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Rainbow “Joelene Trousers”

Rainbow "Joelene Trousers"

Rainbow “Joelene Trousers”


My friend from high school, Joelene, has always been into sewing, and has made her own children beautiful clothes for years. So when I got my sewing machine for Christmas I immediately contacted her for tips on the best online patterns. I was hoping to find the Ravelry of machine sewing.

She supplied me with a large stash of PDFs, as well as lots of Facebook groups, including a version of these beautiful trousers. Therefore they’re now known as Joelene Trousers.

I made them from a lovely Dr Seuss plush I bought from Plush Addict (it compliments the spotty fabric I used earlier this week), with a fine cotton rib for the cuff and waistband.

The waist is a yoga waist; elastic free.

I made a minor change to the waist so I could keep the waistband very broad and flat on the colder days, preventing any breeze between trousers and shirt, or fold over for normal days.

These ones are rather clown-like, and I love them.

Image L-R from top to bottom: waist and cuffs unfolded, Miss D inspecting the furry texture, Miss D “standing”, waist folded and cuffs unfolded, waist and cuffs folded, Miss D having a good chuckle at her clown trousers, front view, back view.

Jen Ava x

Brown Bunny Oversuit

The days are getting pretty cold here, and we’ll be spending some time in Glasgow soon, so I wanted Miss D to have something super warm and snuggly.

Hoods always slip off her little head, so I end up doing the “hands free” thing of using a carrier, only to use one hand to hold her hood on. Her cheeks get a little wind chapped, and her nose gets red.

So I thought for the extra cold or windy days it’d be good to have something warm with a hood that is quite fitted in front of the face so she can still see but can’t get the hood off without undoing the zipper.

And here is the resulting brown bunny oversuit:

Brown bunny oversuit

Brown bunny oversuit

My little model wasn’t so keen on posing in this one, as it was quite warm in the house and she overheated.

Brown bunny oversuit

Brown bunny oversuit

It’s such a soft outfit. I’m definitely going to have make more things in this fabric in the years to come.

Jen Ava x

 

Snuggly Oversuit #1

Snuggly Oversuit

Snuggly Oversuit

I was a bit spoilt at Christmas, but one of my favourite presents was a secondhand sewing machine from my gorgeous husband. Any creative outlet is a good one, in my opinion, but machine sewing is something I’ve been wanting to spend more time doing for quite a while.

I ordered some fabrics from the amazing online store, Plush Addict, and they delivered very quickly.

First I whipped up a taggy blanket for a gorgeous little guy from a mummies’ group I’m in.

Fynn's taggy

Fynn’s taggy

It was a perfect first project, getting me used to the pace of this particular machine, the tension, the way it works with stretch, etc. It also reminded me that I love the look of blending filament, but do not enjoy working with it!

Then I made an oversuit for Dizzy for the cooler days (currently experiencing maximums of 4-8 degrees), out of a beautiful Dr Seuss inspired short pile plush (“cuddle”). I now want to buy all the fabrics in the range, but without any intended purpose. I just love the designs! I bought the matching rainbow stripe in my initial order, and am planning on making trousers from that.

The oversuit is based on a Kwik Sew pattern. Aside from the little bits of plushy fur now scattered across my sewing room (and the clothes I was wearing when sewing), the fact the pattern left out a piece (?!), and a couple of attempts at attaching the collar (to make it a little shallower), it was all pretty straightforward, and I’m quite pleased with the end result.

As is my favourite little model.

Mummy's little model in her new oversuit

Mummy’s little model in her new oversuit

I’m going to modify this pattern further to include snaps on the legs so I can make regular sleepsuits from it as well.

Now to decide whether to make some baby trousers or dungarees. Okay, after chores.

Jen Ava x

Oh, that’s right, I have a blog…

Wow. Almost four months. Is that a new record for non-blogging-ness? I believe so. It has been a whirlwind. A beautiful, delicious, lovely whirlwind.

Our beautiful daughter is now five and a half months old, and is amazing. She is the happiest little thing, and smiles at the drop of a hat. I can count days she’s been upset on one hand. She generally only cries when she doesn’t want to go to bed (and is settled within five minutes, most of the time), or if we take too long to go and get her when she wakes up; at some point she’ll realise we aren’t psychic and don’t know when she’s awake, and that she needs to at least call out so we can go and get her. At the moment she lies in her cot, awake, for goodness knows how long, until we happen to go in and find her like that, or until she gets bored and starts crying.

She makes me laugh every five minutes, and learns something new every three. I can’t express in a blog just how spectacular she is, and I won’t bore you all by trying.

We had a wonderful Christmas in Australia, and an early Christmassy celebration at Sam’s parents’ before we left. Our holiday to Australia was fantastic, and it was by far the toughest goodbye yet. I cried the night before we left, I cried the day we left, I cried on the flight home, and I’ve cried a few times since when it’s come up in conversation. I’m okay. I want to be here in the UK (most of the time). But I miss my friends and family so dreadfully, and I miss the feeling of Australia. Much like I adore the UK for the fact the air feels different, and the sky looks different, etc, I miss those things in Australia too.

My brother is now a dad, and I missed meeting the little guy by only a couple of weeks. Heartbreaking, but overruled by the love I have for this little bundle I’ve only seen a few photos of.

Sam gave me a sewing machine for Christmas (his mum’s old machine, that she didn’t use) and I love it. Yet another way to get all the ideas and pent up craziness inside to the outside.

Life is good. As it often is.

Jen Ava x

October

I’ve been feeling nostalgic recently, and a light buzz whenever I’m outside, but couldn’t put my finger on why. I figured it was down to the fact that Christmas was approaching. So I’ve been doing what I usually do when nostalgia hits: looking through old photos, Googling places I’ve loved, looking up old friends on Facebook, reading old posts on my own blog…

And then, a couple of days ago, I realised why I felt this way. It’s here. My new home.

Palmer Park

It feels like my childhood home. That’s why I’ve been feeling this way.

The weather’s not that different to London in terms of temperature and rain and sunshine, but it feels different. Softer. Cleaner. More true to the seasons and less of a blur.

In the evening our little parade of shops smells like hot chips (or just “chips” as they are here), and there are lots of school children; the older ones buying junk food and walking in small groups, the younger ones with their parents.

There is usually at least one dog tied up waiting for its owner to come out of one of the markets.

The traffic swells for the school run, the hushes, then surges again as the working day ends.

If you stop and listen the first thing you hear isn’t sirens, or even traffic most of the time; it’s birds, people chatting, the chickens two doors up, children outside the mews at the end of our cul-de-sac.

It’s peaceful in itself, and there’s something exponentially more peaceful about it purely because of how much it feels like life did when I was a child.

So now I’ll keep feeling this way, knowing why, but still pretending it’s got something to do with Christmas so I can start looking forward to that too.

Jen Ava x

PS This entire post was written on my iPhone whilst pacing the hallway, and wearing a baby in a BabyBjorn. I do things differently these days!

When We Became Three

I wasn’t sure if I was actually going to write this post. I tend to put off writing the ones that are most likely to upset me (almost 18 months on and I still never wrote about my Grandpa. I ought to), or to ignore them altogether. But there are a couple of reasons I want to do this.

Firstly, I am vaguely traumatised by the whole experience; not through anyone’s fault, but purely because it was scary and confusing. I’ve shared the story with some close friends, but I think writing it here will normalise it and make me more okay with it all.

Secondly, if you Google certain key terms, or look up reviews of the hospital where I gave birth, you’ll see negative things. I think this is largely down to the fact that people are more likely to vent and rant, and therefore the internet gets clogged up with bad stories. People who are happy with the outcome just walk away and don’t share because it doesn’t weigh on their mind. So I want to try to add some balance, and hopefully anyone Googling about this will read my post and get another opinion.

So. Yes. My birth story.

Our baby was head down from my first trimester onwards. Unfortunately, she was also posterior. This is when the baby’s spine lies again your spine, rather than against the front of your belly as it’s supposed to. It’s also known as back-to-back, or occiput posterior (OP). It’s not at all uncommon. Something like half of women going into labour have an OP baby. However, in most situations the baby turns during labour, so only around 5% of babies are born this way around.

I’d had all my ante-natal / pre-natal treatment at Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital, Hammersmith, and they were fantastic the entire way through. Yes, sometimes my general check-ups had an hour or two wait, but that’s as close as I could come to thinking up any complaints. I took my Kindle, and got to sit in clean, quiet waiting room, so no complaint from me really at all!

Blood tests and Anti-D needles were swift and skilled. Sonographers were delightful, attentive, and very communicative. Midwives were calm and sensible, and didn’t do the vague, “Hmmm… this isn’t right” kind of stupid comments a lot of peers received in other hospitals, which only lead to stress and concern. Everything was organised and friendly and clean and safe. I loved it.

 

The Plan

So when, at 38 weeks, we moved 40 miles away, we made the decision that – unless things progressed way faster than expected on the big day – when I went into labour we’d drive back to London so I could deliver at QCCH too.

As my blood pressure, haemoglobin / iron levels, weight, fundal height, etc, were all good, and the baby was head down, I was allowed to get a referral to the birth centre. The difference between the birth centre and the delivery ward is that it’s midwife lead (no doctors), and far less clinical. You get a room with a bed (which you’re discouraged from using), pilates ball, yoga mats, beanbags, hammocks, birthing pool, and ensuite bathroom, to do your thing in. What they don’t tell you during your ante-natal classes is that you also get to stay there for your first night, with your partner, afterwards. In the delivery ward your partner gets sent home at 8pm, or just after the birth if it’s after 8.

The only real downside to the birth centre is the level of pain relief they can provide. No epidurals!

But I didn’t want an epidural anyway. I was going to breathe through the pain, meditate between contractions… hold on a second while I stop laughing with hindsight.

So we had our last few checks at the birth centre with some lovely midwives, rather than in the ante-natal unit, and went to a tour a few weeks before baby was due. We were very happy with the facilities, and with the kind of people who were going to be delivering our baby.

And we knew that if anything didn’t go to plan, the delivery ward with the doctors and regular medical approach was just upstairs.

 

Early Labour

Sam and I bought a car the same week we moved house (yes, new car, new house, new baby, in three weeks. We are a bit insane). A couple of weeks after we bought it we had to take it back to the dealership to get a few minor flaws checked over, as happens when you buy a used car. I was 40 weeks and 4 days pregnant by this time. And enormous. I’d been eating curries, having sex, walking miles every day, painting walls, leaning over the arms of the sofa, bouncing on my pilates ball, etc, for two weeks. We walked to buy ice creams and sausage rolls while we waited for the car. All very normal. All very much like any other day.

We got home early afternoon, and I was exhausted, as tended to happen lugging around 20 extra kilograms in the hottest summer we’d seen in years. I lay on the sofa and watched TV for an hour or two, then decided to go to bed for a proper nap before I made dinner.

At 6pm I woke up, and my waters broke. No contractions. No signs. Just broken waters. So I wandered (waddled) down to Sam – who had been working from home all week “just in case” – and gleefully announced what had happened. Sam got excited too, and then switched into AWESOME MODE. There is no other way to describe it. For the next few days he was Super Husband.

The first thing he did was go down to the kitchen and make us an early dinner. I wouldn’t have thought of eating. I was too excited, despite the fact I still wasn’t contracting at all. So we ate a good, filling, healthy dinner. And waited.

We didn’t have to wait long!

At 8pm my contractions began. I rang QCCH and let them know. They gave me the same advice I’d been given in ante-natal (take paracetamol if I wanted, wait til contractions are 1 minute long and occurring every 2-3 minutes before I come in, etc). I wandered around the house. I tried to go to bed, to get some sleep before the big event. Not happening. Contractions were pretty painful from the start, and got worse very quickly. Sam came up to bed with me so we could watch a DVD and attempt some sleep. I think we watched about 5 minutes of it before I insisted it was turned off.

The pain was so severe that I couldn’t handle any distraction. It sounds ridiculous now, but music, TV, internet… even conversation at times… drove me nuts. I couldn’t focus on anything other than the next contraction.

 

To Hospital

By midnight my contractions were 90 seconds long, and happening every 2-3 minutes, so at 1am we got in the car. Fortunately at that stage we hadn’t rented out our London flat yet, so we figured if we got to London and I didn’t need to go to hospital yet we could go there instead and sleep there.

Contractions got so bad in the car on the way there that I had to lift myself off the seat for every one. They were definitely at the forewarned “can’t talk. Contracting.” stage.

But when we got the birth centre the midwifes (calm as ever) said I wasn’t dilated at all, and technically wasn’t in labour, so I should go home. What the hell?! I had been in so much pain I was certain I must be getting close. With no prior knowledge of what labour feels like, I assumed I’d be about 6-7cm dilated. I almost cried when they said it hadn’t even started yet. How could I be in this much pain, this often, and it not be resulting in anything yet? They said to come back at 6am.

 

To The Flat

We went back to the London flat. I had a hot shower. I intended to try to sleep on the bed or the sofa, but instead ended up crawling around on the floor, scratching at the carpet, and trying to contain my screams so I didn’t wake the neighbours. We rang the hospital again at 5am because I simply wasn’t coping with the pain. They said to come in at 8am! Even later than they’d initially said.

They knew what they were talking about, but I really couldn’t handle it. I am still a bit embarrassed to admit that. Before I was even dilating I was finding labour unbearable. I was supposed to be meditating and breathing through it, and I was giving up before it had even begun. But my body was telling me that something wasn’t right. I misinterpreted it as the birth being imminent.

So at 6:30, even though they’d said to go back at 8, we got back in the car, rang them to say we were on our way, and went back to QCCH.

 

Back to Hospital

Until last week I couldn’t remember arriving, but Sam helped me recall it. We couldn’t find parking near the doors, so parked on the road, practically across the road from the hospital. But I had a contraction on the walk from the car to the doors, and ended up squatting on the footpath outside Wormwood Scrubs, holding the fence and moaning. Classy. The slighly scary thing was knowing my time was broken into 2-3 minute “safe” blocks where I wasn’t contracting. If I needed to do anything that would take longer than that – such as walking from the car up to the birth ward – I knew I’d have to stop for a contraction on the way, and I didn’t know if the next one would be even worse than the last. It was a bit daunting.

I still wasn’t dilated enough to be admitted, but the midwives saw I wasn’t coping, and they didn’t have a single other patient in the ward, so they let me stay. Made me love them even more.

So from about 7am I was in a room in the birth centre, only 1-2cm dilated, and in a hell of a lot of pain. From about 9-11am I dosed up on gas and air which didn’t ease the pain at all, but certainly made time go faster. Still wasn’t coping though. At 11am the midwife offered me diamorphine so I could attempt to get some sleep. As I’d been in serious pain for around 12 hours I was flagging, and I was going to need energy to deliver our baby!

After the diamorphine I slept for three hours, only waking for contractions, or if anyone spoke to me directly. And to insist that Sam go to the cafe and buy himself a bacon sandwich. And – apparently (I still don’t remember this part at all) – I asked if I was a hamster, because I felt like our pet hamster, Leonard (in a room with lots of little activity areas, with people all watching me).

At about 2pm, as the diamorphine wore off, they moved me to the birthing pool and back onto gas and air. I hadn’t planned for a water birth at all, so wasn’t prepared. They didn’t mind what I wore in there, but I was hot and irritable and, well, high, so I stripped down naked and sat in the warm water, screaming into my gas and air mouthpiece and writhing in the pool. Once I got high enough I complained (apparently quite rudely. Again, I don’t remember this) that the water was too cold, and writhed around a bit too much and ended up grazing my shins massively.

Between 2pm and 6pm I moved from pool to bed to beanbag and back and forth. Most of this is a blur. Not even a blur. It just doesn’t really exist. I know it happened. I know I was conscious. But by this point it was as if my brain had decided I couldn’t consciously cope with the pain, so had allowed me to leave for a while. I vaguely remember pleading with Sam to help me, to fix it, to let me go upstairs to the delivery ward. I feel guilty now for putting this on him.

 

Attempted Delivery

At about 6pm I was around 9cm dilated, and ready to push. I can’t remember the morning crew or the afternoon midwife at all, and can barely remember the afternoon student midwife. All I remember about her is that she lived with my little guardian angel (more about her later). But they both worked incredibly hard to get me to deliver our little baby. We tried every position under the sun. They stopped me using any pain relief, so I could do a better job of pushing and judging my contractions. I can’t even begin to explain how much that hurt. Beyond what I even imagined pain to be, before labour.

I “came back into the room” and immediately knew something wasn’t right. I screamed at them to take me upstairs. They said I was fine, that I was almost there, that they could see the baby. Which they could! Eventually I begged them to take me upstairs for a caesarean (despite this being my last resort on my plan), but they said it was too late.

After two hours they got concerned. You shouldn’t have to push for that long.

I had developed a fever, but baby’s heart rate was smooth and calm the entire time. She didn’t seem to realise anything out of the ordinary was happening.

The midwives checked baby’s position. Half a dozen pushes after “she’s just centimetres away”, still nothing. They checked her position again and discovered she’d tipped her head back and was now OP and face-first. No wonder I was in pain, and no wonder pushing wasn’t achieving anything!

 

To Theatre

I was spent, the midwives were due to change shift, and the baby wasn’t in a great position for a natural unassisted delivery. So both teams of midwives bundled me into a wheelchair, and we rushed up to the medical delivery floor.

This was when my little guardian angel appeared. The student midwife, Laura, was wonderful. She was sweet, calm, supportive, sympathetic… exactly what I needed at that point. She was firm with me when I needed to do something, but otherwise seemed so empathetic to my pain and fear. She is going to be a perfect midwife when she finishes her training.

They let me have more gas and air while I was prepped for theatre. I relaxed immediately, even though the pain was just as bad, because I knew they were doing something. That’s not to say they should have done anything earlier – they were trying to help me have the natural labour I’d wanted – but it was such a relief to have someone tell me that within an hour I’d have a baby. I signed consent forms, had an ultrasound to find out just how posterior baby was, and each person playing a major role in what was about to happen came and introduced themselves personally before checking me and the baby. I didn’t feel lost, or like a piece of meat. I was a person. A very tired, rather unwell, very scared, and very sore person. And they did everything right to make me feel better.

They let Sam stay with me at all times – my godsend, even more than usual – and he got dressed in scrubs for theatre.

The gap between pushing in the birth centre, and going into theatre, allowed baby to tilt her head back into normal position which was very useful.

 

Delivery

I was rolled into theatre on a stretcher at about 9:30pm, given an epidural, and prepped for surgery. There were about a dozen people in there. They were going to try to assist me to have a vaginal birth, but with things going the way they were, they were prepared for something more significant. And yet they still behaved in a way that made me feel calm. I trusted them completely.

Almost an hour later, after meds to increase my contractions further, and me pushing (which is so weird with an epidural, as you can’t tell if you’re pushing or not!) with Sam holding one hand and Laura holding the other and the entire time encouraging me and telling me I was doing brilliantly, I was given a full episiotomy, and our beautiful little girl was delivered onto my chest thanks to a ventouse delivery at 10:26pm, weighing 2.85kg.

She was a little dazed at first, and her head was rather bruised and battered, but she was healthy, perfect, beautiful, and so very, very, loved. Laura talked to me a lot after the birth, telling me what a good job I’d done, telling me how perfect our baby was, telling me it was all over. I didn’t discover until afterwards that she was probably trying to distract me because I was actually haemmoraging at the time. I lost about 1.5 litres of blood, but didn’t notice anything. I thought all the “work” at the other end of the bed was simply the placenta delivery and stitches being done. Poor Sam had an inkling something was wrong, mostly due to the amount of blood everywhere, but even he kept me out of the loop so I didn’t worry.

 

Recovery

At a little after 11pm I was wheeled into recovery, with my beautiful little girl wrapped up and bundled into my arms.

Sam and I stayed there for a while, then he was told he had to go home.

From 11:30pm until 6am I sat up in bed, hooked up to a drip, with my baby under my gown against my skin. She didn’t want to feed, though we tried a few times. As the next shift changed – I think it was around 1am – more than half the team who had delivered her came to my recovery bed to say goodnight, to tell me how brave I’d been, to say I’d done a good job, and to see the baby again. So sweet and caring! I couldn’t believe that people who do this every day as a job would still be that engaged. Now those are exactly the kind of people you want delivering your baby!

At 6am, with me able to stand up again, and baby girl dressed to meet the world, we were wheeled to the post natal ward, and Sam came back as soon as he was allowed, at 9am.

I had to stay in hospital for a couple of days, purely for observation, and was looked after during that time just as well as I had been before and during labour. Mostly the midwives and nurses left me to my own thing, unless actually checking me, though any time I asked for help they were right there immediately, and so helpful. As a first time mum, I certainly didn’t know everything, so they were on hand to give me tips on anything I asked. But they didn’t force their opinion, or interfere. They even let me have an extra visitor so Sam’s parents could both visit at the same time without him having to leave.

The level of care was brilliant, with cold water constantly brought to my bedside, great meals, endless tea, and excellent medical care for me and for baby. Her hearing test, general medical, inspection of the ventouse wound, and BCG were all done within the first 24-48 hours.

And then as we left, two days later, everyone we passed said goodbye and wished us all the best.

 

Aftermath

In all of this I haven’t really spoken of the emotion of the birth itself. Meeting our daughter. How perfect she is. How much I love her. I think it’s too big. Nothing can describe it. Nothing at all. But she is, and I do.

And in writing all of this I feel a little choked up, but one step closer to being okay with it all. I notice I’ve also glossed over the worst of it. The feeling of “is the baby okay?” when I couldn’t deliver her, the fear of dying myself when everything felt wrong, the intensity of the pain in my spine and hips, the guilt of making Sam feel helpless, the frustration of being unable to pay him back for being as strong and supportive and utterly perfect as he was that day and the days following.

But it was worth it. And I’d do it again.

Eight weeks later, I’m almost back to normal. I’m still a handful of kilograms heavier than I was pre-pregnancy, and I’ve still got some healing to do, but I’m no longer “the lady who just had a traumatic labour” and am now just a mum.

And I love it. Every single exhausting second.

Jen Ava x

One hour after birth. I'm pale, puffy, exhausted, and about as happy as is humanly possible.

One hour after birth. I’m pale, puffy, exhausted, and about as happy as is humanly possible.

PS. On a lighter note, kudos to my Samsam for managing to have a nap only a metre or two from me while I was screaming. It was an impressive effort, and a skill that has served him well since we’ve had a newborn in our bedroom at night!

Fun Ideas. Go.

Prepare for a vague and disjointed blog post, written over various sittings, usually typed with one hand…

My beautiful little girl has fallen asleep on my chest and arm in a way that means I can type, but can’t do anything else. I can’t even sit up in order to hand write any of the various things I need to write. But I’m not complaining. I love these cuddles, especially as she’s going through a growth spurt at the moment and is consequently very clingy. It’s lovely to see her calm and relaxed; the last week or two she’s been fluctuating between her usually happy, chatty self, and crying for no reason in particular. Poor little thing.

But yes, I can type.

A few friends have started talking about Christmas, and I’m getting just as buzzy about it as I do every year, except this year I’m not realistically going to be able to achieve nearly as much in terms of creating gifts and decorations, or baking and planning.

Instead I’m just daydreaming about it. It’s not quite the same, but the trade off is beyond worth it.

I’ve managed to do a lot of the necessary things (housework, chores, etc) whilst wearing baby in a sling while she’s clingy, but I do miss my creative projects and the sense of achievement. I adore being a mum, but I feel like there’s a lot of time at home where baby is asleep (on me) where I could be doing more than hanging out on Facebook and reading online news.

Who has ideas for fun things I can do? (Open til September 30)

Jen Ava x

PS. Amusingly, the last time I used a poll in this blog was to determine my next career move. At the time I laughed at the prospect of being a housewife and/or mum, despite it getting a significant number of cumulative votes. Turns out they were right and I was wrong. Not to say this is what I’m doing for the rest of my life, but it’s certainly one of the best life choices I’ve made to date!

Pre-baby Crafting

Until we moved very late in the pregnancy, I took out all my nesting requirements on yarn… but clearly not on blogging about it. So here’s a quick update, typed with one hand as the other holds baby, as is the current fashion.

I finished the rainbow blanket I’ve mentioned earlier. Sam figured out it has around 4 miles of yarn in it. It feels lovely and marshmallowy, and despite the overall product being heavy it isn’t too weighty when actually used. Just warm.

Rainbow blanket. Knitted, with crocheted border.

Rainbow blanket. Knitted, with crocheted border.

I finished the bunting…

Bunting. Knitted with crocheted binding.

Bunting. Knitted with crocheted binding.

And then a mobile for over the cot.

Mobile, with rainbow blanket... and baby!

Mobile, with rainbow blanket… and baby!

I made a pair of dungarees with self-patterning yarn. They’re still too big for baby, but that’s because at 8 weeks she’s only just into newborn sizes!

Ice cream dungarees. Knitted.

Ice cream dungarees. Knitted.

And then I made some booties. You have to, don’t you?

Wizard of Oz film booties

Wizard of Oz film booties

Pink Mary Janes

Pink Mary Janes

Ice cream booties - tiny size

Ice cream booties – tiny size

Ice cream booties from beneath

Ice cream booties from beneath

Boots!

Boots!

And I started a jumper which hasn’t been touched since we moved over two months ago. It’ll happen eventually. Hopefully she’ll still be small enough for it when the time comes.

Unless anyone can teach me to knit one handed… ?

Jen Ava x

Blogging with a Baby. This is New!

Can’t believe it’s been another three months without blogging. For once I have an excellent excuse. Our daughter.

Isadora, a few days old

Our baby girl, a few days old

The end of the pregnancy was insane. I got huge. Really enormous. I swelled up. My cankles had rolls! My intercostal neuralgia had me on the verge of tears daily (and occasionally actually in tears). It was the hottest summer in 7 years, and one of the top 10 hottest summers since records began.

The last two weeks were really insane. We bought a car from a dealership 45 miles from home, involving a few trips back and forth in our old car… which didn’t have air con. We bought a house 40 miles from the old one, again involving numerous trips back and forth. We packed. We moved house. I painted and decorated the nursery at 39 weeks, 4 days pregnant.

Baby's nursery

Baby’s nursery

And then we waited. And waited.

Until August 1st.

I’m going to blog about the birth another time. To be honest I’m still slightly traumatised by it; I still can’t see the first photos of me with our baby without wanting to cry, and I certainly can’t watch anything like The Midwives or One Born Every Minute without the same result. I’ll get over it though, because the end result was spectacular.

Our little girl us simply brilliant. A little colicky and clingy at this precise moment (this post has been typed with one hand while the other holds the snuggly bundle), but utterly beautiful, fun, lovable, sweet and happy. We are blessed.

I had great intentions of blogging during the later stages of pregnancy, just after labour, during the early just-learning-and-it’s-weird days of parenthood, but instead I just lived it. In some ways I love this, but being the person I am I do wish I had the record, raw and instant without the hindsight I now have. I’d have liked to have captured it immediately.

Like our baby’s hand and foot 3D molds. She’s now almost 6 weeks old, and still no luck there. And because I thought we would capture these earlier I also haven’t even done her hand or footprints. I wish I’d done them the first day home.

Maybe tomorrow.

Where do the days go?

Life is good. So different, but so very, very wonderful.

Must go. I have to go and change a nappy, because that’s what I do now.

Happy and smitten,

Jen Ava x

Another Month Down

It’s been another busy month, of work (a nice short term digital contract), preparing for baby (we’ve now got pretty much everything we need), house buying (still underway, but looking good for a move around July/August), catching up with friends, and ever more knitting.

It was Sam’s birthday last week, and on the weekend I made a cake for another friend’s birthday. I’m more than a little obsessed with subtly variegated colour these days, mostly in yarns, so I made a variegated pink meringue cake.

Pink meringue cake for Amy

Pink meringue cake for Amy

A couple of weekends ago we had the most delicious weather we’ve had all year, which happened to fall on the same day we’d organised a picnic to celebrate birthdays / impending move / baby-to-be, etc. It was a wonderful afternoon with many of our nearest and dearest.

Sam and me at our picnic

Sam and me at our picnic

The baby bump gets bigger and bigger every day, but still hasn’t dropped much at all. I’m looking increasingly like a lady with a basketball up her shirt. There are less than six weeks to go, which is very exciting and a little bit daunting. I love being pregnant, though combining bump-stretch-induced neuralgia with trying to sit upright or stand a lot in order to stop baby lying in a posterior position is getting quite exhausting. Fortunately, even though about 50% of babies are still posterior when labour begins, only 4 to 10% are born that way, so even if I can’t get her to roll over in the meantime it may well happen on the big day. This means I’m still allowing myself to sit back in the sofa for a few hours every evening to give my nerves/ribs a rest.

Sam is very close to being the perfect husband-and-father-to-be, and really goes out of his way to make me comfy when I’m struggling.

We can’t wait to meet our little girl and actually cuddle her. She’s very responsive to touch through my belly; she squirms a lot, but if her kicks turn into painful skin-stretching pushes or getting feet caught under my ribs, she only needs a little rub from me or a hand placed over the offending limb by Sam, and she relaxes. She does a little dance every morning once Sam starts speaking. She has albums she is more likely to move to than others (Tegan and Sara’s Heartthrob is a clear winner), and certain songs she’ll move to if I sing while she stays perfectly still to others. So it’s starting to feel like we know her already, but can’t see her, snuggle with her, smell her lovely new baby smell. Not too long now though!

Sam and I went to see Tegan and Sara at Troxy last week. Belly and I coped with the crowds well, and our bodyguard Sam protected us too. He even forced me to queue jump which was very amusing. Baby didn’t stop moving throughout the entire gig or Tube ride home.

I’m well and truly in nesting mode at the moment, which is slightly awkward and occasionally induces pangs of anxiety, because we don’t know if we’re still going to be living in the flat when she’s born, or if we’ll have moved into our new house. I wouldn’t actually decorate the spare room here either way, because even if we are still here it’ll only be for a matter of weeks, but part of me desperately wants to build the flat packed change table, order the matching wardrobe, etc, etc. I know it’s not practical though, and if we do move before she’s born (I figure there’s about a 50/50 chance) we’d rather those things be easily transportable and arrive unchipped and new.

So instead I’m washing, folding, sorting, planning decor, and knitting. Lots and lots of knitting.

Blue bear hoodie

Blue bear hoodie

I made another version of the bear hoodie, this time in a sparkly blue variegated yarn (James C Brett Moonlight Sonata DK) in the newborn size.

And Hobbycraft awarded me a runner-up prize for the bears I made last month, so I’ve got a gift voucher to spend with them to get more supplies!

I cleaned out and culled my obscenely large collection of jumpers, hoodies and cardies on the weekend. One of them I knew I should cull because I don’t wear it often enough to justify keeping it, but loved the yarn, so instead I’ve dismantled it and am making even more baby things with it. More on that another day.

Exciting news from the last month included my cousin giving birth to her first child, a beautiful little girl; my mum telling me she’s going to come over a couple of weeks after our baby is born, when I thought I’d have to wait til Christmas for them to meet; Sam buying us tickets to Australia for Christmas; and Sam securing a new tender through work that he’s been working hard on for quite a long time. I am so proud of him!

All of this, combined with everything above… life is incredible.

And only going to get more interesting, exciting and wonderful in the next month or two!

Jen Ava x