Craftmeister Etsy Shop

Friday, July 14, 2017

Laborless Mother

"Childbirth is a bitch" they say, "but you'll forget about all the pain once you see your baby". 

Or in yoga class they'll talk about the breathing they did to get through labor. Knowing I'm a mother, they'll turn to me and say, "Its just like going through contractions!  Breathe in, breathe out..."

"I pushed you into this world, I can take you out!" They'll say to their misbehaving child.

Yes, I'm a mother. But I have no idea what these ladies are talking about.
Yes, I'm a mother. But I had no labor pains,  I have not had any contractions. Ever.
Yes, I'm a mother, to two children. But I've never gone through 'childbirth'.

Sure, you could say I'm lucky. To never have gone through what is known as the most painful thing for a woman.
Sure, you could say my vagina is lucky its never been stretched or dilated.
Sure, you could say I should be greatful to not have gone through that.

But I'm not.

I wish I had vaginal births with just one of my kids. I wish I had gone through what my mother did, what her mother did, and her mother before her. I wish I could smile and nod and understand the jokes of vaginal birth moms. I wish I could be a part of their club. I wish I had that sense of womanhood. That sense of accomplishment. "Look what my body did!" And smile proudly at the end of the birth. 

I can never tell me children the sense of relief once I held them in my arms for the first time. The way I always pictured it; my hair a mess and sweaty, my eyes red from tears of pain and joy, my husband gripping my hand in support. Then to get to hold the baby right after, all the endorphins and joy that come from that magical moment.  Time would stand still, and we would be a family.

No.  I didnt get to hold my babies right after they exited the womb. I was strapped to a table with my arms pinned down. I couldn't sit up to hold them because all of the organs in my abdomen were on a surgical tray. After my kids were pulled from their womb, I was being put back together and stitched up. The first time I saw my son I was in the hospital room already. When my daughter was born, the doctor held her up so I could see her. So at least I got to SEE my baby almost right away.

There's a part of my children's baby books that state
"Contractions started ______________
And they lasted ______________
Mommy did ___________ to help the pain"
It's a part I can never ever fill out. It will forever remain blank. It depressed me after a while, so I just covered it with pictures of my babies. But I know its still there.

Maybe I have romanticized childbirth a little. Maybe I would feel differently if I had a vaginal birth with my kids. Sadly, I'll never know. And I wanted to. So badly.

So when women are trading their battle stories of their 38 hour labor and the horrible contractions, and they assume I understand what their referring to because I am a mother... I stay silent, hanging my head, wishing I had something to share.
"Oh and the pain was HORRIBLE! I was thinking of ANYTHING to get my mind off it. You know what I mean...."
"Uhh..." *stares uncomfortably*

Sure I can't share the epic tales of their births with my children because they didn't happen that way. But you know what I can do?
I can tell my son I recognized his cry down the hall at the hospital and knew it was him.
I can tell my daughter that my head and heart were so nervous and excited they day she was set to arrive.
I can tell my children that their lives didnt start with me in immeasurable amounts of pain.
I can tell my children they are here, and that is a miracle. Because if it weren't for modern medicine, it's possible neither of us would have survived.

So I may not be a part of a club of mothers that had an awesome eventful birth, but I am a part of a club of mothers.  And while some may assume mothers all have gone through the same thing, I'll know I'm different. Which, depending on the day and my mood, may be a good thing or a bad thing.  

So if you are a laborless mother like me, know that you are not alone. Certain aspects of society and in our social lives may make us feel like failures because it didn't happen the way it happens "naturally". But you are here. So are your children. And that, mama, is amazing.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Turkey Peacock

Peacock Crochet From Turkey Pattern

I wanted to make a peacock motif that was about the size of my hand but I couldn't find any free patterns to make one.  I saw a LOT for Turkey motifs though, that time of year I guess.  Then I thought, I could just change the colors of a turkey pattern to make it into a peacock!  I found a really cute free turkey patterns for a coaster and thought the size would be perfect for what I'm envisioning.

http://www.craftpassion.com/crochet-turkey-coasters-and-ornaments.html

But as I was crocheting my turkey-turned-peacock, something just wasn't looking quite right.  I don't know if it was the colors, the size, or whatever.  Something was just... off.

Then I decided to just wing it and make up my own pattern based off of the one above and make a peacock myself.  I was surprised, it came out really nice and I'm rather proud-as-a-peacock! 


The other motif that I was originally working on did not go to waste.  My very cute son decided it was great for playing peek-a-boo. 

So here's the pattern that I created, based off of the Turkey Coaster pattern from CraftPassion.com


Peacock Motif 
5MM H Hook used with Red Heart Worsted weight yarn
Ch - Chain
SC - Single Crochet
DC - Double Crochet
HDC - Half Double Crochet
Sl - Slip Stitch
All terms are in US Crochet terms

Body
Round 1 (Royal Blue)
Magic circle, Chain 3, DC 14, sl to join top of ch3. (15 stitches)
Round 2
Ch2, HDC in same starting stitch, 2HDC in each stitch around. sl to join top of ch2. Fasten off. (30 stitches)

Neck & Head
Round 1 (Royal Blue)
Magic circle, ch 3, DC 7, sl to join top of ch3 (8 stitches)
Round 2
Ch7, DC in 3rd loop from hook, DC, HDC, HDC, HDC, sl to join stitch on head. Fasten off. 

Tail
Round 1 Tail (Purple)
Start on body at any stitch. Ch3, DC in same starting stitch, ch 1, 2DC in same starting stitch, skip 2 stitches on body. *2DC, ch1, 2DC, skip 2 stitches on body* Repeat between * until you have 6 sets, Fasten off. 
Round 2 Tail (Turquoise)
Start at ch1 space from round 1 tail, ch3, DC in same starting stitch, ch1, 2DC in same starting stitch, skip 2 stitches on body. *2DC, ch1, 2DC in next chain space* Repeat between * until you reach the end. Fasten off. 
Round 3 Tail (Light Green)
Start at ch1 space from round 2 tail, ch3, 2DC in same starting stitch, ch1, 3DC in same starting stitch, *3DC, ch1, 3DC in next chain space* Repeat between * until you reach the end. Fasten off. 
Round 4 Tail (Teal)
Start at ch1 space from round 1 tail, ch3, 6DC in same starting stitch, *7DC in next ch space* Repeat between * until you reach the end. Fasten off. 

Weave in all ends. Attach neck to body in the best place necessary for the peacock look. Repeat entire process again to make a total of two peacocks (or if you wish, you can make the second one in one solid color).  Put both WRONG sides together, hiding all the ends and scraps, line up the edges and attach as follows:


Attaching Front & Back
Side edge of the tail (Grey)
*1SC (at the corner to the tail and go through both layers), ch1, repeat between * until you reach the body, continue to Body & Feet
Body & Feet
SC in next 4 stitches, [make foot: ch2, *ch2, SC on 2nd chain from hook, sl stitch to 2nd next chain, repeat between* 3 times, SC on next st, SC in the same stitch of last SC before making foot], SC in next 2 stitches, repeat make foot, SC in next 4 stitches. continue to Side Edge of Tail
Side Edge of Tail
*ch1, 1SC, repeat * until you reach the corner of the tail. continue to Top of Tail Outline & Joining
Top of Tail Outline and Joining
*SC in next 7 stitches. SC in between the 2 shells.Ch1, SC around the row below (Round 3 Tail Light Green)Ch1, SC around row Round 2 Tail TurquoiseCh1, SC around row Round 1 Tail Purple 
Ch1, SC into one of the skipped stitches on the body. 
Turn to go back up the peacock tail now
Ch1, SC around row Round 1 Tail Purple 
Ch1, SC around row Round 2 Tail Turquoise
Ch1, SC around row Round 3 Tail Light Green*
Repeat between * until you reach the end. Sl to join starting stitch, fasten off. 

You may now add a securing stitch to the peacock's head to keep it in place if you wish. 

That's it!  Please enjoy your peacocks!  I will be making mine for a mobile for my new baby's nursery. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

A Birth Story

Scene: August 27th 2015, interior, day
Woman sits in doctors waiting room, pregnant, three tests lined up for her. 

I really just did not want to go to the doctor's office that day. But at the same time I was curious about what had happened the night before. I practiced in my head the whole drive there "Hey doc, I think my mucas plug fell out".  I was seeing one of the dude doctors too, not my favorite doc (the only woman doc in the office was my favorite, her schedule fills up super fast because she's so popular). I had three, yes THREE, tests lined up for this appointment. One was a sonogram, one was a non-stress test, and the other was a weight and size scan to gauge the size of this baby boy. The sonogram and the scan were first. The staff requested that I go in with a full bladder. Don't they realize I'm nine fucking months pregnant? Are they fucking serious???  At this stage in my pregnancy, the f-word was used A LOT in my inner monologues. Sometimes a lot in the outer monologues too. 

The sonogram was actually kinda fun, I was able to see him again.... Sorta. His head was facing downwards and his face was smooshed up against my uterus, so his sonogram picture came out interesting looking. His face was so big and poofy... He looked like one of those swollen bodies you see on CSI. Well, I guess he has spent the last nine months in liquid, so it makes sense that he looks like that. But they were able to give me an approximate weight for this bowling ball I was hefting around. He was eight pounds, four ounces. Holy crap, that's a big kid. And each day he's in there he gets bigger!?!?! They measured the amnioc fluid and took a few other measurements and the scan was done. 

Afterwards, it was time to talk to the doc.  I got dressed and waited in the little room. But the doctor came in with another doctor. Uh-oh is this the tag team for delivering bad news? We we introduced, her first name was Rebecca. Dr. Rebecca and Dr. Man both agreed that the sonogram did not yield good results.  He basically told me if the sonogram were a test, I failed. The baby is no longer rigid and tight, his limbs look limp. There's no amniotic fluid left, somehow, somewhere, my water broke and I didn't notice. So THAT'S what that was last night! I told the doc what happened the night before and he said, "Okay, this baby is coming out today, and I don't even want to put you on hormones to push him out because it would cause distress to the fetus. We'll have to do a C-section tonight around 6" Dr. Rebecca stood next to him nodding while looking over my file. "Yes, I agree"  Dr. Man continued... "You're going to leave here and go right to the hospital, tell them that I sent you, they'll be expecting you. They'll get you all set up and you'll have your baby tonight."

Tonight? Did he really just say that? After weeks of trying to entice the baby to come out, I was finally going to be able to hold him in my arms. I almost couldn't believe it.  Nah I'm not having a baby, I'll just be pregnant forever thank you very much. If I have this baby EVERYTHING is going to be different.  Yes, it took me nine months to properly realize that. I mean I knew, yeah, my life is gonna change, I'm gonna have a little baby, blah blah blah. But I don't think I really REALLY realized it until I heard the words "you're having this baby tonight".  The doc gave  me a slip of paper to hand the receptionist at the end if the appointment, standard procedure at their office. The paper usually has instructions for the next appointment. My face was either pale white or bright red, I don't know I couldn't see it, but I can tell it was some kind if extreme. I mean... I was just told I'm having a baby. Today. I'm having a baby today. Whew. The receptionist looked at the paper and was SO excited for me. I don't know what it said on it, but I think it said something like "Go to Hospital to have baby. Right now leave. Go directly to hospital. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200" 

I couldn't even drink water. 

From the car I made the necessary phone calls to all my family members. I was really just repeating the words from the doctors, I don't think I really believed it. It just felt like going to the hospital was another thing I had to do, like going to the grocery store. Nothing was going to change because of it, I was still going to be pregnant. Honestly I was terrified of a c-section. Not so much of the surgery itself (which is pretty fucking scary when you read about it), but the recovery scared me more than anything. Six weeks of lifting nothing heavier than your baby, few weeks of not driving, I read that your first bowel movement afterwards is awful. And did you know that this major surgery is a major surgery in which you are AWAKE!?!?  I wasn't scared that I'd feel anything, but the thought of being awake scared me. If something went wrong, I'd hear the alarms going off, I'd hear the doctors rushing in to stop the code blue (or whatever) from happening. You're strapped down to a table so you couldn't move if you wanted to, which I guess is a good thing. But like... What if there's a fire!? Not that I could get up and walk out with my organs hanging out, but these are the crazy thoughts that go through my head. I know more women who have had a section than have had natural births, and they're all fine. But they're not me. The doctors perform this surgery tons of times all over the world, but not on me. I was terrified, and it didn't even sink in yet, I was still thinking I could have a natural birth. Somehow. Anything is possible, I guess. 

This was not how this was supposed to happen. I was supposed to be driven to the hospital by my husband in the middle of the night or early morning, I was supposed to tell him to drive slower while holding back my painful grunts from the contractions. I was supposed to FEEL my baby coming. Not be TOLD it was so. This was not at all how I pictured it. 

I parked my car myself, walked into the hospital, asked where the maternity ward was and pointed to my giant belly. The hospital receptionist was surprised, "Oh, congrats? Here's your visitor badge I guess" hmm, so this happens often I see. When I got to the maternity ward the nurses were chatting at the nurses station, I walked up to them and said, "Hi, I'm here to have a baby?"  They threw up their arms in excitement, took my bag and took me to a room. I had to explain everything to them that happened, because contrary to what my doctor said they weren't expecting  me. To be fair, I drove right there from the docs office, it was barely ten minutes away so they may not have gotten the orders yet. 

Holy crap does it take forever to be fully checked in to a hospital. It must've taken three hours of them asking me questions, me filling out forms and giving them my insurance card, answering my own phone calls from family members, getting text messages from my friends... it was a busy few hours. They gave me a wonderfully attractive hospital gown to wear. I asked if I could wear my glasses during the surgery. I hate being blind for hair cuts, much less for belly cuts. My husband was driving up from Manhattan to be there with me, and my sister and mother-in-law were on their way too, so I didn't have to be alone.



After the check in was done they had to set me up to a machine to monitor the baby's heartbeat.  Oh and if I moved they had to set it up again. Getting comfortable at 9 (really 10) months pregnant is nearly impossible.  I was most comfortable sitting at a perfect 90° angle and the bed didn't bend that high. So I dealt with it the best I could and watched the printer  that drew his heartbeat go crazy when he moved or kicked. It was cool, but annoying at the same time. The machine confirmed, no contractions. This isn't how this was supposed to go. 

I didn't do a lot of research when it came to c-sections. I should have. There were a lot of things that I just did not expect. For example, when you go in for a C-section, they have to shave you. That's right, shave you, down there. I had to literally hold my baby belly up while a complete stranger got up close and personal with a very intimate part of my body. I guess it's better than shitting on the table while you push if you have a vaginal delivery. Another thing I did not expect or read up on was the way the epidural worked. I thought it was a shot (duh) way in the bottom of your spine, near your butt, and I thought it worked right away. I was terrified of this because of the horror stories (luckily outdated stories) of a person who moved a teeny bit and ended up paralyzed from the waist down. 

When the anesthesiologist came in to meet with me I was crazy nervous. I didn't want to look at the tools on his tray, I didn't want to see anything he wanted to show me. Couldn't they just knock me out entirely? Do I really have to be awake for this? I was worried my lower back tattoo was going to block what he needed to see, I was worried I was going to sneeze or something and end up paralyzed. He told me to arch my back like an angry cat and stay completely still for two minutes. The nurse gave me a stool to help stabilize my legs while i was in position.  I was so nervous about the "stay completely still for two minutes" part. Two whole minutes? Do they know how long that is? Can I breathe?  Is my breathing making me move too much? What if my nose itches? 

I'm not too proud to admit that I whimpered, yes whimpered, the whole time. The nurse held my legs and stroked my head, "You're doing great, not much longer" she assured me. When he was finally done, I looked at his tray. Oh my god the blood. There was so much blood on his tray. Holy fuck I'm glad I didn't look before. He told me my tattoo was fine, said it wasn't in the way. In fact, the needle was put in more of the middle of my back, like an inch below where my bra strap would be. He was gathering his things to leave when I stopped him,  "Wait! I can still move my legs! Somethings wrong, it wasn't strong enough!" 

But no that's not how it works, Becca. The anesthesiologist assured me that I would be numb by the time my surgery started. "Ohhhkayyy..... if you say so". I guess that's why they wanted me at the hospital so long before the surgery itself. 

I was in complete denial that I was having this baby that night. Even after my husband got to the hospital and put on his "dad scrubs" to be in the operating room with me... after getting prepared by all the nurses for what was ahead.... after meeting with the doctors when they were in their surgical scrubs.... it still didn't feel like it was happening. There was still a chance in my mind that I could have a vaginal delivery. I could still dilate before 6 pm. I could still have the delivery I wanted. 

When they transferred me to a portable cot to wheel me into the operating room, I honestly couldn't move my legs. Well, there's one relief. As I was getting wheeled in, I stared at the lights pass by straight up overhead, and I started to sob. There's no denying this anymore, this was really happening. The nurse asked me if I was okay and I was crying so much I don't think she understood my answer. But she said "I know, I get it." And held my hand. 

When Dan was allowed in, I didn't look at anyone else. I stared at him the entire time, and tried talking to him about whatever entered my mind because I did not want to think about the crazyness going on below. There was one moment of brief silence and I heard one of the doctors say something like "Okay. Hand me the bladder"  MY BLADDER?!? What the hell... Keep talking to me Dan. About anything. Tell me the alphabet for fucks sake. Just say words. 

I had mentioned to my husband that my head kind of hurt, but I didn't think too much of it.  I mean what's a little headache when your abdomen is sliced open? Almost right after that everything felt kind of.... awesome. Awesome and far away. I felt light, but not necessarily in a good way. For a moment I thought I was dying. My vision blurred, I couldn't focus on anything. I stared off at the ceiling and forgot where I was. It wasn't scary at the time, but when I told my husband about it later I was freaked out. He assured me that everything was fine, he remembered that part, it was when the anesthesiologist added morphine to my system. Probably because he heard me say my head hurt, or maybe the timing was a coincidence. I'm not sure. But it wasn't because I was almost dead, thankfully. 

When they took the baby out, I felt an immediate difference. Holy cow, I can breathe again! Wow is that what a deep breath feels like? Its been so long! IN ahhhhh and OUT aaaaaahhhhhh. Once I heard Leo cry I felt even more relief. It's over. He's out. He's crying, he's okay. His cry sounded different from other babies. More hollow and throaty, I can't really explain it, but it was a unique cry to my baby. I saw him briefly wrapped up so little and tight, all I saw was his smooshy face. The same smooshy face I had seen in the sonogram hours before. Then Leo and my husband went to the nursery while I got stitched up.  Maybe because all the excitement was over, maybe because there was nobody to talk to, maybe because of the extra drugs I got... but I took a snooze while they stitched me up. And I think I slept with a smile on my face. 

Everyone was excited to meet the newest member of our family, of course. That night I gave my husband permission to go home to sleep in our own bed rather than spend the night with me in the hospital. The nurses convinced me to let Leo sleep in the nursery and they'd bring him to me for feeding if necessary. What a great decision. I slept like crap anyway, I could only imagine the lack of sleep with a brand new baby to worry about feet away from me. At one point in the night, during one of my few moments of sleep, I heard that throaty hollow cry all the way from the nursery and it woke me up. I was just about to buzz the nurses to see if Leo needed me when one of them wheeled him into my room for his feeding. I felt so proud that I recognized his cry my first night as a mom. 

I'm a mom. 

And I already felt like I was doing something right.



Thursday, March 24, 2016

A Pregnancy Story

I was one of the lucky ones. My pregnancy was fairly easy, no complications or neonatal issues. I did not have morning sickness, just a feeling of motion sickness or lightheaded ness once in a while when I was washing my hair.  I didn't have gestational diabetes, which I was worried I would because diabetes is all over my family medical history.  I was very relieved when I got that test result back.  I didn't have preeclampsia, which sounds scary and often ends up with the pregnant lady on bed rest. Almost the entire time was really easy.  My hair looked great, my nails got nice and long and hard (usually I end up biting them because they're so brittle when they get long), my skin looked awesome, and I carried all in the front.  Some people say it's because I had a boy, I'm not sure if that's the reason, but I'll take it. The only complaint I had really was my lack of energy. I was SO tired. Like all the time. There were times when I would be texting my husband and fall asleep mid text to wake up a few hours later to nonsense on my screen.

"How's your day goin todssssssfssfsfsffsfssfsfssfffff"

The first trimester was interesting.  I had no idea what to expect, and I said everything I was feeling out loud to my husband. Mostly because it was new and it was weird, but also to keep him in the loop of how this whole pregnancy thing was going. They say you don't feel your baby move until you're about 16 weeks, mothers who have been pregnant before can feel them move earlier because they know the feeling and can recognize it. One night while laying in bed at 14 weeks pregnant, I felt something weird.  It wasn't gas, it wasn't painful.  It almost felt like a fish bumping into the side of its fishbowl.  "Could this be the baby?!" I got so excited I felt like I almost couldn't fall back asleep, but I was pregnant so I fell back asleep in about three seconds. "It's the baby moving!!  Was it?  I think it was! Yay! I'm pregnant and I can feel the baby moving! ...I think. Oh man how exciting, I can't wait to tell Dan in the morning!  Oh man I never gonna be able to fall back asleep, I'm too excited! Yay baby!  Baby moving insi- Zzzzzzz" 


At 18 weeks I definitely felt the baby move, and it was the same feeling I had at 14 weeks.  

At 20 weeks the doctors order a special sonogram called the Anatomy Scan.  I've read that they could take up to an hour to do, so I was prepared for a long day.  It's also the same scan where they could tell you if you're carrying a boy or a girl, if you want to know.  Surprises are nice, but I am way too excited and impatient to wait that long to find out if it's a boy or a girl. I could barely wait to 20 weeks! I scheduled the scan on a day when Dan would have off from work so we could both find out together who was checked in at Hotel Becca.  Gender Reveal parties are all the rage on Pinterest, and while I don't want to be "one of those" Pinterest people, I kinda liked the idea of telling everybody at once instead of making a ton of phone calls repeating myself a bunch of times. So we had planned a family dinner at our house that night and invited both sides of the family. I thought about doing the cake reveal: a white frosted cake on the outside, but when you cut into it it has either pick or blue icing for whatever kind of baby you're having.  But I didn't want to go out and purchase this cake, and I didn't really want to make everyone wait until dessert to find out what it was, especially since Dan and I would already know. So I purchased both "it's a boy" and "it's a girl" decorations from the dollar store along with a few gender specific colored balloons. I would decorate the house with the correct decorations once we knew, and return the incorrect decorations later. I figured this way, people would know as they came in the house, and I wouldn't have to repeat myself! 😜

The scan itself did take a while. In addition to telling you what gender the baby is, they look at everything, and I mean EVERYTHING and take measurements, pictures, video, all sorts of stuff. Our sonographer was very nice and pointed everything out to us.  It's really hard to tell exactly what it is, but if you squiiiiiint... It's still hard to tell. You just kinda gotta take their word for it.  "There are the kidneys, and the baby's belly..."   "Oh okay, if you say so!" After she was done going all over the body, taking video of the heart, taking video of the umbilical cord, measurements of everything, counting all the bones, finally it was the moment of truth!  "Do you want to know what the baby is?"  YES! YEEEEEES! Yes please! Ive only been waiting since I found out I was pregnant!!!  "Uhh... Yeah, sure" I answered all calm and collected. I have three nephews, the last girl to be born in the family was me. A girl would be a welcomed blessing, but teenage girls scare the crap out of me. I know boys, but a young boy who gets messy all the time scared me too.  I scare easily apparently.  I didn't know what I wanted, I just wanted to know! "There's the baby's legs, and the baby's bottom.  And - are you sure you want to know?"  "Yes please!" Dan and I were both locked on this teeny black and white screen that showed the person who would change our lives forever. Finally it wouldn't be an "it"!  "Okay, there's the baby's right and left leg and in between are..... Boy parts!" I don't know if it was the use of the phrase 'boy parts' or the fact that I finally knew what 'it' was, or if it was because this would be the 85th boy born in our families but I laughed. I laughed hard. 

That evening everybody had a wonderful time and they were all so excited to finally know too.  My sister Ingrid was especially relieved to know it's a boy, her son Archer would be closest in age to my baby boy and they live so close, they'll be fast friends.  Now we just had to come up with a boy name... 


All of the excitement and euphoria was a little short lived for me unfortunately.  The doctors had me go back for the same type of scan numerous times. And they all took a while so the sonographer could get clear pictures of what they needed to see.  They had my lay on my side, on my other side, they had me drink juice to get the baby to move into a convenient position for them.  I offered to do some jumping jacks if that would help get the baby in the right place but they said that wasn't necessary. Then I got a call from the doctor. I was driving at the time so I missed the call. On my voicemail was my actual doctor, not a nurse, not a representative. Doctors don't usually do that. I called back immediately as soon as I was parked, but the way my doctors office is set up is you call a call center and they have the doctor call you back.  A bit annoying when you're trying to find out something.   When she called back she stated that I needed to come back for yet another scan because they couldn't find something in the brain.  What?! That sounds seriously serious!  "We need you to come in for a high risk - I mean - high resolution scan at our special office in Middletown." I almost feel like I wasn't even on the phone, I was watching a puppet of myself on the phone just responding with one or two word replies.  "Wait - am I high risk?" I managed to blurt out.  "No, no I just misspoke". That's a hell of a thing to misspeak, lady. 
I  freaked myself out.  I thought of every possible brain disorder there was and convinced myself that my baby had it.  Could I handle a child with cerebral palsy or autism or even worse... what if my baby is brain dead and wont have a life?  I scared myself so much, I sobbed on my way home. I just found out I'm having a son, and now..... 
I remember being so upset, sitting in my living room looking at the boxes of baby furniture my dad purchased for us that we didn't set up yet and thinking I'd have to return it.  I remember thinking my sisters would need to cancel the shower they were probably planning me. I remember thinking my baby was already gone. Pregnancy hormones and over worrying are a bitch. 
But thankfully at the high resolution scan, everything was fine. The sonographer could tell I was panicking and asked me what they were looking for, I explained the situation to her, and after about five minutes she said to me "Your baby's brain is totally fine." I was so relieved, the doctor came in afterwards and confirmed that everything was okay and they had the images they needed. I didn't have to come back for more scans. I could go home and relax. It was the first time I felt like a mother. I made myself sick with worry, I just wanted my baby to be healthy. And he was. 
The following  weeks and months, my bump grew. And grew and grew and grew.  I didn't have anymore sonograms so I didn't get to see the little guy in there, but all of my prenatal appointments were all going very well.  Every doctor in the practice agreed that I was progressing well and everything was on track. The last major test (one I was not looking forward to) was the Glucose Test. This was to test if you have gestational diabetes. I have a family history of diabetes and I'm over weight, so I was almost convinced I'd test positive for it.  And it's a long test. And they prick you three times for blood.  And you can't leave. But after drinking the juice that tasted like flat Sunkist, and three hours and three needle pokes later... I was done. I managed to complete the blanket I was crocheting for my baby while I was there too.  And I didn't test positive. Yay! I can eat ICECREAM during my pregnancy!!! 
The summer went on and got hotter and hotter, and my pregnancy became more and more uncomfortable. I had awful pain in my right hip that made me waddle more than the average bear. Be an, it sucked. My ankles and feet started to swell so bad that I had to buy shoes that slip on without laces.

After you're around 34 weeks pregnant the doctors ask to see you once a week. It wouldn't have been so bad if my doctors office were more organized. Each time I went I waited in the waiting room for at least an hour and then waited in the exam room for another half hour. I unfortunately couldn't crochet anymore because my hands would cramp up very easily. Thank god for smart phones. The exam rooms were so stuffy that sometimes while waiting in there with my clothes from the waist down removed my ass would stick to the paper on the exam table. Talk about embarrassing. The doctor would come in and say, "okay, slide forward to the end of the table" and I'd say, "Uhh.. I can't, I'm stuck to the paper."  One time the doctor had me stand up and helped me peel the stupid paper from my bare ass. How wonderfully embarrassing.  The doctor checked me out and told me she couldn't tell if the baby was head down or not. She mentioned doing a sonogram at the next visit. I asked to be examined first before the sonogram to see if it was even necessary (I really didn't want to have to get that gloopy lube on my big ass belly. They never give me enough paper towels to clean myself off.)  She agreed and mentioned that if the baby is head up that they'll have to do a C-Section.  I was only 35 weeks at this point, why the fuck would they mention a C-Section to me NOW?!  The baby could flip the day I go into labor.  I'm skeptical of doctors in the first place, and this had me thinking that they were C-Section happy at that office.  That same appointment I got the tDap vaccine. I originally didn't want to get it, I hate shots and how common is Whopping Cough anyway? But I caved in due to the pressure from my doctor, the nurses, and the women on my August 2015 Bump group online.  I was fine until I walked out. I sat down on a bench outside and called my husband to complain about the long wait, the paper on my ass, and the mention of a C-Section. Oh, and the shot. I was complaining a lot these days so he knew how to quickly calm me down.  Thank goodness for my wonderful husband, he's more supportive than the best bra.  After the phone call, I had to limp to the car. My hip was seriously bothering me, ohhh man did it hurt.  When I got home I limped up the stairs even slower than I had before.   It took me seven minutes to get to my front door, by the time I got inside my house I couldn't move my right leg. It was just... there. It was dead weight. I moved my left leg and dragged the right leg behind me. Five hours of dealing with one leg, I deceided to call the doctor and find out what was going on, but as I got up to get the phone the pain magically went away. I decided it was from the tDap shot and never thought about it again. Luckily the pain in my leg/hip never got that bad again for the rest of the pregnancy.
9 weeks left, 6 weeks left, 3 weeks left
The next appointment I saw a different doctor (there are three in the practice and they want you to see all three during your pregnancy because there's no saying who will be on call when you deliver).  I waited two hours for that appointment.  So already I was in a wonderful mood when I got the exam room.  He examined me first and couldn't tell if the baby was head down or not.  He wanted to do a sonogram but had to have me come back the next day because it was after 5 pm and the sonographer already went home (my appointment was 2:45 mind you).  He also mentioned that if the baby is breech they'll have to do a C-Section. When I walked out of there I was pissed. Damn C-Section happy doctors making me wait so fucking long I have to come back tomorrow. Bastards.
At the sonogram the baby was head down.  Not breech. A natural vaginal birth was still possible.  

At this point everyone was anxious. Every day I'd get facebook messages from people with suggestions on how to go into labor, I'd get asked if I had the baby yet, I'd get the whole "Oh you must be miserable..."   Yes. I must.





Even the apps I used to track my pregnancy were basically asking me "Baby yet??"




My due date came and went and everybody was getting impatient. And I was getting bitchier. It was hot, I was huge, and everybody's "helpful suggestions" were no longer welcome. Everything was a nuisance.  

I never thought I would ever want to ask for an induction, but at the next doctor's appointment I expressed my uncomforts to the doc and basically asked for an induction. It was August 20th and I was due on August 18th. I wasn't too far overdue, but man oh man was I uncomfortable.  In fact, the word uncomfortable wasn't cutting it anymore, I needed a stronger word. But I couldn't think of one.  Thanks, pregnancy brain.  The doctor had done some tests and said they could induce me on Tuesday.  I was so excited! Finally an end in sight! I could see my baby in a few days!  I could've done backflips if my feet weren't so swollen! 
But... wait.

The doctor came back in the room not even two minutes later and says "I've looked at your chart, and your due date is wrong"   I stared blankly back at him.  I went for anatomy scans four times, and at one I asked if my due date was accurate because I was given a window when I first got pregnant.  The doctor there (the SPECIAL doctor there) told me it was too late to change the due date and that the 18th was accurate.  She told me this at 21 weeks.  Now he's telling me at 40 weeks that my due date was incorrect this whole time.  My new due date was August 21st.  So not only was I not overdue, I wasn't even due.  And he can't/won't induce me that Tuesday.   I was equal parts disappointed and livid. Three doctors (four if you count the specialist I saw for that special scan) have been looking at my chart all this time and they only caught this incorrect date now.  A MAJOR oversight.  I left there with no induction, no progress, nothing new.  Just bullshit. In fact, it was kind of a step backwards. 

My next appointment was scheduled for August 27th. It seemed so far away.  The night before my appointment, on one of my many during-the-night-bathroom-runs, my musuc plug fell out.  From what I've read online it could mean labor is a few hours away or a few days away. I woke up my husband while I looked at the bedsheets to see if there was anything on the bed.  Nope, clean bed. False alarm.  Go back to sleep, I thought, If you're going to have contractions they'll wake you up. You should sleep, you'll need energy to push this baby out if you are going into labor.

But the next morning I was woken up by my husband and his alarm clock. No contractions. The sunrise was beautiful, so I took a picture. Little did I know it was the sunrise of my sons birthday. 



Stay tuned for A Birth Story.... 



Saturday, August 8, 2015

Salsa Season


Happy Summer!!

Farmer's markets! Fresh veggies! Juicy fruit! I love all the wonderful tasty things that come with the warm weather.  

....and ice cream

But this post is about some of the more healthy sweet options that summer brings.  Freshly made salsa! 

 Have two kinds of home made salsa recipes to share with you: Mango Salsa and Corn Salsa.  Both a bit different from the normal tomato salsa.  Juicy, sweet, crunchy, easy, there's seriously nothing to not love about these two. 

First up, Mango Salsa.  I made this for the first time last year and it's really easy. The hardest part is cutting up the Mango (hint: the riper the mango, the easier it is to peel/cut). 

Mango Salsa

What You'll Need
One ripe mango, chopped
One small red bell pepper, finely diced
One jalapeno, finely diced (leave in some seeds for heat, completely omit them for a milder salsa)
1/3 cup red onion, finely diced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely diced
Juice of one lime
Salt (optional)

Mix all together, add more lime juice to taste. 

That's it! 

Now, for the corn salsa.  I used canned corn, of course fresh corn is better and will taste better.  But it's not yet in season in the Northeasts, still a little early. If you use fresh corn, substitute a cob for each can. 

Corn Salsa

What You'll Need
One can of yellow corn
One can of white corn 
(If using fresh corn, use two ears of corn instead of the two cans)
2 jalapeno, finely diced (leave in some seeds for heat, completely omit them for a milder salsa)
1/2 red onion, finely diced
3/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely diced
Juice of 2 limes
Salt & Pepper (optional)

Mix it all together, add more lime juice or salt and pepper to taste.  You could add a bit of cayenne pepper to add a bit more heat to it if desired. 

That's it!

Both of these salsas go great over grilled chicken.  The following marinade really brings all the flavors together.  Just mix it all in a Ziploc bag, let it sit for at least an hour (no more than three hours) and grill!  Top it with the mango or corn salsa and you have a wonderful tasty easy summer dinner! 

Lime-Soy Chicken topped with Mango Salsa made with green bell peppers instead of red bell peppers

Lime-Soy Chicken Marinade

What You'll Need
One Pound chicken (any style, bone-in, boneless, whatever you fancy)
Juice of 3 limes
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely diced
Dash of ground ginger

Mix together in Ziploc bag, marinade for 1-3 hours.  For best taste, cook on the grill. 

I hope you all enjoy the rest of the salsa season, and the rest of your summer!
Happy grilling!
~The Craftmeister 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Alphabet Wall



Preparing for a baby is a lot of work...

...and a LOT of cardboard! 

Between the furniture deliveries and the boxes and packaging of various products, I had a ton of cardboard and styrofoam. I have four large garbage bags full of stryofoam and more to bag up, and I had at least three recycling cans full of cardboard, and more boxes to break up.  
I felt awful wasting all of it, and breaking up all that cardboard made my back hurt just thinking about it... So I think I came up with a fantastic idea to use it for some nursery decor!

I love the look of alphabet walls.  I've seen them all over Pinterest and they all look amazing! Most of them are made with wooden letters and painted with different designs or patterns on them. I like the look of alphabets that use more than one font, to keep it interesting. The craft stores by me only sell one font of wooden letters. And they're pretty pricey, about $5 a letter.  I could've purchased a random font alphabet from etsy but they're also expensive, although they are beautiful.

I decided I could try to make an alphabet wall myself. If I had more artistic talent, I'd draw the letters myself.  But my handwriting stinks, and I've never been able to draw very well. I opened up a word document, typed out the alphabet, made the font HUGE (like 600 pt) so each letter would take up around a full page. Then I went to town on different fonts. This was a lot of fun, but also time consuming; it's harder than it sounds to make something look random yet cohesive. I think I did a pretty good job though.  Now for the really time consuming part...

I planed on using the materials that would otherwise go to waste to create the letters for the wall.  Either stryofoam or cardboard. First I tried cutting out the letters in stryofoam. The stryofoam was thicker, sturdier, and would make more of an impact on the nursery wall.  Perfect!  Or so I thought...

Oh my goodness! What a mess! I thought stryofoam was messy before I broke it up. Once I cut it with an X-Acto knife all teeny tiny little pieces got EVERYWHERE! 


My X-Aacto knife wasn't deep enough to cut all the way through the stryofoam so I had to use a steak knife. Which, if I wanted to do all 26 letters, would seriously dull the knife.  I could just see me saying to my husband later on, "Oh sorry you can't cut your steak darling, I had to use the knife to cut stryofoam!" Oye...

I came across an article on Decozilla and the wheels started turning again.  I wouldn't be wrapping them all in fabric, but I love the idea of using cardboard.
And it wouldn't be my first time working with cardboard.  Here's a picture of one of my college art projects where we had to make a large version of something small from cardboard. I decided to make glasses, and they were a big hit!
I had a friend who wanted to buy them so he could put them on statues as a joke/prank. 

I could wrap a bunch of letters in scrap book paper, gift bags from my baby shower, wrapping paper, or just plain white paper then paint over that.  I think painting directly on the cardboard would leave the grain of the cardboard still visible.  And some of the letters still have pieces of shipping information on them.

I've started cutting out the letters on cardboard and it is SO MUCH easier than the stryofoam, not to mention a lot less messy. I'm using two pieces of cardboard to thicken it up and make it a little more noticable on the wall. After I have all the letters cut out, the fun begins! I can't wait to hang it all up in the little one's room. Of course I'll post pictures if the entire nursery once it's all set up. For now, here's some of the letters I already have cut.  Only a few more to go!



A few hints for you if you're going to try this yourself...
1- Change your X-Acto blade often.  I didn't change mine until I got to the letter M, and I so wish I had done it sooner.  
2- Try to do the harder or more curly letters first, and with a fresh blade if possible.  See that F?  I muttered a few F words to myself while trying to get around all those little furls. Especially with a dull knife and a tired hand. 
3- If the font doesn't look thick enough, make it bold, if it's still really thin, choose a different font.  The W is probably the thinnest I'd do.  I actually cut it adding a bit more to the stems, the original letter was thinner. 
4- Watch the type of cardboard you're using, some is thicker than others.  I was able to use a full box for the entire alphabet, then noticed that other boxes I had were thicker.  Some of the letters are doubled, some are just one piece depending on the cardboard thickness. 
5- Take your time!  It will be much more fun the less stressed you are, and your letters will look better.  Some days I only did two letters a day, one day I did almost ten. Have fun with it! 

Please share some pictures if you attempt an alphabet wall yourself, or even if you just spell out a name or a phrase.  I'd love to see your font and color choices!

Happy Crafting!
~The Craftmeister



Friday, May 8, 2015

Hats & Pillows

Thank goodness I have a few months to work on this baby blanket.  I'm constantly thinking as i crochet this... crocheting blankets takes sooooo long!  I love it, but sometimes I just want to make something I can FINISH!  That's why lots of my family members got smaller crocheted items from me for Christmas. Enter: hats and pillows!

I only have a pattern for a few of these items, the others I free handed based on pictures and on generic hat patterns from my favorite blog (besides mine of course😜).Repeat Crafter Me If you haven't checked out her blog before, please do so now, she's amazing! 

So first up, my adorable nephews.   I have three of them! And they're all the perfect age to wear adorable crocheted hats of cartoon characters or animals... or animal cartoon characters! 

My first nephew, Ben, totally loves Thomas the Train. I saw lots of crocheted hats for Thomas on Pinterest, but nothing that really stood out to me.  So I decided to make my own for him, and i think it's the best Thomas the Train hat I've seen! Not to toot my own horn, but... Toot toot! 🚂



His little brother Holden is just over one years old, and loves Daniel Tiger. If you haven't watched this show yet, you should - or at least the opening sequence. If you ever watched Mr. Rogers Neighborhood it will warm your heart.  Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood is an animated continuation of the classic children's show, and it's just darling. I didn't have a pattern for this one either, but looked at a few pictures, and I even watched an episode of the show! The shape of the hat and the ears are loosely based on the repeatcrafterme.com tiger hat. 



My nephew Archer is still a little baby, and doesn't yet have a favorite cartoon or animal. If you remember, I made him this owl baby blanket while my sister was pregnant.  So I decided to continue the owl theme and made m an owl hat. The pattern for this one can be found in the blog I mentioned above. Here's the pattern: www.repeatcrafterme.com/crochet-owl-hat-pattern
Here's the hat:


My nephews aren't the only ones who got character hats from me for Christmas. My sister and her husband have a slight obsession with monkeys, they have since they were dating. So I decided to make them sock monkey hats from RepeatCrafterMe. LINKHERE.  I made them in two different colors; one in the classic sock monkey colors of gray and red, and the other in a brown/beige mix. They loved them, and they wear them proudly. 


My dad got a pillow made by me.  He's got a country home upstate and has always favored Americana decor, so I decided to make him a flag pillow.  I found the pattern on Pinterest, and it was really easy to follow.  He loved it, he said it was the perfect size to use behind his head while he reads his books.  You can see the pattern here: www.aseknc.blogspot.com/americana-pillow
Here's the pillow:



A while back, I posted a brainstorming session about pixel crochet in blankets and pillows. For my brother and sister in law's Christmas gift, I decided to combine two geek things, pixel art and Star Wars. I started this in the summer because it was going to finish up being a very large pillow (the finished piece was almost 20"x20").  I loved working on it piece by piece because it wasn't as hot as working on a blanket and having it draped all over. Each "pixel" is the first round of a Grammy square in a magic ring pulled really tight so there were as little holes as possible. I did a picture if R2D2 on one side and on the other I had a pixel version of Princess Leia and Han Solo. I used bright blue for the background to really help the colors pop. Im so happy with how it came out! 


Speaking of Star Wars, there's one more hat I want to show you. I didn't make this one for Christmas, but I made it by request for my cousin's kid. He loves Star Wars, I asked her who his favorite character was and I was told he loves Storm Troopers!  I have to admit, I was a little intimidated at first. Storm Trooper helmets are three dimensional, and they have a lot going on. I was afraid if I made it too flat it might look like Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas. But I took my time (probably longer than I should have) and didn't second guess my choices when they were half way made, and I ended up with a pretty cool looking hat! To make it a little more Storm Trooper-y I did the braids in three solid colors instead of mixing all the colors together. I figured it looked a little more uniform, and a Storm Trooper helmet is a uniform after all! Sorry, no pattern for this one, I made it up as I was going along. 



I hope you enjoyed seeing the things I've worked on this winter. Now, if youlll excuse me, I have to get back to crocheting a certain baby blanket before this baby comes.... 

Happy crafting!
- The Craftmeister