03 March 2018

The Home Waterbirth Story of Edythe Rose

Every woman's birth story is different, and for me, having given birth to 6 babies, I can say the same of each of my births. I've experienced everything from a cesarean section to a beautiful home waterbirth, to a stillborn delivery of my 20 week gestation son. And I've even gone through the equally difficult labour of bringing a child home through adoption.

I suppose it was foolish of me to think that the birth of my sweet Edythe Rose would be any less eventful than any other.  Still, leading up to her due date, February 11, I gave little thought to the birth process, or even to the logistics of a homebirth - after all, I'd done it all before, right? To be honest though, it was probably more of a mind block than anything - because despite some wonderful birth experiences, the traumatic ones certainly leave a more lasting impression. Her pregnancy had been relatively uneventful - from a clinical standpoint.  But, from an emotional place, it had been pretty terrible. I spent the first 20 weeks worried at every moment that my baby was going to die. Every twinge of pain, or reminder of Israel, sent me running for my doppler to check the heart beat.  After about 20 weeks I was blessed to be able to feel her move consistently, so the doppler was used less, but still, always by my side.

On the evening of January 25th I had no expectation of having the baby any time soon.  In fact, I completely assumed that I would go at least to my due date, if not beyond, and I was totally okay with that.  That day my dad had offered to drive my kids into the city for a full day Forest School program they participate in, and my plan was to be totally productive at home - but I ended up just sitting around knitting and relaxing, which turned out to be exactly what I needed.  The kids and Jared all came home and we had dinner together and got ready for bed as usual.  Because of the severe hip pain I'd been having, I had been sleeping on the couch for several weeks, so at about 11 pm Jared kissed me goodnight and headed up to our bedroom, and I hunkered down on the couch.

I wasn't quite asleep yet, just in the place between wake and sleep, when I suddenly felt the unmistakable pop and gush that was my water breaking.  I started quiet yelling for Jared - you know the one you do when you don't want to really yell, but you need to be heard?  "Jared. Jared!  JARED!!!"  Finally he woke and groggily got up.  I yelled, "Bring me a towel!"  I had quickly tucked a blanket under me, but didn't want to stand up without a towel to absorb the certain gush that would follow. Once Jared realized the reason I'd so abruptly awoken him, and we sat in shock that we did not have 2 1/2 more weeks to prepare for a baby, he sprang to action fairly quickly.

The first thing we did was call our midwives.  During the homebirths of Atticus and Machen I'd refused to call them until I was basically ready to push the boys out, but this time two things were different:
1. We now live out in the country, 45 minutes from the city. I knew I had to give them a little heads up if I wanted them to get there.
2. Even though my water had only just broken, the only other experiences I'd had with my water breaking before labour had begun were Eli's birth, which ended up in a c-section at 35 weeks, and Israel's stillbirth.  With these experiences replaying in my mind, I needed the reassurance of my midwives that this time would not be like those times, which, of course, they gave me.

So, with that being done, Jared headed over to my parents' house, who live next door, and whose house we were actually planning on delivering the baby at, to set up the birth tub and such, while I tried to calm my nerves at our house and get some rest while I waited for contractions to start (oh, and frantically texting all my sisters to tell them that I was in labour!) I was excited to finally meet the little one I'd been carrying for 38 weeks, but I'd be lying if I didn't admit the amount of fear I felt: at one end of the scale, just the regular fear of labour and the pain that accompanies it, and at the other end, fear that my baby would die, like Israel did, just a year before. Sleep, therefore, did not come easily, as I lay there sorting through all those emotions, and constantly taking note of every kick and movement I felt within.

After a fitful sleep, with inconsistent and not very strong contractions all night long,but thankfully all sorts of movement from the baby, I woke up discouraged, and a little worried that I was going to do a do-over of Eli's birth. I texted this to my midwife, Wendy:
"Inconsistent contractions. Not terribly strong, but stronger that BHs. Baby's moving lots, still. A little blood in my fluid. Still leaking lots, but the gushers seem to have subsided."

I spent the morning with my family, taking walks and eating good food, but by noon what little contractions I'd been having had stopped completely, and I didn't have another before 4 pm when we decided to go to the hospital to check things out. The kids all went to my sister Alice's house for the night. At the hospital they monitored baby - who was doing just fine - and did a quick ultrasound to check the baby's position - also fine. And so, we went home, hoping once again that labour would begin before too long (after we stopped at Wendy's for a Spicy Chicken dinner!)  We made a date to meet at the hospital the next morning at 9 am for an induction if nothing happened over night, and to try harder to get things going naturally.

At home at 9 pm, with an electric pump in hand, I got to work.  Almost immediately upon starting to pump, contractions picked up.  And they were strong!  So, I'd pump, pump, pump, and then sit there and contract for an hour or so. But, slowly they would slow down, and get less intense, so I'd hook up to the pump again, and they would pick up. It was exhausting, and it was in the middle of the night, and I hadn't really slept the night before either, and all I wanted to do was sleep, but I knew that I had to keep going. At one point contractions were strong enough, and I was vocalizing loud enough, that I woke Jared up. He came down to me, contracting, and frustrated with my body, and he said, "Well, I think we should just go to sleep and deal with it in the morning."  Wouldn't that be nice if you could just go to bed and deal with labour in the morning...

By about 3:30 am, with constant pumping to keep contractions going we called the midwives, and they agreed it was time for them to come out.  We gathered what we needed from my house and headed up to my mom's.  My sister, Chloe, came over to take pictures, and my dad left to take care of her kids. By 4 am we were there with my 2 midwives, Wendy and Carol, my mom and sister, and I was already totally exhausted.

As things do in labour, the timing is all messed up in my head. At some point they checked me, and I was only 6 cm.  I was pissed (really, that's the only way to describe it.) I had been contracting HARD for HOURS, and I was only 6 cm!  As long as I was pumping, the contractions would keep up, but the contractions were so hard, like transition hard, and I hated every minute of it.  What I really wanted was to go to the hospital and have an epidural and sleep and just get the whole thing over with - except for the fact that I hate hopsitals, and doctors, and 40 minute drives to hospitals when I'm in labour.  So, at home I stayed, but not without lots of complaint, and a few expletives to boot.

I so desperately wanted to be in the birth pool, but when I'd get in, while it felt like heaven, the contractions would stop.  And so the midwives would pull me out, I'd hook up again to the pump, get contractions going strong, only to get back in the pool and have them stop again.  It was so frustrating, and I honestly just kept thinking, "If this is going to end up with me in the OR with a cesarean, lets just cut to the chase and go to the hospital right now. Why am I suffering through this?!"  But, the midwives remained optimistic (annoyingly so, if you would have asked me in the moment) that all was fine, and that if we could just keep things going that we would have the baby soon.  They suggested I get dressed and go for a walk - outside - something I had no interest, whatsoever in doing (it was -14 degrees Celsius out!)  So, instead, I walked the stairs, and around the house.  While I moved, contractions kept coming, and while I pumped, they came even harder.  But still, I was not progressing as fast as I felt like I should.  I was sure I'd gone through transition twice already, but I really hadn't, and I just needed a nap!

At some point the discussion was had that if we were going to go to the hospital we needed to make a decision, considering the 45 minute drive. It was after 9, because earlier I heard Wendy call the hospital to tell them we wouldn't be coming in for the induction at 9, but I don't know exactly what time it was.  I was convinced to try one more time to get things moving, to pump consistently, to stay out of the pool, and to have this baby soon.  So, that's what we did. I lay on my side on the couch and pumped. I hated every minute of it, and every time a contraction would start I'd pull the darn thing off, only to have the Carol pass it to me again immediately after.  I begged to get back in the pool, but was told no because we needed to keep things moving.  It felt like forever, but it mustn't have been too long.  Finally my Carol said I could get into the pool if I'd go have a few contractions on the toilet.  I HATE having contractions on the toilet. I think with both Tuck and Mac's labours I went through transition on the toilet. Well, that remained consistent. I went to the bathroom, had three MAJOR contractions right on top of each other that almost ripped me in half, and that was that.  I got in the pool, and it was go time - no more pumping, no more stalling, no more hope of an epidural and a nap.

In the pool the contractions were strong, but so much better than on the couch or the toilet.  Jared held me under my arms while falling asleep himself.  I was so, so tired.  Between contractions I just cried that I wanted to sleep.  At some point I was so frantic that I started hyperventilating, which caused my hands to cramp up really strange, and shake, which freaked me out and made me even more frantic.  Here I was, supposed to push out a baby, and I couldn't control my own hands. At some point Carol checked me in the water to see if there was a lip there that she could push away, but all was fine.  She told me that it would all be over, and all I needed to do was to push the baby out. But, I was waiting for the urge to push: the primal feeling that would take over my body and expel the baby itself.  I was too tired to do it myself.  Many contractions went by, with me crying that I couldn't do it, and Carol telling me I could. I could feel the top of her head easily in me, but just couldn't find the energy to push her our. Finally it occurred to me, that just like everything else in this labour, my body wasn't going to do it on it's own, and I was just going to have to help it along, or be in labour FOREVER, which wasn't really a viable option. So I pushed.  I think it only took two or three contractions to get her out once I decided to do it, but it felt like the hardest thing I'd ever done.  I was just so tired, and my hands were still cramped and shaking, and I was still a little disappointed that I couldn't have that epidural. But I pushed, and out she came. It was 11:40 am. So, while it had been a very long 36 hours, I really had only been in active, hard labour for about 2 - the rest was spent trying hard to get there. 

We didn't have an ultrasound during our pregnancy, and didn't know what we were having. After already having 5 boys, I was pretty sure we were having another.  As the baby came out, I yelled, "Here he comes!" But, I pulled the baby up, and to everyone's surprise, HE was actually a SHE!!!  Everyone was so excited - my mom was crying, Jared was giddy -  but to be honest, I was so tired, all I could think about was taking a nap, and that I was relieved that we didn't have to come up with another boy name (we'd had Edythe picked out since we were pregnant with our first).

It didn't take long for the cord to stop pulsing.  We all just sat and admired her while we waited.  The midwives gave me a dose of oxytocin to help along the placenta delivery and uterine contractions, something I didn't take after my other homebirths, but was willing to do considering the distance to the hospital in the case that something might have happened. I think, due to that, I delivered my placenta much faster and easier than I had in the past.  We collected it in a bowl so that I could have it encapsulated.

I got out of the pool as soon as the placenta was delivered and went with the baby into the bedroom. Very shortly after we got in there Alice brought my kids over to meet their new baby sister. They were all surprised, and very excited. 

It was Silas's turn to cut the cord (Eli had cut Atticus's, and Evy had cut Machen's), but he didn't want to, and neither did Atticus, so Jared cut it. Carol then checked the baby and me, to make sure all was well. I didn't tear a bit. Then she examined the placenta, showing it to the kids and explaining how amazing it is. Then the kids helped weight and measure Edythe.  She weighed in at only 6 lbs 12 oz and was 21 inches long.

She wasn't (and still isn't) the strongest nurser, I think because she was so tiny compared to me, but she did latch on and get some milk right away in the pool, and again on the bed. After all that pumping, I was primed and ready to go, so even with a weak latch, she got lots of colostrum right off the bat.

 At some point someone brought me something to eat, and a big glass of orange juice to drink, and once all the business had been taken care of Edythe was passed around for everyone to admire.  It was obvious that she was the star of the show! And finally, once everyone had gotten enough, they left the room, and I finally got to sleep!


18 December 2016

In which I discuss the hard things...

It's been 6 weeks since we buried our Israel Blaine.  Millions of thoughts and emotions have gone through my mind over the past 6 weeks.  I have been overcome with grief, buoyed up by so many, and moved on to living what seems to be a perfectly normal life.  I spent 2-3 weeks at home, eating chocolate, and facing the new reality.  But, I've got 5 children, and they have lessons to learn, classes to be at, and lives to live. And so I've picked myself up, and carried on. And, I'm doing just fine.  I really am.  I can carry on normal conversations. I can laugh at jokes. I can host dinner guests. I can even talk about the baby without crying.  But every once in a while something hits me and I realize that I am still sad.

The thing about having delivering a baby at 20 weeks is that the baby is just on that cusp "real".  If delivered before 20 weeks, a mother would have to go to the ER, not Labour and Delivery.  The baby would be considered a "product of conception," not a baby, at all.  There would be no blanket to wrap him in, there would be no need to arrange for his body.  The loss would be considered a miscarriage rather than a stillbirth.

But, once you hit that magical 20 week mark, you enter a new realm.  The hospital staff handled us so delicately.  They wrapped his body up in knits lovingly created by a wonderful knitter. The nurse by my side kept saying, "Oh, I'm so sorry.  Sweet baby, poor sweet baby."  They took pictures of Israel for us to take home to remember him.  They filled a little bag with tiny mementos.  They brought in a social worker, and the funeral home offered their services for free.

In the real world, the line isn't drawn so clearly.  Most people have been totally wonderful, and I'm surprised by how many people have either experienced a similar loss, or someone close to them has.  There are also those who don't understand the loss.  But, what is clear, is that no matter what gestational age my baby was, I did, with complete certainty, have a baby, and lose a son.  My body doesn't know that he was only 20 weeks along.  My breasts still filled with milk, ready to nourish him.  My hair still began to fall out in fistfuls.  I still bled for weeks, a constant reminder of what I lost. But, in one terrible morning I went from a glowing pregnant woman, to not.  And, despite what I was feeling within my body, it only took a few days for me to look completely normal, too.  For this, my fifth pregnancy, I had finally bought new maternity clothes.  Just two weeks before the baby died I bought a whole new wardrobe.  And, just two days after he died, I packed it all away and brought out my "pre-pregnancy" clothes.

And so I carry on, driving to the back of the parking lot, past the "Parking for Parent With Child" spots, because I am definitely not with child, turning off the radio whenever there is a song that makes my heart weep, clinging to any opportunity I get to hold another newborn, which breaks my heart a little, but also ads just a portion of healing balm to it at the same time.

And, I'm trying to make something good of it, as well. I've started a knitting project: #20setsin20weeks.  Having had a hand knit blanket and hat for our sweet Israel meant so very much to me. Never in a million years could I have imagined that I would need such tiny knits, but because of the sweet generosity of an anonymous knitter, I was able to bury Israel in those.  It was such a tender mercy to me.  I have started knitting blankets and hats to donate back to the hospital for other families going through the same thing, with the hope that they will provide the same comfort that the knits Israel was given brought to me.  Today I finished my sixth set, and intend on knitting 14 more - 20 in total: one for each week he grew inside me. The days are definitely getting easier, and with each blanket that I knit, I feel just a little more put together, as though the stitches in the blanket are somehow mending my broken heart.

18 November 2016

Stillness - Israel Blaine's Stillbirth Story

There are very few moments of stillness in my life. With 5 kids, a certain level of constant commotion is inevitable.  This past week, however, the idea of stillness has broken my heart, questioned my faith, and reminded me of the power of motherhood.

This forgotten little corner of the internet has been only my means of documenting the very most important moments in our family's life over the past few years: the births of babies and the adoption of our daughter.  We have been hit with a sorrow that I have found difficult to process, and in order to process, I need to write things out.  So here I am, writing a story I never imagined I would ever have to write, months earlier than the very opposite tale I had planned on telling will now never be told. This story won't be eloquent or beautiful, but it is real, and it needs to be told.

This summer we got pregnant with our 6th baby.  We were ecstatic.  However, with a history of early miscarriage, we were also cautious.  I've birthed 4 babies, and I've had a miscarriage before each successful pregnancy.  All 4 of those miscarriages happened before I reached 8 weeks pregnant though. So, when I hit 8 weeks, and I was still dry heaving into the toilet, I allowed myself to start planning for our March baby.  When we went in to see our midwife at 13 weeks, and heard our little one's heartbeat, I was certain we were in the clear. We had, for once, avoided a miscarriage, and we were going to have a baby without going through that heartbreak.

So we announced.  Facebook. Instagram. Even my professional pages got the message.

Yay! I continued to be sick until 16 weeks.  I got big, fast. I bought new maternity clothes. I bought new baby carriers.  I wondered where in the world was I going to fit another dresser in our tiny house for this new member of the family.  I took exactly 3 pictures of me pregnant.

Then the unthinkable happened.  Most miscarriages happen early on.  They usually happen behind the closed door of a private bathroom. My 5th miscarriage started out that way.  It ended with me in the hospital, having gone through labour, delivering my fifth baby boy, stillborn.

I didn't realize how important it was for me to tell this story until I got a text from a dear friend who has also had a stillborn baby. In her text she said, "Tell me about your sweet little boy."  I've been surrounded by love, lifted up in ways I have so desperately needed, but nobody else has asked me about my baby boy and I didn't realize how desperately I needed that question to be asked. If he had lived everyone would want to know about his birth, his weight, who he looked like, how we named him, and so on.  His death does not negate his existence, and neither does the fact that he was only 20 weeks gestation, because he did live, if only inside of me, and he was loved, and he was wanted, and he will always be missed.  His birth story is the only story I will ever have of his to share.

I woke up, 20 weeks pregnant, with severe cramps.  I'd been having surprisingly strong Braxton Hicks for the day before: strong enough that I had mentioned to my sister that they felt like period cramps, not Braxton Hicks, and complained to Jared that if I had to go through 5 months of them, I would not be a happy momma.  In the middle of the night I found myself lying in bed in such pain that I couldn't lay there any more.  If I had any inclination of what was to come, I would have recognized the signs of early labour. But, in ignorance, I figured a trip to the bathroom would solve it. And so I sat, and one cramp later, the unmistakable feeling of my water breaking, and the toilet filled with blood and mucus.

I walked out of the bathroom, and like I had 4 times before, informed Jared that I was miscarrying, again. The difference was, this time, that I was in labour, and I was 20 weeks along, and my baby was the size of a banana, and I knew I needed to go to the hospital.  We called my parents to come be with the kids while they slept, and drove to the hospital.

At about 3:15 am our midwife met us in triage, and tried to find the heartbeat. There was none.  A doctor came with an ancient ultrasound machine and tried to get a heartbeat. There was none.  I already knew that though. I had felt my water break.  I had seen the blood.  I knew that our baby was gone. All that was left for me to do was let my body do what it had already started doing, and wait until our baby came.  And so we waited.

My contractions got stronger, but not terrible. I asked if I could get an epidural, because, to be honest, I didn't want to feel.  I wanted it all to be over.  I didn't know how intense it would get, and I didn't want to find out.

The doctor checked me along the way, and when I was only 2 cm dilated she said that she could feel my baby's feet coming out.  It wouldn't be long.  I wasn't surprised, because the familiar "pushy" contractions were happening.  They said they would take me to a private room and I could get an epidural if I liked, but just moments later that was no longer necessary.  

At 7:52 am he came.  A sweet, perfect, tiny little boy.  And until that very moment I had no idea the pain I would feel, the sorrow that would rush through me, the heartache that would totally consume me.  I wailed.  I knew there were other moms in triage, preparing to give birth to healthy, beautiful babies, and I felt bad for them having to listen to me, but I couldn't stop myself.  As his lifeless body slid out of me, and the nurses placed him on my stomach, I realized exactly how much I loved him, and wanted him, and needed him.  But he was gone.

They proceeded as if everything were normal.  They clamped his cord. I got to cut it.  They shot me up with oxytocin so I would deliver the placenta (which apparently is often stubborn at such an early stage.)  They wheeled me off to another room where they would clean and weigh him, take his hand and foot prints, and wrap him up in a hand knit blanket and hat.  He was 3.6 oz.  Tiny.  So tiny that even if he had been born alive, he could not have survived.  So tiny that I couldn't tell you who he looked like.  He did have long feet though - just like Eli.

Jared and I spent a few hours with him.  The only few hours we will ever get to spend with him.  We named him quicker than any of our other children: Israel Blaine, and cried over the life he would not live.  We kissed him, and told him how much he was loved.

And then we left.  We gathered our things, and we left the hospital.  We left our baby there, and went home to continue on with our life without him.  We left, with empty arms, and the task of planning his burial on our minds.

Three days later we buried him. We had to pick out a casket, a burial plot, a grave marker.  We had to decide what he would be buried in, and if he should be embalmed.  These are things that I know many parents have had to do, but I never thought I would be one of them. We buried him right across from his cousin, Amelia, who died in 2010. Atticus insisted on helping us carry him from the hearse to the grave.  We let him.

I had no idea. I had no idea what it would feel like.  What it would feel like to go through labour and hold the body of a baby I would not know. I think that many believe that 20 weeks must hardly feel like a baby, no different than losing a pregnancy at 6 or 8 or 12 weeks, which for me were relatively easy. And for some, perhaps that would be true.  I think that many believe that because he never really lived, then he didn't really die, that he was "just" 20 weeks or "just" stillborn.  But the fact is, as I've learned, without experiencing it, without holding that little body, without grieving over the life that would not be lived, without carrying the casket with the baby that you delivered inside it, there is no way to know what that grief feels like.  Israel Blaine was as real to me as any of my other babies.  And he will be loved as long as I live.  And in some ways, I'm afraid to do that. To live. I am afraid to move on.  To not feel the pain that he left behind any more. To forget what his tiny body felt like in my hands.  To forget how much I loved him. I'm afraid that he will be forgotten.  I cry, wondering if his little life matters to anyone else. I wonder if God can love him as much as I would have. I wonder if my body can ever be trusted again. I'm left trying to figure out how to go on with the living without losing the part of me that was him. 

17 December 2015

My Girl Before

One of the strangest things that happens to me as a mom of an older adopted child is meeting people who knew her before I knew her.  It's happened a few times to me, where I've run into people who knew my little girl when she really was little, when she still lived with her birth family and her life and my life were not one, as they are now.

Today it was the tutor we've hired to teach us ASL.  She walked into my house, and while I was meeting her for the first time, she not only knew my daughter, but she also knew her story, and therefore part of my story.  

It's hard to know how to react to that. On some level I wanted to ask her things about my child that I don't know, that surely this stranger must: what was she like at 3 years old, did she have any pictures of her from the birthday parties she attended or the school gatherings she took part in.  I was also tempted to question her on the birth family that I don't know, but is forever entwined with my family.  
But, I can't ask any of those questions. How, as a mother, do I ask a stranger intimate details about my own child. My child, who has spent less than half her life in my arms. My child, who I feel like I know so well, but have known for so short a time. I just smile, say (or rather, attempt to sign) how strange it is, and carry on with the intention of our meeting.  

Yet, here I sit, hours later, still thinking about her, and about the relationships that my daughter had before she was mine.  How do I honor that past, when I know so little about it? How do I help her understand her path, when I've not been walking beside her all along?

Do you know what I do?  I try my hardest to keep a safe place in our home for those memories and years that we weren't together.  Despite not being together, the time before the adoption in both our families belong to all of us.  The memories I have of my past are collective memories that she gets to share, and the sweet, and increasingly fleeting, memories that she has of her life before foster care I hold sacredly for her, so that when she needs them, they will be around.

03 November 2015

Taking it back!

Today is the first really "wintery" day of winter.  It's cold, and dark, and oh so obviously winter.  I shouldn't complain. We've been really spoiled this year.  I mean, my kids went trick-or-treating in just their costumes, not in their snow suits with their costumes pulled tightly overtop. Still, it is with just a bit of trepidation that I sort through the winter gear, knowing that the beautiful days of fall are now, officially gone, and the months of winter are setting, firmly, in.

So, what have I done today to mark the occasion? I've sat curled up in front of my computer reading old blog posts.  Every. Single. One.  Don't worry, I did it after the kids finished their school work, and went to piano lessons. I'm not really sure what they are doing now, but they've not come upstairs in at least two hours, which is, incidentally, enough time to scroll through 6 years of blog posts.

I like this blog. It makes me happy.  Reminders of Eli and how little he once was; videos of little Silas saying his first words; pictures of the first nights that Evy ever spent with us; and, the birth stories of both Atticus and Machen. Oh, how I do love this blog.

But, it's painfully obvious how much I've missed in the past 3 years.  Since the adoption process began, I have found it so hard to share what is going on.  The emotions have been too real, and too raw.  But, with finalization now behind us, I feel a need for normalcy, and record keeping is one of those things that feels normal to me.  The things I have shared have been vague and generic, and I don't like being either of those things.

Also, although I never planned on it, my knitting patterns have taken over a bit. I love knitting, and I love designing, but this has become a dumping place for my new patterns, and that's about it.

So, I'm taking this here blog of mine back.  And, I'm giving my knits a home of their own.  If you want to keep up to date about my yarny adventures, head on over to VANGY Knits. And, if you want to stay connected with the Wiebe family and what we're up to, stick around here at {hands full of happiness}.  I look forward to keeping better records, and I hope you do too!

16 July 2015

Orleans - A Knitting Pattern

While I don't have little girls to knit for, I can't help myself sometimes.  This little dress was stuck in my head, and too perfect not to knit, even if I don't have a 2 year old girl to put in it!

Orleans is now available on Ravelry for $5.50. Go ahead and check it out, along with all the projects made by other fabulous knitters:   and then go ahead and   !!!

Orleans is a simple dress with puffed sleeves and a gathered skirt.  It is knit in two pieces to add stability and create a seam. The bodice is knit first, from the top down. The live sts are then put on hold while the skirt is worked from the bottom up. The pieces are joined using a 3 needle bind off, making it entirely seamless!
There are four options outlined for the skirt: Full Skirt or Narrower Skirt in either dress or tunic length. The sample is the full skirt dress in size 2 years.
The pattern is written for girls aged 3 months to 10 years and knit with fingering/sock weight yarn. 

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