It was meant to be a Christmas present (and is less than a month late!). Here's my Branching Out for Lilah's future Aunt Maureen:
Pattern - Branching Out
Needles - Size 8
Yarn - Rowanspun DK in Eau de Nil
Notes - If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know that I love this pattern. Easy, fun, looks fantastic. I've made zillions (okay, more like 8 or so) and I'm still not tired of it. A very nice gift pattern. The yarn was a bit rough, actually, but softened up nicely with a wash. I adore the color.
Hey, do you see the snow in the background through the window? We finally got winter! It showed up yesterday. Must have taken the left at Albuquerque.
Okay, onto recent activities. StringBean, I will try measuring Lilah next time I change her. Boy, that's going to make her mad :) Scroll down to the end for my birth story if you're interested. By the way, welcome to the new commenters! I hope you enjoy it here.
Other knitting: I have begun Gryffindor Sock #2:
Okay, somehow I ended up with three more red rows below the ribbing section in sock #2. Is it so obvious I need to rip back? I'm leaning heavily toward no. These are "hanging around the apartment" socks for my husband, and I'm thinking no one will be staring at his calves to such an extent that it's going to be noticed. But anyway, I've made progress on it!
Reading: I finished Jasper Fforde's The Fourth Bear, the second in his Nursery Crime series. I loved it. I was a bit iffy on the first one, The Big Over Easy, and I need to re-read it to see if I like it better now. At the time, I was bummed because I really wanted another Thursday Next novel and I was distracted by the overlap with that series. So I'm not sure if The Fourth Bear is really better or if I'm just more okay with the new series now. At any rate, it follows Jack Spratt and Mary Mary of the Nursery Crime Division of the Reading police force as they investigate the disappearance of reporter Goldilocks and the escape of the serial killer Gingerbreadman. If that sounds nuts, it is. The whole book is crazy, witty meta-fiction, but, you know, in a good way. I definitely recommend it. I'm starting The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield now. I was debating between something fluffier and this and decided on this one.
Cooking: Hey, I cooked! Well, I made pizza dough in the bread machine. Matt handled assembly. Last night I made really easy pasta. I sauteed a zucchini and a couple of cloves of garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil, seasoned with salt, pepper, basil, and oregano, and then added a tablespoon of pine nuts. I tossed this with four ounces of pasta. Fresh spinach would have been nice if I'd had it on hand. I think I'm making enchiladas tonight.
Birth Story (I think this is pretty non-gory, but if birth stories aren't your thing, feel free to skip this):
I woke up Christmas morning feeling a little weird, and present opening is still kind of a blur. I seriously had to look at my
presents later to see what I'd gotten. I was kind of out of it. Then I started having contractions (uncomfortable, not painful) 10 or so minutes apart. I put my feet up and drank lots of water, thinking it was just the holiday craziness, and then I decided to take a nap, but the contractions were waking me up. I thought, "Huh, these seem kind of regular" so I timed them, and they were 5 minutes apart. After half a dozen of them, I got my husband and called my parents and said we had to leave
right away to come back to Madison. No one else thought a two-hour drive was a good idea, and my contractions weren't that strong, so I agreed to go get monitored to see if it was even real labor. I was a little panicky because it was too early for her to come.
So we went to the hospital about 5:00 pm, and they put me on the monitor. My husband and my mom stayed in with me. The nurse kept going back and forth on whether or not she thought I was really in labor. She was on the phone from time to time with the on-call doctor to keep her updated. I was a bit dehydrated, so she gave me lots of water and some crackers since I hadn't eaten in a while. When I started throwing up, she started to think it was real labor. My contractions were 5-7 minutes apart for ages, and not very strong (I could talk through them, and even doze between them), and I was only at 1 cm. Since I was under 38 weeks, no one wanted to do anything to speed things up, in case the contractions would stop. I had back labor, which I could already tell was going to make things fun. My contractions still weren't getting any closer together, or hurting any more than they had, so the nurse (after talking on the phone with the on-call doctor) wanted to put me on morphine, so that I'd fall asleep and either wake up in full-blown labor or relax enough to stop the contractions. Um, no, I said, I am not giving my child morphine, and maybe we should chat about my birth plan now. She was really surprised that I wanted no pain meds, but was very nice and supportive. She checked me again, and I was 4 1/2 cm dilated and fully effaced at 11:30. We were going to have her that night, and we switched from "wait and see" mode to laboring mode. Since it was my first, we thought it'd take all night, so my parents went back to my in-laws' house to sleep.
At that point, I couldn't doze off between the contractions anymore, so I got in the shower. The nurse asked me once if I wanted an epi and I said no. I stayed in there for ages (sorry, time is pretty fuzzy here), but all of a sudden I wanted out. The contractions were almost on top of each other and I was at 8 cm. I'm not sure what time it was, but after a few more contractions, the nurse checked again because I started insisting I wanted to push. I was at 10 cm, and everything went really fast. My water broke on its own, and 3 pushes and about 23 minutes later, Lilah was out! They put her on my chest right away and she started rooting around to nurse.
My husband was *awesome.* We had taken a childbirth prep class, and he remembered everything. I am sorry to say that I forgot all about breathing during transition, and he put his face really close to mine so I had to focus on him and literally told me when to inhale and exhale. That was the hardest part, but it didn't last very long. Immediately after she was out, I felt fantastic. She was born at 1:59 am, so it was really quick once things got going. I called my parents right away and they came to meet her. One of the great parts of not getting an epidural was that I could get up on my own and take a shower right after.
On the morning of the 27th, I started asking when we could get the heck out of there. "But your insurance covers you till tomorrow!" Honestly, when you're not sick, who wants to stay in the hospital longer than you have to? So I talked them into letting us out and we went back to Madison. Our parents had gone to Target to get us a carseat and some outfits and blankets, since of course we had *nothing* there with us. My parents were staying with us until New Year's for the holidays anyway, and my mom was able to change her plane ticket and stay until the 6th. The timing really couldn't have been better.
I was so proud of myself for doing it without medication. It was such an amazing experience. In a lot of ways, it wasn't remotely the way I expected, even though I'd read a zillion books and gone through the class. I've already forgotten about the painful part. I would definitely do it again this way. Not the out-of-town, really early, completely unprepared part, but without pain meds or interventions. Lilah was born alert, and we had no complications at all. I only felt like I was really "recovering" for about a week, and even then, I only needed ibuprofen for pain. If anyone has any questions, just let me know.