Disclaimer: This blog contains sensitive pregnancy photos. I ask everyone to be respectful and any negative comments will be deleted. It took a lot for me to be vulnerable to share these images. With my health history, I wanted to be as transparent and open as possible with this miraculous pregnancy.
Many of you already have been following my journey and know that my health history has been plagued with illness, numerous surgeries, and plenty of setbacks. I had my colon removed in 2008 because my Crohn’s disease was so progressive. Doctors, worried about the dangerous potential of colon cancer and with fast deterioration of my colon, removed it to save my life. That journey was wrought with so many setbacks and ongoing severe illness. Chemotherapy, biologic treatments, thousands of procedures, multiple ostomies, hospitalizations, and repeated surgery had severely impacted the quality of life I was living in my late teens into my 20s. Most of my dreams were put on hold just to survive.
The one dream I held onto and hoped for was to one day be a mother. Doctors could never give a definitive answer as to whether or not pregnancy could even be possible. It was always a “wait and see” possibility. Without my large intestine or parts of my small intestine, even carrying a baby to term was a huge risk. And, it has been. This miraculous pregnancy has been filled with many issues, illness related problems, and so much worry. Yet, this sweet little boy growing inside me is a fighter. Just like me.
That is why, as we came closer to my due date, I dreamed of having pregnancy photos taken to mark this extraordinary time in our lives.
My colo-rectal surgeon told me last week, despite all the complications, try to enjoy this. “Enjoy being pregnant, Nadia.” She said, “Time goes so fast, we forget these moments. Try to remember how exciting it is to feel him moving…” And it is! This is so true! I have to appreciate everything I am going through to bring him here, and I love him so much that I don’t care how much I have to endure. This is temporary and so worth it.
Next week, I stop the last of my medications needed to keep my disease in remission, so our baby has the best chance and can be his strongest at birth. That part is very unsettling because I don’t know what my body will do without those medications. I am hoping that the last dose will sustain me through the final weeks until delivery and beyond. With that in mind, I decided now was the best time to do these photos. While I felt as good as I can expect to feel, I wanted to capture the power of this moment and the profound feelings of this health and pregnancy journey. I channeled my inner “life-giving goddess” for these powerful images!
I want to thank my mom and dad for their help in bringing my vision to life through these photos, and a huge thank you to Nate for being the most amazing husband and best friend on this journey. I couldn’t have done this without him..obviously..haha!!
“Life reveals her beauty one precious miracle at a time.” ~Flavia
I am typically pretty upbeat and positive by nature. I have had to overcome a lot in the past decade, and I have spent some of that time feeling situational depression due to battling illness, surgery, dealing with body issues from having so many scars and a permanent ileostomy. When I found out I was able to get pregnant, and subsequently carry this baby, I was over the moon! Depression wasn’t even on my radar at that time.
I Knew It Wasn’t Going To Be Easy
I am extremely high risk. I have a team of doctors and specialists across three hospitals that will be involved in bringing this baby into the world safely. Of course, I am a bit nervous, but I also have great faith and trust in this team to do everything to help bring this baby boy into the world, keeping us both healthy and happy.
Here’s where I struggle. I am supposed to be happy. I AM happy. Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy to feel baby move and happy to know I will hold him in just a few short months. However, what is happening to my body is bringing me so low. I am just not feeling overall happy, and I didn’t expect that.
A Complex Medical History
Without delving too deep into the graphic details, I’ve had 14 surgeries which have left my entire abdomen full of scars. I have numerous scars running up and down, diagonally, and across my torso. Drain scars, former ostomy scars- just scars, scars, scars! Following one surgery, I had a serious infection so my abdomen had to be re-opened, and I was put on a wound vac to help heal by secondary intention. That process left my tummy full of puckered and thick scar tissue. All this scar tissue causes adhesions. As my abdomen stretches, the scar tissue is stretching and tearing both on the surface and internally. It has been challenging to deal with. This, along with changes in my ostomy with my intestine prolapsing outside my body, has left me feeling depressed over all these reminders that my body isn’t quite the same as others.
This pre-partum situational depression has hit me hard. I am struggling with my body and disease and with my hormones running amok. I have found myself in tears quite a bit lately. I am not writing to complain, NO, but to confront what is happening to me and to share this with others who may struggle with these same feelings during pregnancy or at any time. I know that this is supposed to be the most blessed and happy time of my life, so why am I feeling so blue? I don’t have the answer.
Crochet IS Therapy
During this time, my comfort and refuge is found in my craft. I am so grateful for a loving and supportive husband and the support of a fantastic family, but when I am alone, I find solace in the stitches and the repetitive nature of crochet to help distract and focus my mind on something other than these feelings and the pain from my scars.
Lately, I have been working on so many crochet projects for not only my little guy, but also for my sister-in-law who had a baby girl in January. My niece is the perfect model! These projects, alongside my work here at YARNutopia, has given me a deepened purpose, and these goals have helped me focus on more than the issues I am dealing with.
I know I’m not alone. I know that this is only temporary. I know this is a very small price to pay for bringing my baby into the world. I know I have support and love of an amazing husband, family, and community. I know all these things. I also know it is ok to feel. It is ok to be sad. It is ok to hurt. It is ok to ask for help. It is ok.
After spending a little time yesterday on self-care – I bought myself some springtime flowers to brighten my home, I did some retail therapy and bought myself a few feel-good things, I had my nails done, I took a long walk in the sunshine, a short drive and played my favorite music, and I talked for hours with my mom-I am happy to say that I feel a little better. Today has started off on a good foot and writing this has helped. Also, it has helped to be working on some crochet projects, and I went to brunch with Nate. Each day may present a challenge, but I am thankful be able to face each one in strength and resolve and overcome those challenges!
Share with us:
Please share your stories of pre-partum or post-partum depression or your struggles with feeling out of control. Share your stories of how crochet has brought you comfort during a time of need.
When I arrived in this world, I am told, I was born with a paralyzed side of my face and the inability to open my left eye. From early photos, I always was the one with the very strange expressions and an odd look on my face. My mom always told me how beautiful I am and said it didn’t matter that my eye wouldn’t open, and God made me that way so everyone would think I am giving them a *wink* and fall in love with me. That is how my mom is. She sees the bright side in things. She is looking for the good in every situation–the silver lining–no matter how difficult life could be, she taught my brothers and me the same. Imperfections and differences make you beautiful, and that same thought applies to each piece I make by adding some “imperfect” characteristic.
We never had much, but we always had enough, and we always appreciated everything my parents were able to give us and make happen for us. I was given a strong work ethic, and that is why I do what I do by pouring my heart into each stitch of every piece I create. I could easily be doing any job and the same ethic would apply because it has been instilled in us by a mother that insisted we do the work. We learned how to cook, clean, pick up after ourselves and do laundry from a young age so we could appreciate how hard it is and never take people or things for granted; to have pride in doing and completing a job right from the beginning so we didn’t have to do it again and again.
My mom has walked with me through my journey with Crohn’s disease, and with each step, she has promised that I will never be alone as long as she can draw breath. She is responsible for my love of crochet when she handed me my first crochet hook and ball of yarn and taught me this craft. Little did she know how much this would mold my life and become a lifeline and a form of therapy for long hospital stays. To have the support and love is a gift I shall always cherish. But more than that, I realize I will never be lonely with her by my side, to look for the good and positive no matter what the situation, never feel sorry for myself, and that I always have a forever friend.
My mom is not like other moms. She and I have been through so much in this life. Whenever my brothers and I have troubles or burdens, it’s easier to bring them to my mom and she takes them away and makes everything better. My mom has been by my side at every hospital stay, every doctor visit, every medical test, even when doctors couldn’t help me, she helped me get through it all. I will never be able to thank my mom enough for all that she has done, is doing, and will do for me.
My mom is my best friend.
I wouldn’t be who I am today if it weren’t for her.
My mom never gave me any idea that I couldn’t do what I wanted to do, or be who I wanted to be.
She has taught me to have appreciation in everything I have and never take anything for granted. She has taught me how to love unconditionally, and she inspires me every day to make a difference in this world, even if it’s to help few or many. She is my biggest fan, and she is the closest thing to Superwoman anybody could ever be.
Please join me in wishing her and all the other moms (and dads or role models who fill those shoes) a fantastic day! It’s a thankless job sometimes, and you deserve more than one day of recognition.
It’s that time of the year when those summer days can turn into cool summer nights and you need that perfect wrap just to cut that chill while you’re sitting around a fire or taking a walk along the beach. Why not create this shawl that would be beautiful and the perfect accessory to any outfit. It would be the perfect Mother’s Day gift, a gift you could make for your bridesmaids, or a hit for anyone on your gift list, any time of the year!
I used this ombre yarn by Lion Brand Yarns Shawl in a Ball in the color Community Coral. I fell in love with the feel and look of this textile! I designed a simple repeat pattern making this a quick, easy, yet stunning wrap in less than two days. Perfect for a cool evening to wear over a sundress or top. The versatility of this piece allows for several ways to wear!
This summer shawl is perfect for cooler nights, chilly mornings, and anytime you need to be wrapped in a bit of warmth. Shown below is the front view with it tied.
You can wear it as a sarong to the beach!
Why not wrap it in different ways for a variety of looks! Below I am wearing it as a neck scarf.
Follow along with this video tutorial to learn how to make this shawl:
My dad will continue to be the videographer, editor, and photographer for our videos when I move away.
Support YARNutopia today so we can continue to bring you clear, quality crochet tutorials even after I move into my new home!
There will be an added expense of more travel and hopefully this won’t deter our ability to provide consistent videos on a weekly basis.
**You can always contact me via Facebook if you have any problems with the pattern. I am happy to help if you have any questions along the way.
-This is worked from the top down
-The measurements are: approx. 50 inches across and about 25 inches long. You can make this bigger or smaller if you want since it is a repeat pattern.
-You can use any type of yarn for this project. Gauge is not important.
YO: Yarn Over
Sl st: slip stitch
SC: Single Crochet
HDC: Half-Double Crochet
DC: Double Crochet
TC: Treble Crochet
Cluster: YO, Insert hook in st, YO pull through, YO, pull through 2 loops, YO, insert hook back into st, YO pull through, YO, pull through 2 loops, YO, insert hook back into st, YO pull through, YO pull through 2 loops, YO pull through 4 loops. Cluster made.
Ch 5, sl st to first ch to form a ring
Row 1: Ch 4, (Counts as TC), [4TR, Ch 3, 5 TR] in ring, turn. (10 TR)
Row 2: Ch 3, (counts as DC), 2 DC in same st as ch up 3, DC in each st until you get to the ch 3 sp, 5 DC in ch 3 sp, DC in each of the next sts until you get to the last st, 3 DC in last st, turn. (19 DC)
Row 3: Ch 4, 2 TC in same st as ch up 4, *ch 1, sk next st, TC in next st, repeat from * until you get to the middle st of the 5 dc group in center. (TR, ch 3, TR) in middle st, [TR, ch 1, sk next st] repeat until last st. 3 TR in last st. (16 TR)
Row 4: Repeat Row 2. (33 DC)
Row 5: Ch 3, 2 DC in same st as ch up 3, [ch 1, sk next st, cluster st in next st] repeat until you get to the middle st of the 5 dc group in center, ch 1, [TR, ch 3, TR] in center st, [ch 1, sk next st, cluster in next st] repeat until last st, 3 DC in last st. Turn. (You should have 6DC, 16 ch 1 sps, 14 (or 16) clusters, 2TR, and 1 ch 3 sp) If you end up with a few extra stitches it’s okay. Just make sure you have 3 sts in the first and last st on this row.
Row 6: Repeat Row 2. (47 DC)
Row 7: Ch 4, 2 TR in same st as ch up 4, [sk next st, TR in next st, TR in skipped st] repeat until you get to the center dc of 5 dc group in center, [TR, ch 3, TR] in middle st, [sk next st, TR in next st, TR in skipped st] repeat until the end, 3 TR in last st. Turn. (52 TR)
Repeat rows 3-8 as many times as you’d like and then go onto edging rounds
Edging: (I recommend watching the video tutorial for this entire part)
Row 1: Ch 6, DC in same sp (counts as dc, ch 3, dc), *sk 4 sts, [DC, CH 3, DC] in next st**, repeat from * until center DC of 5 DC grouping. In center st, [TR, ch 1, TR], [DC, ch 3, DC] in very next st, then repeat from * to ** until last st and put 3 DC in last st. Turn.
Row 2: Sl st in to Ch 3 sp, ch up 3, [2DC, ch 3, 3 DC] in same ch 3 sp. *Ch 1, Sk ch 3 sp, [3DC, ch 3, 3DC] in next ch 3 sp** Repeat from * until center ch 1 sp, [DC, ch 1, DC] In center, [3DC, ch 3, 3DC] in next ch 3 sp, repeat from * to ** until end. Fasten off. Weave in ends.
This post contains affiliate links, which I may be compensated for when you make a purchase. That means if you click on any link and buy from the linked websites, I will receive a small percentage of the value of your order. The amount you pay is not changed. Thank you for all your support in clicking the links in my blog!! You all are so amazing!! ~Nadia