Here’s to New Beginnings T-Shirt Quilt

Push presents are getting more mainstream. I blame celebrities. People have mixed feelings about them, as do I. On one hand who could say no to a present. On the other hand it has a sense of entitlement. You should get a present because that person wants to give you a present not because it’s expected by way of a guilt trip. If you don’t know what a push present is it’s a present that your husband or support person gives you after you have given birth to your baby. The most desired push present is jewelry of course. However, a push present could consist of anything. Even a simple gesture of offering to do the dishes or laundry for the next month.

I knew I wasn’t going to get a push present from my husband since we didn’t have extra funds to splurge on a nonsensical trend. Just for fun though I told him what I would like to have which was a charm bracelet with our baby’s birthstone for the first charm. I have wanted a charm bracelet since I was a little girl and never received one so I thought it was the perfect reason to finally have one. He ended up giving me just that for my birthday a month and a half later. That made it all the more special.

However the reason for this post is to share what I presented my husband with after I gave birth to our daughter. What I like to refer to as a support gift. The month leading up to the big day I was obsessed with getting this quilt done in time for him to have at the hospital while he stayed with me in the recovery room. The main reason being the quilt was intended for his birthday present last year, then a Christmas present, then his birthday present this year… I was a bit busy with school, buying and moving into a home, then adjusting to the idea of growing a human being inside of me so I never finished what I started. I was determined to complete this project before baby came because I just knew there would be no time to finish once she arrived.

Time was flying by and as I checked off all the other “things to get done before baby comes” to do list the quilt was still sitting there… mocking me. About two or three weeks before Twila said it was time I buckled down and focused on nothing but the quilt. I slaved over the ironing board and sewing machine for days. I literally put my blood, sweat, and tears into this quilt. It almost broke me. The day I finished it I cried the entire time because I was so disappointed and frustrated with how it was turning out.

I am not an experienced quilt maker. Before this I had only made one quilt and it was only a small one measuring maybe 2 feet square and that was probably a decade ago. Luckily I had pretty good instructions that I was following provided by Goose Tracks Quilts. I was originally planning on making the queen size quilt which calls for 36 shirts. I ended up making the twin size quilt that needs 20 shirts and it still fits our queen size bed.

I got the idea to make a T-Shirt quilt for him because I was tired of his old high school teen angst black shirts that he wore every day. These shirts consist of concert shirts from Paramore, Trapt, Breaking Benjamin, Blue Man Group, Chevelle, Three Days Grace, and Rise Against. There is also a mixture of geek and sarcasm with the Doctor Who, NDK, and funny sayings shirts. I know how he felt about them so I didn’t want to just throw them out. I thought this would be the perfect way to respect his past while making room for the future (a.k.a. more grown-up shirts). This was going to be a surprise but he started wondering where all of his shirts were disappearing to so I had to tell him. I could have blamed it on the laundry stealing trolls that live in the dryer. I doubt he would’ve believed that. After I picked out the fabric I asked him to approve my decision. It is really hard to find “masculine” looking fabric by the way. Of course he said he liked it, probably because he couldn’t imagine how it was all going to come together so he couldn’t dislike it. I am glad I told him what my plans were because some of the shirts I picked out weren’t all that important to him so he didn’t care if they were included or not. I know that made it more meaningful to him which is what I wanted.

He loved it and it kept him warm through the cold night at the hospital. Even though I hate it and know I could have done a better job it was all worth it because he knows this is my way of telling him how much I love him.

If you are lucky enough to have the kind of support person I did through my pregnancy I encourage you to not expect a push present after delivery but instead surprise them with a support gift. After all, you are in this together. Yes, we (being women) have to endure all the pain but a true support person is right there with you the whole time and they deserve to be acknowledged as well. I wanted to make sure my husband knew I appreciated him and all his efforts to make me comfortable and less stressed throughout my whole pregnancy. I couldn’t have married a better man.

Full front view

Full front view

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The green and black fabric covers the entire back.

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Up close view of the quilting stitch.

To give you an idea just how amazing my husband is here is a picture of him in the water birthing tub with me just after Twila was delivered. He was in that tub with me the whole time I was in labor. This is the first picture of daddy with his baby girl. A timeless moment captured and made possible by Twin Lotus Birthing owner Elizabeth Webb. She does everything from photography to midwifery to placentophagy. All of which she did for me and I highly recommend her.

Eric and Twila

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