Too Fast

I was recently reminded of how long it had been since I blogged, so this is a little update of what’s been going on!

Time is going way too fast. I can’t believe my maternity leave is coming to an end. Teegan just turned four months and he has dramatically changed in the past few weeks. He’s grabbing at everything, kicking up a storm in his baths, and even belly laughing! This is the time when things really start to get fun. Don’t get me wrong- he was a cute newborn- but it’s so exciting to start to see his personality and see his different moods!

Teegan

Unfortunately he hasn’t really mastered the sleeping through the night thing but I’m hoping he will magically figure it out since I’m going back to work, right??

My sister, niece and my mom recently came out for spring break. It has been spring all winter long here in LA, but it was a big change for them. We had lots of adventures including the LA Zoo (one of my favorite places), Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific, the Science Museum at Exposition Park and a beach day in Malibu. It was really fun to see Mila interact with her older cousin.

The carousel at the Los Angeles Zoo

The carousel at the Los Angeles Zoo

Aquarium1

The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach

 

Petting the sharks at the Aquarium

Petting the sharks at the Aquarium

Cousins

Feeding Teegan

Feeding Teegan

Malibu Pier

The Science Museum at Exposition Park

The Science Museum at Exposition Park

My leg is better. I still get some pain if I do the elliptical (so I’ve put it on hold for now) but otherwise can pretty much walk as much as I want. I haven’t dared to try running again yet. I think that will be a ways off.

My fasting blood sugars are improved but some of my post meal sugars are still a little high if I’m not really careful about carbohydrates. I’m trying to stay hopeful that things may still improve over time.

My lupus is still more active than baseline but seems to be settling down. I think as time goes on this will keep getting better.

I’ve made a few things but haven’t seemed to get my act together to take pictures of them— so that’s my goal before I go back to work!

And here’s my little family of four….

LB_Family

– Erica

Simple Patchwork

Most of you already know how much I loved my obstetrician. My pregnancies were not entirely smooth sailing and having an ob that was calm and confident was vital for me. I’m not sure that being a doctor is an advantage when you are a patient- in fact, I think it’s detrimental. About halfway through my pregnancy with Teegan, I found out she was expecting a little girl. This provided me the perfect opportunity to make a thank-you gift!

My first instinct is always to use pink for girls (um, Mila has a LOT of pink in her room and her wardrobe), but it just didn’t feel right. I found an adorable owl print made exclusively for JoAnn Fabrics which I used on the back (unfortunately I don’t see it available online right now).  I used a few key colors- gold, burnt red, grey and yellow and then several low volume prints. Most of these are out of print now.

Patchwork (1)I have been in love with simple patchwork quilts these days. I used to cut 5 inch squares, but this time I cut 4 inch squares, which I like better. I did simple quilting on each side of the seams. I definitely love how it turned out.

Patchwork (2)

Patchwork (3)

Patchwork (4)

Excuse the pictures…. It was a dreary day when I took them (and I’m also learning how to use my new camera).

– Erica

A Broken Leg

This postpartum period has been both easier and more challenging than it was with Mila.

Teegan is such a good baby. He is not fussy like Mila was. He loves to be cuddled, snuggled and held. At night he sleeps right next to our bed and he will open his eyes every so often to look at me to make sure I am still there as he drifts off to sleep. People told me that little boys have a special connection to their mamas and I can already see it. He still gets up every 2.5-3 hours overnight to eat, but he goes right back to sleep pretty quickly. I can’t hardly complain about anything.

However, the same cannot be said for my body. I’m having a harder time recovering from this pregnancy. My lupus was much more active, requiring lots and lots of medications, in high doses. I was hoping I would be able to taper down off the medications right away after he was born but unfortunately things are still flaring.

The high doses of steroids caused me to have high blood sugars, necessitating insulin during the pregnancy. As I’ve started to go down on the steroids my sugars have not gone back to normal as I hoped and it’s possible I may end up with pre-diabetes. Nothing is for sure yet because I’m not completely off the steroids, but I’m a little nervous. I’m hoping my body will recover over time.

Also, the steroids weakened my bones. I started running after my postpartum visit which was so nice after being sedentary for so long (first for preterm contractions and then after the c-section). On my third run/walk I developed severe pain below my left knee and couldn’t finish my run. Turns out I fractured my tibia right below the knee. It’s a horizontal fracture that luckily didn’t displace the bone. So now I’m on crutches for the next 6 weeks. Luckily I have great help with the little ones. My mom was able to extend her stay for an extra week and now Jake’s mom and sister are helping out. It takes a village, right?

This is just a little bump in the road- I’m very blessed to have two adorable, precious babies and an amazingly supportive husband and a wonderful family. Hopefully I’ll find some time to sit at my sewing machine since it is my happy place….

With my mom and my babies at the LA zoo, before crutches.

With my mom and my babies at the LA zoo, before crutches.

-Erica

Meet Teegan!

This post is WAY overdue. But that’s because things have been busy. In a really good way.  There are only a few things about Teegan’s birth that resemble Mila’s, otherwise, it was entirely different.

As for the similarities– Both times my labor started with my water breaking (this only happens in about 10% of births), and both times I had pre-term labor around 31 weeks but they were born term babies (Mila was born at 37 weeks + 2 days and Teegan was born at 37 weeks + 3 days). Other than that, they were entirely different.

I was really hoping to have another natural birth with Teegan like I did with Mila, but unfortunately he had other plans for me.  Teegan was persistently breech during the entire pregnancy, which meant a c-section for me. I had ultrasounds at every visit (since I was in the high risk ob clinic) and he never budged from his position. He was always head up and his head was always on the right side of my belly (it truly felt like a big, giant baseball).  One week before he was born they attempted to do an external version, which was unfortunately unsuccessful. I was hopeful he would still turn on his own, but he apparently wasn’t on board with that plan.

My doula told me that many women seemed to go into labor at times that worked for them which seems like a biological protective mechanism. She used the example of a woman not going into labor until her other kids were out of the house (at preschool or with grandma) and mom could actually focus on laboring baby-to-be. This made so much sense to me and I think that is exactly what happened with Teegan.  I was really hoping to make it through Thanksgiving and also was hoping I would go into labor when my OB was on call (so she could be the one to do my c-section).

We had a lovely Thanksgiving at our house (with a tofurkey and fancy, disposable plates and cutlery) and that night when I went to bed I was very thankful we had been able to enjoy the holiday. I joked that my OB was on call that night so it wouldn’t be a horrible night to have a baby.  Then, at 4AM my water broke. Since Teegan was breech and they needed to do an urgent c-section, we weren’t able to labor at home, and instead had to rush to the hospital.

The c-section went flawlessly, without complications (and I was fortunate that my OB really was on call and able to do my c-scection).  Unfortunately I felt extremely sleepy during the procedure because there was morphine in the spinal so I didn’t feel as present as I was when Mila was born. Luckily Jake took pictures.

Meet Teegan ()

Teegan was perfect at birth. He weighed 6 lbs, 10 oz. He latched on without any trouble. And about 3 days later we came home with our new little man. And now we’re a family of four.

It’s incredible.

Oh, and how did we pick Teegan for his name? The week before he was born, on our way home from the external version, we drove past the Hollywood Palladium Theater and saw the band Tegan and Sara on the marquee. I wondered if Tegan could be a male name. We looked it up and saw that it is about 50/50 with multiple spellings. Immediately we knew that it was perfect when we found out it means “Little Poet” since our little guy had been writing his own story during the entire pregnancy.

Welcome to our family, Teegan.

– Erica

(I have several other posts to come… somehow I have managed to start and finish a baby quilt since he was born 6 weeks ago).

Breech Baby Boy

I was really fortunate to have a beautiful natural birth with Mila. After an unpredictable pregnancy it was amazing to know I was strong and it felt great to be in control of how she entered the world. We were blessed with an incredible doula and Jake was a wonderful birth partner. My labor was only 6 hours from first contraction to Mila’s birth which is on the shorter side for a first pregnancy (this is probably because I had preterm contractions consistently from 31 weeks on).

I have been looking forward to another natural birth with this guy, but he seems to have different plans for us. In fact, he seems to have been in charge this whole pregnancy. I’m so curious to find out if that holds true in his personality once he makes his actual appearance in the world!

Mila was head down the entire pregnancy. In fact, they couldn’t even do accurate measurements of her head because she was so far down in my pelvis! This guy has been persistently breech. He has never once been head down on any of my ultrasounds (and because of my medical issues I have had ultrasounds at every visit this entire pregnancy, now twice per week!).  Also, I can see his head when I look at my belly so I know which direction he is.

We attempted a ECV (External Cephalic Version) this week where they gave me medicine to relax the uterus and then three ob’s actually manipulated him to move to a head down position.  It was painful but definitely not unbearable and nothing compared to actually giving birth. They were able to turn him three times, but then he immediately proceeded to turn head up again. His heart rate dropped each time after they turned him head down as well (but it recovered pretty quickly).

So, now I’m convinced that there is a reason he isn’t head down. It’s not that he doesn’t know he can go that way, he just chooses not to.

I would really like to avoid a c-section because of the medications I am taking for my lupus. The high dose, long term steroids interfere with wound healing, the immunosuppressants make me more susceptible to infections, and the aspirin makes me more likely to bleed during the operation.

I’m still hoping that he will decide to change his mind and go head down before his big arrival, but I think I need to start accepting the fact that this may not be how he enters the world. And that’s ok.

I have a c-section scheduled for 39 weeks although it’s not likely he will actually incubate that long (although fingers crossed, who knows what he actually has planned?!).  We will have a more emergent c-section if I go into real labor or my water breaks before then.

I’m still incubating and trying my hardest to rest. It’s horrible to have the nesting instinct and not be able to act on it…. I’m 36 weeks now!

36 Weeks (1)

– Erica

Three Years in the Making

In 2011 I went to the first Sewing Summit in Salt Lake City, UT. At that time everyone was making their own bags. I got excited and bought everything to make my bag, but unfortunately, never had the time to finish it. It has been sitting in a WIP pile for…. about 3 years (you can see my initial post here).  I finished it about a month ago and thought it was finally time to show a picture.

Duffle Bag (1)

It’s a very large bag but without anything stuffed inside it essentially has no shape. I don’t know that it necessarily needs more shape, but the picture definitely looks better with some pillows inside!

I used my serger on this project so there are not any exposed/unfinished seams which I love. It has a zippered side pocket which I also really love. I think this bag will come in really handy for overnight trips and weekend getaways (not sure how many of those are actually going to happen in the near future though).

And just for fun, here’s a 35 week picture. I’m hoping to incubate for 2 more weeks, fingers crossed!

Duffle Bag (2)

– Erica

Preterm Labor and Lupus

I was really hoping to avoid preterm labor during this pregnancy since I’ve been working hard at resting and incubating at home. Unfortunately my lupus has just been quite active during this whole pregnancy…

Last Saturday (a little over a week ago) I went into preterm labor at 32w4d. Luckily this was a already a few days later than with Mila. 32 weeks is actually a pretty important milestone in baby development but still means that baby would be in the NICU for several weeks after birth. Definitely not what we have in mind for our little guy.

I was admitted to the hospital and luckily things didn’t continue progressing. While here I developed several of my lupus flare symptoms (oral ulcers, pericarditis- inflammation of the heart sac- and some cystitis). My blood tests were also consistent with active lupus. So I received high dose IV steroids to calm things down (in addition to my other lupus medications). The hope is that if my lupus will calm down, then hopefully baby can stay snuggled in for awhile longer.  A few times a day things seem to get a little more active but then luckily they quiet down again and the overall trend has been improving.

One of my girlfriends sent me some yarn and knitting needles and I’ve started to make a baby blanket. I’m definitely better at sewing, but it’s really nice to have something to do to keep my hands busy. This is the start of my first try at a baby blanket– it is knit on point so it looks like a little triangle so far.

photoThanks to Craftsy and YouTube for instructional videos.

Unfortunately a few minutes after that photo, this happened…

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And little Mila? She’s having the time of her life at grandma’s house. I’m not even sure she misses us (although we haven’t FaceTimed with her because she has a history of crying when she sees people she wants to hug). My mom will be flying out tomorrow to watch Mila at our place once I get home. It’s such a blessing to have the generous help of family during this time.

I’m hoping to go back home tomorrow. It’s always a humbling experience being on “the other side” of the doctor/patient relationship.

– Erica

The last of my robots

This will be the third quilt I have made with Robot Factory (which is now out of print and practically impossible to find). The first quilt I made was for my nephew from the pattern Pow Wow by Cluck Cluck Sew and then I made a simple square patchwork quilt for the son of one of my girlfriends.

I had several half square triangles left over from piecing the Pow Wow quilt and I saved these pieces knowing that someday I would put them to good use.

I sewed these half square triangles together to make “flying geese” and then randomly pieced the squares together. I’m very happy with how it turned out. In retrospect, I am a little nervous about the quantity of white in this quilt since it is going to a little boy (and I am now realizing how messy toddlers can be!).

Robots (1)

Robots (2)

I decided to quilt parallel lines between the pieced blocks. I’m really happy with how it turned out.

Robots (4)

The back is pieced with every last bit of robot fabric I had left. I guess I’m going to have to find a new fabric for boy quilts!

Robots (3)

Now I just need to package it up and mail it off to this sweet little boy…

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– Erica

Pants, Pants, Pants.

This is not one of those exciting finishes that really warrants a blog post- but it does cause you to have that internally satisfied feeling when you are done. My husband bought some new jeans (and had some old jeans that we never hemmed) that needed some attention. So, I hemmed jeans, assembly line style….

Pants Pants Pants (1)

I finished these a few months ago but since I’m not very active these days (yup, growing a baby with lupus is hard work) I’m catching up on posting some prior projects.

As an update, I’m 31 weeks pregnant and just about exactly as far along as I was when I went into preterm labor with Mila. My braxton hicks have increased the past few days which is making me really slow down. Anyone tried to slow down with a 15 month old toddler running around? It’s pretty challenging.

I had to add this picture just for fun, because all posts are better with a cute baby picture.

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– Erica

My Hexies

In 2011 when we moved from Boston to Los Angeles we initially thought we would be taking a road trip across the country. So I had decided I needed a hand sewing project to keep me occupied. Laurie from Dresden Lane had just taught us how to do paper piecing and so I decided to do a scrappy hexagon quilt (my original post from 2011 is here).  Several people donated their scraps since I didn’t really have any at the time.

We ended up flying to Los Angeles instead of driving and so, three years later I haven’t made much progress on this project

Scrappy Hexagons(yes, this is all I have managed to sew together…)

It has been sitting on my sewing table for this entire time and I have to admit I’m a little  sick and tired of looking at the ziplock bag I keep the scraps in. So, I’m retiring it to my scrap bin for the moment. I’m not sure if I will ever pick up this project again in the foreseeable future, but it’s sure nice to have some space on my sewing table.

-Erica