I love my baby. I know everyone loves their babies, but dang. I REALLY love my baby.
Unfortunately, baby love has turned me into the least productive person in the world. Who cares about deadlines? The baby smiled! Who cares about making money? She's holding her head up! Who cares about getting back into shape? The baby discovered her knees!

My goal over the next couple weeks is to try and get my productivity back. I've actually been going to work (baby in tow) a few days a week. Sean and I have also set some book deadlines, including releasing a single pattern from the book next month!

I'd write more about it, but I swear the baby is on the verge of laughing.

Last weekend we had some pretty simple plans. Friday after work we went on our weekly lunch date for thai food. I saved most of mine since we had a doctors appointment right after. The plan was food, doc, drop Dill at the brewery for his guy time, and I would go home and clean and eat. Saturday was supposed to be more cleaning and going to see Thor.

Life however, had other plans....

Went to the doctor, did the pee in a cup thing the weight, the blood pressure... the blood pressure again.. then again.. then the doctor came in to talk to me.

"Go to the hospital. Your blood pressure is really high. We've made it pretty far guys, but now is the time. Get your bags from home later, get there as soon as you can. Right now."

I got tunnel vision, and couldn't hear anything anymore. I wanted to cry, I looked at Dill and told him he was now in charge of hearing everything.

We rushed to the hospital where I was checked in and they started inducing labor. Dill ran home to get our bags, and we texted our family to let them know what was happening.

What followed was a blur of pain and waiting. Early labor felt like cramps. Then they did a foley bulb (Google it. Then NEVER EVER EVER GET ONE). Then another foley bulb. It did nothing. (Funny aside, before I got the bulb, our friend Matt texted to tell us that if Kristin were here, she would tell me to kick the nuts of anyone who suggested a foley bulb. Of course, we didn't see that text until after it was done!) Just more pain, more severe cramps. I was HUNGRY (remember how I saved my lunch? Yea. They don't let you eat when you're in labor.)

I listened to a lot of roller derby using it as my focal point during contractions which were now about 2 minutes apart. I would try to count the scores in my head, focus on what the announcers were saying. During game breaks Dill and I paced the halls. We were the only people in the labor ward for most of the time. Two other couples came and went while we were there. My parents were amazing and fetched food for Dill, though by late Saturday I asked them to eat it outside the room, since I was faint from hunger.

In the meantime, Dill got food poisoning. So he was alternating between coaching me in labor and throwing up in the bathroom. I contemplating calling a friend who I knew was a doula in case he didn't get better since I didn't want to go through birth all by myself!

By Sunday, I asked my Doctor if today could be the day. My birth plan was going out the window. (I wanted an all natural experience, but by this point contractions were a minute apart, my cervix wasn't even close to being dilated enough, and I was blacking out from pain.) Dill was having to hold me up on the birthing ball and when we walked since I was collapsing at points. Finally after four pm I asked for the epidural. I just couldn't keep going on no sleep and no food. Afterwards I took a half hour nap, and tried to go again.

At this point the doctor warned me that we were most likely looking at a c-section. It wasn't at all what I wanted, but I knew I couldn't stay in labor limbo forever.

In the meantime, the storms rolled in. Thunder, lightning, and as they strapped me to a table in the OR (Seriously, it looks like they're setting you up for execution) the lights flickered. As Dill came in to join me the tornado sirens went off. Fitting for the daughter of one!

I can't even describe how scared I was. I was terrified that I would feel them cutting me, or that the baby wouldn't survive the procedure. When they pulled her out I felt my hips lift off the table, while they exclaimed what a big baby she was. I heard one short cry, then another, while I started bawling and yelling "Is she alive? She's alive??"

I got my first glimpse of her when they were cleaning her up. The flap from the sheet covering me was in the way and Dill kept trying to move it so I cold see. Her eyes were wide open and she was grabbing everything in sight. The nurses, the towels, she even made a go at the pair of scissors they used to cut her cord. Dill went over with her and got to touch and hold her, then he finally brought her to me.

See the bloody scissors? That's what she made a grab for.

Clutching a towel

Finally, finally, finally my daughter.

It took forever for them to stitch me up. I was jealous that Dill got to hold and talk to Evelyn so much. I couldn't take my eyes off her, but I was also so uncomfortable! I kept begging for them to unstrap my arms, or at least take the blood pressure cuff off! My hands and wrists were twitching and I felt like I couldn't control them. (probably why they kept them strapped!)

Dill also admitted later that during all of this, he peeked over the curtain at what was going on. I'm glad I couldn't see it, as apparently they take parts of you out, lay them on you, inspect them, seal them up and then put them back! He assures me that I'm beautiful on the inside, and now he has had visual proof.

Recovery was a blur. I was trying and trying to force feeling back into my legs so that they would let me up out of bed. No matter how many times I assured them that I would be fine, they still made me wait until morning to walk on my own.

Upstairs we went to postpartum, where Dill slept for the first time in days. I attempted to, but I was woken every hour for blood pressure and incision checks. I was also brought my baby over and over again so that she could nurse.

The next few days were a mix of wanting to get the heck out of the hospital and being terrified of taking our baby home. We were both inspected, poked and prodded over and over again. Friends came to visit and brought us food and relief that the outside world still existed.

Meanwhile, I couldn't believe how much PAIN I was in! I had understood in the abstract that a c-section was major surgery, but wow. There are no words for how much it hurts. I've been through surgery before, but this recovery has been something entirely other. Perhaps because I'm less concerned with taking care of myself, and more concerned with my baby.

Every few minutes, I would pull myself out of bed (not easy when you aren't supposed to use your ab muscles) shuffle over and make sure she was breathing.

Going home was a shock to my system. I don't know that I can describe it. Just that she screamed for the first 2 hours she was here, I had to sit down and just stare at a wall to decompress while Dill calmed her down, and that it was the first time I felt completely disconnected from her.

After that though, I have felt nothing but love. Even when I should be frustrated, I just love her and am so thankful that she's here. I've broken down in tears thanking my husband for going through this with me. The IUIS, the surgery, the IVFs, everything was worth it for her. Going through all those fertility treatments definitely strengthened our marriage. We were there for each other through some pretty severe ups and downs.

I've become a baby hog. I cuddle her all the time and at the first twitch or squirm I want to grab her from whoever is holding her. I love the feeling of her curled up against me, cuddled into my neck or sleeping on my lap, holding my finger with her hand.

Thank you as well to everyone who has followed along with this blog and listened to me ramble incessantly about IVF. It is, at times, a very isolating thing to go through, and it's good to dump my feelings to a computer screen and know there are others out there reading along!

I'm using the baby time to make some progress on the book. Evelyn gives her opinion on swatches sometimes, by either grabbing it away from me or giving it the side eye. Not sure what exactly the translation is for her opinions, but I'm confident she has strong ones!

Next blog should have some sneak peeks at the new book!

If you've had a chance to see the fantastic John and Hank Green on the Turtles All the Way Down tour you really should! We had such a blast! Many, many thanks to my friend Elyse for getting us seats and backstage to say "hi" to John and Hank! We've met John before at a wedding reception. I have a fond, horrifying memory of introducing myself, chatting for a bit, then trying to introduce Dill only to have to say, "Ah, yes. That's him over there. With the tie on his head."

If he remembered that incident he was polite enough to not bring it up.

The stage show was hilarious, with Dr. Turtleman being my favorite part! ("Next slide please!") Plus, it's always lovely to see a sold out theater for a book tour!

If you follow me on Instagram you've already seen some of these pics. I didn't take a lot since I didn't want to be obnoxious and I wanted to just chill out and enjoy the show!

Two California Roller Derby teams took a huge step towards derby domination yesterday:

"Stronger Together: Sacramento’s Top Roller Derby Teams Unify

Sacramento, CA: Sac City Rollers and Sacred City Derby Girls are Sacramento's preeminent roller derby teams and today they are proud to announce they will be unifying in 2018, under a to be determined name. Both teams have been operating in Sacramento for over ten years and have been leaders in northern California roller derby. Both have represented Sacramento at national and international tournaments, for international rankings, within the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA).

This decision was born out of the desire to create a stronger and more competitive roller derby league, to represent Sacramento on an international level. Members from both leagues are hopeful about the future that combining resources can provide.

“This unification has been a long time coming. With both leagues sharing many of the same attributes, I'm excited about our collective growth. We have an amazing opportunity to accelerate the expansion of roller derby in and around the Sacramento area and we look forward to seeing what the future holds”, said Anitra Hayden, General Manager of Sac City Rollers. Crystal Brahm, Director of Administration for Sacred City Derby Girls stated, “This unification will allow the city of Sacramento to see a higher level of roller derby, while allowing our league a chance to compete at the top of our sport. It just makes sense to combine two high level teams to create an even stronger one for our sport and our community.”.

Both leagues would like to thank their fans and supporters and hope that they will continue to support this joint effort. As a united team the league will strive to be even more involved within the community. As its first act of community engagement, SCR and Sacred are asking for ideas from the public as part of its rebranding process. To find out more visit Sac City Rollers’ and Sacred’s Facebook pages, facebook.com/saccityrollers/ and facebook.com/SacredCity/."

I think this is an amazingly smart move! I've never understood two teams in one city. It only makes sense if the city is large enough to support two leagues. (Minnesota and North Star come to mind. And technically, they are in the twin cities)But when you get to smaller cities like Evansville and yes, Indianapolis, I don't understand splitting the already limited resources and fan base. Evansville did make the decision to merge into one league and saw a lot more success from it.
To be fair for Indianapolis where we have both Naptown and Circle City , there are a LOT of people who want to play Roller Derby. Naptown not only has their "A" team, The Tornado Sirens, they also have the Warning Belles, the Third Alarm and the new rec League, Rolling Thunder. That is a lot of teams with a lot of talent. (And in my humble opinion, the league would really benefit from home teams! Hint hint)

I should also state that I don't know a lot about Circle City Derby. In the beginning it was created by a couple of girls who split from Naptown, but in the past 10 years they've obviously grown into their own thing. There has been some bouncing back and forth from skaters between the two leagues, which I think is natural when the two teams are so close together. The grass could always be greener right?

In the old days, both leagues could have sell out attendance. Now though, with leagues across the country struggling to fill stands, it doesn't make sense to split the pool of talented skaters a city has. I think it would also be different if one league was strictly a rec league, but with both of them being WFTDA it just seems like a division of resources.

Have another perspective? Are there benefits to having two leagues close together? Hit up the comments here or on facebook! I'd love to hear other thoughts!

Have you ever been working from a pattern and encountered a mistake? Frustrating as all hell right? Imagine being the person who MADE that mistake! It's frustrating and upsetting. Luckily, in the world of knitting, there are these wonderful people called "tech editors" who know their math, can look at your pattern with a fresh set of eyes and not only correct basic math mistakes, but help make your pattern more readable as well.

Of course, like with any profession, there are people who try to take shortcuts and skip the tech editor. Now, if someone is offering a free pattern, don't expect it to be tech edited. That's the trade off for free. You can't reasonably expect a designer to not only offer up their time and techniques in giving out a free pattern, but also pay someone else to edit it. Sure it's nice if it happens, but be prepared for a non edited pattern! If, however, you're shelling out money, you should expect that the pattern has been passed over by a tech editor.

Does that mean the pattern will be guaranteed error free? Nope. It SHOULD be, but I've got a copy of a book by a famous writer that mentions one of the characters covering her hand with her mouth. Things get past editors. It happens. Email the publisher or designer and let them know, they should update with the errata.

Now what if you're not a consumer, but a designer? You're sharing your patterns with the world! Are you charging for them? Get a tech editor! Are you being published? Ask your acquisitions editor if you can have some say in the tech editor! In my early years, I took whatever tech editor the book or pattern publisher handed me and didn't ask questions! I mean, if they're hiring someone they're automatically going to be the best tech editor on the planet right?

Not necessarily...

I'm not going to name names and trash talk editors. They're human. But there are definitely some I've liked better than others. I've had some make "corrections" to my pattern that I didn't double check. I just trusted that they were the expert and they were... wrong. Very wrong.

So lesson one. Don't just assume they know more than you. Double check their work.

I had one editor that was handed to me that put me in tears more than once. I knew things were going poorly when they asked me to FAX my pattern over. They didn't have any sort of word program and wanted the patterns in fax, then they would make corrections and fax them back to me. That is an impossible way to work, at least for me! Blurry faxes with parts inked out, having to find the previous fax and make sure it WAS the previous fax, and not a fax from three weeks back, it was overwhelming and confusing. Of course, being a fairly new designer at the time it never occurred to me that I could put my foot down and fire someone. And what happened? Patterns were changed, sent to print and some of them had mistakes. Pretty obvious mistakes, that made me look incompetent as a designer, and frustrated people working from the pattern. (I found out afterwards that this person had never actually tech edited garments. Just scarves and cowls!!!!)

Lesson two. It's your reputation as a designer. Don't just "be nice", put your foot down if you have to.

I've had many experiences where I had to hire my own tech editor. Sure, it's scary to shell out your own money vs. a publishers money, but having complete control over who is hired is the absolute best! It's rough not having a barrier if you do need to fire someone, but the ability to do so, and work with someone you trust is invaluable.

Lesson three: Be a control freak. If the publisher offers to hire a tech editor, ask if you can choose one, or at the very least insist on having input on who is hired. Find out what patterns they've done before. Don't be afraid to email a few designers and ask how their experience was.

Of course, if you're spending your own money, you want the tech editor to do as little as possible! I know I've talked about it before, but this book by one of my favorite tech editors, Kate Atherley, is an absolute must for designers.


Don't be scared off by the word "beginner" in the title. It is not just for beginners. Sure, there's some pretty basic stuff in there, but sometimes it helps to go back to basics in your craft. There's also just some really sensible, obvious advice that might not have occurred to you! Plus, the longer you write patterns, and the longer you knit or crochet, the more you forget the things that seem really obvious and basic to you, but might not be for a less experienced knitter picking up your pattern!

Which means that lesson four is: Humble yourself and study!

There you have it! I hope that this helps you!

I tried to explain to someone how I feel like I'm disappearing yesterday. They looked me up and down and I could feel the incredulity. I'm HUGE! How the heck do I think I'm disappearing?

It's hard to explain, but until last week I felt that I looked like me, but with bigger boobs and a cute little bump on my belly! Now though, I can't find myself in the mirror. I've actually avoided looking at my bare stomach because it freaks me out so much. It's black and blue from the heparin shots of course, but it's also so tight! It doesn't look like my former tummy, that alternated between a 4 pack (if I turned in JUST the right light) and taco belly. (Taco belly was more often visible than abs belly)
It also feels weird. There's no comforting squish to my stomach. It's just this rock hard thing that hurts, and makes my back stiff and causes me pain when i try to sleep at night.

I know all of this is temporary, and I know that what matters is what's going on INSIDE my body right now. I'm getting kicked by a baby! She's somersaulting and twisting and making all kinds of fuss in there. She loves music, but is very picky about what makes her dance. And if I FINALLY get comfortable at night, but she doesn't like the side I'm sleeping on, she starts digging on that side until I'm forced to rollover and find a position that she likes better. All of these things are wonderful, and cause me to cry sometimes with happiness (to be fair, so do puppies with floppy ears) but I'm still in this state of shock over what I look like right now. It's hard to explain how I have to quell the rising panic sometimes when I look at myself. Then I feel bad, because I feel like I should be all joy and glowing wonder at my body and all the great things it's doing, but I don't necessarily feel that way 100% of the time.

Week 32! Or in normal people terms, 7 and 1/2 months!

It's also getting really hard to play my instruments. My mandolin doesn't fit on my lap any longer thanks to this belly!

I also had to spend yesterday wrangling a small horse into a van so he could go to the dentist. File that under: Things that are relatively easy when I'm not pregnant, but almost impossible with a giant belly.
He's fine, but very sore, and we have learned a lesson about not letting tarter build up on his teeth.

EDIT: I feel like I should start highlighting more of the weird shit people say to me. So here's one from a few weeks ago: "You're pregnant! Oh it's so amazing! As soon as you have kids you get to experience what it's really like to have a soul!"
So in case you were childless and wondering why you didn't show up on film....

Well, closing in on 6 months of pregnancy and I'm still pregnant!

Very, very pregnant actually.

It's been.. rough. The first three months are something I never want to repeat ever again. I keep looking at women with more than one child and I just want to grab them and ask "WHY??? Why would you do this to yourself AGAIN?"
Don't get me wrong, I'm beyond grateful that I'm pregnant. But I am not an easy puker. I am the kind of person who fights getting sick with everything I have. So spending three months gagging whenever I ate food, smelled food, thought about food, or slept, or took a deep breath... I would not want to go through that again!

Speaking of stuff I've gone through while pregnant...

I had my last infusion treatment! With the progesterone done as well, this means I'm down to two IVF drugs left, and only one of which involves needles! (Twice a day needles, but still, better than 3 or 4 times a day needles!) My stomach, incidentally, is a solid shade of yellow, with black and blue patches all over it. One giant bruise. It's completely gross. I won't finish these shots until October, and I can't imagine how much they're going to sting as my skin keeps stretching out!

It was a very rough IV this time. Took 3 pokes, and this is the result of the "good" one.

Every single time I graduate out of an IVF drug I'm convinced I'm going to lose the baby. Hell, 6 months in and I'm still convinced every time I go to the bathroom I'm going to realize I'm having a miscarriage. I fear I'm going to be the most anxious mother on the planet. "Are you going to get a book off the shelf dear? Don't forget your helmet!!!"
My poor doctor. Whenever I go in for a checkup I'm in anxious tears until I hear the heartbeat, because I'm convinced that this is the time it's going to be gone! She's gotten good about calming me down, and honestly, now that I can feel the baby practicing her boxing skills a few times a day I'm a little more convinced that she's actually REAL.

I tried to explain to someone, after years of "yes! This is it!" only to have the other shoe drop.. I'm still waiting for that bad news. We did our genetic blood test, everything was fine. We did our ultrasounds, everything was fine. So I really just need to learn to relax.

My friends who have had normal pregnancies keep scoffing and rolling their eyes at my anxiety. "What do you mean you won't drink a little wine? It's fine! I drank and my kid is okay!" Or, "You don't HAVE to sleep on your side! Just sleep on your back if that's the way you like to sleep!" And they don't understand why I won't. I think a lot of it comes from our infertility being "my fault". Which means that if something goes wrong, I don't want it to be "my fault" again.
Totally unreasonable, emotional and without logic? Absolutely. Welcome to my pregnant brain.

We got our first pictures of our kids face. We've decided that she's obviously a terminator.

(Speaking of my anxiety, in every picture we can only see one eye. Is the baby missing an eye? Should I start buying baby eye patches? Will she feel pressured into a life of piracy? I guess we do already have a parrot for her...)

Also as I've mentioned, I've felt the baby move! It's so weird! A lot of times it feels like bubble wrap popping in my stomach. But sometimes I feel a big roll. The other night I had my hand on my stomach and actually felt her MOVE MY SKIN! I screamed and held my stomach, waking poor Dill up in a panic. Have I mentioned that Aliens was my absolute favorite movie? (Huge crush on Michael Biehn as a kid) I honestly watched it almost every day one summer. I keep expecting the skin on my stomach to burst open.

I promise I have a life outside of pregnancy as well. Or at least, I'm getting one back. Again, first 3 months I was a miserable, gagging hermit. Now I'm able to be upright, to knit, go out (sober), hang out with friends (sober) and go to restaurants (sober).

Non pregnancy updates coming, including information about my upcoming Gen Con events!

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