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February 2011

still waiting

baby surprise in progress

and knitting.

waiting for baby

Nothing much happening in the way of physical signs of Lachlan's arrival, but we're keeping busy otherwise. My parents are now in town. I've had some knitting time (as you can see). We're doing projects around the house. Tying up loose ends. And yesterday, Patrick, Finn and I went for a two mile hike.

waiting for baby 2

The weather is gorgeous, and it has me thinking of planting season. It's something else, isn't it? The perpetual optimism of the human condition. There's always something to anticipate with joy.

So now we wait, anticipating with both joy and trepidation the arrival of our second son. Knowing that the future will bring with it cycles of Winter and Spring, good times and difficult times, sadness and happiness.

lachlan belly 39 weeks 4 days

We saw some wild daffodils blooming on our hike yesterday. I took that as a good sign.

lachlan's pixie hat

Your pixie hat is ready for you, Lachlan. Come on out so you can try it on.



mobiles make me happy

black and white butterfly mobile 2

black and white butterfly mobile

And if mobiles make me happy, then that's reason enough to hang them in a room. But would you look at this?


That's Finn at about one week old, having an absolute blast watching his black and white whale mobile. So you betcha, I'm bringing a stash of mobiles with me to the pediatric cardiac intensive care unit.  What I wouldn't give to see Lachlan make that face!

First in line are the black and white mobiles. The one pictured above is our butterfly mobile (not designed with an infant in mind, but it's so lovely. I found it a while back at Royal Buffet. It normally sways in the air currents in our bedroom, but we'll be hanging in above Lachlan's crib once he arrives. The whale mobile (from Michael Olaf) will also be packed, as well as our new Munari mobile, a Montessori classic.

black and white butterfly mobile 3

I was really excited to run into At Home With Montessori, a new resource for families interested in implementing some (or all) of the Montessori philosophy at home with their infants and toddlers. It's run by Meg Hicks, a former Montessori classroom teacher in Australia who now stays at home with her new baby.

Thanks to Meg, Lachlan will have the entire visual mobile series, which starts with the Munari (pictured below.)

munari mobile

As with everything in the baby's environment, mobiles should be rotated to maintain interest. I might amass quite the collection with Lachlan, as he will be spending a lot of time supine (he won't be able to have tummy time until his incision and chest bone have healed.) Here are a few other mobile ideas around the web. Enjoy!


Needle felted




Geometric Paper Balls



every baby deserves beauty - the thoughts of a "heart mom" on valentines day

nikki mcclure prints for lachlan's crib in the icu

Of course you knew that I wouldn't let icky plastic cribs and blinking, beeping technology get in the way of my Montessori "beautify-the-child's-environment" Mojo. Of course, you also know that I am grateful for all of this blinking, beeping plastic that will keep my baby alive. But really, now - ICUs for babies and children should be designed to meet the practical medical needs of the children and staff, as well as meeting the mental and emotional needs of the littlest of patients. Perhaps that will be my next career turn - pediatric ICU design consultant.

You know me. I'm feisty when it comes to the topic of early childhood development. And you know what? That strong streak of feisty has come in handy in this situation with Lachlan. Those who know us personally also know that we are, by no means, loud and pushy people. Perhaps we fancy ourselves bold and brave in our own heads, but when we operate in the real world, we are super polite and, at times, too accommodating. One of Lachlan's doctors even said to Patrick "I can tell that you're very cautious. Don't be."

But nonetheless, we have managed to push Duke to change their standard protocol for babies with HLHS in favor more child-friendly care. We arrived on scene armed with LOTS of questions, medical journal studies, and a respect for the medical staff but a desire to work together with them as a team which will look over not only Lachlan's physical needs, but his emotional and mental needs as well. We are (surprisingly!) the first family that the cardiac team has met with to address our questions and concerns before the arrival of our baby. Lachlan is the first HLHS baby who will NOT be whisked away immediately to get IVs established and have his first extra-utero echocardiogram (essentially an ultrasound of the heart). Since Lachlan has stable HLHS anatomy, he will only be in danger a good deal (hours or days) after birth when the duct that is present in his fetal heart, supplying blood to his body, begins to close. So we will get 30 minutes of bonding time with him before they need to take him to establish his IV drip, which will deliver a drug to keep that duct open until his surgery. Patrick also pushed his way (oh-so-politely, of course!) into Lachlan's "stabilization" time. Up until his kind request to be present to keep a hand on Lachlan's head and speak calming words into his ear while he is assessed and tested, no parents have been present during this time. Sometimes you just have to ask.

We also arrived at a propitious moment: they will be allowing Lachlan to suckle a small amount of my expressed breastmilk through a bottle before surgery (not directly from the breast as this requires much more energy, but at least he won't completely lose his suckling and swallowing instinct, and this should help him to return to oral feeding after surgery.) Up until recently, the standard of care for these babies was to not feed them until after their first surgery.

In all of this maneuvering for Lachlan's best interests, I've kept Jennifer's words in mind:  I most certainly do not give myself a hard time about the things in life that are out of my control.  And I pursue all of the things in my life that are.

Such wisdom there.

In the spirit of making the most of the situation, I bought a handful of Nikki McClure greeting cards to use as black and white images for decorating the inside of Lachlan's crib (for the times when we can't be holding him.) We have some Wee Gallery prints from Finn's infancy, but Nikki's prints have a depth and a sweet meaningfulness to them that the Wee Gallery prints lack; images of parents and babies doing everyday, homemaking tasks such as picking berries, rolling dough, breastfeeding, planting seeds, gathering wood, and snuggling. Things that Lachlan will be missing out on during his time in the hospital. Somehow, through these images, I want to convey that he has a wonderful life to look forward to in our family.

nikki mcclure baby book

I also couldn't resist this baby book.

nikki mcclure baby book 2

Would you look at that? Both Mama and Baby are wearing pixie hats! It was meant to be.

More on Project "Beautify the ICU" tomorrow!

sponsor giveaway :: sew fun patterns

From my sponsor Jennifer of Sew Fun Patterns:

Getting ready for baby means carrying a lot of stuff and Sew Fun can help you to stitch up a nice solution with the new Boho Shoulder Bag sewing pattern. This pattern is a reversible, sling style bag with bottom pleats to make it nice and roomy. It features lots of stylish top stitching, a toggle button closure and pockets inside & out.


The thing to love most about this pattern is that it takes just one yard of two different fabrics (one each for inside and out – it’s reversible)… a perfect opportunity to justify all those “I’ll just buy one yard!’ moments at your local fabric shop.

The pattern calls for the outside fabric in home dec weight or similar fabric. It looks and feels just lovely in the Japanese linen/cottons from Echino. If you are feeling more ambitious and you have the perfect quilting weight fabric, you can apply a light to medium weight interfacing to the exterior fabric like our friend Carrie did with this gorgeous Laura Gunn Dogwood Stripe in Olive from her Poppy line of designer fabrics.


The Boho Shoulder Bag can be worn over the shoulder or across the body, messenger-bag style - perfect for keeping a busy mom’s hands free. Use it for baby’s things, yoga, market, books, knitting – just about anything!

What can you do with your Boho Shoulder Bag? Please leave a comment below… Sew Fun is giving away three Boho Bag Patterns to our Sew Liberated friends!

Thank you, Jennifer! Please enter your comment to be added to the name draw - I'll be choosing a winner at random on Tuesday evening, February 15th.

Getting ready for baby means carrying a lot of stuff and our friends over at Sew Fun can help you to stitch up a nice solution with the new Boho Shoulder Bag sewing pattern. This pattern is a reversible, sling style bag with bottom pleats to make it nice and roomy. It features lots of stylish top stitching, a toggle button closure and pockets inside & out.

the circle of giving and receiving

with gratitude

Giving and receiving. We generally find ourselves on one side or the other - either in need of help or able to give of our time and resources to others who need support.

Sometimes I worry that we've been on the needy side of the equation for too long; since Lachlan's diagnosis in early October. Our families have offered emotional, logistical and financial support - for which we are very grateful. Our friends cook for us, care for Finn while Patrick and I attend dozens of doctor's appointments, and inject much-needed humorous interludes into our lives. During the time of intense grief that we passed through in the month after the diagnosis, both blog friends and local friends reminded us that life goes on - simply by their words and caring gestures. Life is certainly not perfect, nor is it at all easy, but human relationships make it all worth while.

I'll admit that it is sometimes a challenge for me to still find myself in need of help, with no end in sight. The truly difficult times have not yet come to pass. But there you have it, in that last phrase: "Come to pass." Difficult times come and go. But I love the overlooked emphasis there - not only to they come and go, but they come in order to go. So that we may, once again, be in a position of the Giver rather than the Recepient. And the Circle of Life continues. I do hope that, once this difficult time passes, that I will remember it well and be able to offer myself to others who are going through challenging times. It is easier to say thank you when you know that, one day, you can repay the favor - perhaps not directly to the person who offered their help, but to someone else. A pay-it-forward kind of arrangement.

Until then, I hope you enjoy the examples of the generosity of friends and blog readers below. Aren't people just so good? I may not be able to answer many emails, thanking people for their kind words, and I may not get thank-you notes in the mail any time soon, but know that I am so grateful for everything you have done for our family. Lachlan is being born into a beautiful world, indeed. As I wipe away a happy tear or two, please enjoy these examples of gifts of time, talent, and hands. Valentine's Day pales when compared to the Circle of Giving and Receiving that happens all over the world at all times of the year. Lachlan, you are loved.

Thank you to the following friends:

- to Paige and Josh, for all of the babysitting on short-notice and for your mouth-watering dinners.

- to Sarah, for your support as a fellow parent of a baby with a heart defect, and for organizing our meal registry that will help us continue to eat well throughout Lachlan's hospital stay. Thank you also to all of our friends who have signed up to cook for us.

- to Margaret and family, for cooking up a storm and bringing over a week's worth of food.

- to Charlotte, for caring for Finn, being there for me when I need to talk, and making sure we get out of the house for fun times.

- to Eric and Rebecca, for watching Finn and supporting us logistically as we explored options in Philadelphia.

- to Harlan and Pauline, Eric's parents, for being so generous, offering to swap housing if we went to Philadelphia and hosting us in a grand style when we visited the hospital there.

- to Leslie, for being a sounding board and a generous friend, who also happens to make the most amazing sweet potato cupcakes you've ever tasted.

- to our midwife Alison, who continues to call and check up on us even though we had to transfer my OB care to Duke.

- to Bug and family, for the very thoughtful gift of a 6-month subscription to the New Yorker for our reading enjoyment while in and out of the hospital.

- to Siv Jane, for the incredible hand-knit gift of this onesie and socks that arrived all the way from Norway. (Plus extra yarn to make a matching pixie hat!)

onesie and socks from siv jane

- to Karla, my friend from Montessori training, who sent along these oh-so-useful handmade silk undershirts as well as a Velcro-closure cardigan repurposed from an adult sweater:

silk undershirts from karla

sweater from karla

- to Kim, who sent along this beautiful hand-knit sweater for Lachlan. The yarn is oh-so-soft:

sweater from kim

- to Katie, who went ahead and knit Lachlan a Baby Yoda Sweater, because she must have known that I wouldn't have time to knit him one myself!

baby yoda sweater from katie

- to Holly, for the amazingly generous gift of two wool, open-front shirts, as well as a handknit hat and a ball for Finn:

wool shirts and knit hat from holly

- to Louise, who made a cushiony blanket for Lachlan to enjoy:

blanket from louise

- to Anie and friends, who sent along this sweet play quilt for baby L:

quilt from anie

- to Nancy, for the shawl knit with love:

shawl from nancy

- to Miriam, for the cotton, fastener-free newborn shirts from Japan:

shirts from miriam

- to all of you who have emailed me in the past months, expressing your thanks for my writing here and offering your words of encouragement and solidarity.

For all of this and more (because I'm sure I forgot many-an-expression of thoughtfulness in this list) I thank you. We thank you. Lachlan hasn't even arrived yet, but one day I hope he is as blown away as I am at people's generosity. He may only have half a heart, but it will be filled with warmth. Let's hope that he gets the opportunity one day to participate as the Giver in the Circle.

With love and heartfelt gratitude,

Meg and family


in which i grumble

39 weeks 4

39 weeks pregnant with Finn

I had planned a post on generosity and gratitude - a little show-and-tell of human thoughtfulness that we have experienced since Lachlan's diagnosis.

(For example - your book recommendations? Awesome. Thanks so much! The comments on that post will serve as a reference for me for years to come!)

But then Finn got a fever. And it's difficult to keep his grumpiness from becoming my own. I find myself wondering if I'm even capable of doing this - I mean, having one sick baby for a few days is nothing compared to having a sick baby every day. Perhaps Lachlan will have a different temperment than Finn. Because, man, when Finn is sick he lets the whole world know, and the half-cry doesn't stop unless he falls asleep, poor little guy. (The apple doesn't fall too far from the tree here. Ask Patrick - he used to make fun of me for my moaning and groaning. He claims that I've gotten better in the nearly ten (!) years we've known each other.) The only thing Finn seems to want right now is to nurse and listen to his daddy tell him the same two stories over and over again - The Train Story and The Airplane Story - both of which feature a little boy named Finn as the enthusiastic protagonist.

Just a small pothole in the road of life, really. I'm 37 weeks today, so let's just hope Lachlan stays put for a while longer. The list isn't completed, and I just might be forced to add "Everyone gets sick" then "Everyone gets better." Hand washing is all fine and good, but when your toddler gives no warning that he's about to sneeze in your face, well ... hand washing seems hardly worth the effort!

On the up side, I'm really looking forward to my Calm Birth class which starts this weekend. I'm hoping that a regular meditation practice will help me immensely in the next few weeks and beyond.

I'm also having a lot of fun choosing fabrics for the pattern kits that I'll soon be offering in my shop. I'm not sure which is more therapeutic: focusing on my breath or looking at fabrics. Probably a bit of both, for someone like me.

Anyway, I hope to be back tomorrow with a healthy toddler, some photo-friendly sunshine, and a post about all of this handmade goodness that has shown up on my doorstep as of late!