Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Monday Menu

A big two week post. Yesterday I felt queasy and unwell. Still do a bit. So i wasn't that inspired by food if it wasn't a salada. Hoping the girls don't catch it. Rob came home early to look after me.
Pick of the week Roast Mt Gnomon pork, and THAT ice cream.

Sunday, May 26, 2013


"A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2013."

I am enjoying this project as it helps me capture not only the difference in their size but new developmental behaviour. A week after a visit from the Early Childhood Intervention Service when they gave me a few tips about how to help the girls bring their hands together, both girls have started to do it. They Iove their hands and try to grab at a mobile or their favourite bug toy, which crinkles and rattles and apparently tastes good! 
Cutest was when Maggie quite deliberately put her hand in Elisabeth's mouth and let her suck them. The girls continue to enjoy their little chats, which still is amazing to witness!

Maggie: Concentrating on her hands and that bug.
Elisabeth: Rob captured a rare twin cuddle these days. Elizabeth's eyes and those cheeks! 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Friday Flowers

I missed Monday Menu this week, do not worry we ate! I'll try and be back next week. My rose garden is still producing blooms. This week I picked Valencia roses. I love how deep the yellow is. It is also fragranced. They graced our table this week, for my tea breaks, and for a morning tea with a friend, and her 3.5 month old son. Who is the size of our two girls put together. He is already in size 0. Our girls have certainly made the most of their 0000 clothes, Elisabeth is about to move up a size. She has hit the 4000g mark, Maggie is catching her though, closing the gap, she is 3590g.

Wednesday's post came out of nowhere, I have been drafting a birth story, but I was only half way through. I had been describing the last 8 days of my pregnancy: the scary diagnosis of TTTS; the amniotic fluid drains; the stress of the daily ultrasounds to check on how the babies were going; trying to halt labour for 4 days; and that final night before their birth when I had sent Rob home and I laboured alone. I ended up getting to fully dilated with Maggie basically ready to go with only a heat pack and a panadeine as pain relief. I didn't bother the midwives cause I didn't quite believe it was happening. That final crazy hour when it all got scary as the babies needed to be born by c-section and the nurses and doctors later told me they thought Maggie might arrive in the lift! Rob was still at home as they prepped me for theatre and he only just made it, apparently humming the James Bond theme as he sped into the city. 
I'm not sure how or when I'll share the rest of our story. It is emotionally exhausting to write, let alone read, so I will see, and keep chapters of the story for when it feels right to share.

Happy weekend to you.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A reflection on motherhood so far.

Before I was pregnant, and even during my somewhat truncated pregnancy, I often wondered if I would be a good Mama. Not many of my friends were new Mums recently, so I hadn't spent a lot of time around babies. As the eldest of 5 children born in 6 years (ironically no twins) I have some vague memories of helping with my younger siblings, but it was all a bit foggy. As much as I love reading your many blogs and watching how you are Mama/Mum/Mom/Mother to your children, I couldn't help but compare myself to you; motherhood seemed somewhat oblique to me. I was worried about my own skills, for want of a better word.

I read your birth stories and those precious moments when you held your baby for the first time, how you fell in love, and to be honest I was worried I may not feel it.

Also with your honesty about the reality of sleep deprivation, crying babies and other keeping it real moments, I wasn't sure I would cope with one, let alone two babies.

Now I know that at 5.5 months it might be too early to call, but I can already tell my fears were unfounded. I realised it this morning as I enjoyed a shower, a precious moment of alone time that Rob ensures I enjoy every morning (well except in the rare days I decide to stay in bed all morning thereby forfeiting my shower token).

My start to motherhood has been quite different to what I expected, and certainly very different to all those stories I read. While I wouldn't wish the premmie journey on anyone, I feel it is important I recognise all the emotions I felt and celebrate how I became a Mama. Particularly as I have no photos during my labour or the emergency Caesarian to help trigger my memory. 

This is the last photo of me pregnant, in a lovely hospital gown two days before Maggie and Elisabeth's birth. 

In the last few days as my Obstetrician balanced the risks of Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS) to my babies, (we still didn't know their sex), against the risks of birth at 26 weeks, I refused to think about their birth. Perhaps in a vain hope it might delay that moment until it was safer for them.

At dawn on 12.12.12, despite all our worst fears, as I lay on the operating table, with a hastily erected curtain close to my face, Rob's hand holding mine ever so tightly, I heard our Doctor ask Rob if he'd like to stand up and see the first baby's appearance, and I felt excited. She joyfully announced "It's a beautiful baby girl", and as Rob's tears fell on my face, I quietly wept as I heard Maggie's tiny but determined cry, and I felt it. A love stronger than anything I had ever felt, particularly for someone I hadn't even seen, as I became a Mama. One minute later the Doctor asked Rob to stand up again and Elisabeth entered the world screaming just like her sister, and another wave of love washed over me for my second daughter.

The girls were whisked straight away into the care of a team of Neonatalogist Doctors and NICU nurses in the corners of the room. Rob was able to take a closer look and reported back to me that they looked like skun rabbits. Once stabilised their humidicribs were wheeled past me as I lay being stitched up on the operating table.  The nurse flipped down the side so I could see Maggie (at that stage still unnamed) for the first time. But given the number of tubes and the fact she was in a plastic bag for warmth I didn't see much. 

While we were in recovery and then in my room, the adrenaline of labour kept me excited as we waited to go and meet the girls and give them their hastily finalised names.

They wheeled my whole bed into NICU and as I got close enough to see into their cribs, my emotions overflowed yet again in silent tears as I fell in love hard with our tiny, red, jelly-skinned girls. Desperately wishing they didn't have to endure such a tough start to life.

I realised then the love part of motherhood is innate. The skills side of motherhood still worried me a little as I had my first cuddles (11 and 13 days after their birth), nappy changes and baths. But I treated our 112 day stay in NICU as a motherhood apprenticeship. Surrounded by professional baby nurses and lactation consultants, many of whom were mothers or fathers themselves, I asked questions constantly. But the wisest advice given by a few nurses about how to care for babies was to do what feels right for us. 

In doing that I have surprised myself. I can be a good Mama to Maggie and Elisabeth, and I have coped so far with the intense needs of two newborns; with Rob helping me of course!

I look forward to continuing to learn and trusting my instincts as a Mama.

My first twin cuddle 38 days after their birth. Arranged as a birthday present for me by the NICU nurses. The best present I have or may ever receive.

Sunday, May 19, 2013


"A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2013."

I know that originally I promised individual portraits, but this week something beautiful happened, the girls recognised each other for the first time. It is one of the most amazing things I will ever witness, the bond between my identical twin girls. They cooed and smiled, flapped their arms and wiggled their legs in the air. They even tried to gently touch each other's faces.

As a first time mother I really had no idea about the different developmental milestones and steps babies go through. It delights me every time Maggie and Elisabeth do something new. Little things like a smile or a coo could make me so happy all day.

I can't pick my favourite out of the following photos I took. Elisabeth is on the left and Maggie is on the right.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Friday Flowers: roses

The roses are still flowering at the hut. When I got 5 minutes earlier in the week I grabbed my new rose pruning gloves and picked some more red roses. The pink selection I picked last Friday are still looking beautiful in their vase. 

This dark red bloom is called Black Magic, it produces long stemmed roses, perfect as cut flowers. I think it's Rob's favourite.

These dark blooms are from a plant called Black Beauty. It produces tiny perfect blooms profusely on a thorn free bush, the reverse of the petals actually start off yellow.

The garden will be thankful for the constant showery rain we had today. For the first time since I was sick with mastitis I stayed in bed until lunch. The girls went to sleep by 9.30 last night, but woke at 1, 3, 5 and 7! So this morning when Rob got up I said I would be staying in bed! The girls even let me nap for an hour or so.

The girls are getting so chatty now, they love cooing away to us, and in the last few days to each other. They were 22 weeks old on Wednesday, or 8 weeks corrected. Despite being sleep deprived I enjoy my time with them so much. Even when little jobs I intend to do remain unfinished at the end of the day, I don't mind if I know I spent the time feeding, playing, talking or cuddling them.




Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Monday Menu

On the menu:

M: Pasta carbonara.
T: Lamb chops, mash & salad.
W: Minestrone with bocconcini and pesto.
T: Stripey trumpeter, chips and hut salad.
F: Vermey's skirt steak wasabi special, baked potatoes and hut salad.
S: Cold roast beef, bread (for me), hut salad, French cheese and fresh figs.
S: Mother's Day pancakes and leftover roast beef, baked potatoes, hut salad and fried mushrooms, Steohanie Alexander's date and chocolate cake.

All so good even if eaten semi cold a bit later than intended! 

Sunday, May 12, 2013


"A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Maggie: her first cuddle with her Nan.
Elisabeth: it is beautiful to see how happy the girls are when they are cuddled and loved by our family.

Last week the girls reserved their smiles for us. This week when my parents and brother visited, and on our trip up North for a Mother's Day surprise visit to Rob's Mother, the girls started smiling at our family. Perhaps they can sense how much they all love them?

We had a quiet first Mother's Day at the hut. A mini sleep in, pancakes in bed, snuggling babies, thoughtful gifts, a lazy lunch and a chocolate and date cake for dessert. I am just so grateful I can celebrate today with my daughters at home. 

I wish all my readers who are mothers a happy day today. I did once naively think becoming a mother was the easy bit, but over the last year I have experienced the yearning to be a mother and faced the very real possibility of losing my babies. So today I also think of women who struggle with infertility, have suffered through a miscarriage or still birth, or have lost their baby or child later in life. I imagine they wish for the opportunity to love that wee dream baby or the chance to hold their precious child again, and today might be a hard day for them to bear. I hope they still feel loved and valued as a Mother. xxx

Friday, May 10, 2013

Friday Flowers

24 degrees Celsius? In mid May?

The roses continue to give bunches of blooms and it's only their first year.

This morning I picked red, pink and white. I'll keep the red ones for Rob's mother, but the white ones I stuck in a vase I bought years ago with this very arrangement in mind.

Happy weekend.

Raspberry coconut cake

I love Instagram. For many reasons but especially when I find out about new recipes.
At the moment I crave anything sweet. Breast feeding two babies has turned me into a ravenous eater. I can't muck about if I get a free 5 minutes, I eat.
Rather than feeding my sweet tooth with chocolate (which is what I have been doing) I have been trying to bake an almond based cake for snacking on. For two reasons, Rob is on a gluten free diet, and an IG friend, @jenni1029, kindly sent me a book "Mother Food" which notes that almonds are lactogenic. Since then I've regarded any cake with almond meal as an essential dietary requirement. So I was a bit excited when I saw this cake pop up on my IG feed. The recipe was kindly passed onto me from @brionyk and she had sourced it from @andykitten.

Robert's Coconut cake

125g butter
125g SR Flour (or as I did 60g GF flour, 70g almond meal and 2 tsps baking powder)
1 cup desiccated coconut
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup of milk

Heat oven 180 degrees
Line 23cm round cake tin

Melt butter and allow to cool.
Mix all dry ingredients together.
Pour in butter and mix.
Mix eggs and milk together and then add to batter and mix.

Pour into cake tin and top with frozen berries, like blueberry or raspberry.

Bake for 25 minutes (I baked mine for 55 minutes until the middle stopped wobbling and a skewer came out cleanish).

It is delicious and we've nearly eaten the whole thing already. It is easy to bake and easy to eat.

I love Instagram.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A belated Monday Menu

A busy couple of days with a child health nurse visit and yesterday a trip to hospital for blood samples. Leaving at 8am for a 9am appointment we still didn't get home until 11.45am!
The girls are so brave, the blood sampling is quite an ordeal, the initial needle prick in their heel then 5 minutes of squeezing blood into vials, doesn't make for happy babies even with a sucrose bribe. So at least they sleep all the way home.

The girls are growing well Maggie is 3340g and Elisabeth 3850g. Rob is keeping me so well fed, I am afraid that I do view food at the moment as fuel, but I still enjoy good tasty fuel!

M: Chilli con carne with baked potatoes and pumpkin.
T: Spaghetti alla puttanesca.
W: Pumpkin risotto.
T: Sausages, eggs and salad.
F: Beef curry.
S: Beef curry (always better on day 2).
S: Salmon cakes.

What was in the menu at your place?

P.s. still working on that birth story.

Sunday, May 5, 2013


"A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Thank you to Jodi for welcoming me so warmly to the 52 Project. It is nice to finally delight in our girls being home.
Welcome to any new followers here also who might pop over from there. I will try my best to return the visit but I have to say time to myself is in short supply!

My favourite from last week was Claire's portrait of the gorgeous Eulalie. The light falling on her face was beautifully captured in her photo.

This week the portraits focused on the girls new trick: smiling and cooing. If we weren't already head over heels for these two, than this would seal the deal! I melt as soon as they lock eyes with me, and recognise me.

Maggie: After a feed, she ran through her full range of expressions before this big smile. (iPad)
Elisabeth: Looking at me while Rob snapped away. (Nikon DSLR)

I can't help myself, I will also share a super cute twin photo this week too. My sister gave us these bear suits. Unspeakably cute, I didn't think babies could get any snugglier!! (iPad)

Friday, May 3, 2013

Friday Flowers

A really quick post. I haven't had a chance to take flower photos this week. Funny that.
But yesterday I picked a few roses that are still producing blooms.

Cinderella and First Prize

I have started to write the girls birth story. I wrote notes within days of their birth, but it didn't feel I could write it properly until they were home. I'm hoping it's not too long already. It wasn't a simple birth by any means.

Happy Weekend to you.
P.S. I think regular blogging might help me keep track of what day of the week it is too!

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