Last September, after taking the boys home to meet all of their family and friends in Ontario, a trip during which Kevin surprised the pants off of me by popping the question.
Isn't he handsome? Anyways, that trip, as wonderful as it was, was shadowed by the fears that had been building all summer, Alex and Dom just didn't seem to want to eat enough to grow. In fact at this point, they hadn't gained any weight at all in over a month, and Kevin and I were bottle feeding them one ounce at a time around the clock.
So we returned to Alberta, with an appointment set up with a new pediatrician in Calgary, and a week later we were admitted to hospital.
I won't go into all of the details of that admission here, it's a story that I have in me and need to write out in full one day, but I will share again the video I made shortly there after.
Long story short, we went into hospital with little boys who wouldn't eat enough to grow, and came home with little boys with feeding tubes. And while feeding tubes are all kinds of no fun, they allowed our boys to get suficient nutrition to grow and develop, and be happy, and play, and sleep.
Here they are last winter in adorable matching cardigans (rav links Blue and Green), with NG tubes. Later you may have noticed their NG tube disapear from photos, but only because they had surgeries in January to replace them with G tube directly into their little tummies.
In that video I talk about stress buying yarn. Some people are emotional eaters (and I can be as well) but when faced with my boys who clearly did not enjoy eating, and had to be tube fed, you can understand why I might not have had an appetite for stress eating. So stress buying yarn it was.
We were in hospital last September for a little over a week (and by in hospital I mean all four of us living in one room) so during a brief window of mommy time I headed to my happy place. Stash Needle Art Lounge, one of Calgary's amazing LYSs. And I stress bought yarn, specifically, my first fingering weight sweater quantity.
Three skeins of Ancient Arts yarn, 75% merino, 25% silk, fingering weight yarn in the Roaring Twenties colour way. I didn't really even know what sweter it would be, but it was beautiful, it was new and it made me happy, independent of everything else that was going on.
For a long time that yarn hung on my wall in my office, waiting. Waiting for the right project. Waiting for our lives to settle down enough that casting on a fingering weight sweter would be a reasonable thing to do. Waiting for the boys to stop throwing up all the time, and to start having some small interest in food.
By this spring the time was right. Alex and Dom were growing, having clawed their way back up onto an actual growth curve (yeah 3rd percentile!!), they were meeting developental milestones, sitting and crawling and pulling themselves up to stand along furniture. We had settled into our version of normal, where I tube fed them, what seemed like all day long, while they happily played. And amazingly, they began to want to eat the tiniest bites of food. Small sips of formula, milk or water, here and there. To let me spoon a mouthful or two of baby cereal into their mouths, to suck some fruit puree out of a squeeze pouch. Not enough to sustain themselves or replace the tube feeds, but enough to show mommy and daddy that they knew how to eat.
So I cas on a sweater.
Choosing Joji Locatelli's Granito.
Over the summer I kit it intermediately. It's a whole lot of borring stockinette. A whole lot of grey. But as I worked on it, we began to have something to look forward to. Maybe and end to the long string of days of tube feeding. We had a referal to a pediatrician who would do the hunger wean to transition our boys off their tubes. It was time for me to speed up and finish this sweater, to stop knitting on the yarn that I bought to sooth some of the hurt of not being able to feed my little boys the way every mom wants to.
Progress moved along, a pop of colour (Hedgehog Fibres sock in Jelly) tucked away inside the pockets added some much needed inerest, and by the end of August I was zooming through the sleeves.
September rolled back around. I had finished the knitting but had pockets to seem and one heck of a lot of ends to weave in. Kevin had finished his Family Medicine Resisdency. We had finally moved back home after a year of moving around southern Alberta. And Alex and Dom, walking, climbing and getting into all sorts of trouble. Going through their days with increadible interest in food, eager to taste anything mom and dad were eating. But boy did they still get pissed if you expected them to have more than one bite.
And I stalled. Something about finishing things is hard for me. All those ends, and those pesky seams, they just weren't as interesting as casting on new projects. Until we saw the new doctor, and he told us for sure the boys were ready, it was time to put an end to the tube feeds.
Suddenly we found ourselves back in hospital, in September, in the same little room that felt so horrible last year.
This time however, the room wasn't full of fear and unknowns. This time it was full of hope and progress and success. We gave Alex and Dom their last tube feed on Thursday September 14th at bedtime, and by 4 am Sunday Morning I knew everything was going to be all right.
After I tucked Alex back into his bed, having fed him formula from a sippy cup until he fell back to sleep in my arms, I knew that was it, it clicked, he was a person who ate when he was hungry, and who did so happily (Dom turned this corner earlier the previous day, and by dinner looked like a pro in his high chair).
It might be crazy messy, but these are two little boys who love to eat.
We've been back at home now since Monday night, and over a week since we tube fed them anythig. Sure they are a little bit leaner than they were a week ago, but they are eating and playing and sleeping and exploring and learning and laughing.
So I wove in all those ends last night, and seamed up those pockets, and put an end to this chapter.
It's a great little sweater, but now instead of being the yarn that remided me of the tears shed over a year of tube feeding, its a cozy sweater to remind me of that moment a 4am, with Alex, when some part of me that never quite felt like a real mom, finaly felt right.
If only that was the only sweaters worth of 'stress yarn' in my stash. I guess I better get a move on this lovely pile of goodness, ordered from the waiting room while the boys were in surgery for their G-Tubes, because with any luck, those useless little tubes will be coming out sooner rather than later. (yarn is My Old Black Powder, on SW Merino Worsted, by Prarie Dye Studio)