Wednesday, April 16, 2014

my birth story


 Always with me. Both of my twins.
 
Someone pointed out a brilliant little blog to me yesterday, which covers everything pregnancy and birth-wise, as well as stillbirth.

A word that makes me want to be ill, much like most expectant mums.

Anyway, the post goes on to suggest some of the things people can do when their child dies in utero. We are doing most of the things they suggest, give or take.

One thing they suggested is recording your personal birth story. As everything is such a haze, everything is so intense and frankly, shit - labour and birth is not cool, seriously - that the mind easily forgets.

So without getting into too much graphic detail, I'll give you a rundown of what happened to me. Some people have easy labours - a couple of hours, two paracetamol and the baby just falls out.
The exact opposite happened to me - oh obviously - nothing is ever straightforward or easy when it comes to my reproductive system, and I can say (proudly?) that I have done it all when it comes to ways to give birth.

Yes I can. Here is why.

Very weirdly, I had almost exactly the same birth and labour my mother had with me. Down to the failed forceps and emergency c-section.

I was pretty set on having an elective c-section, which I eventually got and booked in for my twins to be delivered at 37 weeks and 5 days.
When everything changed, I then opted to be induced and have a natural birth. Sebastian was head down and the first twin, which meant it was the least risky way to get him out.
In the back of my mind, I still was conscious that I had to squeeze out two babies. But having him out and safe was my top priority - screw everything else.

I was in labour for 18 hours.
It was fucking exhausting. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

I was induced, which first involved a sweep (obstetrician reaches up to touch baby's head, and try to figure out how large my cervix is - it hurts), and by this stage I was already sucking on the air and gas they give you to make you a little light headed.
Air and gas does fuck all for pain, but it does allow you to focus on your breathing and giggle every now and then.

As I was having tons of Braxton Hicks contractions, they thought this would be enough for labour to just start, but it wasn't. So I had the gel put in. Being induced means more painful contractions, BTW.

The gel worked too well. I was having contractions within the hour it was put up there (ouch), that they had to slow them down with a further injection. I was having one contraction every minute.

At this stage it felt like a wave of white hot pain - nothing for 30 seconds, you could almost continue your last conversation while sipping on a mug of tea - and then a surge of pressure as a contraction came. I had a few paracetamols given to me, which only really takes the edge off, and I was lying draped over a birthing ball in the middle of my room - beknickered - sucking on gas and air.

One has to find one's sense of humour when you're a pregnant, heaving cow draped over a fucking pilates ball with your ass sticking out.

It is literally, literally, the most undignified thing ever. The midwife I had was amazing in that she didn't bat an eyelid. Lucy was her name. She made me feel normal and at ease as I lay around in different positions, making pretty much the most unladylike noises one could ever hope to make.

Seriously. It hurts.

My mum was with me at this stage, she was tag-teaming with the Brit who would come in once I had my epidural.

"WHERE'S MY EPIDURAL? CAN I HAVE MY BLOODY EPIDURAL YET? WE SPOKE ABOUT THIS, YOU SAID I COULD HAVE IT PRETTY MUCH NOW, LUCY. NOW."

Once they'd established that I had accelerated, no pole-vaulted into labour, they hoisted me into the side of my bed to put the epidural into my back.

Epidurals are put in via tube into your spine. You have to keep really, really still so that your spinal fluid isn't punctured.
Being still during a contraction is nigh impossible when the pain makes you scream to the point where the paint starts to peel off the walls - seriously, how women do this without pain relief is one of life's greatest mysteries - so they wait until you are finished.

Epidurals are wonderful things. You know it's all happening, like when my waters were broken, and the monitor shows big waves, but you feel nothing. Just a tightening. You can even doze off.
You can't eat anything big though. And the fact is, you need to eat - you need the strength. And all I had were a few sweets or a bite of an energy or cereal bar every so often. Lots of water, as your temperature rises.

My temperature went a bit high, so at one point they were putting cold flannels all over my face and body, and giving me paracetamol through a drip to bring it down. Having my face sprayed with cold water.

Fast forward to about midnight, 16 hours later. When shit started happening. I cold feel the pressure of Sebastian's head moving down and engaging. I was so tired, but was told I'd need to start pushing.

Jesus. Obstetrician, midwives, husband and mother all shouting push at the same time while I tried to seismically shift my son's head with nothing but my pelvic muscles.

"Twin 1 isn't moving as fast as we need it to," said the (seriously lovely female) obstetrician. It needs to get past a u-bend. I can see his head."

In my sweaty, exhausted state I said, "Does it have hair?"

"Yes it does. A lot of it."

"Oh that's nice."

More pushing. More sweating. Nothing much happening.

"IS IT PAST THE FUCKING U-BEND YET?"

Unanimous "No."

"Jesus. This baby is really starting to PISS ME OFF."

By this stage I was starting to think about Twin 2 again. I wasn't done when this one was out. I had to push out another. And it wasn't even alive. How was I even going to do this? I was so frightened.

The obstetrician then reached for the forceps.
"We are going to have to pull this baby out."

"Fine. Do whatever you have to do."

Still pushing and she having to wrestle with the two steel forceps, I dreaded to think what was actually happening to my undercarriage. I didn't care much, I just wanted the baby out of me, but I still wondered what kind of damage was being done down there. (For the record, a fair bit, but nothing that hasn't healed. In case you wanted to know.)

Then Sebastian's heartbeat started to change. That monitoring machine again. I was wheeled into theatre, the Brit was told to put his scrubs and suddenly there were lots of people, doctors, nurses, anesthetists around. All frenetic and shouting things at each other.

"Dude, what's going on?"

Obstetrician: Don't worry. Just because you're going to theatre doesn't mean you're having surgery, OK? I just need better light to see with these forceps.

By this stage, after all the pushing, shoving, pain and sweating, I did not want a c-section. It felt like all this would've been in vain.

Well, it was. Mostly.

He had travelled enough down the birth canal that hopefully some of the fluid in his lungs had been squeezed out, as was the intention of a natural birth.

He still wasn't budging. The obstetrician looked at me really sadly and said, "I'm so sorry. We are going to have to operate. I'm really sorry."

"Fuck. Well this is annoying. But more annoying is that it won't come out, so let's just get on with it then."

It was frenetic in there. There must've been about 14 hospital staff in the theatre, and at one point I screamed, "Where's my husband? I can't see him."
 There was the Brit in his blues and a cap on his head, looking quite dashing if I recall, waving from behind the group of chaotic doctors.

There was so much noise. And talking.

"Oh my God, it's crazy in here. What is going on, can everyone just CALM DOWN?"
No one heard me though. They were too busy focused on cutting open my abdomen.

The screen was up right in front of my face, and now I just waited for the first sounds of life from Twin 1.

"Oh THAT'S why he was stuck!" cried the obstetrician from behind the screen.
"...and why is that? I panicked about the chord being around his neck.

"It's hands. It's hands are plastered to its cheeks. It's called 'compound presentation.'"

"What's the sex?"

"It's a boy." And I heard his cries. That's my child. It's a boy! That's my kid. Get me off this table, I want him here with me, where is he?

Oh wait. Now the hard part. I started to cry.


Suddenly the room was silent, save for Sebastian's crying and my weeping.

He was being weighed and the Brit was with him. They then bought him to me, bundled up in a blanket, with ectoplasm still in his hair. His shock of brown hair.

He was beautiful. I cried more.

Silence behind the screen as they pulled out my lifeless second twin.
"What's the sex? I managed to ask, wincing as they said "girl" as I knew this already.

The Brit and I both cried. I felt impatient and tired. They still had to sew me up, which took another 40 minutes. Meaning I couldn't hold my children until I was done.

I fell asleep. I had never been so exhausted in all my life. So much so, my speech was slurred, I fell asleep mid-sentence and my brain had ceased to function.

I was given Sebastian, who we named straightaway.  We also named Molly straightaway, only having chosen her new name a few days before.

I held my son skin-to-skin as his tiny little body squirmed against my chest. He was quite large for a twin, weighing in at 2.9 kilos. Molly was much smaller, having died sometime during week 34.

They wheeled her in, also in a see-through tub crib, except already bundled in a blanket and on a cold mattress.

They looked so similar. Even as non-identical twins. She also had a shock of dark hair, a sweet little nose, heart-shaped lips and long fingers. They were definitely brother and sister. What a beautiful pair they would've made.  

It was torture. I don't think I stopped crying for an entire day. We held her. We spoke to her, gave her her teddy. Took pictures. Spoke to a grievance counsellor who had been with us the week leading up to this.
It was all a blur, I was so tired. I wish I could've been less tired so that the details were sharper.

Even so, this is my birth story. Of having my twins. The memories although dulled by lack of sleep, are fresh and intense.

And to conclude? I'd still opt for a c-section. But given Sebastian didn't need to go to special care (he was born at 36 weeks), then for this birth, I wouldn't have changed a thing.

This might've put you off having children, I realise this. But it probably won't.





Monday, April 14, 2014

the three me's

Details and things run through my mind everyday, as I process the loss of my daughter.

I find it best to write it down. While I continually ask the big empty space in the sky these questions, perhaps if I write them down, there is a degree of accountability. Or maybe someone with universal power will read these. ("Are you there God? It's me, Margaret.")

 I probably think about Molly 40% of any given day. I'm not in tears all day, everyday. I couldn't possibly be when I am bowled over by my little boy, deeply entrenched in dedicating the offering of my udders to him every three hours.

But when I do think about her, it's a fleeting pang of white hot pain, a big gaping hole that I can only fill with thoughts and anger.

This is where I am at:

I had a boy and I had a girl.

Had I had two boys or two girls would I have felt differently about the loss? Perhaps. But the fact was I had a perfect pigeon pair, and I only had one of each. I lost my daughter, and I may never have a daughter again.

I also knew deep down that I was having a boy and a girl. I knew it wasn't two boys (we never had a second boys name confirmed, mainly because I knew we wouldn't need it).
I knew he was my feisty bigger boy, and she was my smaller, little girl.

So when I was wheeled into theatre and they finally pulled him out, when I asked them "What is the sex?" and they said boy, I knew. And when she was pulled out, and I asked the same thing, I knew they would say "girl."

There are three me's

There was the me before I got pregnant. The me that had no idea about twins, what it would mean to have them, how chaotic, scary and exciting our lives would be for 8 months once we found out.
This me is someone I can't relate to at all anymore.

Then there was the pregnant me. The me who didn't enjoy being so heavily huge, while grappling with the reality that I'd have two babies, and learning. Learning so much about ourselves, gearing up for the biggest event of our lives, fixing a house, joining twins clubs, buying two of everything, getting ready. Being so scared, but so excited. Smug even. "There are two in here, have you know."

Then there's post-18 March me. The one who looks at a family photo of me, the Brit and Seb, and I still see a massive hole where Molly should be. Where I hold and kiss my son and wonder what it would be like to shower her with love too.

Losing a child is something that happens to other people, and yet here I am.

I see twins everywhere

There are  lot of twins around. With IVF being very popular here, the UK has a lot of twins. And it seems they've all decided to move into our area. I see twins on the streets, in movies, on ads, I can't escape it. It hurts to see twins. I feel resentful and it makes me imagine how our life was meant to be.

Twins were so special 
 
I had twins naturally. My mother's cousins had twins, so it runs in my family somewhat. As I only later discovered. At first we were overwhelmed. But by the time 35 weeks rolled around, I realised having twins was the BEST thing. So many perks with having twins. Get it over and done with in one swoop. Could go back to work and salvage my career. They'd look after each other. They would protect each other. Learn to share. Entertain each other.
To the point where I preferred the concept. I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. The benefits far outweighed everything else.

Bath time

My 'just me' time in my day is when I have a bath. For twenty minutes, I light a candle, sit in total darkness, and just cry. It's when I can think and grieve. I have a cry everyday. I wonder whether it'll ever not be the case again.

Molly's funeral

Molly's post mortem is finished and we will get the results (or non-results) in a few weeks. For now, we are organising her cremation and memorial service.  Having to choose caskets, flowers, the minister - is all so intense. Again, how is this happening?

Hopefully we will have some closure. Her memorial is due to take place on 23 May.

Two things that touched me more than they would've before

You can't help but commiserate and feel for those who have also lost children. I also seem to be noticing more stories like this.

Help Me Find Isobel's Hat  - here.
 
Lily Allen opens up about losing a child before birth - here.

 And my everything.....Sebastian in his bouncer chair. It's true. You just cannot possibly love anything more than your own child.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

sleep deprivation

...is something I've never had until now.
A big night where I only got 6 hours? Not sleep deprivation.
Restless insomnia tossing and turning? Not sleep deprivation.
8 months pregnant and needing to pee every hour? Not sleep deprivation.
Straight up four days living it up at a festival. Not sleep deprivation.
Raving. With glow sticks. Without stopping. Not sleep deprivation.
Working late? Waking early?

No. Sleep deprivation is feeding a 2 week old every three hours around the clock.

Newfound respect for all mother's, ever, in the world, ever.
Was told it was going to be bad.

But nothing quite prepares you for the endless cycle where you fall asleep mid-sentence/standing up/sitting down/while trying to eat and sleeping mid-forklift.

Sweet Baby Jesus.

Monday, April 07, 2014

candles for molly

 My lovely friend Poen, who lives in Tanzania with her husband, went to Zanzibar last week and offered to light a candle for Molly.

I thought it was an amazing gesture. And if anyone else wants to light a candle for her in other parts of the world, please do be my guest - I would love that. I don't want her to ever be forgotton.

She sent me the pictures from a deserted beach, where they raised a glass for her. I can't help staring at the pictures.

These pictures are the only tangible things I have of Molly. that and the few things I have in her memory box, like her foot and hand prints, and other small tokens. But that's all it is, just tokens.

These candle pictures are haunting, and I could stare at them all day as it makes me feel just that tiny bit closer to her. And anything that makes me feel closer to her, helps my heart. Even if it hurts like hell.

Thank you Poen and Niallo. They are beautiful. Molly;s spirit lives on in Africa.


Friday, April 04, 2014

sebastian

It's Friday. My boy is ten days old.
They were scheduled to be born today. 

The heartache and baby blues have hit me like a train, but in the spirit of celebrating my son, here are a few pics taken over the last few days.

The lime green babygrow is definitely not my fave, but I do love his hair.
  After his bath.
Being winded. And obviously having an amazing time.
 Being bathed.
 A week old foot.
 Leaving hospital in his car seat.
 My precious.

As he was prem, he was born with a fine downy hair all over his arms and back. Not unlike a little baboon. He's my monkey baby, and I love the fur.

 He's ours.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

letters to my child

I've been home for two days now, after two full weeks in hospital. Thank you everyone for your comments below. I appreciate every single one of them.

To think I left home one afternoon to go for a scan. And two weeks later, here we are.

Coming home and being out of that stifling hospital was like leaving prison. It really felt like that.
Coming home with one baby was the harshest of realities.
It's the milestones that hurt. We can function fine, and then something will set us off - like the two mobiles that are hanging above the cot. Or the fact Seb was one week old yesterday. Or the fact that Molly had the same hair and mouth and nose as Seb, and I wonder how she would've looked this week.

And while we find ourselves in the around-the-clock feeding cycle (sheesh it's brutal - I am both awed and astounded at how new mum's actually do this. The sleep deprivation is something else), I still wonder what it would've been like with my two. My pair. The twins I carried for over 8 months.

After That Scan, I was admitted into hospital to monitor the other twin.
We still decided not to find out the sex of the babies. This would mean more emotional attachment.

For a week I was hooked up to a monitoring machine, one that shows his heartbeat. This machine was both my best friend and my nemesis - I'd watch it like a hawk for reassurance that Twin 1 was OK, and I'd prod and poke my stomach all day and night to ensure it was kicking me. If it's heartbeat dropped, I'd panic and call the midwives.

The advice I got from the group of obstetricians was to strike a careful balance. Hold on until 36 weeks to have the twins, so that Twin 1 had better chance of survival and had the healthiest start.
Of course, as we had no idea why Twin 2 had died, they didn't want me to wait for longer than that in case the same happened to Twin 1.
It was nervewracking.

I also opted for a natural birth. Suddenly all my priorities had changed. I wanted what was best for the baby, not me anymore. Natural birth meant the fluid in its lungs would be squeezed out, meaning less chance of it going to special care as a premature baby.

In the end I almost did give natural birth. Until Seb got stuck and I had to have an emergency c-section. I can say I've done it all now. And it sucked; going through 18 hours of labour only to have surgery anyway.

But during the week preceding the birth, we had to deal with the fact that I'd be giving birth to two babies, and taking only one home.
It was the darkest time of our lives. I wanted to give birth, but at the same time I didn't want to let go. Molly was still with me; and I could still talk to her. I could still be with her.

Here are some of my thoughts I wrote down, summed up, during that week. For anyone that has gone through a similar experience, perhaps you can identify.

Why give it to us only to take it away?
There are meant to be two. We were chosen to embark on a unique parental experience. They are meant to be together, to look after each other, to always have one another.
Now its on its own, and we have an empty space. My heart is so heavy. I don't want to let go. Having it here is both comforting and hindering. I imagine what it must look like or where it is. Or if there's an afterlife and we will ever meet it one day. If it knows how much I love it and no matter what they are as important to me as the alive twin. My little fighter; my alive feisty twin. It must never stop kicking me. It can hurt and punish me I don't care.

How will it know how special it is, and how special its life would've been with a twin at its rightful side? That its been robbed not only from us but from him/her. How will we ever fill the gap, how will we ensure that it is part of our family and is acknowledged and never forgotten - not by us but by its sibling and the world. I carried twins for 35+ weeks. No one will know. Now we are just like everyone else, no one knows our story or our excitement. I want to turn back the clock. When did its heart stop and when did its soul move? Was I awake? Was I shouting at the time, crying, happy, aware?
Was it when I cried and didn't know why? What will become of all of us? How will we move on. I don't believe I'll ever stop thinking about what was to be, or who it was. The dread of the days to come when its taken from me finally. And how we will say goodbye and have a few memories or tokens, just tokens to prove it was part of us. It was a twin. I had towns. I have twins. 

The sadness just moves and I need to feel it, to feel the tears. Being distracted by visitors just irritates me. It means less time thinking about and connecting with the twin that will soon go forever. Giving it the time it deserves as its time was so short. Names. Significance. Does it know. Does anyone know. Or do they think just focusing on one twin will make this all better. They make me angry.
Will I meet it someday. Can I talk to it? 

 - - - - - - 


My child,
If it was me, or anything that I did to make this happen, then I am endlessly sorry. I may never know. I may never grasp. I love you and your twin more than life itself and am sorry you'll never get to experience life. I'm sorry its been stolen from you before it began.


My angel, it won't be long until you have to leave me. But you're in my heart. And will remain there for as long as I live and beyond. I will never forget you. You'll never be forgotten, it will be my life's pledge to ensure that. While nurturing and loving your twin with all our hearts.


I'm scared. I'm the worst kind of scared for the pain of this birth and I feel guilty because I really should be more fearful of seeing you and having to let you go. I am. The thought kills me.
I will wonder if you know that. And if you know what a hole you're leaving in my life, in our lives. I'm your mum. We were ready for you. We were excited, scared but excited. You were with us for 8 months. You were meant to be like me and your sibling like your dad. I don't know where we got that from, but you were my little small one.
Now your sibling is what we are trying to focus on, so we can heal and fill its life with love.


The deathly silence, void, ghostly nothingness that I can't feel you is difficult. That your sibling is so active and you never were - or at least I didn't feel you much - makes the contrast even stronger.
Thank God your sibling moves and squirms so much. Thank goodness.

I love you always and endlessly, my precious daughter.

 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

anguish & joy

There are two chapters to my life. One that existed before 18 March 2014 and one that existed after.

I cannot write a blog post right now that adequately describes anything, but what I can do is show you how we have told our friends, family and acquaintances.

It goes like this. On 18 March I left home to go and have my final scan. 35 weeks. I left home and haven't been back since.

While thinking we were on the home stretch of pregnancy with only two weeks to go, we found out that Twin 2's heart had stopped beating. Sometime in the last week it had died.

Our hearts literally broke into millions of fragments. I don't quite have the strength yet to elaborate, so I'll share what I have already.

Yesterday morning, at 2:00am, 25 March I gave birth to my twins. One healthy little boy who we named Sebastian George. And one stillborn little girl, who we named Molly Therese. 

It is with an overwhelming joy and sorrow we announce the birth of our twins today. Last week was the most harrowing of our lives, as we learnt that our little girl, Molly, hadn't lived to see the world. So, with endless gratitude and relief, we embrace our feisty survivor, Sebastian, who is already helping us to heal our hearts.

Rest in peace my little Molly. We draw all our strength from the joy your precious twin brother is already giving us. 

Thank you everyone for your messages, texts and thoughts in this bittersweet time.

Nothing can aptly describe the sheer spectrum of emotion we feel by the death and birth of our two children who were meant to be a pair. But this adaptation by Elizabeth Lector comes close:

Bittersweet, the grieving joy,

The death and birth of our twin girl

One this world will never know,

One alone will live and grow.

Conceived and carried as a pair,

In birth alone one breathed the air.

His cry assured us he'd be fine;

His sister silent came behind.

Molly now in heaven will dwell.

Sebastian will play and laugh and yell

As all strong boys are wont to do.

He'll learn in time he's one of two

And wonder at what might have been,

What life would be like with his twin.


The sharpest sting of grief will pass

And Sebastian will grow up too fast

As happens with most every child.

I know at times we'll see him smile

And recall our daughter

Who was so like this living one.

So pain won't end, can't go away,

But joy grows stronger every day

As we experience life anew,

Seeing the world as children do.

We're grateful that we'll have a chance

To see our new son sing and dance.

To help him learn, to watch him grow,

These all are pleasures we will know.


Yet through the joy and love and care

We'll remember Molly is not there.

Monday, March 17, 2014

daddy and bump

Wanted to share one of my favourite bump pictures thus far. This is me, full of children, and my Brit on the couch last night.

Melts my heart. Especially when he talks to them and pokes them for a response (they kick back). One thing that will make me cry is when I first see him bonding with them when they're born. When I imagine him holding one of them, I just well up.

Other things that are literally making me cry at the moment are:

1) Well, this picture above
2) Hero by Mariah Carey in the traffic the other day. Not even joking.
3) Phil Collins on our "calibrated speakers" (geek speak the Brit likes to throw out there when it concerns the sound system). "You..called...me from..the room...of your hotel....." WAAAAAAAAAAH.
4) One tiny excerpt of Titanic shown on TV last night. Crisis. The scene where Leo dies in the icy water and Rose is balancing precariously on the floating door. I cried so hard I couldn't see for 5 minutes.
And it was just a clip, not even the whole movie.
5) The other day, when I burst into tears and I literally, literally, do not have any idea why I was crying. No idea whatsoever. No rhyme, no reason.

The crying is one hundred percent hormones. God it's amazing.

This is me, yesterday, having a waddle outside, in the sun, at 35 weeks. Looking large.


Friday, March 14, 2014

our lounge

I am sitting in the garden. I've been told by the doctor that I have a vitamin D deficiency.
("No shit. I haven't seen the arss-end of the sun for like 6 months, guy.")

So as part of my prescription he's told me to sit in the sun for at least half an hour every day. You don't need to tell me twice.

But since it's Friday, I wanted to do a before and after of our lounge. I've showed you the nursery, bits of the kitchen, and now I figure the room that has undergone the most change is up.
Our main living area.

The lady that lived here before obviously liked things a bit more dark. The room was painted in Radicchio, a very red red. The only saving grace is that she did it in Farrow & Ball. I found a half finished tin of it downstairs.

The floors were stained dark brown, and everything needed to be modernised and opened up.

It's taken carpenters to come in and install cupboards and some book shelves, had sanders in to strip and varnish the floor boards, put in new radiators, paint it a light grey, add plantation shutters (my favourite!) and get to work on the general furnishings and decor.

So. In the beginning, there was:
 The purchasing of much paint.
 I started peeling off some of it, as it was all...plasticky.
 The sash windows were also painted shut and broken. We had those fixed and removed the curtains.
For weeks, this place was filled with dust sheets, paint rollers, paint trays and just general shit.
I also eBayed most of our more contemporary furniture. I've just grown out of it, and wanted something more neutral now.


 Note old book shelves.

 For weeks I didn't go in here. It was also the main room to store our unpacked boxes from moving, and the builders were always in here anyway.

We'd do a bit at a time:
 ...while our stuff accumulated dust...
 ...and the builders made cupboards....note colour of floorboards.

 ...this was our living space for months.
  Then things started to improve. And up until yesterday, there was just one more thing to do:
 ...Get these bad boys installed. How rad are the shutters? You can flick them up and down, spy on batty French women walking past, let some light in, some light out, suddenly the windows have a life of their own!
 With new book shelves and cupboards we have more storage for things like...nappies. And Sony Playstations.
 I only kept the 'good' books. Our classics, travel books or books that mean a lot to us. The rest went in the charity bin.

 The mantlepiece is made up of nostalgic treasures. A crystal vase from my grandmother, a gold leaf buddha from Burma from mum, and other bits and bobs I've collected from travelling and vintage stores.
 I got some new scatter cushions (probably the cheapest, easiest way to completely give a couch a new facelift) and framed some new pictures. Added some African vibes with the beaded buck's head, and repainted the lamp completely. It used to be red, with an orange shade. I got a new shade on Etsy and voila!


Wow that was hard work. I need to go for my nap.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

summer braaing?


Despite itchy skin (everywhere now - I'm just one big itchball), being so breathless that finishing a sentence is hard work, and with an enormous belly, I have been told that my bump is very 'compact' by a few women.

Which is always nice to hear when you're literally feeling your worst. I'll take a compact bump.

So looking at the positives:

Our house is pretty much finished! I just need to sort out my mum's/the guest/future play room in our basement, and paint one or two other things and we should be done.

It feels like we are in a new house. Which I suppose we are in some ways. We've spent enough money on it, Jesus. Having twins and setting that up is nothing in comparison to the endless building, plumbing, carpentry costs this flat has leeched from us. 

Either way, we love our home now. My cousin from New Zealand - sorry: New Zaylin - has moved to London for two years. She last saw the place when it was relatively a-shambles with boxes everywhere, appalling paint job in the lounge, that sort of thing. And yesterday we proudly showed her around every square inch of the place.

"What do you think of these drawers?"
"Remember the carpet?"
"Look! Bookshelf."

For someone with a 13 hour jetlag, that must've been trying. *

It's nice to have an actual cuz living here. Some family. The last bit of family I had in the UK was my aunt, who died two years ago. Having a younger, hipper cousin here is going to be fabulous.

Plus if she doesn't find a job soon, I'll hit her up for babysitting. I'll only break this to her once she has settled in.

It is spring! The daffodils are out, the sun is shining and the temperatures are starting to rise. This could be our entire summer. One must never presume this kind of weather
1) may continue uninterupted
2) will get warmer

This is England after all. But thus far, it's promising to be a lovely spring.

You just need to break the seasons into their correct chunks, truest to their form. You really get the four seasons here, and it's something you have to learn to embrace and love. Autumn and spring in England are beautiful.

We are looking at getting a top of the range braai for the garden. It's my patriotic duty to own at least a decent Weber or such, especially now that we have a little garden.

The Brit was scrolling through a Bible-sized website of choices and we were getting VERY excited about slapping some boerie on the braai multiple times this summer, have some friends over, while our very good little sleeping angels will blissfully slumber in their nursery. And Mummy can enjoy a glass of wine....

Wishful thinking?

*Thirteen hour time difference. New Zaylin is Pluto. Seriously.