Wednesday, 21 July 2010

We Heart Stokey - Lollibops and Lollipops

It may come as a shock to those of you who know me as writer, designer and pop culturalist extraordinaire to discover that I am actually a mother of 1 year old twin girls in my spare time. I know, and with such a lithe nubile physique, I don't know how I do it myself. Eva and Mia, my precious bundles of double trouble are perfect, hilarious, messy, and all mine up until the day they decide they didnt ask to be born, life is unfair and they up sticks to find themselves in some far flung corner of the globe.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Back spasms and Brazilian banana cake

Today is Friday, the day when Chief Staff member Nanny N has the Ninos for me while I work/slump/shop. Mainly slumping by Friday it has to be said.

An odd week this week, not least due to the fact that glorious Summery sunshine has been suddenly axed for Autumnal blusters. Glad I didn't buy another maxi dress. Of course my mate Endo has been bubbling silently this week, leaving me totally shattered (too tired even to get to yoga which seems a bit daft, but it's the honest truth.) As a result I hadn't been out and about this week as much as usual in favour of just managing to be at home and cope, which has been a tall enough order. Nanny J called in with extra Green and Black supplies on Tuesday, Wednesday I did manage a couple of laps on the bike with the child trailer, but in general it has been a sloooow week.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Sleepless in St Ives

It has been a Green and Blacks day.

My blood sugar level tends to go haywire just before pain kicks in, so this afternoon I was a zombie and we had no sugar boosting snacks in the house. A Tesco delivery later and all is good with the world but endo is keeping me awake. I am shattered but cannot sleep, the pain burns and radiates throughout my body prickling my nerve endings.

Sofa, duvet, wheat bag and laptop while the painkillers do their magic.

My friend endo

Endometriosis is my long standing companion. It will feature a lot here, so here is my history, in brief, for those that like to know about these things:

From the age of 19 I felt as if my batteries were running on half power, my abdomen would bloat to make me look 6 months pregnant, and I would have pain that felt like I had been beaten up from my back, abdomen and legs. Following numerous dead end GP visits and tests for glandular fever and gall stones I was left to go home with paracetamol for "just one of those things". Not liking the sound of this I sought help in the form of acupuncture and Chinese medicine in Cambridge. This really aided the pain and for some time I was symptom free of this odd ailment.

Fast forward a few years, I am living in London and the pain comes back. My energy levels struggle, and this time the pain feels as if I am also being burnt with a white hot poker on the inside of my body, the beaten up pain is still there and the fatigue is all encompassing. I have a doctor who finally sends me for a scan and we discover I have PCOS (Polcystic Ovarian Syndrome) which goes some way to explaining my hormonal problems but not the incapacitating pain. I keep hounding this poor doctor as he is the first one I feel has actually taken me seriously, and the pain becomes so bad I am having to take large chunks of time off work, dosed up on seriously strong painkillers.

Finally, a laparoscopy shows the source of all this trouble - endometriosis. I had never heard of this condition, and if I had maybe I could have pressed for help with my symptoms earlier. It took, in all, 8 years to get diagnosed. For a lot of that time I was told there was nothing wrong so felt convinced this was all in my head. At least the source had been found.

I have had 4 laparoscopies in all, 3 with diathermy to burn off the endometriosis. The darn thing keeps growing back though, so here I am again now waiting for another consultant appointment. The amazing and miraculous thing is, of course, that I am now a mummy, Eva and Mia are truly my little miracles and I treasure them each and every day knowing how lucky I am to have them since so many with endo are not so lucky. The universe has been great to me, sending me twins when 1 child was a tall order.

I know look after my endo with a monthly full body massage, acupuncture and a diet containing as little wheat and dairy as possible, although I go off the rails occasionally. I did a 2 month detox of mainly raw food and felt so much better for it, so my aim is to eat 75% vegan and raw, with the other percentage for keeping the balance and allowing myself to live normally.

Exercise I am convinced helps the pain by releasing endorphins, but the tricky bit is to know when to make myself so more, or when to stop as the pain can be overwhelming. I am aiming to run a 10k again this Autumn, 5 years after I last did one so I am in training twice a week running with a friend, and also doing yoga and cycling.

Endo is horrendous physcially and emotionally. It drains energy, vitality and robs it's victims of time, relationships and in some cases fertility. I have been lucky, but my journey continues with living with my constant companion.

Today is a low level endo day...burning pain and tiredness but I will try to do get out and about with the girls this morning and rest later this afternoon when The Staff come to spend some time with the Ninos. Thank goodness for staff for days like this.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Le weekend

Hot. Hot, hot, hot, hot...lovely weather this weekend.

Friday night was an evening out with the school girly mates for a good catch up, ending with a large portion of spicy tats post pub. Suprisingly no hang over on Saturday, so we took the girls for their first every bike ride with the trailer, kindly loaned from Cousin Paul OC. The ever-near completion guided bus route cycle path was perfect for our trial jaunt, ending in a visit to Great Grandad George in Over.

BBQ in the evening with the Outlaws and Jeano, then a crash out in front of Bubba Ho-tep...need to re-watch that one to understand what on earth was going on before I gave in to sleep.

Endo has kicked off today making it a slightly grumpy Sunday, so a visit to Cambridge in the heat was ill-advised, especially as tourists are swarming around the streets making it faaaaar too crowded for a painful mooch; I nearly cried in Starbucks as the queue was so long. You get the idea.

Back to the garden for a splash about in the paddling pool.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Twin Territory - what you can and can't do with 2 babies

This section is mainly a list of irritations and observations to do with a twin buggy and the manoevres thereof, but is also an encouraging collection of things that are actually easier with two Ninos...

• You can get on a bus. But you have to take the wheel off buggy ( ours is an Out and About Nipper). Bus no longer an attractive option due to wheel off/shopping everywhere/babies screaming scenario.

• Baby clinics and Doctors surgeries tend to have normal sized doors through which buggies of the double dimension do not fit.

You can either:
a) leave kids outside risking crazy person stealing them away
b) go in to ask for door to be opened fully for better access/complain about lack of access, but whilst waiting for receptionist to come off phone and notice you babies have since been taken by fore-mentioned crazy person
c) have to take someone with you to the doctors
d) carry them both in and get stared at while you struggle with door/bags/babies

• You can still go to the market but you get tutted at by more old ladies who object to the room the buggy takes up on the path

• You can go to the playbarn on a solo flight but you have to be able to get both babies out of the car on your own and carry them into the play area thus arriving hot, sweaty and with slightly crushed Small People.

• Once in the playbarn you cannot then go and get yourself a coffee as you then have to take your eyes away from the 2 Small People crawling/climbing/falling off apparatus.

• You can get both babies to feed themselves with a bottle from quite an early age. This save huge amounts of time and singleton mums will envy you the hands-free action.

• You can get out of the house on time with everyone dressed, fed and clean if you don't mind the fact that something has to give. Either your hair is still wet and worn in an unsightly Croydon facelift manner, or the shower has been forfeited in favour or make up. Either clean or made up, the choice is yours.

• You can get stopped and told how lucky you are to have twins. You can also agree whole heartedly with this.

• You can let the twins play together/destroy house while pottering about

• You get to have 2 babies at once and don't have to suffer two pregnancies, 2 births, 2 newborn exhaustion periods and 2 maternity leaves.

• You can use one baby as a control test for the other. "Is that one hot?". "Yes. Is the other one the same?" . "Let me check"...etc. Less neurotic behaviour - you don't have the time or energy but you also have your own control experiment child.

I am the NCT failure

Right then. I have had enough coffee to be in the mood for a quick morning myth buster while The Ninos are having their morning kip.

Let's look at the NCT.

My experience of the NCT was generally positive. It helped to get out in the Whale stage of pregnancy and meet other similarly neurotic first timers who were analysing every nuance of the third trimester as I was, and it was also nice to have a reason to get off the sofa in the evening when life largely consisted of Master Chef finals and late night Nip Tuck re-runs.

I met 2 amazing friends who I know will be part of our lives for a long time, and a great group of people with whom to share the first faltering steps of parenthood. (We are meeting up in August for a celebratory beer of surviving the first year with the collective small people.)

My beef with the NCT, however, was that it didn't actually paint a picture of how it is. We learnt a lot about the cascade of intervention, the importance of breast feeding was instilled as firmly as you would expect, and we had some advice on how to manage labour pains.

Now. From the 5 girls in the group, not one of us had a perfect, laying-back-on-linen-pillows birth. There were blood transfusions, C- sections, emergency theatre runs...not a lavendar misted soft focus Bounty ad in sight.

Which is fine. But it would have been nice to be warned and I could have painted myself a different picture to expect.

Of course breastfeeding is best for Baby (and if I hear "Baby" it always makes my skin crawl...does Baby need a change? Does Baby need to be described as a nameless lump of flesh?) Of course, with the best will in the world mums would feed as long as they could. But you know, sometimes babies are premature, losing blood sugars and unable to suckle. So, as in my case we had to top up with formula the instant they were born, thus making me feel as if I have actually poisoned them with SMA in the first hour of their lives....Paranoia and Failure enter this way. I had a C-section with myriad complications - catheter in for a month, spine spasm, womb and bladder infections - so even picking up my little dudes was a mission, let alone pumping, cup feeding milk and breast feeding 2 babies. At the womb infection stage 4 weeks in I stopped breast feeding, heart broken and feeling like I had ruined their chances of health for their entire lives.

At our NCT re-union 3 of the 5 were bottle feeding. 2 mums had babies with colic and lactose intolerance, and I have just simply gone for the 'happier mum, happier baby' option, which meant if my babies were feeding well we could all sleep and thus remain a tad saner than otherwise - which as it turned out was not that sane anyway. More on that later.

So, we were NCT failures. And kind of made to feel it as well. I totally support the work the NCT does but there has to be room for some reality input too. Not all of our births are at home listening to dolphin music and popping babies out of lounge pants in between green teas. There has to be a balance between the Jeremy Kyle watching, fag smoking and donut eating perception of non right-on mums and the ethereal White Company sponsored NCT ideal.

I think it's called reality, and I love that a few of us are brave enough to confess that actually, we are failures of the NCT but graduates of Newborn. Needless to say I cancelled my membership but hung onto the friends. Helen and Claire, this one is for you ;)

Welcome to our blog

So. My beautiful girls Eva and Mia are now 1 year old.

Born on the 22nd June 2009 they are my world, and their Dad and I are the happiest parents around.

Most of the time.

I am a twin mum with endo. I have my own business. I haven't kept a diary since the girls were 12 weeks old, and there is a lot of stuff that goes on in our lives.

We will talk about the birth, living with twins, endometriosis, postnatal depression and all the things that people brush under the carpet. But also this is a celebration of my gorgeous daughters, Eva and Mia, who are the light in my life whenever the darkest bits come back.