Tuesday, October 21, 2008

balancing act

Thank you so much to those who have expressed their care and concern over my littlest after being so very sick.

She's doing AMAZINGLY well now. You'd hardly ever know that she was sick at all, which is really such a blessing. Sometimes it's hard to just jump back into real life, almost as if nothing happened. Even though all I wanted to do was do something *normal* like laundry and dishes, it was so hard to come back and just keep on working. It was like I really needed a break/vacation after all that we went through.
To have to sit back and watch as your child comes close to death is nothing I would ever wish upon anybody. It's the absolute worst feeling in the world... knowing that I would give absolutely anything to take away the hurt, the pain, the illness, but knowing I can do no more than hold her hand and try to comfort her. But something worked. And she's still here.
So of course she was the recipient of my first round of sewing in weeks...
I needed a quick fix. I didn't have the time (or desire) to get into anything that was complicated in the least, so I went with the tried and true Olivia pattern by Farbenmix. I omitted the hood and the pocket on the underdress (who am I kidding, I've never even attempted the pinafore even though it looks quite cute), which made things all the faster.
I used some great ribknit (that could be dyed.. I just like it the way it is) I got from.. hm... SewZanne's I think and the magenta thermal is from JoAnns. I really want to get some more thermal material because there's something about it that just screams, "I'm nice and warm and snuggly!" and that comes in handy where I live. The wind is ferocious outside right now.
And of course, with winter approaching (heck, it feels like it's been here and left already, but I know that was just a taste of what we're in for), any little girl's dress here is going to need leggings to go underneath. I didn't get a photo of the leggings alone, but I took the lazy-because-it's-quick route and instead of creating a proper casing for the elastic for a waistband, I just used some underwear elastic (I got mine at SewZanne's) ... or maybe it's called boxer elastic? It's wide-ish and it's cute with some monkeys on it. It's so fast and easy to just serge the elastic on.
Gee whiz, I'm wordy. On to the pictures already.
Here's my littlest in all her cuteness, standing on the couch to pose. The picture looks a bit fuzzy (I like to pretend it was done on purpose for some really neat artistic effect)... and it's because I had left the digital camera out in the vehicle and it got below freezing that night, so when I brought the camera in for pictures, the lens kept fogging up!

And then a shot just a bit later of her playing in the snow in her new dress. We had inches and inches more than that, but a lot had already melted off.
I love icicles. Don't you just want to pluck them off and eat them?
And now we'll travel *back* in time a bit. The littlest returned from the hospital on a Sunday and by Monday we were out picking pumpkins at the aunt & uncles' pumpkin patch south of town. It was gorgeous. And I figure this works for the ol' sewing blog because my girls are wearing shirts that I made (even if I made them last year!).
Here's the littlest with the pumpkin she picked out all by herself: A lovely, very small, green one ;)

And my three sweet girls (yes! I made the pumpkin hat on dd2!) and their cousin.

So now I'm just trying to figure out the balance to it all. Keeping up with life (while still having to visit the doctor's office for some blood draws to make sure her counts are all looking good), working (I'm a part-time barista at my favorite coffee shop) and trying to get in a bit of sewing time.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

it's been a while...

I feel like I've been a bad blogger... first homeschooling started back up, then there were a few minor colds and flu bugs...
But then it all went bad very, very fast.
For the last week I've lived at hospitals. First it was the local hospital. On Monday evening we went in because the youngest had blood in her urine. I looked just like straight blood... which of course worried me... but more than that, she had been sick for two days and was completely lethargic by then and very yellow.
It was assumed at first she simply had a UTI (urinary tract infection) that had spread to her kidneys. But it wasn't 'fixed' with antibiotics. She even got worse.
There were a few times we were reminded of the severity of it all, but the first was the night in the ER when the ER doctor said she was, "touch and go," and that our littlest was the "sickest you'd ever want to see a child."
After three nights in the local hospital her condition hadn't improved and she was taken by ambulance to a larger, regional hospital nearly three hours away.
On Thursday she was admitted to the larger hospital and placed in a regular room in the pediatric unit, but shortly after that was placed in the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit).
There we were, in a larger hospital with more sick kids ... many sick kids... and yet, our littlest was the only one sick enough to be in intensive care. That was our second big reminder of how very sick she was. If she had continued in her condition for even one more night, I don't know if she'd be around still. It's hard to write that out... like they're merely words.... saying my child -- my baby -- could have died.
It's all so surreal... but yet, it was a very real possibility.
She's had two blood transfusions. I thank the heavens for those two people who had donated their blood... because that kept my little girl going.
Here is what she looked like Thursday in the PICU...

The picture isn't the greatest as it was just taken on my cell phone... but I think her yellow color comes through. She also got severely jaundiced.
They don't know what caused it. That's a scary thing.
She was diagnosed with hemolytic anemia, which means she was producing antibodies that were killing her red blood cells. .. It could almost sound silly in a 'pun-ny' kind of way, but her body was killing her life blood. The thing that keeps our bodies alive.
She saw a pediatric hemotologist and also the intensivist at the larger hospital.
Their highest-ranking theory (because they really don't know... but it's their best guess) is that something viral triggered this. Instead of fighting off the virus, her antibodies somehow did something wrong and the antibodies were killing off red blood cells.
But it's still just a theory. The pediatric hemotologist said in all the years he's been a practicing doctor, and all the years in his specialized field of pediatric hemotology (kid blood), he's never seen this. He's heard of it, but never seen it.
She's one in a million.
Of course I already *knew* she was special... I just didn't realize how special she was.
Kids are amazingly resilient.
After nearly being on her deathbed Thursday, by Friday morning she was already showing signs of perking up. She was able to move back to a room on the regular pediatric floor before noon.
By that evening she had her catheter removed. By Saturday she had her central line removed. By that evening she was climbing the beds and playing in the play room they have on the floor.
And today, Sunday, she was released and sent home.
This picture is from Friday morning... she still has quite a few wires on her, but she was smiling.

Today, to look at her, you'd never guess that three days ago she hardly even had the energy to cry out when they put the central line in her femoral artery. You'd never know that she could do little more than sleep.

Because today, she's been running around and playing with her sisters, "the grills" as she says (instead of "girls").

So that's why I haven't been sewing. I've been playing advocate and cheerleader for my beautiful baby girl.

I'll get to sewing again.... doing something 'normal' like that is high on my list.

But for now, I'll settle for just being home. For not living in a hospital. For not having to recount her medical history and all that's transpired over the last few days. For not crying every single day. Because I'm all cried out. I don't even have tears of joy left.

But if I did, they'd be flowing.

She's back home. Right where she belongs.