Saturday, July 26, 2014

Motherhood: Expectations vs. Reality

When my friend Amy asked if I wanted to join in her blog hop on motherhood (Expectations vs. Reality), I thought it would be a great chance to do some more meaningful reflection on becoming Elliot's mom.

Now that I'm a little over 6 months in, I'm happy to say that I feel like our family has hit a good rhythm, and that the loneliness that hit a few months in is not as prevalent. Not so far gone that I've forgotten, but not so close that I literally feel alone. I've noticed that when I share my stories, I'm able to connect with others who can relate. So, in an attempt to be honest . . .

I thought I would be horrible at this.

The youngest in my family, I was never around babies and always preferred to be around people my own age or older. I didn't change a diaper 'til my mid-20s. I never liked to hold babies, and the sound of a baby crying terrified me, probably because it was so unfamiliar.

On top of my disinterest in babies, the thing that really worried me about pregnancy and motherhood was my anxiety. How would I handle the feeling of pregnancy? Of losing control over my body? Would I have a panic attack with my little one in tow? What if I pass out and die on the delivery room table? I couldn't be the only woman with these crazy, irrational fears. But still, they were there.


When I heard Elliot's first cries, my own tears started to flow. But I honestly think it was a mixture of exhaustion and disbelief. During my most exhausted moment, I was vaguely aware that a doctor came in the room to explain our options... "Something something forceps.... something something vacuum .... yadda yadda C-section."

My mood went from confident to concerned. I asked my husband to please put out a call on Facebook to have anyone and everyone say a prayer for me and the baby. After 3 hours of pushing, I didn't feel capable of giving any more. I also hated all of my options.

Under the doctor's recommendation, we went with the forceps, which my husband later described to me as "a king's salad tongs." Horrors. The doctor explained that the forceps would do about 10% of the work, and I'd need to do the other 90%. When it was time to push, I gave it everything I had left. I was surprised I had anything at all. Ninety seconds later, Elliot was born.

In reality, I didn't have that magical moment in the delivery room where I just wanted to hold him and never let go. After 37 hours awake, I was physically and emotionally done. I really wanted to hand him over to the nearest nurse and go to sleep.

I did hold him skin-to-skin for about 30 minutes while doctors stitched me up. But I cut it off early, because I had that sick feeling. The one you get in your throat when you know you're about to throw up. I passed the baby off to my husband and begged for a barf bag. 


In my first few days as Elliot's mom, I have to admit that I didn't yet have those magical mommy butterflies. So imagine my surprise when I suddenly knew exactly what to do! Mother's intuition was my friend during those long days and late nights. "This cry means . . . that whine means . . . " I was on fire. I was mom.

Something about the pregnancy stretched me. Literally, of course, but also mentally and spiritually. Before I got pregnant, I never, ever, ever wanted to give birth. I was completely horrified of the process and didn't know if I was even capable of such a feat. And somehow, I was calm and capable, perfectly able to do all that was required of me.

Now, for the first time in 8 years, I'm having a conversation with my husband about what it would look like to wean off my anxiety meds. And I'm doing it. In the experience of overcoming my worst fear, all the others paled in comparison.

So I could tell you about the crazy diaper stories, the sleepless nights and my painful physical recovery. But to my great surprise, none of that really matters. Somehow within this story, becoming Elliot's mom is healing me.


I have perspective enough to know that I'm not through the worst of it. My mother's intuition is sure to fail me. There will be harder days to come, and many which seem more impossible than it felt in that delivery room. But I've also learned that I'm not doing this alone. I felt the support of my husband, my family and friends, both in that hospital room and in the days since. Elliot has amazing grandparents who would do anything for him.

Mostly, I'm thankful that I'm becoming a mom. Little by little, I'm learning to give more than I think is possible, and finding life on the other side.

This post is part of the Motherhood: Expectations v. Reality blog hop. Be sure to check it out to see more details and the full blog hop schedule!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Olfa 35th Anniversary Block + Giveaway!

OLFA asked if I would help design a 6.5" unfinished block, to be combined with the blocks of other designers and incorporated into a 35th Anniversary Quilt for Houston Quilt Market this fall. How could I resist? The only stipulation was that the block had to include yellow.
Remember that time my husband used my rotary cutter to cut into a frozen pizza, fresh from the oven? 

Yes, I've tried to erase that day from my memory as well. Until now, when I realized I could turn that memory into a quilt block for OLFA's 35th Anniversary Quilt!

Olfa 35th Anniversary Block

This triangle block was easy and fun to put together, with some fabric scraps from Ann Kelle and Robert Kaufman. After improv piecing the triangle and sides, I used my new 6.5" Frosted Advantage ruler to square it up. 

Olfa 35th Anniversary Block 

I then cut a few circles with my GO! Baby and appliqued a simple rotary cutter, modeled after my blue-and-yellow 45mm OLFA Splash rotary cutter. I've never owned a tiny rotary cutter before, so I'm excited to try out this 28mm OLFA sent in my goodie box.

Olfa Rotary Cutter Pin 

How cute is this little rotary cutter pin? Oh my, oh my! I will wear it like a badge of honor, after having survived the pizza cutter incident.

 Olfa Turns 35!


My friends at OLFA sent along a box full of goodies for me to try out, and they are offering a mini version of the kit you see here (including an OLFA rotary cutter and a small cutting mat)! If you'd like to enter the giveaway, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. (Giveaway open in U.S. only.)

Good luck! And happy birthday OLFA!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Monday, July 14, 2014

Where Did I Go?

I've been on a bit of a blogging break, due to sheer necessity. This blog in particular has been hard for me to keep up, since I've had less time to sew. But I dearly love you, sewing friends, and wanted to peek in and say hello! 

Here are a few of the other places I've been hanging out:

My living room: Elliot just turned 6 months old! Consequently, it's getting more difficult to keep him entertained by sitting him on the couch next to me while I finish up freelance work on my laptop. We've adjusted by introducing him the to exersaucer and doorway jumper, both of which make him growl with delight. He's also accompanying me to quilt guild meetings, eating solid food (loves it!), learning to sit up, petting the cat, and babbling like a pro (ma-ma-ma-ma-ma).

Craftsy: About once or twice a week, I'm over on the Craftsy quilting blog. Here's a post I wrote on stuffed animal sewing patterns, including my recent Hugh Manatee pattern release! I'm so happy to see your manatees.

Craft Buds: Just posted at Craft Buds this morning, and there's a my mom wearing a cute Goorin Brothers summer hat you can enter to win!

My sewing room: I'll be back soon to share more on my latest sewing project, which my friend Veronica and I worked on for a photo shoot featuring Ann Kelle fabrics (if you hop over to this link, you'll see our stack of colorful floor pillows in the center photo!).

Instagram: Can you believe I haven't even had much time to post on my Instragram lately? Here's a fun pic from a few weeks ago of me doing planks in the park with a group called Mommy Fit Camp. Joining this group is one of my best decisions in a long time (exercise + getting out of the house + making some new friends), and I'm more than halfway to my goal of losing the baby weight.

Happy summer!

Do you find it difficult to keep up with your blog this time of year? When is your best time of day to blog?

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