Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Sewing While In Labor

Yes.  Yes I did.  I must be crazy, I know.

The fruits of my labor!

 Where do I begin?  Be prepared for a random and rambling post.  I guess this is kind of a birth story, too.  Of the "lite" variety.  I'm not too keen on sharing all the gory details.  I wish I could say I sewed something really awesome while I was in labor, like a tailored coat or something.  But it was just these two pillows.  But hey, I sat behind a sewing machine didn't I?   I knew I had to finish them before baby Jane came or they never would get finished.


I started these two pillows the week I was overdue.  I was desperate for baby Jane to come so I figured if I took on a project it might make her arrive.  J painted our bedroom in the weeks before.  Here is a before picture from my earlier overwhelmed post.  We did get it done and in plenty of time, too.  Now before you check out the after picture, I want you to know that nothing goes together in our bedroom.  This is not a fancy "after" picture or anything.  This is just how our room really looks.  Why are master bedrooms always the last room in the house that gets decorated?  It always seems that way.  Everything is a mishmash of second hand finds and hand me downs.  I like posting room photos, though.  I'm always nosy about other peoples homes so I figure maybe someone is nosy about mine.  J made that headboard after we finished the room.


It's funny how once you put a fresh coat of paint on something everything else in the room looks old and tattered.  When we got the room back together I realized the sad, sad state of our bedding.  From use and from having two cats that like to sleep on the bed.  I wanted to get new bedding and I wanted something dark since everything else in the room is so bright now.  Navy seemed like a good color to me.  Or indigo.  And navy should hide cat hair better.  Yuck, I know.  I looked in a few stores and online but couldn't find exactly what I wanted.  So I made a plan to make a quilt.  Don't laugh.   I am going to make that quilt.  When exactly I'll do it is the issue.  But I will.  I'm going to do all the bedding.  These two pillows are the first piece. 


I decided I wanted to hand quilt a simple running stitch.  I sandwiched extra squishy batting between two pieces of cotton.  Then I stitched the humble old running stitch in lines an inch apart.  I used perle cotton in a gradient of blues.  I didn't take too much care to measure or keep my stitches even.  I kind of like the rustic, homemade look.  When I make the quilt for our bed I'm going to quilt some of the blocks this same way.  Not the whole thing, of course.


Anyway, now to the sewing in labor part.   I finished the quilted fronts of the pillows on Friday.  On Saturday, I woke up feeling weird.  I kind of had an inkling that something strange was a-brewing but I didn't say anything to anyone because I didn't want to jinx it.  I was scheduled to be induced the next night but I really wanted to start labor on my own.  I had no impending signs of labor ahead of time other than the weird feeling.  Not one single signal that baby Jane wanted to make an appearance.   I cleaned that morning.  That nesting instinct kicked in.  I scrubbed bathroom sinks and mopped, believe it or not.  And I felt an overwhelming urge to finish writing all my thank you notes.   Then, after lunch, the real deal contractions began.

Now I thought I had prepared myself for contractions.  I quizzed several friends and family members about their labor experiences ahead of time.  Contractions were described to me as a tightening sensation in your belly, extreme pressure and the worst cramps of you life.  I was ready for that.  I thought I'd be able to handle quite a bit of that without needing medication.  I even had high hopes that I'd be able to give birth without any drugs at all.  Not that I was committed to that, but you know.  I considered myself to be pretty tough.  However *ahem* that was not the case.  I never had any contractions like they were described to me.  In fact, I never felt anything in my belly.  Not at all during the whole process.  I felt it all in my back.  I had dreaded back labor.  All I will say about contractions in your back is not fun.  When my contractions started on Saturday, they started with a vengeance.   There wasn't any warming up.  They started off full speed.


When they first hit I started to panic a little.  Which of course is what you shouldn't do.  They hurt.  Bad.  I knew she was coming and I was banking on soon because of the intensity.  I looked around the house and saw my pretty quilted pillow tops looking at me longingly.  I knew that with our new incoming guest it would be a long time before they were finished.  I was feeling pretty down on myself for not being able to handle the pain like I thought I would.  So I decided to tough it out for a bit and sew.  I cut out the backs of the pillows and sewed and serged both together late Saturday afternoon in the midst of my body preparing for imminent birth.  I would sew a seam until I felt a wave of electric twisting and tightening coming on.  Then I would pause, keeping my hands in place on the fabric and resting my head on the sewing machine until it passed.  I realized at the time how ridiculous I must have looked.  I said I was hardcore, didn't I?

The rest of the story is your standard hospital birth story.  I waited around Saturday night until I couldn't take it anymore and headed off to the hospital.  Once there I was told I wasn't far along enough.   They gave me the option of going home or starting my induction a day early.  I opted to go home which was incredibly disappointing at the time.  But I managed a few more hours at home until my water broke in the early morning hours on Sunday.  We were back at the hospital early Sunday morning and baby Jane entered this world screaming and squawking Sunday evening.   And no, it was not a drug free birth.  I gave up on that idea very quickly.  My initial reactions (besides love at first sight) when I first laid eyes on Jane were; wow, she is big and there is no way I'm ever doing that again.


She was worth it all.  Every bit of it. 
 And I'm quite pleased with the pillows, too.

45 comments:

  1. Holy moley, girl, I thought I worked up to the end (stopped 9 hours before she was born) but YOU take the birthday cake!! In a VERY GOOD way : ) Welcome to baby Jane, good job on the pillows. And just think what else would you have done? Paced hallways, laid on the couch, still been in labor and pain...amazing. You did just what you needed to do. Don't beat yourself up for getting drugs, you do what you have to do. I LOVE the photos of Jane on the pillows you made. You'll have to keep those pillows for the rest of your life now : )

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    1. Thanks so much! And true, what else would I have done? I should have kept on sewing! ;)

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  2. Thanks for the story! I like the last 2 sentences very much!

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  3. I'm seriously impressed that you could sew during all that. I had my son last year, and my contractions were similar in that they started full force - no warming up. It was all I could do to sit in my rocking chair gripping the armrests like my life depended on it! Congrats on your beautiful girl! And the pillows. :)

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  4. Thank you so much for sharing the story and the pics. Love the rustic blues idea. Jane is so lovely

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  5. Your little one is GORGEOUS!! Welcome little baby Jane! And I hear you about having to use drugs. There is no shame in that. I just gave birth to my little one March 20 and had planned to go drug free only to have prodromal labor, no sleep for 3 days, and opted for the epidural. I love your sewing and home projects. Beautiful!

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    1. That doesn't sound like fun at all. Congrats on your little one!

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  6. such a gorgeous baby! i totally understand using sewing to get through those early stages of labor, i'm sure current me would do the same!

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  7. Yes, beautiful! She is. And so are your pillows!
    Back labour is not fun, had it with #1 and no drugs either. But with #2, I took the drugs!

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    1. You are my hero for having back labor with no drugs ;)

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  8. Oh she's beuatiful! I'm so glad to hear from you. I ended up needing the drugs too, and while I didn't sew, I did knit some baby socks!

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  9. Good effort! I did nothing but walk around the house complaining when I was in labour. Maybe I should have tried sewing to distract myself a little. The pillows are lovely but little baby jane steals the limelight I think. She is just adorable!

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  10. A beautiful baby on beautiful cushions!

    Drugs or no drugs - no matter - I wish we all stopped using this as some sort of measure...what matters is the baby that is born at the end of it...and it looks as though you took the cake!

    So pleased you didn't sew through your finger or anything...and I didn't see mention of an unpicker...I would have made so many mistakes that I would not have ended up with anything that resembled cushions.

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    1. It was only straight lines- don't think I could have managed anything more complicated! And I agree about drugs during labor. Truthfully, I wanted to go without because I knew that would make the process faster. The epidural definitely slowed things down.

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  11. Very impressive!! I'm always impressed by the people how do something during contractions. When mine started i really couldn't do anything any more ( the whole thing took place in just over 4 hours, so maybe thats why) .
    I'm wondering is baby Jane in a blanket on the pictures, or is it a bag kind-of-thing? I think i've seen it on other blogs as well? I've been looking for this type of fabric ; fluffy cotton, but i've never seen it here in Holland.

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    1. It's one of my most FAVORITE blankets-- made out of cotton gauze and the brand is Aden and Anais. They are just wonderful. Someone gave them to me but I think they got them from Target. Not sure if you can order them online or not-- I'm going to try and email you...

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  12. Also: very, very cute baby!!

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  13. She's so beautiful. Thank you for the story.

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  14. Coooo!! She's so cute and totally gorgeous!!
    What an amazing pillow making crafting labour story!! I am seriously impressed, such a distraction/ focus through your labour. Those pillows are filled with meaning. Yep, hardcore sewist tick in the box there!!

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  15. Great story, Liza Jane! Baby Jane and pillows and YOU are fabulous - sewing during contractions (shaking head in wonder)!!!

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  16. I sewed during labour too! Not during the real contractions but when they were 17 minutes apart for one whole day. Was Baby Jane posterior? My second was posterior and I felt like my hips and back were going to break!! And so slow! She is beautiful. And the cushions too!

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    1. Yes!!! She was posterior. And she never flipped. I'm sure that's what caused the back labor.

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  17. What an amazing story!!! Gosh, I collapse on the floor writhing around just from period pains - I'll
    think of you sewing through contractions next time!

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  18. *LOL* at your story! First I'm so glad that Miss Jane is home and doing well! She is adorable. Enjoy her...children grow up so fast, says the wise old lady! Second when you got to the part about laying your head on the sewing machine while the contraction hit, I knew how the rest of that story was going to go. The good thing about labor pains is that they start to fade in your mind as you raise your child. You develop a kind of amnesia cause if not I wouldn't have had three children! *LOL*

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    1. Oh and I forgot the most important thing - the pillows are sooooo pretty!

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    2. I feel a little bit of that amnesia creeping in already ;)

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  19. Love your story - made me smile :) Congrats to you and your family on Baby Jane's arrival.

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  20. Congratulations! She's beautiful. You're also unbelievably brave. I could just picture you resting your head against the machine and back labour sucks. Epidurals rock!

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  21. Your story is HILIARIOUS and spot on. and YES you ARE hard core!!! Epidurals are great but you NEVER want to see that needle!!

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    1. I'm so glad that getting an epidural happens behind you where you can't see!

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  22. D**n, girl, you are tough! What a story to pass along to Baby Jane about how she arrived in the world!

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  23. She's darling! Good on you for sewing while laboring. That's awesome!

    How I wish we could all have the labors we dreamed of. I imagined being a labor warrior, bearing down on a wash cloth while popping baby out. Ha! Nope. Couldn't bear the pain. Worst pain I ever experienced and that's coming from a person who finished a marathon with a hairline fracture. So yeah. I can sympathize!

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    1. Crazy, isn't it? Nothing can prepare you for giving birth.

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  24. She has such a sweet face! You are so amazing for sewing on those pillows. I just can't really believe you did that.

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  25. Girl, you are CRAZY! In a good way, but crazy! :D Do you feel like the sewing project helped to take your mind off of things? I can imagine that the waiting thing before you really go into labor must be really hard. But it was all worth it-- you got two beautiful pillows! Just kidding, they don't hold a candle to that beautiful baby girl. Well done all around!

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  26. Congratulations! She is so beautiful! And I'm glad to hear she's home now.

    You ARE are hardcore sew-ist!

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  27. Yes congratulations!
    My "little baby" is 21 years old in a few weeks time....make the most of it they don't stay little for long!
    A wonderful post to read too!

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  28. She's beautiful and you are amazing! Can't believe you were sewing through labor--you are one committed lady! Congrats on both beautiful "makes," although I think your gorgeous little girl wins first prize :)

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  29. What a great story! Beautiful little girl and I like the pillows, too.

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  30. Amazing story! And what a beautiful baby girl! OF COURSE you sewed through your labor!! Haha! It's kind of perfect! The pillows turned out fantastic, and I can totally sympathize with the need to GET THEM DONE before your baby arrives - I hate half finished projects lingering about!

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  31. aww, such a sweet story and the pic of jane on the pillow is adorable!

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