day was I had group B strep and they wanted me to get it in hand before I got to term.

I continued through the first trimester, being careful not to overdo it because of the SCH. It was frustrating, but was working. My little signs I had of the SCH had cleared by the end and I was beginning to be up for normal activity. At my 12.5 week appointment, in June, we heard the heartbeat. I was feeling motion. I started to feel like maybe this child was safe. How likely was it that lightning would strike twice? I even signed the Father's Day card with "Unnamed" at the bottom, which I did not remember until I looked closer at my fridge the other day. That stung.

I thought I was feeling less motions as my next midwife visit approached, but I was not sure. We talked and had a good visit, but I was nervous. This was the visit we didn't hear the heartbeat at with Enoch. It was my second son's second birthday, and I really didn't want bad news that day. I was 16 weeks, 4 days. We tried to find the heartbeat. No heartbeat. I was beginning to fear. Got up and moved around a bit, in case baby was hiding behind the placenta, which my second child with the anterior placenta tried to do. No heartbeat. I was beginning to get upset, this is exactly what happened before. Went to the bathroom and tried one last time. No heartbeat. Tears and sobs came. We scheduled an ultrasound for a couple of hours later just to know and be sure of whatever we could know. I was still trying to hold a small piece of hope in my heart that the baby was hiding, though I knew how unlikely it was. I was afraid to lose again, afraid it was more than I could bear.

My midwife joined me at the ultrasound. Our boys were playing nicely in the waiting room, so my husband opted to wait out there with them until we sent for him to come in once we knew. A brief moment after getting set up, and the man said "no heart activity." My heart sunk, but the tears held off because I knew how important the moment was. I asked him how old the baby looked based on size, if he could see any anomalies, and the gender. He told us that the baby looked about the right size for age, and even still had fluid in their bladder. It must have happened within the week prior. He saw no anomalies except one possible bump on the back of the neck, which he thought was possibly just the cord laying there looking odd from that angle. He said he could not tell gender for sure but thought it might have been a girl. One thing we did not see was that the hemorrhage played any role in this. In fact, there did not seem to be one where the placenta was at all. So, from what we could see, this baby was normal, and nothing we saw on the ultrasound was definite explanation. My midwife asked as he was cleaning up if I could have a photo, if I wanted. He said sure, and I said I did, because I had nothing like that from Enoch. It was then I broke down, overcome by the weight of two losses like this. The ultrasound photo looked so peaceful. But so sad. Babies are not supposed to be perfectly still during an ultrasound. He was in that same position the whole time. He was at rest, but, Oh, why did he die? How did he die? Did he feel pain? Did it take long? Was it totally preventable and we just didn't know? Those questions haunted me as we waited for delivery. They still haunt me now.

We decided to wait to deliver. We found out on the first of the month that baby was gone. We waited through the 4th. We waited through Enoch's due date on the 8th. We waited through my birthday on the 10th. We kept waiting, and I began trying herbal stuff under the direction of my midwife to start it. It did not work, my body wasn't ready. I thought knowing would bring things on faster, but it did not. A little over two weeks later, my body showed signs of preparation. Over the next few days, I had a little bit of contractions, my plug came out, and more contractions the day before he came. Three weeks and a day later, on the 23rd, I got up. I went to the bathroom, and my water broke. I knew he would be coming soon, and I texted my husband and midwife. I also texted the friend who was planning to come over that day, and instead of visiting me, she took my boys to have a playdate with hers. After my midwife and husband were there, and right after my friend left with my boys, he came. I was not in much pain, having taken ibuprofen, so I looked him over. It was a boy, after all. He was noticeably bigger than Enoch was. He was probably 5"+ from head to bottom, and his limbs were longer. Dainty and long fingers, pointy elbows, larger head, little ribs, man bits, I looked at him in a quiet awe, grief being manifested in quietude, not tears. I could barely contain him on my hand. Looking at him and knowing what I did from the ultrasound and from seeing his brother, I think all I saw wrong was the effects a three week wait has. I think both boys were likely normal, or at least not obviously not normal. I had been thinking of names, and my husband agreed that we could call him Benjamin. Benjamin was the son of Jacob. His mother died as the effect of his birth, and as she lay dying, she named him Ben-Oni, son of my sorrow. But Jacob renamed him Benjamin, son of my love, because that is what he thought of when he saw him. So it was for me, the sorrow of grief could not outdo the love I felt. My love for my children, living and lost, is the feeling I want to have dominance as I move forward, not sorrow.

After he came, my contractions started fizzling out. Clots came out, but not the placenta. We thought maybe, like last time, it had detached but not made its way out yet. My midwife checked manually. I pushed. We used herbs that usually help with placental detachment. More checking, more pushing, more pressure from the top to help try to find it, using a double breast pump and more herbs to get contractions starting, which had only slight effect... no placenta. My body had gotten tired from the work, and my vitals were good, so we considered that maybe my body needed to be taking that break. My flow was low, and after consulting with others and checking me, and giving me a list of reasons to go to the ER or call 911, my midwife left to go home and wait to hear from me again. She left me one of the herbs that can help bring on contractions when I was rested enough to try again. That night, my sister stayed with us to help me. At the end of the day, my contractions started coming back. I thought my body was ready to deal with the placenta now that it had rested. I went to bed, which is when things really picked up. I was actually having painful contractions again. I was passing clots. I laid there for an hour after bed to see if it would keep going. As I stood, the clots and a bunch of blood came rushing and I soaked a pad and felt dizzy. I knew that was not good, and I needed to keep alert. On the toilet, things would slow, but I checked each time, and no placenta, just clots, would come. I alternated back and forth between lying down and being on the toilet, now about every 20 minutes to keep better check on things. Being on the toilet would slow the flow but leave me dizzy a bit, lying down eased the dizziness but increased how much flow and clot built up. I went to the bathroom one last time, and was feeling dizzy and practically passed out even before I stood back up. I still had not clearly delivered the placenta, and knew until I did, this would continue, which was too much blood loss. So, I followed my intuition and the instructions my midwife gave me and I had my husband call 911. The EMTs showed up fairly quickly, and checked me. My blood pressure was low, but not terrifying, but because I was faint and borderline anemic and had lost a lot of blood, they said I made the right call. They put me into the ambulance and took me to the hospital, giving me fluid and taking blood samples on the way. They took more samples when we got there, apparently needing more than what was taken before. I ended up with a line in each arm, because of how much was going on and the possibility I would need a transfusion. They gave me a very unpleasant pelvic exam, and decided I would need a D&C. I had bled too much to just wait, and they were not sure what was going on with the placenta. They gave me morphine with Zofran for my pain, and got the OB on call to come see me. This was all in the very early hours of the morning. They started to get me ready for the OR, and the OB double checked with me that the baby had delivered already. Apparently there is a difference in the procedure and necessary training between a D&C and a D&E, which is what the procedure is when a baby over 16 weeks has to come out as well. She was not able to do a D&E, and I am pretty sure I know what happens to the baby then, so I was very relieved the baby had come naturally and this part could be handled without further complication. Before the OR, the anesthesiologist came to talk to me and answer any questions, and the nurses rolled me in. I made a comment about being a little afraid because I had never been under anesthesia before, and one of them said "It's like a good cocktail!" I replied I had never had a cocktail, and she came back with "We'll have to change that!", which made me laugh. They got me all set up, and the anesthesiologist said they had started the stuff, and then my memory was blank until I awoke.

I woke in recovery, feeling heavy headed and watery eyed, with stiff arms from the fluids, but no real pain. The anesthesiologist was there, and the OB there shortly after. In the first few minutes of being awake, they read Psalm 23 over the PA system, which was comforting. My procedure had gone well. The placenta and a good amount of clot had been removed. I did not end up needing a transfusion. I was anemic though upon arrival and they would recheck my levels before releasing me. I lay there with tears of gratitude and said a simple prayer in my heart, "You *are* my strength and my portion forever." The part about the valley of the shadow of death touched me. I realized that even with all the expenses we have had and will have because of my health this year, a mama who is alive and well is a better investment to my family than my student loans or a car loan would be. I would try not to be fearful of finance, but to be grateful that I lived. After a little while, they took me over to Short Stay, where my husband could join me again. I ate my crackers and drank my water and used the bathroom with no issue, so once they got the results of rechecking my iron numbers, took out the lines in my arms, and gave me discharge instructions and prescriptions, we were able to go. We ended up only getting the iron I was told to take, since my pain was fine and I had ibuprofen in lower dose at home. We stopped at Jamba Juice on the way home, at about 9:30am, and went home for much needed rest. My poor husband had been up all night after a busy day of work, and he actually napped even longer than I did. My mom came to join  my sister in helping so we could rest.

That day was Wednesday, which is when we usually go to a bible study with our church family. My parents took our boys to the class. While they were gone, I crocheted a sleep sack out of some of my handspun yarn to bury Benjamin in, and my husband prepared the hole. Since we knew ahead this time, we had already bought a rose for him, a pretty red rose. After last time, we knew we did not want to freeze him and wait until I was stronger to put him to rest. We also did not ever put him on a towel or paper towel, but wax paper, to help keep him from losing fluid. We put him in something in the refrigerator to preserve him until we were ready, which did not mess with how his flesh looked like freezing did to his brother. The morbid things you learn in these cases! But it was better this way. Saying goodbye to his body was the first chance I really had after all the intensity of those days to really cry for him. I grieved as I lay his body, so little and so big, into the sleep sack. We went out together, and I sat in the chair my husband had moved for me by the site. We laid him in the hole, and my husband prayed as I quietly wept. Then he buried Benjamin's body and planted the beautiful rose on top.

The support we have received has been truly amazing, both while we waited and after things happened. My general circle of friends and family has been really supportive and kind. My fiber arts friends gave me a shower of things to spin to keep me busy while I waited and now recover. My church friends have given flowers, cards, meals, visits, chocolate, and date money for when we can go out. My family has been ready to help with whatever as well, including my sister staying nights with us. Though I wish I did not have this happen to me, I have been placed in a circle of loving people, and am truly blessed in that.

Now is the time to heal, and to look for answers. We suspect something underlying in me, though what remains to be determined. Something that changed, as I went from two healthy pregnancies with healthy kids to two losses in a row. I pray we find answers and are spared future loss. I am determined to take good care of my body and use my life well in the meantime. I've signed up for a fun local 5k in October to give me something to work toward.

I'm having a hard time off and on emotionally. I'm sure my hormones are absolutely messed up right now. And being anemic means being tired. But I am leaning on my support network. And I love my husband, who, though tired from this being the busy season for his work, stayed up even later just to be with me and comfort me after a rough day. We will get through this together. But, if  you pray, please pray we find something, something fixable, and that we may have another live child join us someday.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Sunshine and Rainbows

Hello again.

I've been busy enjoying as much of spring as I can, while feeling a bit unwell at times. Part of the unwell feeling is that I am low in iron and vitamin D, and part was and maybe still is the after-effects of loss, and a fairly big part is that I am expecting again.

I am due somewhere in the neighborhood of December 12th. Mine tended to be late before Enoch, but I am unsure if that pattern will continue. I've heard people call the baby after a lost baby a rainbow baby. Whatever term you use, I really desire this child to live, to be in my arms this winter, to eat, coo, smile, laugh, roll, crawl, sit, stand, walk, run, jump, dance, climb, talk, sing, draw, write, learn, grow, cry over schoolwork, grin with hard earned success, and love God and other people in the coming years.

Things are actually a bit uncertain this time too, though. Though the only diagnosis on my paperwork was "threatened abortion" (which is a sign of how horrid obstetric terminology is and how it should be canned), but from the description the ER doctor gave me, we are waiting to see if baby thrives despite a subchorionic hemorrhage, or SCH. Yes, I went to the ER with intense pain. The pain was mainly in the area of the ovary I ovulated on, so we were worried about ectopic pregnancy. But that doesn't appear to have been the case. Baby is in the right place. But at risk, for now anyhow.

I've not really had any traditional spotting, which is good. But a few times I have had another disconcerting sign I have overdone it, which no one on the interwebs seems to have had. To give TMI... Like the very beginnings of a period, where you don't see active blood, but tiny bits of lining stuff, but then I rest and nothing more happens. And neither the ER staff nor my doctor's office staff have a reason I felt like death with a pain, worse than childbirth, that hasn't come back since a couple minor bouts the next couple days after the ER day. So I am left wondering what on earth is going on in there. I'm still hopeful for the child, but also emotionally a bit aloof because of last time and the small risk this time. Part of me wonders if things are like this because there was still some unresolved healing after Enoch. Part of me wonders if the pain was that there was a resolved ectopic twin or something they didn't see because it was gone. And part of me wonders if my reproductive system is just scared. I don't know.

I do know that if I hear the heartbeat in June, I will be relieved. If I hear it again in July, I will be more relieved. If the ultrasound says baby is healthy, I will start feeling reality is good since I made it past the loss point of before. And this birth just may be the first one I cry when it ends well. I'm usually just contented and happy, but I have so much more inside this time around.

I also know the weather is fantastic, I need to plant in the amazing raised beds my husband built and filled for me, and I am really loved.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Of Yarn Shops, Goodwill Outlet, and Gardens

The last few days have been busy in a nice way. I did some fun things I will share with you all.

Thursday was the first day of the Rose City Yarn Crawl. My sister volunteered to watch my boys so I could have a fun shopping day with Mom. We started just after noon, and made it to six nice shops before dinnertime: For Yarn's Sake, the Knitting Bee, Kathy's Knit Corner, Pearl Fiber Arts, Knit Purl, and Twisted. Of those, the only one neither of us bought something at was Knit Purl, but they did have yarns I really liked, I was just saving money for something I wanted at Twisted. We also stopped at a local pizza chain for a late lunch, Pizza Schmizza, which has tasty New York style pizza and fun ecclectic decor. Here is my take from the crawl:

My crawl bag, with pins from the six shops I got to.
 
Alexandra's Crafts spinning fiber, 50% merino, 25% silk, 25% bamboo. Mom bought this for me at Pearl Fiber Arts as part of her payment for some knitting I did for her. She wanted to pay me in fiber, and how could I object???

 
Plymouth Yarns Boku I bought from Kathy's Knit Corner. 95% wool 5% silk. It was on her clearance wall, so it was only $3 a skein! $12 for a fall sweater for my toddler. I think it is striping like Noro.

 
Blue Moon Fiber Arts, Victoria in color Dark Shadows, I bought at Twisted. It is a little more teal than in the photo. 661 yards of South American Polwarth! Hoping to get a sweater out of this, maybe a bottom up raglan style so I can do an accent yoke if I do run low on yarn.

 
Teresa Ruch Designs handdyed rayon boucle' my mom bought for me at For Yarn's Sake. She had a trunk show there, and this photo cannot tell you how vivid and shiny this yarn is!!! 262 yards, probably will become a shawlette or poncho I think.

 
Squire Country Crafts wooden 1.5" buttons out of lodgepole pine, $1.50 each at Twisted!

 
Midnight Oils lavender rose soap Mom got for me when she got herself some, made by a local company using local lavender oil! He was a vendor at Kathy's Knit Corner.

 
~fiber foto finish~

On Friday I rested and enjoyed being a SAHM and did some fibery reading. My mind was full of yarny ideas, so that night I spun this batt I made on my drum carder by randomly adding bits of stuff as I had time over about 2-3 months:

 
with a yarn I had dyed, into this:



Saturday I picked up my Frontier co-op order. One of these months my shea butter will be in stock! lol. but I did get my Bronner's soap, Honeybee Gardens eyeshadow and mascara, Burt's Bees tinted lip balm, and Suncoat nail polish. Decided even though I threw out my old old Avon and Clinique and Mary Kay when I went more natural that a little natural eye and lip stuff now and then still sounds fun. No more foundation for me, though, my skin is healthier without it. After that, My 4 year old son and I hit the Goodwill Outlet. If you've never been to one, it is a cross between a regular Goodwill and dumpster diving. Ha! It is a bunch of big bins in the middle you dig through to find your buried treasure. Most of it you buy by the pound, really cheap. Bedding, clothes, toys, random junk, etc. Then there are a few things priced as marked, like furniture and bikes and stuff. I got some clothing, most of which ended up fitting (yay! You can't really try on there), a genuine suede jacket originally from Nordstrom and still having the tag from Goodwill retail for $20 for me, a corduroy blazer for my husband, a stuffed dinosaur for my boys, a pair of Western Chief boots with the rubber steel toe lowers and the leather upper parts, and a bench and chair that match for my deck that just need new cushions. About 21 lbs. for $1.39/lb. and the two patio pieces came to $25, making my grand total about $51. Score!

Ignore the scrap chimney, but these are in good shape, just need the cushions replaced.

The way cool dinosaur!

My suede jacket! My first leather jacket of any kind.


Sunday we worshipped with our church family, and once my family (who worships with us) came over after lunch, I got gardening. I planted two pink lemonade blueberries and about 30 ranunculus bulbs (the package lied). Hoping they take well! I also learned that if you can't stand wearing gloves, take off your rings before using tools. If you need convinced, I can show you my blisters. I felt good and terrible after all that work, and was well able to go to bed much sooner than my usual last night. The terrible being my wrists and hands, I find it all too easy to give myself a repetitive stress injury in my wrists. I probably am doomed to carpal tunnel or arthritis, with my tiny wrists and the fact I have had problems since I was about 9. But the rest of me felt like I got a good workout. It is one month today after I miscarried, and I am glad that my body is healed enough to work without more than my usual repercussions.

Bringing some color to the front of the house!
 
I can't wait to see what these are like!
 
What will this week hold? Well, definitely laundry. And dishes. Probably some more yarn spinning and planting of things. Hopefully a make up date since we didn't do Valentine's Day. And lots of family love and little man snuggles. And hopefully the first half of Doctor Who season 7 discs will arrive. :)