Finished It Friday: Marmite’s Nina Blanket

I was reasonably pleased with the first baby blanket I knitted for Marmite. I had wanted squares and a sort of ‘organised’ feel to it and it came up much as I hoped. But the way I constructed it meant the back was quite raw and ‘back of something’ like and I think it will be better lined.

Knitted rainbow baby blanket.

I’ve got some flannelette to do that with this weekend. It also came up fairly big and I want Marmite to be directly wrapped in something I made for him, so I decided that I’d make another one too.

I did fall quite in love with the Nina blanket I made for my new niece. I hadn’t really ‘got’ how much softer baby yarn is and I knew anything made with the Lang wouldn’t be quite the same, but thought it would be close enough. I swapped to lovely Knitpro 4.5 wooden needles and got going and I’m really pleased with the results.

The bane of stripy knitting – ends! I took advice, mostly ignored it because I’m not of the finisher mentality ( :lol: ) but did sew them down fairly securely before crocheting over them, which worked better than Nina’s blanket did. It’s otherwise the same double seed stitch as Nina’s and in various shades of Lang Superwash Merino 120 (which is nearly impossible to find online). The rows are 120 stitches long and the white stripes are 6 rows and the coloured stripes are 8 rows, except for the two end reds which are 6 rows (knew I would run out of wool!)

It’s smaller than Freddie’s blanket was but that was more than big enough for a newborn and so this is to be a first snuggly blanket. I’m trying very hard not to let myself think of this as being the blanket I would send him to the morgue in if I needed to :( But that is on my mind. Freddie went away from me in a blanket that all the girls used, knitted by my Nana. The nurses had to find it from the hospital washing, which it had got sucked into. But they did; it was one of those little bits of loving care that made all the difference. But if we have to do that again, this time I’ll have two blankets to choose between, one to keep and one for him.

That wasn’t very cheerful was it :roll:

This one has now gone in the hospital bag, ready for the big day which is now countable in sleeps (or not sleeps might be a more accurate definition). I’m going to try and make a hat from the remnants – and maybe a little bag for his first clothes to be in now.

It’s quite amazing, looking at these two blankets, that they’ve used at most 1 1/2 ball of coloured wool each, but almost 7 of the cream. It’s remarkably easy to ignore borders and edges. Even the green round the edge (the edges are two rows of dc crochet in cream, 1 in green) used a lot more than I thought it would.

I’m going to have to think of a new project now that I can do with a baby on my lap. With the first two girls I had a friend who made samplers with very clever cutwork embroidery on it to spell out their names. I’m not convinced I can manage that but I might have a stab at some tapestry versions. I’d quite like to make something with all of them on it.

I don’t suppose anyone who reads regularly would wonder about the rainbow concept, but these posts get a few day trippers so I’ll explain. There is a phrase, oft repeated by those who have lost an infant, that the child who comes after is a ‘rainbow baby’. That after the storm, however terrible it was, what comes next has the potential for peace and beauty and joy. And so it is for most people who have a subsequent child. May it be so for us. Marmite’s colour is going to be green. The girls used up pink, purple and red and yellow and light blue and Freddie stole our hearts with his blue blanket and his oh so short little life. Green is what is left for Marmite; I can’t bear to do blue again and Max and the girls are under strict instructions not to bring blue presents. Luckily, marketing seems to be meandering back in the direction of jungle colours in a less gender specific way, which is making that easier. So Marmite gets to be rainbow, with some green around the edges :)

Maternity Purchases. Problem Solved.

If it were not for a friend called Sally, who arranged for me to have an outfit for an award ceremony, I’d have probably gone through this entire pregnancy without anything new to wear at all. As it is, one donated pair of trousers from a friend, one pair left over from last time, one swish top and one cool pair of trousers that I imagine will be holding up my saggy tummy for some months have done me nicely. Of course, the introverted state of grief and panic have largely kept me confined to home and I’ve worn baggy pyjama bottoms and t-shirts for most of my pregnancy this time. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to buy maternity clothes for myself, I did actually try quite hard at one point, but I got utterly overwhelmed by websites that wanted due dates and baby genders so they could bombard me with sales emails after the event. I had to unsubscribe from so many of those things after Freddie and it broke my heart over and over again. I also tried going to the high street for them, just to avoid the marketing, but honestly, hardly any shops have a decent choice of maternity wear in their stores any more.

I love this picture. My favourite maternity trousers, and an ordinary top I don’t wear over an ordinary saggy tummy but somehow didn’t mind stretched over a huge Freddie bump :)

Now obviously I’d not have made it through with so little if I worked (or even had a normal life which involved leaving the house to see people who wouldn’t turn a blind eye to me wearing the same top repeatedly!) but it has rather taken the fun out of it. Shopping, indulging, making preparations – it’s all part of the perception of preparing for a baby. I’m so old time all I can do is knit – and even then, not actual CLOTHES. I know Marmite will need a blanket to be wrapped in, no matter what happens, so I can knit those.

Someone suggested (in comments or on Twitter) that I create a wish list somewhere and then I can just fire off a few purchases from my phone after the event when all is (please, please, please) well. I thought this a rather brilliant idea; although I’m still struggling with feeling presumptuous it occurred to me I could do it on Pinterest and just gather some ‘cute baby ideas’ together. That way I don’t have to sign up anywhere and I can delete it in one swipe of a button if I need to. So that’s what I’m doing. I can click through and order from there at the right moment. One thing I definitely am going to indulge in, given we can do baby toys fairly well ourselves ;) and we have a fair bit of 0-3 month baby stuff but very little newborn (so let’s hope Marmite is not too small) is treat myself to some nursing tops. I’ve never had them, or nice nursing bras, before, and this time I am going to have some! I reckon after all this angst, I’ll deserve it.

Of course, I had my wedding dress made with breastfeeding flaps and then had a baby that couldn’t be breastfed, so there is plenty of time for that plan to go awry, but we can hope.

Somewhere between hope and practical.

This has to be the most minimalist hospital bag I have ever packed. Enough stuff to throw in a cupboard without looking if Marmite doesn’t come home, enough stuff to last until someone goes home to get more if he breathes. If he goes to scbu then he won’t need clothes or nappies from home anyway.


I need a decent nightie. I might buy one. It’s a damn sight easier to deal with the practical stuff, the pads and the knickers, than it is to deal with hunting out newborn babygros without actually looking at them. The going home coat that all the girls used and Freddie never did is in a bag I can leave at home till later. I’m not making the mistake of taking that with me again. I can handle the irrefutable fact that my body will need certain items afterwards, but not that a baby might.

Somewhere in the breast cream and the toy which I’ve secretly hoarded for 18 months, there has to be some shred of optimism I suppose. It’s just very hard to find it today. With a bit of luck I might even get his other blanket finished in time. He might even get to use it.

I’ve been trying so hard to shop for this baby, but I really just can’t. And we do need things, things I would like to have some excitement choosing. We’ve no crib here, I’ve got no sling, no carseat and nothing to change a baby on. We’ll manage perfectly well without most bits, but trying to have enough faith to buy a newborn baby carseat should not be so troublesome when I only have a 0.5 chance of not needing it. I’m sad not to be able to buy just something as a going home outfit because I really do want to. It shouldn’t be this type of a big deal.

But it just is. So much of all of this is just such a big fucking deal. Packing a hospital bag for the sixth time should not be enough of an effort that I have to write a blog post about it just to give myself enough momentum to actually get through it.

27 Weeks Pregnant

Time is marching on. Mostly, I’m still relaxed, though the worries about birthing this person are getting on top of me at times. Mostly Marmite moves enough to keep me sane. It’s a new experience though, this need to feel a movement any time I wake in the night and before I get up in the morning. I don’t remember needing to feel life before; I suppose it is inevitable to have such things wind into the process. I’m petrified of having to birth a dead baby, a possibility that seems perfectly likely to me. From a 1/200 “that happens to other people” statistic, it now seems like evens. I’ve been busy torturing myself for most of the week; I’ve done such a good job of believing it wasn’t my fault, but this week all I can think is that people are nodding politely while wondering why I am kidding myself, that it must have been during birth, that I’m just not asking the questions or seeing the truth.

It all seems like such an extraordinarily precarious process; how on earth does it ever work? Even having done it that way and it DID work, with a living baby at the end of it, it now seems incredible and impossible. I’ve gone from belief to non-belief, with this horrible sense that I’m the joke in the middle of people sighing and shaking their heads at my stupidity. I keep trying to think my way through it; what am I missing? Where is the point where I’m not seeing that someone didn’t see something? Was I right the night before? Was I right that morning when I stood by the desk and listened to his heart throguh a contraction because he just seemed a little too still. But if he was, why was it not obvious when we got to hospital? Was it t he car journey? Was it the pool water temperature? Was it all those thoughts I had while pregnant, did I know, or have I just imagined that since? Was it those last few moments and if so, why was that enough? Was that heart trace really my heart, but if so, why is my heart beat and his so clearly documented as different? have I had the wool pulled over my eyes by people hoping I won’t sue. Are these nagging doubts, fuelled by that guilt ridden consultant letter, fair or not fair? Was it something we just never found out about him, or was it something we all missed.

It’s difficult. The only way now is to face up and ask difficult questions and accept I might hear things that put the blame firmly on the shoulders of my choices. I don’t know if I have the courage. But if I don’t find that courage, how on earth do I work out what is best for Marmite and I?

For the first time this week I climbed the stairs and thought “ouf, this feels like hard work.” It’s an odd position to be in, because I’m so much lighter at the moment than my last two pregnancies, so I feel quite fit compared to most of my recollections of being ‘reasonably pregnant’. The tiredness never really went away, but I don’t have a huge number of small people and a business to run, so I don’t get so bone crunchingly weary. If anything, I don’t sleep well enough, partly because for the first time I have hip pain – and my sleep seems to want me at odd and inconvenient times of the day.

Marmite is feisty enough; likes kicking Max particularly, still seems very mobile. It’ very funny. He’s an active bump but he’s not overly keen on kicking his sisters, although Josie does better than most. He refuses to kick Maddy, Amelie and Fran can’t stay still long enough. But he can be quiet all day but within 5 minutes of sitting down next to Max with his hand on my bump – and all hell breaks loose. None of us can decide if bein the object of much kicking is a sign of being liked or not!

I’ve survived 4+ weeks of no scans, which restart this week. Mostly I just feel like I’m waiting, waiting, waiting… trying not to be too hopeful, trying not to be too afraid that we have terrible grief to do all over again. Trying to have some joy in it, which isn’t so very hard after all. Someone asked me the other week (a friend, very kindly as opposed to a ‘omg, you asked THAT??? kind of thing) if in the end the year of TTC had made this easier. It’s a tricky one. It would have been easier if I had known for sure that I would get pregnant again but I didn’t know. It might have been easier if Freddie had, like the girls, been conceived at the drop of a hat. But he wasn’t. I knew it would be hard and that was a huge pressure. But in the end, now, with hindsight, I’m sort of glad I didn’t have the crash of pregnancy on top of early grief. I’m sort of glad that I had some time to mourn for Freddie and heal a little. Moving past his birthday made things easier. I wish I’d been able to just grieve for him, without the TTC rollercoaster as well, but I suppose that isn’t possible. And I should be careful what I wish for too; I could have been left wombless for example.

In the end, we get what we get and we have to manage what we are given I suppose.

I sense a change now though. I think the ‘easy’ bit is done – now comes the tough bit.

This is the thing.

This is the thing about pregnancy after losing a baby.

Some moments it’s fine. Other millennia it’s just a bit tricky.

Rainbow babies, just like other babies, don’t do constant reassuring cartwheels, beating morse code of “I am alive, I will live, I will cry and breathe and open my eyes for you.”

I just never noticed the quiet times with the others.

Just like the others, this one sleeps for a long time. I can’t make it move, make it kick or make it respond. Not a single thump or wriggle or squirm. Sometimes lying in my side won’t rouse it, even though it often does. Trying to do other things doesn’t work, pretending I’m not pregnant doesn’t work. Nothing works.

And when nothing will make it wriggle, rational is hard.

My brain doesn’t let me starting thinking ‘dead’ but the effort of not thinking it renders all other thoughts impossible.

I just need a kick, so I know it’s okay.

Then, finally, thump. Thump. Thump.

And I think….

“Sh*t. Hiccups. Is that a sign of brain damage?”