Tuesday, September 20, 2016

On Finishing A Quilt And Not Being Ready For Baby

I think this might be my favorite baby quilt that I've ever made, and that is saying something because I really liked Margaret's flower garden quilt and I'm itching to start a twin sized one for her big girl bed.  I ended up hand piecing a bunch of nine-patch squares at random using scraps from John's baby quilt (as per his request so that they could match) with some bits of the boys' old shirts and daddy's old boxer shorts thrown in for good measure.  The boys like to pretend that this wanton use of undergarments horrifies them but I'm pretty sure they really think it's hilarious.   I say waste not, want not.  Am I right?  Then I laid them out on the floor to make sure the same fabrics weren't touching each other anywhere which I was not entirely successful at.  Unfortunately I'm a lazy quilter and was not about to pull it apart to fix it so the mistakes will just have to give the thing a bit more character.  I really like the way the perle cotton hand quilting turned out--especially on the back.  It totally makes up for the randomness of the front, don't you think?

Now, finishing up the baby's quilt probably should have been a clue that I might actually be having a baby soon.

It wasn't

Chris mentioned last week that it was just four weeks to go before the baby arrives to which I replied, "no, you're crazy" before checking the calendar and realizing that no, I'm the crazy one.  Now it's more like not quite three weeks until d-day and I still can't wrap my mind around the fact that I'm about to have another baby.

I did spend last weekend pretending this was actually happening and forcing myself to prepare basic baby necessities anyway.  I got all the 0-3 month baby boy clothes out and gave them a soak in ye old oxyclean to remove those pesky milk stains that like to manifest themselves sometime between when you laundered the clothes for the last time and whenever you opened back up the storage bin.  In this case that would be almost four years.  I also mended my favorite fancy muslin blankets which had become so worn with use that they had some pretty intense holes.  It was a rough job but what they lack in beauty they make up for in functionality.  Muslin is hard to mend.

My sister-in-laws also gifted us with two perfectly timed donations of cloth diapers, liners and other accouterments--one tiny baby sized and one giant baby sized which were exactly what I needed to resupply my sad, worn out diaper stash but didn't particularly want to spend the money on.  Which just goes to show that if you wait long enough to buy things that you need, something will eventually turn up.

So baby Christopher officially has milk-stain free clothes, some functional if obviously mended swaddling blankets, and plenty of diapers.  I suppose once I have Chris pull the infant car seat and my overnight bag down from the attic I'll be pretty much set to get to the hospital and care for basic baby needs.

Being mentally prepared to deliver and actually have another baby at home, that's another story.  At least he has a pretty adorable quilt.

Friday, September 16, 2016

On the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows

Yesterday was the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows and the parish where our little Frances was buried offered their annual Our Lady of Sorrows Mass for families who have lost children.   We made the hour long trek out to Holy Trinity even though I was pretty sure mass without Chris would be a disaster since Margaret hasn't made it through mass without needing to be escorted outside for months.  It was well worth it though, even if I did end up in the cry room with my screaming toddler and then the apple picking I dangled as a reward for attending mass after an hour long car ride plus another thirty minutes to the orchard lasted all of fifteen minutes before the bags were full and the children done. Kara, the woman behind a m.o.m.s peace, who literally buried many of those lost babies herself, was at the memorial mass and, as usual, was working tirelessly to bring comfort and peace to all the grieving families there.

When we lost Frances we didn't realize what an ordeal it would be to have her buried with some modicum of dignity.  When we lost our first daughter in Pennsylvania, our parish referred us to the funeral home owned by another parishioner and he just handled everything at no cost to us.  He said he always took care of babies for free.  He was even willing to fly her back to North Carolina where we wanted her to be buried at no cost to us.  We ended up having Chris' parents drive her down, but it was such a blessing to not have to worry about the logistics of anything on top of our grief.  I just assumed that that was how it was everywhere.   I was wrong.

Here in Virginia we were looking at either the cost of a full funeral which would have been several thousand dollars or letting the hospital "dispose" of our daughter's remains themselves.  Neither was an acceptable option.  We just needed a place to bury our baby and someone to help us figure out what to do to make that happen.  That's where Kara came to the rescue.  Kara knew the law, gave us moral support, offered prayers, and arranged the burial with Father Woude from Holy Trinity presiding and even provided baby blankets and a much more appropriate tiny casket than the tupperware container holding our daughter's remains that we left the hospital with.

Well, I didn't set out to write a pitch for this wonderful ministry, but losing a baby is difficult enough without dealing with all of the aftermath alone and seeing Kara again at this mass reminded me of how much she did for our family and so many others.   If you live in the Northern or Central Virginia area remember that  a m.o.m.s peace is here if you or someone you know needs them.  Or better yet, contact Kara and see how you can help.  Goodness knows she could use it.  

Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.
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