Saturday, July 6, 2013

Miles Garrett Irby

On June 19th at 9:52 a.m., we brought our son, Miles Garrett Irby, into the world in what turned out to be an incredibly easy experience!  I had complete placenta previa, so we had a scheduled c-section at 38 weeks to avoid me going into labor.  So, the anesthesiologist did a spinal, got me talking about my hobbies, and after a little discussion of modern quilting and modern traditionalism, I was able to look up and see my baby!  After we met him, Bryan and our boy were taken to recovery and my mom was shown in to hold my hand for the rest of the c-section, which went quickly and well while I talked about other sewing projects, baking, and cooking.  Yup...after being so upset about missing out on natural childbirth and having major anxiety about bad interactions with the anesthesia, I must say, it was a pretty awesome experience! I had a few problems later that day/night with throwing up, which is not fun when your belly has been cut open, but I was sitting up in a chair the next day and able to walk the day after that.  My recovery since has been way better than I expected, thanks in part to good pain medication.  My only problem has been not overdoing it, which is hard when I feel so good.  I have to remind myself that I had major abdominal surgery!

So that's me... Now for the important part!

Miles was 6 lbs., 3 oz., and 20" long at birth.  He smiled almost from day 1, and continues to be a very smiley, happy baby except when he has gas pain.  He was jaundiced and lost a lot of weight at the beginning, but my milk came in just in the nick of time and we went through some craziness to feed and supplement him every 2 hours for several days.  Our wonderful nurse, Kristina, made all the difference in the world, helping us with a plan and when we were completely wiped out from no sleep, taking Miles to care for for a few hours so we could get a few hours in.
 And by 6 days after his birth, he'd already surpassed his birthweight, so all the hard work paid off! My mom spent 17 days with us, which made all the difference in the world...I'm not sure how we would have survived without her!  
Also, my dear friend Anne brought a ton of delicious food, as well as wonderful quilted items!  I'll do a separate post about that, but for now let me leave you with some pictures and get back to napping!



For more cute photos, check out the results of our professional photoshoot when Miles was just 9 days old - they are pretty adorable (not that I'm biased). http://dianalewkowicz.smugmug.com/Other/Miles-Irby/30241374_cS23K4#!i=2603049953&k=MB79fwh 

Friday, April 26, 2013

I'm still alive!

I knew I shouldn't have made my New Year's Resolution be to blog more...because that made it destined to fail! But I am still alive and well, if not quilting much!

I'm now 34 weeks pregnant, and my boy is moving and wiggling, giving me horrendous heartburn, and generally keeping me worn out, but wow...it is just so cool! We're most likely going to be meeting him in about 3 weeks, as I have complete placenta previa right now and will have to deliver early by scheduled c-section in order to avoid hemorrhaging. It's not at all how I wanted things to go (I was planning a natural childbirth and actually looking forward to that experience), but as the time draws near, I've come to terms with it. Indeed, the idea of knowing "today's the day I'm having this baby" is actually pretty helpful. We'll know more on Friday, when they do another ultrasound just to see if maybe I've gotten lucky and that pesky placenta has moved out of the way, but as it gets hotter and I get bigger, I'm becoming ok with not holding out until July! As long as he and I are healthy, that's what matters!

So, we decided a few weeks ago on a nursery "theme", which will give us something to work towards in the next 4-5 months! The theme had been post-apocalyptic wasteland, as my poor husband had to take everything out of his office (including all the stuff that was in the guest room when I moved in and took it over for my stuff, including my sewing area) and organize it and put it in storage or find other places to tuck it in the house. We had the room painted a pale yellow called "morning sun", and we're having new carpet put in because the painter got as much paint on the carpet as the walls practically! (Oy - renovations by a guy who turned out to be a real jerk at 32 weeks pregnant is a bad idea! That said, I'm so happy it is almost done, and though there are lots of flaws and things that should have been done better, I keep telling myself it is a vast improvement over what we had!) The "official" colors will be teals/aquas with chocolate brown accents, and the theme is the Galapagos, since we went there for our honeymoon and loved it (and took great photos of the animals that we can have printed and put on the walls, perhaps). I don't know how far we'll go with the theme, though I am tempted to get a better map of the Galapagos for the wall with marks where we visited...that would be fun! Of course, what I should do is make the map with fabric and appliqué with the completely awesome MistyFuse...I'll have to think about that! And Bryan showed me a cool constellation quilt that makes me want to make one of those of the sky that we saw there last June - yet another project that might be done in time for his college graduation! Yes, I am way behind to decorate properly....indeed I'm trying to ignore other people's beautiful, coordinated nurseries that are ready for months before their child is born (or their large stacks of quilts, outfits, fabric baskets, curtains, etc...all the things I should have been making but haven't! I'm already a bad mother. Ah well!).

I did at least commission my mom, a polymer clay artist, to make a Galapagos mobile for us, and I am thrilled with how it turned out!

I'm sure I'll start blogging more as we have pictures of a little boy to share, and hopefully I'll sew something eventually so I have something to show! I've got a few things started (or at least fabric purchased and washed), so when we unearth my sewing area again from the renovation mess, I should be able to make a little progress.

And I'm doing a little hand-sewing on an old project that I should, in theory, finish at some point soon! It's a little yellow quilt with chicks on it that my friend Anne and I started together many years ago...hers is finished and on the wall of her nursery, and mine has been sitting half-appliquéd for years, mostly because I used steam-a-seam lite, which, in my opinion, is absolutely miserable to sew through...especially when there are several layers of it. I hate to not finish it by hand since it is mostly done that way, but geesh...it's not fun trying to make neat little blanket stitches through it. We'll see!

The picture with my husband was at 22 weeks, I think (March 3...for my husband's birthday present, he got to feel his son kick for the first time! Well-played, baby!). And the picture of my son was from his 28 week ultrasound. I was thinking about asking a random person on the train this morning to take an updated picture of my baby bump, but that feels slightly creepy, so I'll just post one soon when I can remember to have my husband take one! I meant to take a bunch, but alas...I seem to have a lot of good intentions that don't quite happen! I just have no idea where the time has gone!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

My most energy-consuming project!

So, other than working on the DCMQG QuiltCon charity quilt, I've done really no sewing in the last month and a half.  We did have a fun sewing day after our regular December meeting, where Jessie and Heather came over to my house to help finish piecing the top.  After working away for 4-5 hours, we got it to this point, and then I let it sit until practically the last minute, despite offers from Jessie to get together to keep sewing.  I just had no energy (and thought I was coming down with a cold...not a great Christmas present to someone with three kiddos)!

But, with a deadline looming to get the front and back to Aubrie for the quilting, I finally got with it, pressed and trimmed and joined the columns for the top, and then put together parts of this back.  (I stole Aubrie's picture from Flickr, as I didn't even bother to take one.)  I'd gotten the top pieced and the back large orange piece of fabric framed by white on three sides by late on Friday night, having taken the day off from work to work on it all day/evening.  But on Saturday morning, I still hadn't started on the improvised pieced section, and it took a lot longer than I thought to figure out how to use all the little scraps that were left from the top to put it together.  We had dinner plans and tickets to see the Infamous Stringdusters and Lake Street Dive with our friends Mike and Cathy, so I called Aubrie, and she graciously agreed to finish putting together the backing from my improved block and the white.  I can't tell you how grateful I was...or how much I needed a nap.  She has been madly quilting it since I delivered it on the 29th of December, and I'm completely blown away.  Her quilting is exquisite - check out her blog (and the two more recent posts after the one I linked you to) - and hold on to your socks!  I really can't wait to see the finished product.  I'm also grateful to Linda, who drove all the way to my house to pick up the few remaining scraps to put together the scrappy binding and sleeve and is taking care of the final steps...she made me feel better about my utter exhaustion/worthlessness!



So, the big question, then, is why have I been so tired and what could possibly have gotten in the way of quilting, especially when I have so many great projects to work on?


This was our first ultrasound, and it totally looked like he was waving his little arm nub at us!
Well, the answer is:
I've been growing our son! 

Here he is at almost 15 weeks, complete with legs and feet that I'm glad I can't feel yet, since he never stopped kicking!

Yes, I'm thrilled to say that this little parasite has been consuming all of my energy, and we couldn't be happier!  He's due on July 3rd.  We have been getting terrific care from Women Ob/Gyn of Annapolis, as well as the Center for Maternal and Fetal Medicine.  I'm turning 36 on Saturday, so I was "diagnosed" at my first appointment with "advanced maternal age" (ha!), so I am getting extra special attention and care, including access to an incredible genetic test called the MaterniT21, which told us at less than 14 weeks that our baby is a boy and that he is not at risk for the three trisomies (including Down Syndrome).  (Interestingly, the doctor and sonographer both predicted "boy" at 12 weeks, but told us not to buy anything based on that until the genetic results came in.)  Of course, I was sure we'd have a girl (because I looked forward to making cute dresses and reusing the hand-smocked dresses that my grandma made for me), so the one quilt I made pre-pregnancy has a nice bright pink binding.  D'oh!  Good thing I have some really cute aquas, teals, and periwinkles from a quilt I made for a friend ~6 years ago...just enough to make the same quilt for our baby boy (which is awesome, because I really loved that quilt.)  And he may just have some quilts with pink in them, too...I highly doubt he will care, as long as he is warm and his belly is full and he's being snuggled by a doting parent!  And wow...I cannot wait to snuggle him...I'm very much counting the weeks (though also feeling like we have a lot to do in the next 24 weeks, too, to get ready (since we've done nothing yet!))!

We have our next big ultrasound on February 1st, but I'm really relaxed at this point that everything is going to be fine (and that if it isn't, my amazing husband and I will support each other through it)!  So, other than sleeping constantly (or wanting to), I've had a terrific pregnancy.  I've had a touch of nausea now and then, but none of the typical morning sickness symptoms, so I consider myself extremely lucky.  I've had some pretty excruciating tailbone pain from sitting at my desk at work, and I hurt my shoulder when I finally ended up laying on my coat on the floor during a lunch break to take a nap, since I just couldn't function, but that's all pretty minor.  My cravings have led to some laughter - all broccoli, all the time, for awhile.  Also, grapefruit.  I've been doing pretty well with eating well, though with an occasional slip or treat.

For Christmas Eve, we went to our friends' house for their annual Christmas/birthday open house.  Mike has a Christmas Eve birthday, and one of the highlights last year was looking at his baby book that his dad had brought down.  The hospital bill, in particular, was pretty funny - the long-distance calls seemed huge in comparison to the rest of the bill, and his mom was in the hospital for 4 days...I remember the room and board for the baby for those days was something like $20.  Anyway, Mike is a huge coconut fan, so Bryan and I made him a special birthday treat - lime coconut cheesecake.

It was outstanding - here's a picture before we did the final decorations...I can't believe I didn't get a picture snapped after I'd piped the coconut whipped cream on top and covered it with toasted coconut and a lime wedge.  It looked like it was from a fancy patisserie.  Also, we totally did it wrong, because we didn't have time to let it sit overnight, so we baked it longer (thus the golden top), but it worked like a champ...no complaints from anyone, believe me, and the texture was still creamy and delicious.  I just had the thinnest little slice, but my husband really wants me to make another.  I don't trust us with an entire cheesecake in the house...I'll make it when we can take a portion and then share the rest with others...the problem is that how do you take 3/4 or half a cheesecake to a party.  Hmmm...maybe I'll make it for the Inauguration brunch we're going to on Monday and just encourage Bryan to eat a big piece while there (and this time we'll be able to take home the leftovers, since it isn't a birthday prize, except we might have to fight Mike for it)!

Christmas Day was pretty low key, which is how we like it.  We had these beautiful chocolate croissants, thanks to my lovely friend Courtney.  She had them shipped to us from Williams-Sonoma, and my gosh are they a wonderful treat!  (We also had them on New Year's morning, and I'm thinking we'll have them on Saturday for my birthday breakfast before I run off to the DCMQG meeting all day - hooray!)

What else?!?  I bought myself a VitaMix 6300 from CostCo for my present to me(!), and we've really enjoyed it so far.  We've made a ton of Caesar salads thanks to how easy it is to make a great dressing.  We've also made soups, smoothies, mango lassis, and a bunch of other things.  I made myself sick initially from eating way too many vegetables and fruits in a 2-day period.  I've not completely gotten the hang of the smoothies with veggies in them yet, but experimenting is fun, and I already see me making baby food from fresh produce from the farmer's market next spring and summer for our little one.

We tried our hand at Indian food around the holidays, and we had a pretty lovely little feast...not sure why that picture is flipped, but you get the idea.  Chicken makhani, along with some whole wheat naan from Wegmans, a little curried rice pilaf, and a mango lassi made for a happy me!  I'm trying to really eat a lot of different cuisines and spices (and lots of garlic) now so I can develop my little one's palate in utero (and so he isn't fussy when I eat the things I like to eat when I'm breast-feeding because he'll recognize the tastes).  We've been eating lots of spicy foods, too, and Thai.  I'm ready for some Vietnamese soon...I may let my husband off the hook about cooking my birthday dinner for me on Saturday and just suggest we go to the little dive-y Vietnamese place near us that I love, but...a home-cooked meal where I've done nothing to help sounds like quite a gift, indeed, these days!

And speaking of wonderful meals, I went over to Anne's house last Sunday, where she had prepared a really lovely lunch for me that included a wonderful roasted root vegetable soup, fresh cornbread muffins, and a green bean, tomato, and sliced almond salad that was out of this world.  It was such a treat to see her and her now almost 15-month-old daughter, Aileen, who is an absolute doll.  She's so busy that I'm not sure how Anne keeps up, but she's sweet and so cute with lots to say (babbling mostly).  I hadn't seen them since right when I'd become pregnant but didn't know it yet, so it shouldn't surprise me that Aileen had grown up so much, but it did!  While she was down for her nap (which is now like clockwork from 1-3), we visited and started cutting out a diamond quilt out of pink and brown flannels.  I'd originally bought the flannels with the idea of making sleep sacks, in addition to our matching quilts, but instead I'm now going to make a throw size flannel quilt for me (along with Aileen's toddler quilt), since we have plenty of fabric and it kills me that I regularly sit under a polyester fleece blanket in our living room, since I haven't made myself a quilt to sit under yet!  I really need to get with it!  :)