Birds, bees, needles & lots of spots

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It was during the recent trauma – and closeness – of our vigil with Ellie during her week in hospital with ‘the pox’.

She slept a lot of the time, day & night, due to her illness & the medication she was taking. She’d just recently awoken, & we were doing ordinary things, like watching children’s TV or videos, & chatting.

We got to talking about our being in hospital when she & Jake were born, when out of the blue she said:

“Doctors make babies, don’t they?”

Umm…

Continue reading

The Story Behind the Photo

This was my Silent Sunday Photo on the weekend (many thanks, by the way, to everyone who offered words of support):

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Ellie was in hospital, & on a drip. Neither she nor Jake have ever had to spend time in hospital like this since they were little babies; obviously it’s been a difficult time for all of us.

So why was she there? Continue reading

An update on Jake

For those who saw my tweet / update on Saturday night about A&E – & especially for those who expressed their concern (Thank You) – I just thought I’d write a brief update about Jake.

We took him in because he seemed to have a high temperature & was very lethargic, to the point where he seemed to be lapsing into unconsciousness. We were worried. He’d perked up by the time we got there but he was clearly not right. At the hospital they advised us to keep treating his temperature with Calpol & Ibuprofen, give him plenty of liquids & to bring him in again if necessary.

He’s been sleeping restlessly the last 2 nights & has got very hot. We’ve brought his temperature down as advised; how parents coped before that stuff I don’t know!

Yesterday he was in good spirits but unusually tired. His appetite was off, & we had to continue with the medicine to keep his temperature down.

As instructed at the A&E – he’s had a urinary tract infection before -this morning we managed to coerce him into peeing into ‘a special potty’, the contents of which are now at our GPs’ surgery. Ellie of course insisted on using it as well! It’s a twin thing. And they both got ‘special stickers’.

Because he still seemed unwell we decided that he would stay home with me today so I could look after him, while Ellie went on her own to Karen’ s.

Although not his usual energetic self he was in good spirits, & we had a great time together. Because he was unwell I let him have (within limits) free choice of what we’d do. So we watched children’s TV (including a really good Dora about books & a Wonder Pets featuring the 3 little pigs – 3x each) & he fiddled about with my iPod Touch! Actually he didn’t seem to have the energy for anything more active.

Worryingly he hardly ate a thing, although he did have a good drink of apple juice. They still have a daily nap, usually late morning, & by 1145 he was sound asleep on my shoulder. I’d given him Calpol about half an hour earlier as he felt too hot.

Three hours later when the Mummy came home with Ellie he was still fast asleep: that’s almost unheard-of. He was hot as well, so we gave him Ibuprofen. After that he seemed back to his normal self & had a really good snack & more juice.  The Mummy however was so concerned she managed to get a doctor to see him.

Of course by the time he saw her he was happily jumping up & down & devouring his bag of Organix Goodies! Despite this she thought that we were right to bring him in & that we should keep on monitoring him carefully & giving him medication if necessary.

He’s been fine since, eating a really good dinner & playing happily, so we’re hoping he’ll be back to normal tomorrow.

Not my most exciting post! I just thought some people might like to know how he’s getting on.

Thanks for reading :)

Football, Childbirth, Other Halves, Sexism & Me: a Follow-Up

Just to be clear: Tuesday’s post where I questioned whether men should take their partners with them to football matches was intended as satire.

It was a direct riposte to this article on ParentDish which questioned whether women should have their partners with them when they give birth, suggesting that men “just don’t get it”.* I used it is as a template, & just reversed gender roles where I could. It was a bit tricky trying to think of an aspect of male life that is as exclusive to our gender as childbirth is to women: there isn’t one really. Football was the best I could come up with.

The ParentDish article used (presumably accurate) examples of a few men – who seem, quite frankly, to be really quite unusually stupid – who couldn’t seem to understand pregnancy & birth. Guys: you don’t need to be a Cambridge Professor of Biology to get that growing a human being in your belly for nine months then, after it’s got quite big (that’s the B-U-M-P), shoving it out of a very small exit might just be a little bit inconvenient. And maybe cause a few changes in diet & mood?

The article then goes on to imply that these cultured geniuses are representative of all men, & that women are therefore better off without the lot of us.

“Sexism: … behavior, conditions, or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex” Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Big Tick. My post was meant to be sexist.** Because the article it’s satirising is.

So let me be clear here: telling a man that he shouldn’t be present at the birth of his children is just obscene, disgusting, a disgrace.

For me, holding my new-born children for the first time was & always will be the greatest moment of my life. And I know that very many fathers feel just the same way. What right has anyone to take that away from us? To tell us that we shouldn’t be there? Purely on the basis of our gender?

This is just plain wrong.

And not because we’re men. Because we’re human beings.

And that’s really what this is all about. Whether we’re male, female, not sure, black, white,  purple, whatever our lifestyle choices – we’re all entitled to be judged equally as human beings, not through the jaundiced eyes of personal prejudice & stereotype.

And sadly there are still people who “just don’t get it”.

* Best response I’ve yet read to this: “if you feel you can’t have him there at the birth should you really be having a baby with him?!” .

** Although perhaps not sexist enough. Several people, not all of them men, took it at face value, one even thinking that the post might be a blog-hop where others are invited to link up their own stories of going to the footy with their partners. Interesting!

Music Monday: Birthday

One of the things you lovely people out there in the blogosphere & the twitterverse may have noticed is that something I sometimes eloquently articulate upon bang on about with insightful  profundity monotonous regularity is music, my love of it, how I listen to it a lot, how my iPod Touch is now up to (just a sec…) 8,735 tracks so far, & how I should have been a singer in a rock’n’roll band. I even have a twitter account specifically for tweeting what I’m playing on my iPod, via YouTube. At least I don’t drunkenly tweet random lyrics late at night anymore as much as I used to…

So it makes sense for me to feature music in my blog. With the sad demise of Musodad’s blog I feel moved to blatantly take advantage try to pick up where he left off & do a post where I put up a few songs that have recently taken my fancy for one reason or another & write some words about them.

And… some may also have heard me mention that it’s Jallie’s 2nd Birthday today (yay!). So that gives me an obvious theme then for my first, & possibly last:

Warning: may contain traces of soppiness. I’ll try to add a little sarcasm & some bad jokes where appropriate.

Altered Images: Happy Birthday

An obvious place to start: it was either this or the Bjork-lead Sugarcubes’ “Birthday”. Altered Images’ lead singer was the scrumptious Clare Grogan: not only Gregory’s Girl, the object of Dave Lister‘s unrequited love (& the true Kochanski), but also the scourge of Craggy Island & Father Ted when she turned up there to tell him & the boys a thing or 2. So I’ll take her over Bjork any day! Also: Stevie Wonder’s “Happy Birthday” is a bit rubbish. And I don’t care if it’s about Martin Luther King.

U2: Two Hearts (Beat As One)

Say what you like about U2 & Bono, & most of us do, this is just a great rock song; from the pre-Joshua Tree “War” album. You know what I think of now when I hear this? Jake & Ellie inside their Mummy, entwined together, separate yet one, apart but together now & always, like two hearts that beat as one.

There ya go: soppiness, with rock’n’roll!

Steve Miller Band: The Joker

This was Jake’s early theme song. Yes, we give our children theme songs: doesn’t everyone? From a very early age he’s exhibited a terrific sense of humour, getting & making jokes long before we’d have thought a young child would. OK, some of the lyrics aren’t appropriate: if I find he’s a smoker or a midnight toker I may have to have words. And I don’t know what the “pompitous of love” is but I’m pretty sure I disapprove. But it’s a good song.

Elton John: Tiny Dancer

I adore this song: Elton John at his very best. It’s almost worth watching the film “Almost Famous”, about the ’70s music scene, just for the Tiny Dancer sequence. Shows the ’70s wasn’t just prog, punk & disco!

My Tiny Dancer, of course, is Ellie. This was my early theme song for her. She’s loved to dance virtually since she could stand, & has been much better at it than her Dad for at least that time. She’s always sung beautifully too.

I also used to jig her about to this, substituting in “Ellie!” & lifting her high up in the air at the appropriate moment. She loved it! Then she’d usually throw up all over me. Happy Days.

Bob Dylan: Quinn the Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn)

Jake’s current theme song: “Come on the juice, come on the cake: you’ll not see nothin’ like the mighty Jake”.  He has a great sense of humour; it’s sometimes a mystery where he gets it from…

Donovan: Mellow Yellow

Ellie’s current theme song: “They call her ‘Ellie-belly’ “…

I’m starting to think that the quality of the songs we choose for our children may be on the wane…

Beyoncé: Halo

From the ridiculous to…

Beyoncé: a bona-fide Superstar, supremely talented, ravishingly beautiful, jaw-droppingly sexy: you name it, she’s got it. And this song is just epic, beautiful & moving. Her music was playing in the operating theatre during their birth, & I’m pretty sure ‘Halo’ was playing as they were delivered into the world. I even gave it its own little post.

I can’t now listen to this already beautiful song without being profoundly moved. It’s Their Song. It always takes me back to those mad, magical moments when they came into the world & into our lives. They were so wanted for so long, & it took so many tears & trials before they finally became a part of us. When they did ‘it was like we’d been awakened’: “Baby, I can see your halo: you know you’re my saving grace”.

Happy Birthday, Jake & Ellie. We love you.

I warned you that there might be soppiness! I can’t think of any sarcasm or bad jokes at this point, sorry. Maybe next week…


Dear So & So: Violence, Legal Action & Security. Plus Some Nice Birdies

Dear So and So...

Dear Jallie babies

Thank you for respecting my request for a lessening of the bollocks-kicking activity. I think I’m on the mend now.

However when you wake up overnight & we’re good enough to let you sleep with us, please don’t wake me up at 5am with kung-fu kicks to my head.  Not hitting me while I’m trying to get you back to sleep would be nice too. And I know it’s with open palms, but it still kinda hurts.  (Yes, I’m looking at you, Jake…).

Love,

Bruised Daddy

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NHS logo

Image via Wikipedia

Dear Good Hope Hospital

I think a rebranding exercise is in order, don’t you? You need a brand, an identity, that more accurately reflects who you are & what you have to offer the British public.

I suggest: “No Hope Hospital”.

Or how about “Bloody Hopeless”?

I even have a slogan worked out for you. Writ large over your front entrance: “Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here”.

Otherwise  someone may sue you under the Trades Descriptions Act.

It won’t be me ‘though: I’m already busy suing you under every other Law I can think of, you nasty psychopath.

You are a disgrace. It’s places like you that give the NHS a bad name…*

Sore Daddy. But you may call me “The Plaintiff”

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Chris Packham

Image via Wikipedia

Dear Chris Packham & the Autumnwatch team

Thank you for your earlier suggestions for bird-foods for this time of year. They’ve gone down very well here, especially those niger seeds.

Did you mention sunflower hearts too? Also mixes specifically for ground-feeding birds? They’re also very popular here.

There are a lot of happier & less hungry birds here now thanks to you, & to shops like Wilkinsons & Tesco who stock their food

Birdy Daddy

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Dear Jallie

Sorry to bother you again.

Just an update on the security situation.

We’ve got some nice new door gates so we don’t keep having to keep all your doors shut, shutting out that nice shiny light that you like & making us all feel a bit claustrophobic. Or piling doorways with Pampers box bunkers  that would make a World War 1 soldier proud, or your old Moses basket full of toys. Especially as you eventually seem to be able to figure out how to get through them. You little monkeys!
We also now have bed-guards, so we can all co-sleep together instead of Mummy & Daddy having 1 of you each surrounded by, admittedly impressive,  pillow fortresses. If you rolled over onto a wooden floor you really wouldn’t be very happy, trust me! And neither would we.

Now, I know you don’t like being penned in; but it’s for your own safety, honestly. One day you’ll understand.

Also: I’m nearly finished converting the storage room into a big old play room: you’ll love it, believe me!

Love,

Safety-conscious Daddy

"We shall, we shall be FREE!!"

* I have to point out that whenever we’ve had problems or health concerns with Jallie they’ve been excellent. And the surgical team who delivered them were outstanding. So I guess they’re not all bad. My main problem is with its administration & the admin staff; they’re just abysmal.

Related Articles

My Bloggy Year

Totally ripping off Inspired by this post by MrsLJHall here is my year in blog posts & pages, with stats, starting with the most read.

I’ve included some posts written in 2009 or earlier from “Random Ramblings, Pretty Pictures” that have still had views in 2010.

I’m reasonably pleased with my blogs now, especially considering that this, my main one, had a 6-month gap with no major updates. I think they both look a lot better now that I’ve learnt a few tricks of the trade; & have been allowed some time inbetween the demands of demanding twin babies!

A small percentage of the worldwide web seem to have enjoyed reading them, & for that I thank you.

I hope to continue onwards & upwards for the coming year & beyond.

What a day! 88 views

20 Ways to Annoy People on Twitter 88

Knee-Deep in Nappies 81

The Gallery: Motherhood 78

You Had Me At “Agoo” 76

Silent Sunday: Learning & Loving 62

Silent Sunday: Ho Ho Ho! 59

Silent Sunday: Babies Should Be Washed Separately 58

TwinTrek: The Voyage Home 58

What a Day! continued 54

Silent Sunday: Ellie’s New Friend 52

I’m not fat, I’m sympathetically pregnant! 48

The Gallery: Emotions 43

This Blog Is Pointless 41

The Gallery: Love 39

– Huh? What are you, some kind of tramp? (a.k.a. “About”) 38

We Can See Your Halo 38

Through a Scanner, Darkly 35

Creatures (The Gallery) 35

The Gallery: Black & White 34

Alive and Kicking 34

T-7 And Counting: Gearing Up For TwinsLaunchDate 32

Gig Review: Faithless, N.I.A. Birmingham, Dec 10 2010 32

Their First Noël 28

The Gallery: A Photo I’m Proud Of 28

The Gallery: Show Me the Funny 28

Silent Sunday: A Very Jallie Christmas 27

My Favourite Music 26

Silent Sunday: It’s Cold Outside 23

Yesterday Once More? 23

The Gallery: Sparkle 22

About Me & This Stuff (Random Ramblings, Pretty Pictures) 21

The Gallery: Black & White, (The Sequel) 21

The Gallery: White 18

Drolgerg Does Istanbul #1: Why You Shouldn’t Always Listen To Your Mother 16

What’s in a Name? 12

10 More Ways to Annoy People on Twitter: A Celebrity Special! 11

The Gallery: Seasons 10

It’s been quite a year!  I’m hoping that 2011 will be even better. And maybe less dramatic :)

Thanks again for everyone who’s taken the time to read, & especially to those who have kindly left comments.

A Happy New Year to you all!

Yesterday Once More?

Warning: contains spoilers

I watched the first episode of the new series of Peep Show today. As usual it was very funny: set in a hospital, Mark has been reluctantly roped in to being the ‘birth companion’ to his ex-fiance. Which, despite both of them wishing it was someone  – anyone – else, is probably fair enough: he is after all the father.

Along the way Mark gets a call that his boiler has exploded & Jeremy –  along for moral support / as he has nothing better to do  – ‘gallantly’ takes care of it. Which of course always means just one thing: he calls Super-Hans.

Despite his best efforts at running away, Mark is actually present when the child, a boy,  is born. And finds himself overwhelmed when holding his son for the first time – while at the same time being told that his boiler’s been fixed.

OK, I know this is a comedy. The 2 main characters are pathetic losers, bumbling their way through life & managing to pretty much mess up everything they touch through sheer stupidity.

But when Mark cut the umbilical cord then held his son for the first time, clearly moved,  I couldn’t help but remember, so so vividly, 9 months ago when I first held Jake, skin-to-skin, in the delivery room. He must have felt comfortable with me: he stopped crying, then pissed on me. Mark’s words as, in a daze,  he held his newborn son for the first time? “Minimal water damage…”.

I have to confess,  I got a little emotional.

Sometimes profundity can be found in the strangest places…

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TwinTrek: The Voyage Home

My wife & our new children were in the hospital for another 4 days. They were moved out of the HDU to an ordinary room in the Maternity Ward on Saturday, the 2nd day. I mostly remember from there that I learnt how to change nappies, doing it reasonably well  from the start – to the amazement of all. At some point an ear specialist came to test their hearing (both fine, I’m pleased to say). She told us that they had the most perfectly formed ears she had ever seen. My wife’s reaction? “I bet she says that to all the boys (& girls)”. They are very nice, though. Judge for yourself:

 

On the Monday we were told the babies looked a bit jaundiced  – nothing serious, fortunately – so we relented & allowed more blood to be taken. We had noticed that they cried vigorously if they even just got a bit wet or cold, so concluded that the blood-taking wasn’t as distressing for them as it had seemed.  It turned out they were a bit jaundiced, so we stepped up their feeding regime. We were moved twice: first off the delivery ward to the regular maternity ward, then to a much bigger room: with a double bed! The staff were good enough to let me stay the night, which was a great help.

When they weren’t crying to be fed or changed they were mostly sleeping, but the times when they were awake & alert were precious:

Although it was all a bit much for some:

The boys are very tired

Then on Tuesday: Home!

Yippee!

 

What a Day! continued

The rest of the day is a bit of a blur now.

As my wife was being patched up in the theatre I was ushered off to a side room with my gorgeous new twin babies. In hindsight I probably should have been more worried; I was more just overwhelmed by the 2 utterly helpless but utterly beautiful tiny little sleeping people I suddenly found myself alone with & responsible for. We had already developed a huge admiration for the expertise, professionalism, humanity & compassion of the lead Obstetrician so I trusted & was reassured by her & her team. It couldn’t stop the unease fighting with the elation as I found myself alone with my 2 new helpless children while my wife was still in the operating theatre.

The main thing I remember is their frequently waking up & crying & my efforts to get them back to sleep. I wheeled them around the room in their cot; the motion seemed to soothe them. Then I kept having running battles with staff who came in, opened the curtains & turned on all the lights, then ran out again. Result: immediate crying. So I’d go around  closing the curtains & switching off the lights, resulting in peaceful sleeping babies: until the next 1 came in. Some staff did actually come in & do apparently important things, so I let them keep the lights on :)

I also soon found that sticking a finger in Jake’s mouth sent him back off to sleep as well.  That boy has got 1 powerful suck: he can actually hurt my fingers! Then my little Ellie grabbed my finger with her hand, wrapped her tiny little fingers around it & wouldn’t let go…

"It's like I've been awakened... I've got my angel now"

It was a moment where it felt like that up until then I hadn’t really lived.

Eventually my wife was wheeled in & we were all led off to the HDU: High Dependency Unit.  What happened there? Not really sure! I seem to remember lots of people coming & going, doing tests, asking questions, giving us bits of paper to read or sign.  At 1 point a Paediatrician tried to take blood from both babies for tests: by pricking a heel then shaking & squeezing. She seemed to take forever, & the babies seemed really distressed. After a bit she came back & told us she still didn’t have enough blood & needed to do it again. We couldn’t stand to see our helpless newborns so distressed! After finding out why they wanted the blood, & deciding it wasn’t urgent we asked them to postpone: which they did.

My lovely wife has always been keen to get them breast-feeding as soon as possible. In hindsight this was very ambitious. It’s especially difficult with twins apparently & a lot of mothers don’t even try, after her worse than expected C-Section she wasn’t really in a fit state for it.

We did seem to have some success, & their different personalities, even though newborn, were already emerging. Jake was & is never happier than when on his mother’s breast: the suction in that mouth is incredible! Ellie on the other hand mostly just wanted to sleep, & didn’t seem to want to feed much at all.  Jake’s a little trier too: he seemed determined to get his food at all costs, & my wife – although loving every second – was finding it quite painful. No photos: I value my testicles & I’d like to keep them where they are please.

I left them (my wife & babies, not my testicles) in the capable hands of the midwives & other staff to head home at around 8.30pm, very tired, very hungry & very happy.