Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Concentrating (#2)

A few weeks ago I attended a conference. One of the plenary speakers was Danny Dorling, a geographer from Sheffield University. He was talking about his new book 'Injustice: why social inequality persists' and argued clearly and powerfully about the relationship between inequalities in income and inequalities in health. His main thrust is this - if there was less discrepancy between the rich and poor in our (UK) society, then that would bring with it many, many benefits including a reduction in the health inequalities that currently exist.

I've been thinking a lot about Dorling's arguments over the last few weeks. In the context of a coalition (by which I mean Tory) government, there is much to be gloomy about, but Dorling himself was positive, because - he said - we can change it if we want to. So, I've been thinking about how I can change it. I could of course lobby my MP, complain and harrass government ministers and that would have some effect. But, I've been thinking about this in relation to the things I do with my money and whether my spending helps to concentrate wealth into the hands of the richest. Shopping at supermarkets and on the high street generally means that our cash works its way through the hands of the not-very-well-paid staff to the corporate boards, shareholders and investors that control these global brands and businesses. There are some exceptions, e.g. John Lewis and the Co-operative group - which have no anonymous shareholders but which pay dividends to its members (customers in the case of the co-op and staff in the case of John Lewis). Of course, spending money in locally-owned businesses, craft markets, farmers markets, independent shops, Etsy, Folksy and so on does the opposite. It helps to put money directly into the pockets of individuals and their families. There are no fat cat investors or venture capitalists taking their share of the profits. The New Economics Foundation did some work on this a few years back, showing that every pound spent on a local veg box did much, much more for the local economy than every pound spent in a local supermarket - and that supermarkets employed fewer people for every thousands pounds of turnover than corner shops.

So, the bottom line is this: the more money I spend in my local economy, the more I support my local community - safeguarding jobs and helping to maintain a healthy (literally) place to live and work. While I was thinking about this, I came across an old newspaper article about going off-grid. This didnt mean living in a self-sustaining house with no connection to the National Grid, but refusing to shop in mainstream supermarkets and instead, spending all your food budget in farmers markets, independent butchers, fruiterers, fishmongers, bakers, wine merchants and so on. I saw the article in Earthy, a local and independent supermarket and cafe stocking local, organic and fair trade produce. It seemed to be fitting somehow.

Leading up to Christmas seemed to be a good time to think about this. Although we haven't gone completely off-grid with our food spending, I think most of our gift shopping has been with independent/local businesses and high-street companies without shareholders. It's a start, and I mean to go on. 

Enjoy the snow if you have it; keep safe and warm and have a very, very merry Christmas.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010


As the time left before Christmas is getting short (only 10 days left - how did that happen? eek!) I'm trying to concentrate on things/gifts which I really have a chance of finishing quickly. The recent snow kept us indoors rather more than is usual, so I grabbed small gobbets of time here and there to get a few things finished off.

There have been some more socks. Two pairs of crazy socks, from the Schoppel Wolle Crazy Zauberball yarn I had for Christmas last year. The two balls I received has made 4 pairs of socks in all - three for me and one for a friend (seems like a fair balance!) The last pair are eked out of the remaining yarn using another ball of yarn from the stash. No idea what this solid green yarn is (Rowan maybe), but the colour fitted in perfectly with the crazy yarn, and I used the grumperina approach to striping. I was prepared for the crazy yarn to run out before I got to the toe, but the amount was perfect to stripe to the end, and gave me just enough to kitchener the toes closed.

There was a baby beanie (tutorial here) knitted in honour of a new baby, born to some friends we met at antenatal classes almost 4 years ago. Their first son was born the day after the bean - both early by about a week - and they get on famously whenever we see them. Anyway, congratulations to you Gilly and Jason and welcome to the world little Callum!

I also spent a pleasant 20 minutes or so refeshing one of the jelly bean's dribble bibs (tutorial here) which had got a bit - you know - grubby. I cut another piece of fabric for the top side, and stitched into place with some embroidery floss. Cute huh?

A pile of flannels (wash cloths) is growing too, ready for the wrapping elves to do their work. I have quite an extensive stash of cotton yarn in various colours, so this is being put to good use. I'm knitting some small for children, and then bigger ones for grown ups. Three small flannels (one white, one pink, and one bright blue) went  - along with some organic baby bubbles - to help a small friend celebrate her first birthday last weekend. Happy Birthday Megan. Hope you are feeling better soon. I dont mind knitting with cotton, but it does help that I can finish one of these in a few hours...

My elaborate plans for a mound of quilted/stitched gifts are definitely rather optimistic. I have made some quilted coasters (based on last-minute patchwork gifts book), using some of the fabric patches from the crazy patchwork duvet cover my grandmother made me when I was a teenager. I thought these would be a nice gift for my mum, to remind her of her mother. But, they are taking me a lot, lot longer than I imagined, and arent quite as square or perfect as I hoped!

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Snow on snow on snow...

After what seemed to be a very brief autumn, winter arrived with a vengeance. It is now almost 2 weeks since the first snows fell - and although the temperatures are now just above freezing again, there is still a thick layer of snow covering the city. Edinburgh is a dry city, close to the sea and snow of this magnitude is really unheard of. We have at least 18 inches of accumulated snow in our garden, and I cannot remember such deep snow since I was a child. [It makes you feel really old when you start to reminisce about hard winters 30 years ago when you were a 'girl'!]

Anyway, although I love, love, love snow - the realities of getting to work, covering/arranging childcare when buses are not running, and being stuck at home with two small children are beginning to take the edge off my delight at the snowy vistas outside my windows each morning. It hasnt been a good week overall: DH slithered into the back of a lorry on Monday morning and dented the car quite a lot (although noone hurt, the car was driveable and he didnt get stuck for hours and hours on the gridlocked motorways of the central belt); on Tuesday I managed to kill my mobile phone by washing it in the washing machine and yesterday our boiler froze up. We've been there before with the boiler, so knew immediately what to do to restore the situation and our friendly plumber is coming this evening to check things over. I hope that's the end of the bad stuff for this week, and things get better from here!

On the plus side all this time at home has been good for some things. I have managed to finish a few little projects, details coming soon...

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

The sun shone...

Autumn has arrived in fine style. Sunday was glorious, and like Kate we took ourselves up a hill to enjoy the glorious sunshine and clear views of Edinburgh and beyond. We didn't encounter any snow on our walk, but there were plenty of dogs and their grownups (as the bean likes to say) enjoying themselves all the same. We enjoyed ourselves too - what's not to like about climbing up a hill on a cold sunny day, admiring the view and then retreating to a cosy cafe for a spot of lunch?

Last weekend was similarly glorious, and we spent a happy afternoon with my parents and some friends in Edinburgh's botanic gardens  The autumn colours are glorious, and the squirrels fattening themselves hurriedly, scurrying about carrying precious nuts and seeds for their secret stashes.

Despite all the visitors and outings (not to mention work) I've managed to get a few FOs under my belt recently. First there were the two teeny jackets for my cousin's twins now thriving at home. Great pattern from StitchyMama on ravelry and knitted top-down. My first top-down knitting I think; sheesh - how embarrassing to be so slow about getting on with that! Both are made from unlabelled DK from the stash. They have already been sent, received and worn...

I also sent the new parents some washable baby wipes made from bamboo terry and t-shirt fabric.

And then a nusery friend of the bean got this little bag as part of her birthday gift. It's repurposed from a stained pair of the jellybean's dungarees. It's not the neatest and you might be able to tell that I didnt measure anything, but did it all by eye, but I hope the 4 yr old recipient doesnt mind too much... Happy Birthday Isla.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

FREE Pattern: Baby Beanie

While the chicken stock is bubbling on the hob, and a new sock has sprung onto my needles (the twisted sock wasnt working, so has been ripped in favour of a plain sock knitted with the rest of my crazy zauberball sock yarn...), I thought I would share this with you.

It seems too grand to describe this as a pattern, but rather it's one of those unvented and unoriginal set of instructions for a wee hat.

To fit: 0-3 months
Needles: 2.25mm dpns
Yarn: 4 ply/sock yarn, you'll need roughly 25g
Gauge: 13 stitches to 5cm (knit in the round)

Cast on 100 stitches, divide evenly between needles and without twisting, join the first round.

If you would like to make a stripey hat using the grumperina technique (e.g. stripes with no jogs), then I use both colours for the cast on, alternating colours for each new stitch. Work the first round in the colour of the first stitch, and then when you return to the place at which the second yarn is languishing, pick that up and work a round with that instead. As always the rule with grumperina stripes is to always work with the *lowest* yarn available. If you dont want a grumperina stripe then knit plain or patterned as you will.

Knit in stocking stitch until the work measures 11cm or so, then start crown shaping. You can work the decreases in any way you like (e.g. ssk), but I have written it here as k2tog.

round 1: [k8 k2tog] rep till end, 90 stitches
round 2: knit
round 3: [k7, k2tog] rep until end, 80 stitches
round 4: knit

Continue in this vein until you are decreasing every 3 stitches (e.g. your decrease round is going k3, k2 tog). From this point on, decrease on every round.

Work until 4 stitches remain.

Now work a short i-cord stalk to finish the hat. Transfer all of the stitches to one needle, and work until the i-cord measures the desired length - I normally aim for about 8 cm which allows me to make a single knot. You can stripe your stalk, or leave it plain.

Cast off and weave in loose ends. Wash, dry gently and apply to the first wee head that crosses your path. Enjoy!

 [This pattern is shared in the spirit of craftivism, stash busting and generally living a goodly life. Please do *not* use it for commercial gain or profit. Thankyou]

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Paring back...

For all sorts of reasons and in all sorts of ways, I in the midst of a process of paring back.

Firstly, I am trying to pare back the wheat and gluten in my diet. I have been gluten free a couple of times before and on both occasions I felt very well. This time the motivation is different and purely driven by me; the other times it was to do with the country I was in and breastfeeding a fussy baby... I've been doing it for a couple of weeks now and I quite like the way it's going.

Second, I am trying to pare back my wardrobe. I was reading about blogger Sooz's decision to stop buying commercially made clothes and the liberation that came with sitting down to think about a wardrobe of garments that worked together, and a lightbulb came on in my own head. I have too many clothes (dont we all?) and although I am making an effort to wear more of them, there are still many things that no longer fit, have never flattered or which just dont work. So, I have started to write a list of all the clothes that I own; to think about the colours and styles that suit me best; to be honest about the things which do and dont fit; to assess which things might be refashioned (for me or the children) and which things it would be better to donate to a local charity shop. I'm excited about this. It feels grown up and organised and good and I'm looking forward to the actual sorting/off loading and refashioning that will result.

Third, I am thinking about the way in which we can pare back the carbon that our family consumes/relies on: the way that we travel; the way we use energy in our home; the things that we eat. You know, we might not have long to get to grips with climate change and we can all play a part. 74 months left

Monday, 18 October 2010

He is gone

Little Elias has lost his battle for life. Please pray for his babylost family. Rest in Peace little man.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

FO: Freddie (Kim Hargreaves, Rowan Junior)

Freddie is done. All sewn up and ready to go off to little Elias. we can only hope that he gets well enough and big enough to wear it and grow out of it. Get well little man.

Pattern: Freddie from Rowan Junior (Kim Hargreaves)
Yarn: Patons Diploma Gold 4 ply
Mods: intarsia snowflake omitted; no other mods

Next on my list are two v small jackets for the twin girls that arrived a week or so ago. They are both well, now out of incubators but still in special baby care doing their best to grow big enough to go home! Grow little ones, grow.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Tutorial: Dribble Bib (aka Bibble)

It seems that the height of bib fashion (who knew there was such a thing as bib fashion?!) is currently a triangular neckerchief with a popper fastening, and which snuggles beneath the chin to catch the dribble that flows from teething babies/toddlers.

You can find oodles of these dribble catchers in the shops, including some very fancy ones with waterproof innards and velour layers, although they do cost anything up to £8 each! But they are a doddle to make from recycled/upcycled fabrics and here's a short tute to prove it.

You will need:
  1. some thin card to make a template
  2. some absorbent fabric for the backing (e.g. terry, towelling or fleece)
  3. some fabric for the top (e.g. t-shirt material, dress fabric)
  4. press stud or fastener
  5. scissors/thread/needle

1. Using an old bib as a guide for neck length, make a template for the bib using the card. You will need to draw a right angle triangle with a long edge that corresponds to your old bib (in my case, measuring approx 40cm/15").

 2. Use the template to cut backing material. Here I am using a well used bamboo terry square.

3. Use the template to cut the fabric for the top of the bib. Here I am using a plain (but rather bright!) t-shirt...

4. Next stitch the two layers of fabric together. Because I am not a very accomplished sewer, I simply topstitch about 1/4" from the edge, leaving the edges raw. Alternatively you could zigzag or overlock the raw edges together OR sew together with right sides facing (leaving a short gap) and then turn right sides out and finish by top stitching. If you are making these as a gift, then you might also consider finishing with bias tape to make them really neat.

5. Add your fastener/popper at the appropriate places. Some of the commercial bibs have two poppers so that length can be adjusted.

6. Add bib to baby and smile.

Monday, 4 October 2010


On Saturday I took myself and my knitting into town. My main purpose was to donate blood and I thought I would take my twisted sock with me to work on while I waited. The weather was dry and bright; a lovely autumn morning. I arrived just after the donating suite opened and only managed one or two rounds of sock knitting before filling out my questionnaire and going through to give up some claret. As usual, the staff were cheery and chatty and nothing short of lovely. As if that weren't enough, the Scottish Blood Service includes Tunnocks tea cakes amongst its offerings for donors.

Baby Elias is still rather poorly, so although we are very far away from his hospital bed, I thought it was a good thing to do with him in mind. Get well little man; we are all thinking of you.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Babies: one, two, three

My old friend has had her baby - Elias arrived in fine style slightly earlier than planned, as he decided not to wait for the scheduled c-section, but started making his way into the world a day early.

Yesterday I heard that little Elias - now two weeks old - is very sick, and now in Great Ormond St Hospital in London. His heart has been affected, and his chances of recovery are not known. We are sending all our love and prayers in his direction, and of course to his parents and brave big sister. I will be sending them some more practical help too, following the advice in indietutes blog. I can send his Freddie too, once I've sewn it all up (I finished the sleeves whilst watching Spooks on i-player).

This morning I heard that my cousin is due to have her identical twins by c-section TODAY! They will be arriving a few weeks early, but we are keeping our fingers crossed that they are a good size and do not need much help once they are born. Once I know their gender/names/size I can whip up something for them too.
ETA: Little Girls arrived! Well done Emma and Paul. We are thrilled for you!!
Because all babies are precious: here is a picture of my two gorgeous babies.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010


DH and I are making a big financial commitment in the next couple of weeks, so we will be doing our best to focus on thrift and the need to avoid spending wherever we can in the coming months. Our mantra is 'Y.O.T' which stands for 'year of thrift' - and which if uttered at the right moment, can help us to make the right decisions about what to do that day; what to cook; and what to eat. Decisions which - when added up - help to turn the saved pennies into saved pounds.

I often use YOT to help me resist yarn. I dont *need* to buy anything where there is soooo much in my stash.

There is something addictive about saving money; it's a bit like going on a diet and seeing the inches/pounds drop off. The success of it is satisfying. To this end, I thought I would write down some of my/our thrifty living tips (not only for your benefit, but for me too - in case I forget!)
  • The Thrifty Cookbook by Kate Colquhoun is full of recipes and ideas for making the most of ordinary ingredients and using up leftovers. The banana cake recipe is particularly good...
  • Use the library! (good for cookbooks; childrens books and travel/guide books)
  • Shampoo - I've discovered recently that I can wash my hair very well with about one quarter of the amount I used to use. Not so much less is more, but less is enough. Not only does it mean we need to buy shampoo less often, but the waste water will be less nasty...
  • Washing - with two small (and quite messy) children in the house, our washing basket is never, ever empty. If clothes are fairly presentable, then they go back on the child (or adult!) the next day rather than in the washing basket. Its really easy to whip things off and 'give them a quick wash' but if you think about it changing children's outfits after two days rather than every day will cut the weekly washing pile in half!
  • The Green Kitchen (Richard Ehrlich) is another worthwhile read if you are trying to reduce your costs. Top tips from this book include: always cook with a lid on your pan; turn off your oven 5-10 mins before you have finished cooking - the residual heat will finish things off for you; when cooking pasta - add the pasta to the hot water and bring to the boil. Then put on a lid and turn off the heat. The hot water will cook the pasta perfectly.

What's your favourite thrifty tip?

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Back to the airwaves...

I'm trying to get back to blogging a lot more. I like it. I like reading blogs, and I like writing too.

I've got an FO to blog, but the camera cable is missing (I suspect it's in DH's work bag) so I can't post any pictures for the moment.

Anyway, what I really wanted to say is this. I'm very sad about the UK Knit Camp situation - I would have like to have gone. As we are in Edinburgh, a short trip to Stirling for a day or two was definitely on my agenda, but our summer holidays got in the way, and I decided in the end that it was not possible to combine the two. However, given all the fallout about the event (and I won't comment on that seeing as I wasnae there), I'm really sad because it effectively puts the kibosh on this becoming a regular UK event. That's a great shame in my view.

FO: Husband socks

The husband socks are finished, finally. They have taken an absolute age. I cast them on in June, and finished them in September. Admittedly one or two other things got in the way (e.g. Sam's birthday socks), and there was the small matter of sock one being rather too small, so sock two was made to the correct dimensions and sock one duly ripped and reknitted to match. And then, there was just life to get in the way. I have to say that with two small children and one almost full-time job, my time for anything other than housework seems to be exceedingly small.... so I take my hat (and socks) off to those women who manage to do it and blog about it too!

Here they are (for what it's worth)

Pattern: Thuja (Knitty)
Yarn: Regia
Mods: only to change no of stitches required
Time taken: June - September 2010

To celebrate the conclusion of the husband socks, I cast on yesterday lunch time for a pair of twisted socks (Knitty) using some Plymouth Co. Happy Feet yarn that I was given a couple of years ago. I'm not wild about the colourway, but it's only a pair of socks...

And, after hearing that an old friend had an elective c-section booked in for the 16 September, I went back to the Freddy (Kim Hargreaves Rowan Junior) that was on the needles and started turning the crank. Last night front and back were both completed, and today I'll get going on the teeny tiny sleeves. It'll be ready in a few days, by which time I hope we'll have had confirmation of the new arrival...

Tuesday, 13 July 2010


When I was a teenager, my grandmother made me a fabulously busy duvet cover with a lifetime's worth of fabric scraps. It got a little frayed in places where the vintage fabric started to come apart, and lived for a long, long time in a box under the bed.

This year my parents celebrate their ruby wedding anniversary, and I'm planning to make them a quilt top. So, I'm deconstructing this quilt cover, and will use some of the fabrics to make the new quilt top. It'll be my first quilting project of any size (nothing like going in at the deep end!).... and - I hope - it will be lovely for my mum and dad to have something old, something new and something blue to help them celebrate their special day. Not sure about the something borrowed part, I'll have to think about that!

Sock Fest

There are quite a lot of socks in my drawer which have - to date - been unblogged. It's time to put this right.
For Christmas my brother and his girlfriend (now sadly an ex girlfriend , sniff, sniff) gave me two balls of sock yarn. To start with I made these fabulously fraternal socks:

Pattern: generic top down

Yarn: Schoppel Wolle Crazy Zauberball

Another pair followed, this time using a grumperina stripe to vary the effect. These became a 40th birthday gift for our friend Sam - her first handknit socks. She put them on immediately, so we think she liked them! Happy Birthday Sam.

Pattern: generic top down

Yarn: Schoppel Wolle Crazy Zauberball

The good news is that there is still enough yarn left from these two balls to make another pair. I'll get onto this once I've finished the second husband sock, a christmas gift which has been repeatedly put to the side to allow for other more urgent birthday knitting to take place! It's next dear (honest).

Monday, 5 July 2010

About this blog...


This blog is all about craft and making in Edinburgh, especially crafting which reclaims, reuses, recycles, repurposes and generally used old stuff to make new stuff. I'm always on the look out for ways to make good use of the things which I dont need any more, or which are no longer fit for their original purpose.

I'm planning to post tutorials, patterns, links and all sorts! And, they're probably be some tales of family life, gardening and work too....

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Birth story

It's only taken 10 months to write all this down, but here it is...

After a lovely homebirth first time round, there was no question about opting for a homebirth with this pregnancy. The first weeks were a bit difficult – we had had 3 early miscarriages within 6 months and were naturally worried about another loss – but after an early scan and the booking in appointment things went pretty normally.

Whilst DS was persistently OP during pregnancy and labour, this time my bump was rounder and the baby lay OA! And of course, after being surprised by a baby arriving at 39 weeks first time round, it was predictable that this time it would be different….

At 40 weeks there were no signs of labour, and I was getting to that stage when you think that the baby will never be born. I woke a few nights later with contractions and couldn’t stay in bed, so got up, put my TENS machine on and starting wandering around the house getting a teensy weensy bit excited. A couple of hours later things seemed to be progressing so I got my husband out of bed and made him put the birth pool up – which was at that point rolled up in a box out of the way. After another hour or two, I was feeling pretty tired and lay down on the sofa to get some rest. The TENS was on and I found the regular buzzing on my back quite relaxing. The sun was rising and the morning would soon be here. And then everything stopped….

We arranged for our son to spend the next night at his grandparents, anticipating that labour might get going again that night. Contractions were still coming now and then, but neither strong nor regular, and I had a feeling that the baby’s head wasn’t quite in the right place. So we took ourselves up Blackford Hill in the afternoon in the hope that this would get our baby nicely lined up – much as we had done when I was labouring with DS. That evening we relaxed with a take-away and went to bed early. I got up in the early hours with ctx, got the TENS machine on again, looked longingly at the pool and resumed the routine of standing and swaying as the tightenings flowed through my body. After about an hour things tailed off again. And I went back to bed and back to sleep.

When I woke in the morning, things had stalled completely. No ctx, no more show, nothing. Our son was at nursery, my husband was working at home, and I was fed up. I remember thinking that this could go on for days. I went out with my husband while he did some work, and we had lunch together at the local IKEA. There were several women with tiny babies there, and I joked with my husband about going and sniffing one of them to get my hormones going.

Later on in the afternoon, I went for another adventure on the hill, but this time walked up and down the large flights of steps at the bottom. I went sideways, doing my best to open my pelvis, shift my weight from side to side and encourage my baby into a really good position. When I got back, DS came home from nursery, we had supper and he went to bed.

At about 9pm I had to admit that I was beginning to contract again – I’d been ignoring it thinking it might go away – and I got the TENS machine on and DH started to time the ctx. A couple of hours later, DH rang triage to let them know that I was in labour. Ann – the CMW team leader rang back and got ready to come over. She arrived about midnight, went through my notes and birth plan and examined me. I was 3 cm; the head was well applied and the membranes taught. The baby was still anterior and everything looked pretty good. She and DH got on with the usual things – cups of tea, notes & observations, checking the birth pool – and I wandered about just dealing with the ctx, stopping and concentrating when I needed to and trying to relax in between.

About 1am or so I decided I would like to get into the pool – so I stripped off and got in, and soon Ann called for the second MW – a student who had never been to a homebirth before. She arrived and took over with the obs. Baby was very happy and I was doing my best to cope with some quite intense ctx whilst floating about in the warm water. DH was occupied keeping the water at a reasonable temperature and making tea and conversation with the two MWs.

A bit later on I felt like pushing, so started working with the ctx to push the baby down (I remember this happening when labouring with DS. It was followed shortly after by transition and delivery!) I thought I was well on the way. The MWs got the baby things ready with a hot water bottle. After a while I said ‘I don’t think I’m getting anywhere’ and Ann said she’d like to examine me again to see what was happening. My ctx had slowed down and she was a bit worried that things might stall again. I then endured a rather uncomfortable VE while I was still in the pool (I just had to try and hold myself steady and keep my bottom up off the floor of the pool). 8cm she said, membranes still intact and taught – but the head on one side. It was time to get up out of the water and get things moving a bit faster again. [I agreed to this VE- it seemed sensible to find out where I was in terms of dilation and why things were slowing down and I was really, really pleased not to have to get out of the water….]

For a little while I stayed out of the pool and tried various places and positions to get comfortable – always upright, sometimes standing, sometimes kneeling. I got back into the pool and stood between ctx leaning against the wall and DH and rocking from side to side, sinking down into the water only as each tightening came. At some point during this phase, I was sick a couple of times, and I started to complain about not being able to do it, and it hurting and all that transition-y stuff. It seemed to go on for ever, and the MWs encouraged me to try the gas and air – but it seemed like too much effort to concentrate on that at the same time as concentrating on the sensations in my body. I gave the mouthpiece back.

The MWs said something about my membranes, and I thought they must have seen them release into the water. They’ve just gone I said; I felt them pop. Oh good, they replied, nice and clear – they hadn’t been able to tell at all. It was just after 6am and it was getting light. Ann had told me earlier that as soon as my waters went the baby would come. She was right, a contraction or two later the head was crowning and I reached down to touch a small hairy head. The body came soon after and I caught my baby and brought it to the surface. ‘A boy!’ said my husband, but I checked out the netherparts and said ‘no, it’s a girl!’ The cord was short, so it was hard to cuddle her and she seemed happiest being swooshed gently in the warm water looking up into my face. After a few minutes DH cut the cord and we got out of the pool to get warm/dry and to deliver the placenta. She weighed 8lb 4.5oz and had a fine head of red hair just like her daddy. APGARS were 9 and 9. Labour was recorded as 9.5 hours with a 1 min second stage. 3rd stage took 18 mins. Blood loss was minimal at the time of delivery (none in the pool), but there were a few gushes later.

Just after I delivered the placenta our son woke up and came through to meet his little sister. He was a little bit confused to find two MWs in the house, but very excited about the baby!

Perineal damage was minimal, with a 1st degree tear that the MW described as ‘a nick’.

Although the baby was OA this time round, in many ways this labour was harder that my first (OP) labour which progressed rapidly from 4-5cm dilated to delivery. My first labour began with SROM, and this time that was almost the last thing that happened before the baby was born. I think this accounts for the hesistancy of my labour and the tendency for the baby’s head to move into an asynclitic position. Still, thanks to supportive MWs – and DH! – we managed really well at home using gravity and hip hitching to get the baby (back) into a good position and using TENS and water for pain relief. Transition this time was also more difficult – it seemed to go on for ever, and I apologised to the MWs later for being sooooo grumpy – I was even complaining as the baby’s head crowned! Nevertheless, we had another drug free labour and home water birth – and another lovely, lovely baby.

We were very pleased to share the birth with a student midwife. She was on her last placement before graduation and really keen to come to a homebirth. Ann (the team leader) had phoned me a week or so earlier to ask if I was happy for a student MW to attend and I said yes without hesitation. I work in a university and always try to support student learning and experience where I can – so, thankyou Tina. We wish you well in your career.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Round Up

Time for a little catch-up. Here are a few of the FOs from late 2009 and early 2010.

Scrap Hat (own design)
Child's banner - one of several birthday present projects for small boys in our family. Made with upcycled shirts, an old dress and some felt....
Green socks - generic top down pattern with grumperina stripe
Yarn - mainly Yarn Yard olive with some scraps of other green sock yarns to make up the pair.
Definitely non-identical twins.
Child's Cardigan (Rowan Family Collection)