Sunday, May 22, 2011

Meet Michael Francis

On May 10, I went to the hospital for my scheduled c-section. Because of the pre-eclampsia, the birthdate had been moved up from May 24. The only cure for pre-eclampsia is to deliver the baby, so it made sense that any potential risk of being born three weeks early -- and 37 weeks gestation is considered "term," not premature -- would be outweighed by eliminating the very serious consequences of full-blown pre-eclampsia.

The surgery went really well. My OB is a family friend who actually delivered my sister 28 years ago. The only hitch in the pre-op period was that I was too swollen for an IV, so the anesthesiologist had to come in and do it. While the spinal block was much scarier than the epidural I'd had with Henry, my blood pressure was low enough that I didn't need the magnesium drip I'd also had at Henry's birth. (The mag drip is to keep a pre-eclamptic patient from seizing and going into organ failure; it makes you nauseated, sleepy, and completely out of it, and I was glad to avoid it this time and be more present at the birth.)

Michael Francis was born at 2:21 PM. He weighed 6 pounds, 12 ounces, and was 19 inches long. He started crying right away and my thought was "Well, there's nothing wrong with his lungs."

But there was something wrong with his lungs. When we got back to the PACU, the nurses remarked that the baby was wheezing and grunting as I tried to get him to latch on to initiate breastfeeding. I didn't think anything of it, as I thought babies wheezed and grunted. I made the nurse tell me what was happening. He was making those noises because he couldn't get air into his lungs quickly enough. He couldn't latch on because it interfered with breathing. After two visits from a resident from the NICU, they made the decision to take him to the NICU for evaluation.

At the same time, I started to bleed heavily, so what happened after that is still foggy. I'm so glad that before they took him to the NICU, we all got to hold him and be with him.

Later than evening, the nurses got me in a wheelchair and we went down to the NICU. Michael was in triage, on a ventilator, which was very hard to see. They treated him with surfactant, and took a culture and x-ray to check for pneumonia. I won't go into all the details -- I'm not sure that I'm ready to talk about the details -- but in summary, he did have pneumonia and spent seven days in the NICU on antibiotics.

The NICU is a scary place, but it's full of amazing nurses who I'm pretty sure are angels in disguise. If the Rapture HAD happened yesterday, I know they would have been taken instantly.  While Michael had some setbacks (for example, we walked in on Thursday to find he was put on a feeding tube when he'd been taking a bottle just fine the night before), he improved almost every day, and I knew that we were much, much better off than pretty much every other family in that NICU. Slowly, I got better as well, after a frightening incident on Wednesday where I almost fainted in the NICU as a result of my heavy blood loss.

We brought Michael home a week later. Because this is a knitting blog, I have to show you that he came home in not the romper I'd knit (too big!) but with the sock yarn scrap blanket I made.

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Sunday, May 08, 2011


I had another "We may have to send you back to the hospital" incident this week. I'm 36.5 weeks pregnant. The baby has dropped and it hurts to walk. I'm tired. My back aches. And my brain power seems to have gone bye-bye.

In summary, all I can manage is to sprawl out on the couch, watch Glee, and knit baby pants.

A soaker from local friend Maggie Broderick's Knitting Wool Diaper Covers from Start to Finish, knit from scraps of Malabrigo Worsted.

Bad iPhone picture of Elizabeth Zimmermann's February Baby Pants, knit out of half a skein of Brooks Farm Solo.

Two days left!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Under the Porch

Some kittens from under the porch
My mother had this tough old broad of a Manx cat named Feather. Feather was our Cat Matriarch. Every few years, she'd give birth to a litter of kittens (please, no Bob Barker Flames; this was a barn cat in the 1970s). Before she went into labor, she'd disappear, usually under the porch, and then emerge a few days later with the kittens.

That's the way I'm feeling. Nature is telling me to get under the porch.

But there's only so much hiding one can do with a family to take care of. Henry and I have been watching Dancing with the Stars, and I've been sitting on the couch casting on for every sock pattern imaginable while he explains the complexities of Lightning McQueen to me.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Well, this was unexpected

So about two weeks ago, I went in for a routine OB visit and mentioned that I had a headache and that my hands had swollen up to the point where I looked like I was wearing Minnie Mouse gloves. Because I'd had pre-eclampsia with my son, the midwife took one look at me and ordered a barrage of tests. Suffice it to say that I took a day off work and spent it voiding into receptacles. I stopped by the hospital on Good Friday to get more tests done and then I went off to work, only to be called back to the hospital two hours later. I spent Friday, Saturday, and half of Easter Sunday in the hospital under observation for pre-eclampsia.

Pre-eclampsia can be some pretty scary stuff.  Fortunately, the doctors determined that my case is mild -- so far -- and sent me home to rest, while moving up the date of my c-section. I'm being monitored pretty closely, and with a few exceptions, I've basically moved back and forth from my couch to the hospital for the last ten days.

This leaves a lot of time for knitting, which you'd think would be great! My first response to the new due date for the baby was to panic, not because the baby was coming early or because I couldn't get the room ready, but because I had no hat for the baby to wear. Hey, we knitters can compartmentalize like nobody's business. So I made a Sweet Baby Cap out of Baby Ull and some sock yarn scraps:

Then I had to finish a bunch of other stuff. Ordinarily, I think this would manifest itself by scrubbing out some cabinets, but since I'm not allowed to do that kind of thing, I have to sublimate the nesting instinct into knitting.

I'm almost done with a test knit for Cosy:

I finished another In Threes for my friend's daughter's birthday:

I put buttons on the Rhino Romper I made for Malabrigo March:

And I finished the knitting portion of the Baby Albert KAL I'm doing with my mom:

No, I'm not freaking out or anything. Nope.