Category Archives: Direct Speech

My Babies

I believe that nothing passes away without leaving a trace, and that every step we take, however small, has significance for our present and our future existence- Anton Chekhov

I came across this quote in the week, and I’m probably reading it out of context but I found it very comforting. If you read my blog now and again, then you’ll notice that I’ve been missing for a few months. I haven’t been sure how much to say about this, but recently I’ve found talking to people very cathartic and I’ve gained a lot of hope from reading about the experiences of others so I decided that I wanted to share “where I’m at” at the moment.

On December 8th, Jon and I found out at the 12 week scan for our first pregnancy that we were expecting identical twins and they were perfect. Growing as they should be, wriggling away from the scanner and vigorously trying to kick one another in the head. The pregnancy is high risk for a variety of reasons, the twins shared a placenta which is how they could tell they were identical, and as a first time mother with multiples I was high risk for pre-eclampsia, but apart from the all-consuming exhaustion that had made me sleep almost constantly when I wasn’t working for the first three months they looked great. We had regular checks, and as everything was going well, we were to come back after Christmas around 16 and a half weeks for our next check.

At that check we had some really bad news. Baby one seemed to suddenly have stopped growing and was 50% smaller than its sibling, its growth curve didn’t register on any of the percentile charts and we were prepared for the worst. It was diagnosed with severe early onset IUGR and we were told that it was very unlikely to survive. The hospital was fantastic and brought us in for regular checks to see if there was anything that could be done. These showed that, while the babies weren’t suffering from twin to twin transfusion syndrome, baby 1 had an insufficient share of the placenta, an enlarged heart from stress and the babies were showing signs of TAPs where the one baby has too much haemoglobin and the other has anaemia because of their connection. As well as the near certainty of baby 1 being unable to survive to birth, because of the shared placenta, the death of baby 1 would be able to kill or brain damage the larger twin, as within two hours of its death, all of baby 1’s blood would flood the larger twin’s body, giving them a massive surge in blood pressure.

On Monday I had surgery to occlude twin 1’s cord in the hope of protecting twin 2 to give them a better chance of survival. We were incredibly sad, but I was conscious throughout and the anaesthetist and nurses stoked my hair, held my hand and wiped my tears away as they fell. They talked to me all the time and were able to tell me when baby 1 had passed, so I was able to be quiet and alone with my feelings for a while then.

Baby 2, mercifully, seems to be doing well, they scanned me in the evening after my operation and printed a little picture of its face, I think it looks like its Daddy already. It’s heart was still beating well the next morning, and it looked strong at our last scan though I won’t be able to relax until it is safely born and I have it home with me. I was 19 weeks on Saturday and I know that we still have a long way to go. This has been the hardest time of my life, and I am so grateful to Jon and our family and friends, I don’t think I would be coping without them. I’m also in awe of the brilliant consultants, doctors and nurses who give babies like mine, with terrible odds against them, every hope of survival.

If you would like to support the great work that they continue to do, a donation can be made here.

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My babies at 13 weeks

 

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Books About Town Auction

Anyone who visited the Books About Town benches which brightened up London this summer may be interested to know that they are being auctioned to raise money for the National Literacy Trust on October 7th. I could definitely fancy one of these little beauties to brighten up my garden but I’m pretty sure they’d be way above my budget even without our car having suffered major organ failure today.

Photographs of benches from the Books About Town website, click through on any of the images for more information about the National Literacy Trust and their important work.

Sometimes people do nice things…

bookcase parrotI bought the parrot in this picture from Etsy in October, and the postman tried to deliver him when I was in hospital having my operation. My boyfriend wasn’t allowed to collect him from the post office and by the time I was out of hospital and able to get to the post office, he’d been send back to the seller Susanna. Susanna got in touch with me to tell me he’d come back to her, and when she heard about my operation she told me that she hoped I was feeling better and sent him back to me, so he is now making me happy by brightening up my bookshelf.

I just thought I would share how nice Susanna (who runs this website according to her Etsy profile) had been to me to remind everyone that sometimes people do really nice things.

The Vintage Tea Party Year

I’m a sucker for an afternoon tea, and though I am fundamentally too disorganised to even consider hosting a tea party, I love to look at the recipes for dainty little afternoon snacks. To this end, I’ve been saving up points for the PG Tips Cuppa club and was so excited when this little beauty was waiting for me when I got home…

the vintage tea party year angel adoree

Isn’t it cute? It’s got loads of really exciting recipes, craft ideas and (a bit left field here…) hairstyle ideas… I may not be able to tie my own hair in a ponytail with any degree of success, but I am pretty good at eating, so can’t wait to try making these cute little picnic pies in the summer.

picnic pies

The Ten Worst Couples in Literature?

At lunchtime in work, my friend was reading an article about the ten worst couples in literature from The Guardian in which worst means incompatible or better off apart. I didn’t really rate it as a list though, because for many of these books (Revolutionary Road, The Great Gatsby, Jane Eyre, Bridget Jones’ Diary) the reader knows that the relationship featured in the article is meant to be fundamentally flawed.

Also, major clanger on the Anna Karenina one… “Anna and Vronsky would have had life a lot easier if they had just stuck to their marital partners – Anna especially.” Well yeah, since Vronsky wasn’t actually married… :S

But how would you define the worst couples in literature? For me it would be a couple that I didn’t believe in, or didn’t care about.

A Guide to Pretending to Read Literary Classics

You know how every so often you come across an article that really annoys you? So it was when I came across Huffington Post’s A Guide to Pretending to Read Literary Classics. No, it wasn’t just the awkward grammatical tense of the title, it was the principle of the thing.

I hate it when people pretend to have read books. It’s invariably because they think it will impress someone, but actually if you are having an involved conversation you can always tell. If you’re doing it to fit in with friends, it’s a little sad. If you’re doing it in an interview you just end up looking odd. My friend was having an interview to read English Lit at an Oxbridge university a few years back and a book came up in conversation that they hadn’t read it, so they tried to bluff that they had. They didn’t get the place.

If you’re the kind of person who thinks reading the classics gives you a kind of prestige (or that the books that you read are too, and I quote, “pulpy”) go to the library, take out a book and read it. Then you’ll be able to talk about it. Otherwise, and I recommend this to anyone who is truly embarrassed by the things that they enjoy, go to the library and have a rummage in the self-help section for a book on self-acceptance.

Life is too short to people please with your reading material once you’ve left school.

Baby Blanket Boom!

This week I finally got around to finishing my granny square baby blanket for my niece Amelie who was born on January 2nd. I am quite pleased with the crab stitch edging as it’s the first time I’ve used this stitch and like all my crochet knowledge was picked up from Youtube videos.

Amelie's blanket, made using lots of granny squares

Amelie’s blanket, made using lots of granny squares

This wasn’t nearly as late as the baby blanket I made for my nephew Joe who was born in July but got his blanket in October or November… just in time for it to get really cold.The blankets are all based around the idea of the granny square, Amelie’s as 30 granny squares joined and bordered (hint, use a square number to avoid same coloured squares touching) and Joe’s as a giant granny square with little squares around the border.

Joe's blanket, one large granny square with a mini granny square border

Joe’s blanket, one large granny square with a mini granny square border

His mother Laura, who blogs at HelloMisterMagpie kindly got me the Mollie Makes Crochet book for my birthday, so I will hopefully have lots of new ideas for crochet soon, maybe moving onto a more complex pentagon shape!

With enough tea…

… maybe I could rule the world…hmmm.

I’m currently suffering with a kidney infection (massively ouch) so am browsing for presents to reward myself with if I make it to the end of January and I came across this:

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It sums me up entirely. I run on tea. I should order it to put on my desk at work.
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Sit tight…

Thank you to everyone who has tweeted/emailed me to let me know that links and comments aren’t working on The Book and Biscuit at the moment. I’ve just ticked over past my first year of self-hosting and am now having a few server niggles. My tech support assures me that he can fix them easily, but unfortunately he doubles up as my part-time handyman (and full-time boyfriend, unlucky…) so is decorating our spare room ahead of friends coming to stay.

I leave you with a picture of my new sofa foxes so you can imagine us all brooding over how this would never have happened if I was using a pen and paper instead of pixels and digi-trickery.

Foxes

A New Year Arrival

Happy New Year! You’ll notice that I’m a little bit late wishing you that, but my family has had busy start to this year as my little sister gave birth to my lovely niece Amelie on January 2nd after a long, traumatic labour. I feel so privileged to have been there when the little lady was born and to witness my sister’s patience and strength.

Everyone is very excited, especially her great-grandmother who has been planning a reading scheme during the pregnancy and has now ordered enough classic children’s books to last until just after her eighth birthday at a conservative estimate (seriously, she’s a former primary school teacher and inspired my love of stories).

If anyone can recommend more recent must have children’s books (The Gruffalo is already a favourite in our family, but there must be lots of others) let me know and I will pass along the suggestions.