Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hooded Towels for Infants and Older Kids

I taught a class on how to make these Hooded Towels at Enrichment last night and thought I'd share the directions I made. It only takes about 10-15 minutes and they turn out so cute!
Directions for a Hooded Towel  
1. You need one bath towel and one hand towel (not a face towel). Get nice, thick, soft ones.
2. Cut the hand towel in half. Make sure if there is a design you have that in the part you cut out. (At this point you can embellish your hand towel with rick-rack, ribbon, or decorative fabric.) 
3.  Fold about a 1-2 inch "hem" on the finished edge of the towel and sew it down.   4. Next, fold the hand towel right sides together with the sides you cut touching each other. Stitch the side you cut closed. 5. Now form a “triangle” with the hood with the seam you just sewed facing you. Sew a straight stitch about 3 inches down from the point of your triangle. Cut off the piece of the towel above the line you sewed (it will look like a small triangle). 6. Fold your towel in half and put a pin in place (where the hood goes) so you know where the center is. Mark about 4" from the middle on both sides of the towel (it doesn’t have to be exact). Take that point and bring it into the middle and pin in place. Do the other side. It should look like this: Close-up view. You will be sewing through 3 layers. 7. Take your hood and turn it right side out (so the seams are on the inside). Match up the center of the back of the towel with the center of the back of the hood. 8. Pin hood to the towel and sew the hood on. I usually do a straight stitch through all layers and then go back and zig zag stitch for added strength.
Voila!  My kids love using these--even the older ones! Let me know if you have any questions or want to see more pictures! Good luck!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Celebrating Our Miracle--MARIE

Yesterday was a meek, soft, appreciative day filled with long, reflective pauses and lumps in the throat. I thought of the palpable fear of one year ago.

The picture fragments of recollection. . .

Hobbling to the door that morning, barely able to stand up. Seeing the friend who followed the Spirit and stopped by. She observed my hand-clenching contractions and read my face, knowing that at 33 weeks I shouldn't have "the look." She didn't ask what she should do--she moved. She took Peter and Eve and told me to go to bed. I didn't.

I called Eric and told him to come home after class.

Seeing that I was bleeding. Hearing Eric's quick paces down the hall, and telling him, "We have to go to the Emergency Room. . . now." The phone ringing before I finished the sentence, and the words from my neighbor and close friend : "What can I do?" Not "Is there anything you need" or "Call me if you need anything" but a direct question that needed to be answered with action. She shepherded our boys to her house after school and kept them for hours, not knowing when we would be home. These two women were each an Abish. (If you know me at all, you know the cascades are already flowing down my cheeks.) They both ran forth, no pauses, and acted.

Checking into the hospital with rubber bands of terror all around me, the contractions were 2 minutes apart and hard. I had been throwing up all night, so the world was fuzzy and altered even before the doctor told us "This baby needs to come now. . . It's up to you, but from what I can see, I have a gut-feeling she'll die if she doesn't come now." I said (yes, I actually said), "But I just want to go home and think about it. . . please?"

The numblingly desperate phone calls to family. Just tell me what to do. I can't think. Someone just tell me what to do.

Eric's blessing. I can believe this. He said everything would be okay. What does okay mean? He said we would have a miracle. What does a miracle mean?

The peaceful weight of a myriad of prayers from those we love, all of them rising up, matching with our own starving-for-hope pleadings.

Watching the white ceiling rush by on the way into surgery, trying to catch some air, trying not to break. Feeling the pressure--what the doctor said was pressure. You'll feel a little pressure. Too soon after the emergency epidural, it wasn't pressure I felt. Staring at the clock on the wall of the OR--suddenly there were two clocks and I was dry heaving.

A gasp from a roomful of professionals. The uterus is full of blood, I heard the doctor say, the strain in his voice. Closing my eyes and fighting back the urge to throw up. . . again and again. Blood spilling out of me and onto the floor. Hands and metal, wrestling her out, jerking me back and forth as I stared at the green shield. Seeing nothing but green, but feeling the release and hearing nothing but suction, and snipping, and the rustling of scrubs in quick, pre-panic movements.

Finally a cry. At least she's ours. Closing my eyes and being put back together again. Rolling me on the gurney into the NICU, and only able to see two tiny feet and tubes and wires. So many tubes. So many wires. And those two tiny feet with ten toes sticking up like rosy, fleshy flower petals. More rushing white ceilings and hallways and more medicated, involuntary sleep.

Looking at the clock every time my eyes looked out of a window from the morphine. When can I see her? Please let me see her? Eight hours? I have to be able to stand up before I can go? I'll do a cartwheel NOW. . . please? Waiting for seven and a half hours and buzzing the nurse again and again.

Breaking the rules. Sitting in the wheelchair and wanting the nurse to push faster. Holding her. Moving aside tubes and wires and stroking the flower-petal toes. Knowing what a miracle feels like. Knowing what a miracle is. Holding a miracle.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Greatest of Ease. . . ster

After my post-semester hangover on Thursday, we made the last-minute decision to join my family for Easter in Orem.  Easter egg hunts are more fun when there are 30 plus cousins to enjoy the battle for candy.

Peter has no recollection of Easter last year, partly because I was mucho grande pregnant and too overwhelmed with embryo to do much with eggs, and partly because there was such an abundance of snowdrifts and arctic-esque winds in Rexburg that when we shivered our way down to the park for the Easter Egg Hunt, volunteers simply herded all of the kids into a line and quickly handed candy to the kids so they wouldn't get Springtime-in-Rexburg frostbite.  So this year was like Peter's first Hunt, and he delivered enough cuteness to overwhelm even the greatest Easter scrooge.  He was enjoying his typical 45 minute breakfast, savoring each bite of Grandma's wheat pancakes, when we rushed him outside to join in the Hunt.  It wasn't until we got outside that we noticed that he had pulled a "Jean Valjean" and had made off with not one, not two, but THREE of his Grandma's nice silver forks, and added them to his Easter booty.  I yelled out to him, "Peter, use the FORKS!" in my best Obi-Wan voice as he searched high and low (Okay. . . he's only two-and-a-half feet high. . . low and low would be more fitting) to find plastic eggs. Each egg was like his first egg, and he belly-laughed his way through each one in his bag, gasping with toddler-delight at each and every glance of candy from the first egg to the last.  

After Sacrament Meeting on Sunday, Eric shared an Easter insight with me that I wanted to pass along.  He was holding Marie during the Sacrament, and as he watched the Priests cover the bread and water, he thought back to the day of her birth, remembering seeing her for the first time.  The doctor roughly pulled her out of me, knowing that my uterus was filling with blood, not knowing if she had aspirated any of it.  He described to me his first glimpse of her, gray and waxy, looking more dead than alive.  He watched the pediatrician roughly throw her head back like a ragdoll, trying to clear her throat so she could breathe, tossing her back and forth as he tried to get her to gasp in some air.  When we heard her let out her first gurgling cry, we later found out we had shared an identical, shuddering thought : "At least she's ours. . ." 

Later that night, we let ourselves hope for more time with her than a single breath.  With the help of needles and tubes, she took more breaths, and fully fleshed out the miracle of her birth.  

Yesterday, he watched the Sacrament being passed, and replayed those surreal images from a year ago in his mind, remembering the miraculous moment he knew that Marie wasn't dead. Eric told me how thought to himself, "What in YOU died that night because she lived?  Because you witnessed her overcome death, what have you done to live a better life?"  He told me how he wondered if he had allowed cynicism or bad habits or sin to die because of that night so full of life.  As he thought of the Easter scripture in Luke 24 :6 that says, "He is not here, but is risen" he wondered if someone who hadn't seen him for several years could say the same of his old self. "Where is the old you?  He/She is not here; a new self has risen."  Eric talked about how the sacrament yesterday was somehow different because it was Easter, that difference highlighted because of the beautiful, vibrant baby he was holding in his arms.  He wondered if we shouldn't allow part of ourselves to die each Sunday, replacing that part with something new, something better, something more like Christ--the very person whose death and rebirth we commemorate as we take upon ourselves His name.  I hadn't ever thought of the Sacrament quite that way, and I know that next Sunday will be different as I think of Marie's upcoming birthday, wondering what part of me I let die because she was able to live, remembering how every part of Him was sacrificed so that this weekly rebirth could be possible.  


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Miracles and Motherhood

When I cracked open my eyes this morning, I thought, "It's April.  It was almost a year ago that Marie whirlwinded her way into the world.  This MUST be a joke."

For the next three weeks, I'll be joyously heartsick about her being a year old and about her being alive. . . While we will never question why we were so showered in blessings a year ago, knowing that friends of ours have lost babies in similar circumstances, we will appreciate every blink, every breath, and every smile from our Marie.

This is one of my favorite poems by one of my favorite poets.  This month, I'm sure I'll share many other thoughts about miracles and motherhood.  I cherish them both.

Notes from the Delivery Room
by Linda Pastan

Strapped down
victim in an old comic book,
I have been here before,
this place where pain winces
off the walls
like too bright light.
Bear down a doctor says,
foreman to sweating laborer,
but this work, this forcing
of one life from another
is something that I signed for
at a moment when I would have signed anything.
Babies should grow in fields;
Common as beets or turnips
they should be picked and held
root end up, soil spilling
from between their toes -
and how much easier it would be later,
returning them to earth.
Bear up...bear down...the audience
grows restive, and I'm a new magician
Who can't produce the rabbit
from my swollen hat.
She's crowning, someone says,
but there is no one royal here,
just me, quite barefoot,
greeting my barefoot child.

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