Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Birthday, Matt

Just a quick post to wish  a happy thirty-second birthday to my youngest, my son Matt.  His birthday is officially 11:07 AM on Valentine's Day!  He was my preemie so the fact that he is hale and hearty is a double blessing.  Time to go to bed but wanted to post this early.  From preemie baby to little boy to handsome man!  In the first photo he is at the Philadelphia Zoo and his older brother, Ronnie, is keeping him from climbing in the enclosure.  In the second photo, Matt tried to copy the facial expression on the bronze status of Massa, one of the long-term gorillas at the Zoo.  In the third photo, all grown up and his Mom is proud.  Of course, I am proud of all three of my children but it's Matt's BD.  Matt spent the first nine days of life at the Neonatal ICU at a Philadelphia Hospital, about 10 miles from where I had delivered him.  Since I had had a C-section, I spent 5 days in one hospital with him in another.  So hard and I was so scared.  It was on my birthday on the 16th, that the neonatologist called me to tell me Matt was going to be okay.  He had hyaline membrane disease which affects many preemies because their lungs have not matured.  Aside from a touch of asthma, which all three have, he is strong and healthy and this Mom is grateful.  The sad part of all of this is that his early delivery was due to an error on the physician's part but he was a friend and I also knew he was only human.  Matt did well, so all was forgiven.

When Matt was a teenager, I heard of a wonderful organization called "Carewear" which provides for babies in NICUs.  I knew I had to form a Carewear group to provide for the NICU babies at one of the poorest hospitals in the Philadelphia area - Cooper University Hospital in Camden, NJ.  Should you ever want to help, go to yahoo groups and look for Caring for Cooper or use this link:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CaringforCooper/?yguid=68887751.   We have patterns on our website but there are also many on the Carewear website: http://carewear.org/.  Of course, you can always help one of your own local hospitals and I believe there are lists of hospitals with needs on the Carewear website.  If you are interested, you can ask for a pattern booklet and to be signed up for the quarterly newsletter on the Carewear website.  It is a wonderful organization that does so much good. Good night!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Almost a year later - sorry!

UPDATE:  My apologies to my blog followers for the time between posts.  In this past year I have come to feel that my address is c/o my local hospital rather than my own home.  To sum it up, my knees are shot and I am not a candidate for knee replacement surgery because of other health issues.  The most recent admission was scary.  For two days my legs would not allow me to stand up so I spent a weekend in my recliner.  When I developed a high temperature and skin mottling, it was time to call the doctor on call who sent the ambulance.  In the ER the doctors really wanted to find a brain or spinal cord process as the source of the problem but deep in my heart I knew it was my knees and begged them to call my rheumatologist.  It took three days but they finally did call my rheumatologist and he tapped my knees (my right knee went down 2 inches in girth!) and instilled steroids.  I have to accept the fact that this is my life now, so it's a slow down, but not a stop.  I will not give in and if it means an assistive device to get around, then that is what will happen. 

SEWING: On a better note, in late summer I was given quite a gift - the task of turning a wedding gown into a boy's Christening outfit as well as a girl's Christening gown and a Christening coat.  I've been sewing since age 17 (at least 1000 years ago), so I thought I would not have any problems.  However, I had never dealt with "pick-ups" before or what was left when they were removed.  It took three weeks to take the gown apart and with each stitch removed, my heart sunk a little more.  When the pick-ups were released, I was left with 4 inch holes in the skirt fabric where each had been.  It was tricky, to say the least, to find enough solid fabric to cut the pieces needed.  The hem was another problem because it was a balloon hem and had dragged on the ground.  While there was a lot of fabric on the inside, the hemline was badly soiled.  A highly recommended dry cleaner would not touch the gown because of all the beading and sequins, so I had to work with what I had.  Fortunately, since I was cutting an infant pattern,  many of the pieces were small. 

I had started on the gown first but the baby was a beautiful little boy - so I put the gown aside and really got busy on the boy's romper.  The pattern was one piece but since the baby's parents are very tall,  I was afraid of "popping crotch" from diapers, etc. I made it as a two piece garment, adding two inches to the bottom edge of the shirt part, so it could be tucked in the pants.  The Mom liked it so much as it was, that she left the shirt extension out over the pants.  I never had a chance to try it on the baby, but it fit him perfectly.  Sadly, I did not get the coat done in time for the Christening.  The knee incident happened while I was working on it and once I got home, I got a wicked flu (I think we always bring something home from the hospital and it is not always as pleasant as a new baby).   I now have time to finish the gown and the coat for the next baby!  The holes in the skirt made it hard to match beading patterns but I could come close. Here are photos of the gown as I received it, and the resultant boy's outfit which took every inch of plain fabric on the gown. I will post the photos of the others when they are done.   The gown was exquisite and I hated cutting into it but doing so allowed me to create items that can be passed on through the family so that is good.  You cannot see it in the first or second photos but the entire bodice is covered with a very fine champagne colored mesh and  then beaded on top of that.  I was able to leave the bodice intact in case it can someday be used for a little girl's First Communion dress. 

I do have other sewing plans for the year - the get back to sewing for my reproduction and antique Bleuettes and Rosettes, and maybe for my Mary Hoyer dolls.  For the first time in three years, I have ordered another Bleuette and she is due to arrive shortly after my birthday in February.  I sew for these dolls by hand and find it so relaxing but I have not been able to find the type of vintage fabrics that I found while living in Maine.  Maybe in Philadelphia proper.  I also want to work on the great fabric stash in my bedroom that I swear multiplies in the dark!  I have been following  Lynn's wonderful quilting blog at  http://sewnwildoaks.blogspot.com/ and ordered her Madrigal pattern.  I have never used black in a quilt but I like the look of this one and somehow think navy or hunter green would not be as effective.  She is also working on it in yellows and greens now so I may have found a use for a stash of Folk Art Wedding fabrics which I purchased in Minnesota in 2000.  

TV:  A friend here at the apartment complex has gotten me started on Korean dramas.  Of course, the two shows are on at midnight and 12:35 AM here on the east coast, but I am completely hooked.  It started when I taped the shows for her while she was away last summer.  When she came over to watch them, of course I watched with her, and that was that.  I was hooked.  One is called "To Be With You" and the actress who plays the new mother-in-law  is such a good actress (unless she is this evil in real life) that I truly hate her character and mutter under my breath at her during all her evil actions - worse than JR Ewing!  The second show is called "Happiness in the Wind" and is should be winding up in a week or so.  I missed the beginning but the episodes can be seen online.  One of the ones I taped for her was "Smile Again, Donghae" but that ended and "To Be With You" took its place.  Now, normally when the TV is on, I am doing many other things - reading, cooking, reading e-mails, etc.  With these shows I cannot do that because they are all subtitled.  I am learning so much about Korean culture and it is so interesting.  I wish I could see the Jeju island they talk about as a honeymoon get-away.  In one of the episodes last night they were preparing for a holiday - Chuseok, which is a harvest festival, rather like our Thanksgiving.  Another thing I found interesting is family heierarchy.  The evil mother-in-law has two daughters-in-law, the second of which is older than the first.  However since she came into the family second, she is now of lesser status than the first, and they can no longer address each other by their given names, but by terms that mean older sister-in-law and second sister-in-law.  Very, very interesting.  If you have a DVR or Tivo, you might have fun watching them.  Of course I get up later now, staying up so late,  but it's like getting fun history lessons!

BOOKS:  I have done a lot of reading over the last year, most recently reading a book that I read many years ago.  If you are at all interested in the origins of antiseptic care in hospitals, or if you work in the medical field, you may find this book informative.  It is called "The Cry and the Covenant" by Morton Thompson and it is about the life of Hungarian physician Ignaz Semmelweis who discovered something that could put an end to deaths from childbed fever.  He was mocked, ridiculed and basically martyred for his beliefs and findings.  It is a powerful book with a lot of Hungarian-Austrian politics of the time (which I glossed over for the medical parts) and it made my blood boil to think that doctors could be so narrow-minded at the time, while thousands of women were dying from the easily prevented childbed fever.   In a lighter reading vein, I have discovered David Rosenfelt who writes about a lawyer, Andy Carpenter, who has a golden retriever named Tara.  The author has begun a foundation for golden retrievers called "The Tara Foundation".  While I generally prefer medical mystery type books and authors like Robin Cook, Kathy Reichs, etc., these are not so heavily into law that I find them difficult.  Good reads and if there is a dog in it, even better!   I am lucky in that the Bookmobile comes here twice a month and the woman who is in charge of the mobile library does a great job of finding the books on my long lists.  She has even read a few of them.  If you are a Jan Karon fan, read her children's books, especially "Jeremy - The Tale of an Honest Bunny" and "Miss Fannie's Hat".   

I truly am sorry for the delay between postings and thank you for staying with me.  Life just got in my way.   Sadly, I have also recently learned that a dear friend has acute myelogenous leukemia and needs a stem cell transplant.  Friends, donating is not like it used to be with bone marrow donation which was quite painful for the donor.  Now, a donor is given something to increase stem cells and then a few days later, blood is drawn as for a transfusion, with the stem cells being filtered out and the donor's own blood being put back in.  Donors can be between the ages of 18-60 and no matter how healthy the donor may be, he or she comes off the list at age 61.  If you have resisted joining the national registry because of the fear of the harvesting procedure, it is easy now, so please consider joining it.  Doing so requires you to do nothing more than swab the inside of your cheek with the swab sent by the registry.  Sadly, I am too old at 64 to help my friend or anyone, in this way, but if you want to help someone in the future, you can find more information here:  http://ww5.bethedonor.org/ 
or here:  http://marrow.org/Home.aspxYou really could save a life.  

 I promise it will not be another year before I post again.  Hope you are all well.  I have missed you.