Thursday, August 28, 2014

Choosing Lilies

So if you've read my previous post, you know I recently suffered a miscarriage.  I could write pages on the pain, the guilt, the feelings of helplessness, but that is not what I am choosing to do.  One day I popped in a mixed CD of songs I found meaningful and some that were suggested to me by others.  A song caught my attention while I was driving.  Sometimes, I would skip this song because I felt being Held was not enough.  

This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We'd be held

This hand is bitterness
We want to taste it and
Let the hatred numb our sorrows
The wise hand opens slowly
To lilies of the valley and tomorrow

This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
~Held sung by Natalie Grant, written by Christa Wells

But this day, when I had left a party because I hold back tears that burst from my eyes when I saw a newborn baby and my mind automatically went to "I might never have that again" (yes, I know I am lucky to have ever had that at all), the words spoke to me. This was about 2 weeks after surgery, and for a long time I was numb, but suddenly I could feel everything again.  

This is my second miscarriage.  I had to make  a choice, would I let this make me bitter or make me better?  That's exactly what the words were saying to me.  It would be easy to choose anger and let it consume me.  Why were my babies lives taken from me?  Why is having children so easy for some people?  I could let the bitterness suppress the sadness, but what would that mean for my life?  I don't want to be that person.  Sometimes bad things happen, and we may never know the reason, perhaps, sometimes there is no reason.  But if we let those bad experiences shape our lives in such a negative way, then we lose.  I will not allow this to be my child's legacy.

The second part of that verse made think.  If I am not going to hang onto the bitterness, what is in store, what would that mean for my life?  The songwriter chose to be more symbolic here.  Obviously it was hopeful, but not being an expert on the meaning of flowers, I had to look it up.  Lillies of the Valley are the one of the first flowers of spring and represent--wait for it--the return to happiness.  Despite how much I was hurting, yes, someday I would be happy again.  I am actively choosing those lilies.  

To try to return to happiness, I'm taking some steps.  Because of the pregnancy, I'd stopped working out-which is a source of happiness for me-- in addition I was concerned about returning to work looking heavier after I'd been doing so well.  So before surgery, as my anniversary gift, my husband bought me PiYo.  I am loving it!  Almost 3 weeks in and 4-6 pounds down!  We do want to try to conceive again so I wanted something that was a little less intense than T-25 for the time being.  We have a referral to see a reproductive endocrinologist, so hopefully that will help.  Family and friends have shown their love in a variety of ways, one of which is just listening and letting me talk about this.  I'm also following the lean eating plan that came with it.  To help get in all the veggies the plan call for, I bought a NutriBullet.  There will be a later post with some recipes, I'm sure.  I'm working on getting some things in order around the house.  

Now for a little bit of randomness... Lilies of the Valley happen to be the birth month flower for May--which is when my grandmother(Erma) was born.  We used to walk in her backyard sometimes and in the back, beneath this big old tree, was a patch of lilies of the valley.  I'm going to have to look for them this spring.  I  hadn't thought of that for a long time until I was looking up the meaning of that flower.  Here is the story behind the song.  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Crochet for Cancer: Free Beanie Pattern

As part of our One Book-One School Initiative, we read The Fault in Our Stars. Our school will be doing various activities centered around the book.  I was approached to help student crochet items to donate to cancer patients.  This led me to discover a charity called Crochet for Cancer.  I wrote this basic pattern (which I actually use as the base for many of the patterns in my shop) to share with my students.

I've decided to share it with the community at large in hopes that it will be used for more donations.  If you use this pattern for hats you sell, please give me credit and provide a link to this pattern.  

If you choose to donate caps, guidelines are proved here along with contact information for making your donation.  They also have a large collection of free chemo cap patterns.

Erma’s Inspiration Basic Double Crochet Beanie for all sizes

Height in inches
Circumference in inches
Newborn (0-3 months)
3-6 months
6-12 Months
Teen/Adult Female
Teen/Adult Male
Worsted Weight Yarn

DC- double crochet
SC- Single Crochet
SL ST- Slipstitch
STS- stitches

1.        Begin by making a magic circle.  Chain 3, 10 DC in ring. Pull magic ring tight SL ST into top of CH 3 (10 STS)
a.       There are tutorials on YouTube for a magic ring if you are unfamiliar or you can:
CH 4.  SL ST into 1st CH.  CH3, DC 10 in ring, SLST into top of CH 3
Here's a tutorial for the Magic Circle using Double Crochet, this tutorial is a little better             BUT she is using single crochet
2.       CH3, 2 DC in each DC.  SL ST into top of CH 3 (20 STS)
3.       CH 3. [2 DC in next DC, DC in next DC] repeat to end. SL ST into top of CH 3  (30 STS)
4.       CH 3. [2 DC in next DC, DC in next 2 DC] repeat to end. SL ST into top of CH 3 (40 STS) For Newborn size skip to #9
5.       CH 3. [2 DC in next DC, DC in next 3 DC] repeat to end. SL ST into top of CH 3  (50 STS) For 6-12 month skip to step #9
****FOR 3-6 MONTH SIZE ONLY CH 3 [2 DC  in next SC, DC in next  9DC] repeat to end. SL ST into top of CH 3.  (55 STS) skip to step #9****
6.       CH 3. [2 DC in next DC, DC in next 4 DC] repeat to end. SL ST into top of CH 3 (60 STS) for Toddler size skip to step #9
****FOR CHILD SIZE ONLY CH 3. [2 DC in next DC, DC in next 11 DC] repeat to end. SL ST into top of CH 3 (65 STS) skip to step #9****
7.       CH 3. [2 DC in next DC, DC in next 5 DC] repeat to end. SL ST into top of CH 3 (70 STS)  for Teen/Adult Female size skip to step #9
8.       CH 3. [2 DC in next DC, DC in next 13 DC] repeat to end. SL ST into top of CH 3 (75 STS) (Only for Teen/Adult Male)
9.       CH3, DC in each DC around. SL ST into top of CH 3. Repeat until the proper number of rows is achieved. 
a.       For Newborn- repeat 6 times  for a total of 10 rows
b.      For 3-6  months-repeat for a total of 11 rows
c.       For 6-12 months- repeat 7 times for a total of 12 rows
d.      For Toddlers- repeat 7 times for a total of 13 rows
e.      For Children- repeat 7  times for a total of 14 rows
f.        For Teen/Adult Females- repeat 8 times for a total of 15 rows
g.       For Teen/Adult Males- repeat 8 times for a total of 16 rows
*always measure to make sure your hat falls into the proper size range. See Size chart at the top of pattern

10.   CH 1.  SC in each DC around. SLST into CH1.  Tie off and weave in ends.

Optional: Change colors during row changes for stripes.  Embellish with appliques.  

Here are some examples of hats I've created using this pattern: 

Monday, August 4, 2014

The M Word

Where have I been?

Well first there was the end of the school year. 
Then I stopped making progress with my workouts
In hopes of something better
And, if I am honest, because I was scared.
Which in the end didn't matter 
Because it happened

We were ecstatic with our little secret.  We tested positive at the end of June.  There were visions of little hats with shamrocks I'd be creating for our March baby. I went in for my ultrasound at 9 weeks 2 days. There was no heart beat. The baby is too small. 

And now I am in limbo again, awaiting some tests and a long talk with the doctor about my options.  I already know my options.  I have been down this road before.  Miscarry naturally (could wait for weeks--and having been through this before a miscarriage at 10+weeks is more painful than delivering a full term baby in a variety of ways) or have surgery (which I have never had and it's the same procedure as an abortion but my baby is already dead).

So this is where I am at.  A little depressed, a little scared, and a little bit in denial.  Uncertain of whether or not my hopes of having another child will ever be realized. It feels too familiar. 

I need to share this because I know I am not the only one.  1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage (2/3 for me--lucky I am not in The Hunger Games--you know, odds not being in my favor and all).  Yet few women talk about it openly.  I know I will miss and wonder about my babies the rest of my life.  I dream about them.  I'll picture them with my dad and grandma.  And I'll always wonder, Why?

But I'll bounce back.  That's what I do.  I'll keep moving with one more scar on my heart. 

Sending love to all the moms have faced pregnancy and child loss.