Tuesday, June 16, 2009

From me to you..

Dear Nath and Tom,

Recently you turned 3 and it has been such a great experience that I am struggling to remember the dark moments when it wasn't all crazy stories and new adventures. It isn't that I want to hold onto the dark times but I want to remember the moments when it was tough because they make these ones so much sweeter.

It feels as though you have grown up overnight. Suddenly you are in big boy pants and you've given your dummies away. Your legs have grown and your chubby cheeks are disappearing before my eyes. Every photograph captures a different aspect to your personalities and offers glimpses of the little boys inside as you discover new things that you are capable of. You have lost much of your earlier anxieties about change and are becoming more independent but I love that you still prefer to be together, even if it means sharing what could have been yours alone. You both make us laugh so much and I constantly wish that I had a little tape recorder going to capture the differences in your sense of humour.

Tom, you have picked up so many of my traits and I now know why your grandad was as he was because the early morning questions are a killer ;-). This coupled with the tendency to tease means that you are destined for a life filled with equal amounts of laughter and reprimand but don't fret about it - those who get it will love every second of it. Your enthusiasm for music and singing is so adorable that your dad and I stop every night as you join in with the Tigger and Windy-Pooh song, slap your cap and recite your super sleuth oath. I honestly think that if we could bottle that cuteness we would bring about world peace in a second. Your fun loving personality is not without flaw, the stubborn resistance to coercion may bode well for the future but it makes it a little tough for us to get you to do some things and you can get really over excited which almost always ends in disaster but you're also so charming and affectionate that you're always forgiven quickly.

Nath, the last month has seen you blossom and grow into such a great little boy. You're absorbing things so quickly that we are constantly amazed by what you are aware of! I know you don't get it from me but like your dad you're going to be the brains in the outfit and this coupled with your good looks will take you a long way. I am so glad that you've suddenly started taking chances, I was a little worried that you would be a more anxious child but here you are jumping, running and tackling your brother with complete abandon. Although you're not as lyrical as your brother you certainly make up for it with enthusiasm and your giggles are so completely unique and infectious that we all crack up when you do. I think that you will have a more serious nature than Tom which is a good thing because I suspect he will need to lean on you from time to time.

It has been a long and sometimes difficult journey but I am so very glad that I have taken it because you have brought such joy into my life that I couldn't possibly wish for anything more.

Happy Birthday my twins,
Your mama

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Wherein I admit some personal shortcomings...

So I have suddenly noticed a weird pattern here at the homestead and I am not liking the picture that it paints.

It seems I have developed a strange and alarmingly annoying habit of being grumpy on a Saturday. I'm not sure when this started, or why but looking back over the last few weeks (as far back as my poor, challenged memory goes) Saturdays are the days when I am most likely to zip on the doberman suit and develop fish-wife like tendencies.

It seems that despite Saturdays being the very best day of the week when I was in my twenties, it is now the day when I want to get the most done and am most inclined to become irritable with those around me. Of course this general grumpiness carries over to the kids as well and I think that may be at least part of the reason why Saturdays are so much more tiring and fraught than Sundays.

Yesterday the boys and I kept bumping heads. We had several potty accidents (read: crappy pants *sigh*), complete selective hearing and some very confrontational 'moments'. This, added to my desire to get some shit done meant that even nap time was disrupted and we were all completed exhausted at the end of the day.

Today started out so much better with no potty accidents and we even left the house for 2 hours to go to a birthday party! Despite copious amounts of chocolate, sugar and other party specific junk food we still managed to get home, have a nap, play in the garden and go to sleep with no hitches at all. Not only that, I also managed to get a couple of the chairs repainted so it wasn't as if they had my undivided attention.

The childminder was at the party and we were chatting about it and she thinks that it may also be that they find Saturdays a bit weird because they're between routines but we'll see because the childminder is on leave this week so between us, the RO and I are SAHP's. Watch this space folks 'cause who knows what this week will bring!


Friday, May 22, 2009

IComWeLeave May

Hello and welcome to all the ICWLers, please remember to leave a link to your blog if you're not on blogger so that I can follow you around ;-)..

I had already composed a decent introduction post for a previous month but things have moved on since then and so I can't in good faith use it so I shall try again.

I am the Villagepig, so named because it is the English translation of the Welsh name for our house. I am not trying to be self deprecating although sometimes that does happen anyway. I am a mother to twin boys. I had a horrible and very difficult pregnancy, post natal depression and have only recently actually started to enjoy parenthood in the conventional manner.

For a large proportion of you the above paragraph will probably be a bit like chewing and swallowing glass because for you, pregnancy is the prize, the difficult and elusive culmination of years of failed conceptions. I really wish that it wasn't so and I wish that I could do more to try and help alleviate some of the pain. I tried to become an egg donor but it seems that it wasn't to be and I have recently been told that I have low ovarian reserve and am a candidate for early onset of menopause. Oh joy doesn't that sound like fun?

I have chosen not to dwell on the future because I am more of an 'in the moment' kind of gal but I needed to say all this because I had so hoped to be able to provide an example for other fertile's to follow and I didn't want anyone to feel that I had made claims that I wasn't ever going to fulfill.

Thank you for visiting and for (hopefully) commenting. I will do my very best to visit all of you as well and have no doubt that we will all find some new inspiration along the way.

Happy ICWL!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Rare moments of calm...

So beautiful that they make my heart hurt!

Monday, May 18, 2009

I told you so!

See, just as I said - you think you have it all worked out and then you realise that you have absolutely no idea!

So my post on Saturday was pretty deep right? That's because Saturday was d.i.f.f.i.c.u.l.t! Mainly due to the potty training but not helped but crappy weather (rain!) and general crabbiness.

Sunday morning dawned bright and early because for some reason the boys always get up early on the week-end but they were both in the most delightful mood. Nath came prancing in and announced that his brother was really nice and could he have a cuddle. Tell me anyone who can be grouchy after that.

The morning started well and just got better. The boys went onto the potty immediately and didn't have a single accident all day long. We have introduced the reward scheme (thanks Penny!) and it does seem to have clicked. Even the childminder was impressed because they didn't have a nappy at all today and were perfectly dry, so much so that she is taking them to the library tomorrow wearing only underpants! Well possibly trousers, a shirt, socks and shoes as well but that's all honest ;-)

So what can I say? They can be truly delightful when they want to be and today.... I love them very much.


p.s. have had a good day all round because I have last half a stone over the last 4 weeks, something I plan to continue doing especially if I can remember to take my damn thyroxine!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Humble Pie - The truth about parenting...

The only constant truth about parenting is that it never works out the way you expect it to so just as you think you have it sussed, the next stage starts and the 'fumbling around in the dark' bit starts all over again. This for me is the one aspect of it which makes it equally the most rewarding and humbling experience of my life.

Nothing about being a parent is as I expected it to be. I guess that we all have an idea of the type of parent that we aspire to be but this image is so much clearer before the reality of being one clouds the view. I have discovered that there are fundamental parts of my personality which have changed and which have had a positive, if bewildering affect on me as an individual.

In my pre-children years I was very spontaneous and my idea of routine was to not have one and to reinvent myself over and over. I loved to move, to change my hair and my style as often as I wanted but when I think back to those days now they're alien to me and I can't figure out how (or if) I was ever fulfilled.

Perhaps the truth is that routine is the corner stone for the bewildered parent, it is the foundation that substitutes for the lost family circle because it brings familiarity and comfort. The problem is that with children, especially when they're young the routine has to grow and change to accommodate their development and for the bewildered parent this brings unfamiliar territory.

I love the routine that we have built for the boys. We're not hugely strict about most things but we're pretty vigilant about when they eat, nap and especially when they go to bed. Built into this daily routine is all the little things which have evolved either through desire or necessity but all of them at some point face the prospect of ending. We are going through one of those transitions at the moment and I am having to face my personal shortcomings through the process.

I appealed for some advice about potty training twins a while back and a very good friend sent me some excellent advice. We tried but ultimately it was our childminder who really instigated the change and we're following her lead. The problem is that I find frustration and impatience bubbling up and over far more than I am comfortable with as we struggle to balance fair consistency with the practical issues which inevitably come up.

I really wish that I was more patient and more consistent but honestly I am just doing whatever is necessary to get to through this stage to the brief island of calm before the next stage kicks in.

Eish! The toddler years are so tiring!


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What would you do?

There are many things that I generally don't post about here for fear of repercussions. I don't post about work and I don't usually write about family because out of context things can be misinterpreted which leads to misunderstandings which leads to fights... But something happened over the last few days and I can't quite decide whether I am overreacting or reasonably pissed off.

See, I have siblings, younger ones who all live back home and who all live with my parents. They're not children, they are all in their twenties, capable, smart individuals with it seems zero ambition. I want more than anything to be confident that they are looking forward and aspiring towards something because above all else, I despise complacency.

As a South African living in another country it is difficult for me to express this opinion without those living back home becoming upset because they feel that I can't possibly know how hard it is for them and I imagine that they think that it was so much easier for me when I was starting out. The thing is that whether it is harder or not is entirely irrelevant because the situation back home is what it is and only hard work and perseverance will change the circumstances. I have tried to help in any way that I can. I am adept at finding solutions, it is what I do so when a problem presents its self I make it my mission to find as many potential answers as I can but it seems that either they're inappropriate answers or they're just not welcome and this is where my dilemma comes in.

I have some very successful and capable friends back home, many of whom have built careers in a difficult economy and I recently heard about a vacancy working with one of these friends. To say it was a fantastic opportunity would be to put it mildly. A small, fun, successful organisation with strong community ties and an excellent track record for employee satisfaction. Perhaps naively I thought of the my oldest, younger sister. She has the skills, the ability and the reliability to make the most of the position and to turn it into something great. I immediately informed her of the position and suggested that she e-mail her CV across because I know that all 3 of them are 'looking' for jobs and that she especially would like to get back into work.

That was Monday and when I hadn't heard anything from her this morning I sent her a text asking what was happening. Her response was that she had decided not to send it and that she was going to try another company instead. It was around this time that I got really, really angry. I was angry not only at the fact that she hadn't let me or my friend know that she wasn't sending her CV but also that she was throwing something away with such amazing potential. In a scarce job market it is a real miracle to find a position opening up which has all the makings of a career and I just cannot get my head around why someone would turn that opportunity down especially when they have no firm prospects to speak of.

Up until that point I think I had every right to be angry and to express that anger but unfortunately I did what I do, I took it too far. I was so frustrated, annoyed and embarrassed that I involved my parents and went so far as to say that I am done helping any of them (the kids). With hindsight perhaps this was unfair, they are after all adults now, fully capable of making their own decisions but I just don't see any evidence that they are and it really scares me because life is passing them by and they'll be 30 before they realise it has happened.

It is possible that they may read this, and they may get angry in return (if they aren't already, I think my parents were planning on 'talking' to them this evening) and I don't want there to be anger between us but I also don't want them to think that it is ok to continue as they are. Is it wrong to want to be proud of them? To be able to look at them and think that they have fought and cried and deserved everything that they have? The sad truth is that right now I am not proud of them and that really breaks my heart.

I am sure that there are those who will think that I am being to harsh and they may be right but the point is not that I want them to be rich or successful but rather that they are exposing themselves to risk, to life, to lessons rather than cruising along the path of least resistance.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

OMG You Rock 2009!!!!

It has been a difficult week what with the house full of illness, grumpiness and general rubbishness BUT knowing full well that today would come has made it all the more manageable. Given that it isn't Mothers Day in the UK (ours was about a month ago) it is ALL about the rocking ;-)

My package arrived on Friday form the lovely and wonderful Ali of CysterAct fame. It has taken ALL of my willpower (what little exists) to wait until today to open it up. I LOVE my present and I am amazed that Ali was able to discern that it would be so appropriate?

At the top of the picture you can see my sorry excuse for recipe books. Basically an accumulation of recipes all they way from back at school through to now. Even more sad is the fact that I very rarely refer to them. At the bottom of the picture is my lovely present from Ali, it is a recipe organiser split into different areas (Starters, mains, desserts, baking etc)...

Above you can see that all the recipes I have are typed out so I may have to cut them out and glue them into the new book. Not as pretty as copying them out by hand but far more likely to be done and completed!

Above you can see the inside cover, what you can't see (very lazy me because I used my phone to take the pics instead of my proper camera) is the lovely inscription..... Above the book is the most fantastic card which given its unique nature must be yet another illustration of Ali's resourceful and creative nature and I will cherise the kind words contained within!

Now onto the aim of the day... The lovely Liv created the idea because she (and I agree) felt that we all needed to take a moment to recognise our own greatness as well as those of our fellow bloggers most especially though it is too honour all those wonderful men and woman who have experienced the most intense of heartache in their quest to expand their families. What a wonderful and remarkeable idea it was too because here we all are in our different little corners of the world with a little something to remind us that not only are we great individually but collectively we are a force to be reckond with.

I wish that the heartache could be iradicated and everyone could experience the trials of parenthood but I hope that just for one day at least you can all let the little glimmer of hope flare.


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

An unexpected end...

I know that I promised some further egg donation updates and I have several 'typed' up in my head ready to go but now, I'm not sure they will ever come to light because there has been a new and unexpected turn of events which has really changed everything.

I have alluded to the fact that the hospital that I have been 'allocated' to hasn't been very efficient in their approach to altruistic donation and had sent a long letter outlining all the issues to the head consultant, hoping to help them improve the process. I sent the letter several weeks ago and have been waiting for a response (and a date for my cycle to start). On Friday I received a call from the consultant's P.A. asking me to meet with her today which I agreed too thinking it would be predominantly about the administrative issues.

One of the issues that I have had with the hospital is the lack of communication. After every set of blood tests I dutifully waited for the letter/phonecall which I had been promised would follow and on all occasions I had to chase them myself. The last test that was done was the AMH and I have tried on several occasions to get an update on the results. A few weeks ago I finally managed to get them to give me a summation of the results and was told that my fertility was average. Not high, not low, just average and that the 'age' of my equipment appeared consistent with my real age (in fact the words slightly younger were uttered and not by me). Not being an expert in the lingo in this area I believed them, I mean who wouldn't?

Anyway so today I dutifully turned up for this meeting with the consultant. I was on time and prepared (she was late, although she said the admin office hadn't informed her that I had arrived) for a discussion pertaining to process. What actually happened took me completely by surprise because she pulled out the results of my AMH test and showed me that in fact I am in the 'low fertility' category and not viable as a donor. She went on to suggest that if the RO and I wanted any more children that we should try immediately and expect that we would need help!

Thankfully the RO and I are content with what we have but I am gutted that after 8 months of preparation I have gone from potential donor to potential recipient. I am not upset for me so much as for the women I had hoped to help and I can't help but feel cheated by the system for leading me to believe that things were different to what they are.


Friday, May 01, 2009


Thank you to everyone who commented on my Monday post, I am surprised by how many of you have been worried about coping after the birth of your babies. To be honest, I can't even remember that time, I was far too preoccupied with getting them out in a healthy state! Since you all took the time to comment I thought I would return the favour so here goes;

C Lo said, 'The biggest skill I've picked up as a parent is letting go of the small stuff and truly recognizing what the small stuff is. :)'

I really admire this skill and am working on acquiring it for myself. Generally in life I can do this but I struggle when it comes to the kids. I really hate when I get all worked up over something trivial and let it affect my mood. An excellent skill C Lo, you're right to be proud of it!


Cassandra said, 'I can't believe you iron the boys' clothes!

I used to have things somewhat under control but since being pregnant, lazy has taken on new meaning! You'll have to wait for the report on my skills until the babies arrive.

I do iron the boys clothes, along with ours. It was soo difficult at first but once I got into the habit I realised that *I* love the feel of ironed clothing when I put them on and so I expect that my RO & the boys will to. Even if they don't care, I do like that they're all neat when I take them out in public ;-).

As for being lazy when you're pregnant, it is not only expected, it is mandatory! All bets are off during pregnancy so don't be too hard on yourself.


Parenthood for Me said, 'It's amazing the things you can cram into a day when your time is precious. I also used to hate yard work but am now really looking forward to creating our gardens and planting veggies and fruit gardens to tend to with my son.'

It's true! And I don't think that this tendency to add things to the 'To Do' list ever diminishes. Instead I think that as the kids get older and some of the daily slog starts to taper off, we as parents fill that downtime with other things - probably the reason why most retired people have immaculate homes and gardens! :-)


Mrs. Gamgee said, 'There are days when I wonder if I will be able to handle being a parent for that very reason, but I know that when it happens those impulses just sort of kick in. I'm looking forward to the day that I can look back and laugh at my laziness :)'

Not only will you laugh, you will be incredulous about it! The RO and I have come to believe that boredom and laziness are both luxuries of pre-parenthood. We never have time to be bored these days, too much to do ;-).


Fat Chick said, 'I'm really banking on #1, because I'm always late for work....'

HaHaHa, I'm not making any promises, I suspect that having a very hands-on and willing husband plays a big part of it ;-).


Jill said, 'not a parent yet, but that first paragraph is TOTALLY me and my Hubs :) Thank you for giving me hope that I will be able to get all of that stuff done if/when we have kids :)'

Enjoy it! In fact I say that you should embrace your inner lazy, procrastinating self and give it FULL reign ;-).


Serendipity said, 'I agree 100% with Mrs Gamgee, I worry a lot about how we're going to handle things once I had to go back to work, good to see that it seems to come naturally!'

Well, the hard work comes first and the naturally part follows. The good news is that you won't realise that it is hardwork at the time because you'll be too sleep deprived to spare any thoughts for the tasks you're completing.

Seriously though, the main thing to realise is that you will never accomplish everything on your own so be aware of your limitations, ask for help all the time and be PROUD of all the things you do, even if at first you don't do them perfectly!


*IMHE = In My Humble Experience

Monday, April 27, 2009

Teaching an old dog new tricks...

It isn't easy to admit being lazy but I can honestly say that I have laaazy genes. The RO and I were discussing our pre-baby selves the other day and we are astounded at the degree of laziness that we were capable of. Somehow we never seemed to have enough time to do anything of substance and yet we were childless for goodness sake!

It got me to thinking about the many hidden skills which we acquire as parents which we take for granted because we're really so busy that stopping and thinking about what we're accomplishing just isn't on the to-do list. I think that we undervalue ourselves and each other and I especially think that the childless haven't yet discovered the true depth of their own abilities. In an attempt to enlighten myself I would like to ask all of you what skills you think you have acquired since having kids/growing older. The ones which I have definitely honed are:

1) Being able to make all the beds, pick up all the washing and tidy every morning and still get to work on time. Before kids just getting to work was a chore in itself.
2) Being able to wash, iron, fold and pack away all the washing for 2 adults and 2 children. Before the boys came along Chris and I seldom washed clothing (when we did we almost always forgot that it was in the washing machine and many a load was ruined that way) and never ironed. There was even a terribly wasteful period when we worked on practically disposable clothing!
3) Cleaning the kitchen everyday. I have become particularly fussy about having a clean kitchen and am instantly in a bad mood the morning after and occasional slip when it hasn't been done the night before.
4) Gardening. I have always felt that gardening was a real chore. Since having the boys I find the time in the summer to mow the lawn once a week and love the half hour to myself.
5) De-cluttering!! Being a magpie by nature, this has been the hardest lesson I have had to teach myself and I am still not completely there yet but I am working on it.
6) Re-using/Recycling - I am a champ in both these areas, especially the re-using part.

You know the best thing about it is that for the first time I am proud of my accomplishments even though they're not what I expected to be proud of. I enjoy working on my home and garden and I love coming up with new tasks. It drives my hubby mad but it keeps me out of mischief ;-)

Go on, share your skills (and don't forget to link back or leave a comment when you do).


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Give and Take

Isn't it strange how the universe* seems to intervene just when you think that you're in for a bit of a settled time? Recently we found out that at the end of next month (May) we will find ourselves in the rare position of having a bit of spare cash. This is such a rare occasion in fact that we immediately began to speculate about the many possibilities which would suddenly be a viable prospect for the summer. In true murphy's fashion however, the universe* had other plans.

We had arranged previously for our caravan to be serviced by a friend who specialises in this area (it is a very specific role don't you think?) and he came around on Tuesday to do the service while the RO and I were at work. I guess I should have realised that things weren't altogether fine because I didn't hear from him all day but I figured he may have moved onto another job. I sent him a text(sms) asking how the caravan was to which he replied 'unloved'. It appears that our well loved (and also well used) caravan is really on its last legs as damp has set in, the wheel bearings are shot and a multitude of other little problems came to light.

As things stand we are waiting for a full and proper quote on how much it would cost to repair said caravan but I'm thinking that we may need to consider an alternative solution (thinking maybe folding camper?) so all the other things we were planning are now on hold while we try and figure out what to do. It is an issue because we have booked to go camping with the grandparents at the beginning of August, which is our main holiday for the year and we really don't want to miss it. Things like this really stress the RO out because there are so many potential pitfalls (especially as whatever we do we would NOT be able to buy something new) so hopefully we find a decent solution really soon.

In other news, a dear friend lost his mum last night and neither the RO nor I know what to say. It was an unexpected death brought on by a perforated appendix and so there is the added shock to deal with as well. The RO and I have been painfully aware of how limiting the electronic communication can be.

I hope that things are well with all of you, we're going to enjoy a couple of days of peace because the boys are with gran and grandad until tomorrow afternoon.

Take care of you and yours!


* I say universe, not because I am particularly new-age or anything but because it nicely encompasses whatever weird karma/fate/law governs this type of thing.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

IComWeLeave Week commencing.... NOW!

Welcome all you lovely ICWL'ers....

I am feeling a bit lazy right at this moment so if you are totally new go to my previous intro post which can be found here.

On the off chance that you are on a return visit, latest updates are below and there will be more to come as soon as I can find my inspiration which is currently winning at hide & seek ;-)


Monday, April 20, 2009

Regular updates commencing ;-) (although outdoor competition is fierce!

For those who pay notice, you'll realise that I should be on my way to London so that I can leave for the Bahamas in the morning. The trip however has been postponed until late summer so I unexpectedly have some 'unallocated' time. Yay me :-)..

This week-end, the weather was lovely so we took the boys to an RSPB venue which is about 40minutes away from us. I was really impressed by the organisation, we were met by a volunteer as we arrived (I think that they always approach families with children) and she explained the route and discussed membership options. As it was we decided to just pay the normal entrance fee as we wanted to get an idea of what the place was like before committing to an annual membership and I was really impressed that they didn't try and push the membership. The boys each got given a pack of stickers and a laminated card to hang around their necks so that they could play 'Birdy Bingo'. Each card had 10 blocks with pictures and instructions about what they were to look for. At nearly 3 years old I didn't think they would get it but they loved the idea and really engaged with the concept. Unfortunately poor planning meant that we didn't have time to do the whole 2 mile walk so we went about halfway before we needed to leave but we'll definitely we going back.

The boys are really growing up fast now, everyday they're creating more complex ideas and communicating them with such ease. I like to eavesdrop on their conversations when they're playing and I am always rewarded by little gems. Nath loves to impersonate me and has mastered the nagging mother intonation and he orders Tom around in that tone all the time. Tom still has the edge in terms of size and strength but they're pretty evenly matched which means we rarely have to intervene when they fight (although sometimes we'll do so for our own sanity!).

We did start potty training this week-end (Thanks Pen!) and it went fairly well but I think that we'll need to commit properly this coming week-end and make sure that we don't have anywhere that we need to be (we had a Christening and the RSPB yesterday which seriously interfered with potty plans). I think that they get the idea but they're pretty uninterested, but I guess this is an improvements on the earlier attempt because at least they no longer fear the potty.

I am going to finish off this rather bland post now with a promise that I will come up with something a bit more entertaining for tomorrow!


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I haven't disappeared...

But I AM very busy :-)

In exactly one week I leave for the Bahamas where I will spend some time providing training and consultancy (along with a colleague) to a new client. It sounds lovely doesn't it - unfortunately it is very unlikely that I will get much time to do anything but work and when I do have some down time, most of it will be taken up by the heartache of not being able to share it with all the men in my life.

I have managed to arrange it so that I am there over a week-end and am going to try and go diving (I haven't been for years and was really annoyed that I didn't get the chance when I was there in January) and do some decent sight seeing. Last time I spent all my time on Nassau but I would like to see something of the other islands so please let me know if you have any recommendations?

Other stuff will follow (an update on potty training, bunnygate and the glorious nature of outdoor cooking) but for now, work beckons and there is a LOT of it!


Thursday, April 09, 2009

Noteworthy events (like erm, Easter)

Wow, I can't believe that this year is flying past so quickly, I mean Easter Week-end?? Seriously? What happened to March?

We're off to visit the in-laws this week-end which is always an exciting event, not only for the boys who obviously love visiting their grandparents (and Holly the dog, oh and Lucy the cat too) but we quite enjoy the break as well. I am lucky really because I get on really well with both my in-laws and so it is an easy time for all involved.

Thankfully visiting the in-laws over what is ostensibly a religious holiday doesn't come with any expectation that we'll partake in any religious festivities (as it would if we were back home in SA) so we can all just relax, eat chocolate and hope for some sun.

In other news, my younger sister has ended her engagement after dating the boy for about 7 years. It is a long story story involving rival families, 2 continents and much adolescent angst but it appears to be what is best for both of them and both the RO and I hope that they'll both come through this stronger, wiser and maybe even friends. On the upside it does simplify both of their lives and I see that as a good thing because unless you're really sure, your twenties should really be about self exploration if you want to live contentedly later in life (woh! that is like sooo deep man).

Also in the news is that we have finally! managed to scrape together the time (someone elses), money (ours) and inclination (we're good at procrastination) to get our deck terrace added to the end of the house. This is an especially good thing because it means that for the first time in 4 years we can open our french doors without risking death from the 6 foot drop which was the distance between door and ground. A costly but necessary addition but again, enjoying it is dependant on it not raining. Unfortunately it is raining right now and looks like it will continue to do so all week-end *sigh*. I wouldn't care but it has been glorious sunshine for the last 4 days - I guess Murphy has had a hand in again.

Oh yes, if you're wondering what has become of my egg donation posts, I am trying to get some things straightened out with the clinic. Nothing major but it appears that there has been some kind of administrative oversight, like they're NOT TELLING ME ANYTHING! Anyway, as soon as I have news, you will have news but in the meantime....

Happy Easter y'all!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Come on t'internets, I need your help! (WARNING: Toilet talk follows)

So here's the thing.... those of you with some idea of the past couple of years will know that the boys have had a bit of a poop problem, or more accurately, a lack of poop problem, accompanied by much screaming and tearfulness. Well about 6 weeks ago we decided to try potty training (read: the childminder decided and we followed instructions ;-)) but the problem was that both boys starting holding everything in which made the pooping issue worse so we decided to give it a break for a while.

With spring more or less here, we're hoping to start it up again but we really need some advice/anecdotal evidence of what worked or didn't work for you. How on earth do you go from nappies all the time to nappies some of the time? Our childminder is amazing and we know that she has successfully potty trained several of the older children and steered their parents through the murky waters but I really want to get some opinions so that we can compare notes.

My biggest worry is that they will start holding it in again. Tommy went an entire day without weeing and Nate started holding his poop in so it would 'back-up'. We seem to have that all under control now (Movicol daily sachets rock!) and they're regular as clockwork and I don't want to return to the pain of previous weeks.

This leads me to another problem I have, how on earth do you get from nappy stage to toilet stage and still retain your sanity (and your sweet smelling home, clean(ish) carpets and poop free floors)? And OMG will I have to hand wash pants or can they be done in the washing machine? Oooh the head hurts....

As you can see I really need your help, your superior knowledge, your unfailing advice so please drop me a mail, leave me a comment or link to a post because I know that YOU know the right thing to do ;-)


Thursday, April 02, 2009

Spring at last?

It never ceases to amaze me how different my adopted country is when the sun starts to shine. A week ago we will still layering up in the morning, bracing for the wind when we left and just generally hoping that the good weather would hurry up. Then the clocks changed and suddenly the birds are singing, the sun is shining and people are starting to emerge from their little rabbit holes and greeting each other with delight. Clearly the Vitamin S is having a profound effect on our moods (thank god for that!).

Unfortunately I haven't been able to enjoy it as much as I would like to because this week has me off work due to illness for the first time in aaages. It seems I have picked up some kind of ear/gland infection and it is so unpleasant that even the sun hasn't managed to entice me out into the garden. It is such a pity and makes me all the more aware of how wasted sick leave is on the the sick! :-)

Now I realise that this is turning into a truly boring post and you'll have to forgive me for that (blame it on the painkillers), I promise to return to deep contemplation and navel gazing as soon as the ear heals, in the meantime rest assured that you are entertaining me and that I appreciate it deeply albeit it quietly from the corner.


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Rounding up March

Ola happy people, happy clock changing day :-). For those of us in the UK this that this morning we had 1 less hour to sleep in this morning, but a little more light to enjoy at the end of the day. If, like us, you have small children, this can be a bit tricky (one of the boys has been lying moaning in his bed for about 30 minutes because he doesn't want to sleep). Anyway, roll on spring and summer, let's hope that this year it is a decent one!

March has been a fairly satisfying month all round. I revived my blog, raised some money for charity, moved a couple of steps closer to finishing the egg donation cycle, attending a conference on behalf of a charity, discovered loads of new and exciting bloggers through ICLW and rekindled a friendship after nearly 2 decades!

A few of you may remember that I posted a few years ago about making a new friend (if you're that interested you can go here) because I have found it quite difficult to make close friends with people in the UK so when I do feel a connection with someone I feel quietly hopeful. So a few weeks ago when, through the joy of Facebook, I got in touch with an old school friend it was wonderful to find out that she lives in London with her family. I knew that I was attended the Vitality Show this week-end and she very kindly offered to put me up for the night so that we could catch up.

I won't go into the details of her life (I don't want her thinking I will reveal all to the lovely blogosphere) but what I will say is that she has become everything that I expected her to be, poised, beautiful, funny and an incredible mother. We had such a great evening and I could not have felt more comfortable if I was in my own home surrounded by my own stuff. Much wine and champagne was consumed so forgive me the rambling post, recovery isn't as swift as it was in my earlier years.

The conference was very tiring but I think that we raised the profile of the Give Hope, Give Life campaign and we had around 30 woman give us contact details as they would like to know more about whether it is something that they could do. If you want to read a bit more about it please do, the website is here) but also my next personal post about the process will follow shortly.

All being said, March has been a great one and if today's weather is an indicator (it probably isn't but a gal can hope) them April will be smashing too.


p.s. thank you to ALL the lovely ICLW commenters, I hope that I have returned the favour for all of you, if I haven't got to you yet I will! For the record, Incy Wincy was real and I took that photo when we were on holiday in the US. Although freaky looking and quite big, they're actually harmless.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

So you think you want to be an Egg Donor (part 2)

Part 2 begins with a referral letter and appointment at a local hospital which specialises in infertility. I am lucky in that I live fairly close to one of the leading institutes for reproductive medicine but most major cities and large towns should be able to cater to all the requirements. Before reaching this stage though, you will be required to attend at least 1 session with a counsellor and in some instances a psychologist this is for your own good so please make the most of it. Below I will describe my session as best I can recall it so that you know what to expect.

I arrived at my hospital and was met by a lovely and warm lady and I was made to feel very welcome. The aim of the session was for both parties to cover any questions/issues and to discuss the general aspects of being an egg donor. Many of the questions centred around the logistics of the process and as these may differ from place to place, I am not going to describe them in detail but suffice to say that it is almost exactly the same as the first half of IVF. The remaining questions were far more personal and I hope that by sharing my views and answers I may be able to allay some of the fears which some of you may have.

(Please note that these are not the exact questions and aren't in any particular order :-))

Question 1:
What does Egg Donation mean to you and what has drawn you to it?
For me, it is an opportunity to do something tangible that I can be proud of and which may help someone else achieve parenthood. I have always wanted to do something and have always felt that I should do something for those less fortunate for me. Unfortunately, when I had the chance to I spent my time being frivolous which was fun but left me with a lingering feeling that I had somehow failed to fulfil an ambition. This feeling, coupled with the overwhelming sadness I felt towards woman who had been less fortunate than I was and who couldn't fall pregnant easily and without help led me to investigate what, if anything, I could do. I was initially going to fly back to South Africa as I knew people and places which specialised in this process back home but when I discovered that the UK was desperate for donors I decided to get involved here instead.

Question 2:
How do you feel about the idea that your eggs may result in a child?
The honest answer is that I can't imagine a feeling about this because pregnancy was such a horrible experience for me that I do not associate my eggs or pregnancy with being maternal. I wish I had the glowing stories that so many woman do about how they bonded with their babies in the womb and so were instantly in love with the newborns because that is the fairy tale. The reality for me was so different and it took me a while to realise that the 2 infants in NICU were more than just my responsibility. As an extension of this, I feel no connection to my eggs and I don't mourn when they pass, unused from my body every month. Much like donating blood, I would prefer to give what I don't need away in the hope that someone else finds a better use for it.

Question 3: (the BIGGIE)
How do you feel about the removal of anonymity from the process?
Obviously the change in the act means that I need to consider the possibility that in 16 years time one or more children may knock on my door wanting to know more about their genetic identity. Although potentially an issue for others, my husband and I have come to the conclusion that this possibility is not in itself that scary a prospect as long as we ensure that we are always honest with our children and our family about it. We feel that the very worst thing that could happen would be to keep it from everyone, only to have them faced with a genetic sibling somewhere down the line. Instead we will include this in the discussion (in a basic sort of way) when our children start asking about where babies come from. Both the RO and I are adamant that our children need to understand from an early age that babies are made in a number of ways and that all of them are equally important.

The above question is the one which I have been asked the most whenever I have discussed this outside of my family. I am often surprised by the number of misconceptions that seemingly educated people have about the changes in the act and how often their emotions cloud their judgement. The biggest misconception is that children born from my eggs would have a financial claim to my estate and this is completely untrue. If you're struggling with the lack of anonymity, try and think about how similar changes have positively affected children who were adopted because ultimately it is their right to know their genetic connections if that will help them to form a complete identity.

The counsellor and I spent well over 2 hours talking through these areas and she was really amazing at illustrating all the small things which I hadn't even considered. For me there never was any doubt that I would do it but there were some things which she touched on which helped me to formulate how I felt about the process and the impact it could have on the people who I love.

Before I left, she gave me a large pack of documentation to take away with me so that I could refer back if there was anything which I later became unsure of. I was also given the forms to complete to enter into the program. Right at the back of the form was a special section which was by far, the hardest part to complete and also one of the most important but I'll get into that in part 3 of this riveting saga ;-)


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Jade Cerisa Lorraine Goody (1981-2009)

There are many amongst you who will not know who I am referring to and for others the name will invoke reactions more extreme than should be possible about a person that you have never known personally.

At just after 3am this morning Jade succumbed to the cervical cancer having only been diagnosed last year. At 27 years old Jade had lived a very colourful and public life for which she received a great deal of criticism, most visible from the snobbish middle class who despised her loud mouthed garish ways. For me it is the last months of her life which have illustrated the true nature of this remarkeable woman as she chose to use the terrible disease and her fame to ensure that her boys have the best possible opportunities in their future. Her reality show which followed her as she fought to overcome the cancer has raised the profile of this socially under acknowledged killer will save thousands of young woman from a similar fate and for this alone she should be admired.

I cannot begin to imagine how difficult this time has been and will be for her family but I hope that they know that she is a modern heroine of the most admirable kind.

Happy Mothers Day Jade.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Welcome ICLW commentors, please make yourself at home...

I am ICLW No. 104 - Double Delight

I am so proud of myself, I did it, I managed to get myself included despite having some weird mental block when it comes to anything related to this blog (I am usually quite tech savvy honest, I dunno why I struggle here???)

Anyway, enough punctuation abuse, let me introduce myself for those of you kind enough to stop by for the first time.

I am the Villagepig (VP) and just so that you don't think I am being harsh on myself, it is the English translation of our house name. I live in a little village in North Wales, England with my husband (the RO or Respective Other) and twin boys who turn 3 this year.

I am South African born and bred but moved to the UK nearly 6 years ago for a change. Little did I know at the time that the change would arrive in the form of bearded geek from the North East of England. We met 3 months after I arrived and were living together 10 months later. We married after 18 months and the twins arrived (early) 7 months later. I have gone through the details leading up the birth of my boys in an earlier blog which you can find here if you have the time and inclination.

Pregnancy was an awful experience for me which wasn't helped by a particularly complicated twin pregnancy. Full details are in the other blog but the short of it is that anything that could go wrong did and we developed twin to twin transfer syndrome. Tom & Nate were born by c-section on 06 June 2006 (that's 06-06-06 for the observant among you) and we were proud to have reached 31 weeks gestation. They spent 3 weeks in NICU and we were really lucky that we had no complications other than jaundice. I wish someone had told me how physically easy that part was because what followed seriously kicked my 'normally pretty in control' ass!

9 months of weight issues complicated by terrible reflux and shocking sleep deprivation resulted in a diagnosis of post natal depression. Happily the right medication sorted that all out and I am now happily pill free (well except for the ones I take for all those other ailments).

Good crap, this is proving to be a loooong post, I hope that you're following, especially those of you in the back because we're nearly done ;-)...

I disappeared from here for a while last year while I gathered up the reins of my new identity as a full-time mother/wife/employee and have returned because I missed my outlet and because I feel that the time is right because I have at least 7 free minutes a day to spare so why shouldn't I fill them with something? :-)

I have a new passion, one bourne out of the courage and drive that so many of my blogging friends have shown as they struggled with infertility. Before joining the blogging community, my experience of infertility was fairly pedestrian in that I knew people who had experienced it but the realities were hidden behing the social graces. The first story that I read which brought home the true scale of the impact infertility has on lives was from another South African blogger, Tertia and her story literally made me cry for days. There are so many more which have touched me over the years, not the least of which being Trish who has also been my BFOL (best friend on-line) that I realised that it was within my power to do something proactive to support the cause. This step is egg donation and I am about halfway through my first cycle and I have decided to make it my mission to get people talking about what they can do too. I have written about it here and more posts will follow.

I hope that I haven't alienated any of you by now, please come back, I don't usually go on for so long and I will make up for it by being suitably cheeky by back reading all your archives (which I do even if it means I give up precious sleep hours). I shall leave you with a photograph of my lovely boys and please tell me a little about yourself when you leave a comment ;-)


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Good old sickness...

I am all set to write the next step in the path to donation but reality is being a little bit, well.... real :-)

On Friday we had a very successful day of fundraising, accumulating a total of £211 which is pretty good considering that I work with a bunch of cynics :-). Unfortunately, somewhere during the course of the day, I strained a muscle or pinched a nerve in my back. The doc thinks that it may be sciatica but will only know for certain if it doesn't improve so that in itself has made me grumpy.

On Monday, I fetched the boys from their CM and dear old Tommy had an explosive episode seconds after announcing that his tummy was sore. Later in the evening he threw up again but then it seemed to settle down. My RO then started throwing up in the middle of the night and has been down with gastro ever since.

I am now hoping that Nate and I manage to avoid it because I am sick of the sickness ;-)

So stick it out, new post is pending and will be up very soon. In the meantime, Trish you're a hunny and Caro, you're a star - just by being on the other end you're giving me a reason to commit!


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Red Nose Day 2009

Tomorrow is Comic Relief in the UK which is basically a national fundraising day and I take it very seriously. Every year I take it upon myself to beg, cajole, entice and generally annoy all my colleagues at work in an attempt to raise as much as I can.

This year is no different and since 1pm this afternoon (6 hours ago) I have:
* Baked a Victoria Sponge cake
* Baked a HUGE carrot cake with marscapone icing
* Baked 12 butterfly cakes
* Cooked 2 large pots of Chilli
* Made up several bags of sweets
* Made several bags of popcorn (some sweet and some salty)

Tomorrow I am selling all of this to the people at work for crazy prices so that I can feel good about doing something charitable. My hubby says it is all about the Catholic guilt (which seems to linger despite ditching the religion itself).

Also, my lovely hubby has drummed up sponsorship and so this evening he is shaving off his beard, in weird stages and we're photographing each stage. I will post the pictures if they're funny. Hopefully the boys don't freak out too much tomorrow when they come back from the grandparents but I guess we'll only know that tomorrow :-).


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

So you think that you might want to be an Egg Donor?

I guess that for most people this thought doesn't even enter their minds, I mean it isn't exactly dinner party conversation and it isn't something that crosses our paths all that often.

We all know about surrogacy and adoption as both get a fair amount of publicity and most of us know at least 1 person who has been through IVF in their journey to motherhood. For some woman, the problem starts earlier than that and for them IVF is a pipe dream because without the egg, the sperm is redundant and no amount of stimulation will provide the building blocks to create the baby which they dream of. This is where egg donation comes in and so I am going to try and describe the process, give some information and encourage as many people as I can to consider whether this is something that they can imagine themselves doing.

I guess the first step would be to ask why you even consider doing this and the answer to this question will be completely unique and personal. I want to do this because I have come to realise that giving makes me happy. Sure there are many other things which make me just as (and sometimes more) happy but giving is the one little thing that I can do which makes me feel that I am helping to make the world outside my own a little bit better for someone. It started small through donations, charities and recycling kids stuff to those less fortunate and now I am ready to move onto something more personal. The truth is, I hated being pregnant, it was long and difficult and not something that I want to do again. Thankfully I had my boys and so our family is complete so I'm thinking that if someone else can make use of the remaining eggs then that's what I want to do with them.

Step two should be about educating yourself and there are loads of places to look including:
United Kingdom: National Gamete Donation Trust
United States: Having Babies
Australia: MIVF
South Africa: Nurture

The American and Australian ones I have taken from a Google search so I would suggest that you research the options there carefully but no doubt these sites would be a good starting point. Nurture in South Africa is run by the lovely Tertia who will take very good care of you and the National Gamete Donation trust in the UK is run by the lovely Pippa who is fabulous in every possible way given that she almost single handedly runs such a fantastic operation.

In the first instance you should read, read and then read some more. Get a feel for the experiences and try and come to grips with the process. Although many people deal with this differently, I have found that being well read on a subject means that speaking to my GP is a much for fulfilling process.

Which leads me to step three which is speak to your family doctor. Admittedly I am lucky in that I have a wonderful doctor who takes the time to talk things through with me and when I brought this up with her she was compeltely supportive. In the UK you will need to get a referral letter from your GP and they will know who to send it to. It was around this time that I broached the subject with my husband because I wanted to understand all the ramifications upfront. Luckily my RO is fantastic and he supports me completely.

It is a lot to take on, and it will probably take you a fair amount of time to get through steps 1 - 3, but I really hope that you'll consider it and take the time to research the process because even if you decide it isn't for you, if the topic comes up you can be a great ambassador which is just as important really.


p.s. If you're in the UK, I will be working on a stand at the The Vitality Show on Saturday the 28th March at Earls Court in London. Tickets are £14.50 and there will be loads of things going on so if you decide to visit (it is on from the 26th-29th) please come and say hello!!

Friday, March 06, 2009

OK so the story goes....

Just after the boys were born I had a moment wherein I felt an immense amount of grief for all the wonderful, fantastic and awesome woman whose stories I followed but who had yet to fullfil the dream of motherhood. In the months that followed their birth when I struggled with the reality that I wasn't the mother I had always expected I would be (cool, calm, competant) but rather frazzled and surviving from one moment to the next I sometimes felt that maybe those were the lucky ones but as the PND passed and the boys grew, I realised that it really is the thing which makes us complete even if it isn't in the way that we expected.

All this thinking (a rarity for me I can assure you) coupled with the information that it was possible for me to try and do something about it led to a conversation with my hubby about the possibility of egg donation. As always he was (and is) tremendously supportive and with his blessing I began to investigate the options. Initially I was going to return to my home nation of South Africa where a blogging friend was in the midst of setting up an egg donation charity but it was then brought to my attention that the UK is has a serious shortage of egg donors and that the average woman can wait up to 10 years so it seemed that there was just as pressing a need close to home.

In November last year I started the process and attended an appointment with a psychologist to discuss the many aspects which can affect a person. Thankfully, through reading all the amazing stories that all of you write daily I had already thought about many of the supposed pitfalls and potential issues and so this session was actually more of a chat ;-).

In December I met with the embrologist at St Mary's Hospital in Manchester and had several blood tests done to ensure that I was free of HIV, Hepatitis and other incurable diseases (I was). Last week I had my follow up meeting and so the leg work is almost done. All going according to plan, I will start the medical side toward the end of March and by the end of April it will all be done.

I have resurrected my blog because I want to document the steps (I will dedicate a post to each stage, including the early ones) in the hope that more woman will be encouraged to follow suit.

I hope that you will find it interesting and informative and that you will encourage your sisters and friends to at least consider the possibility because I can't imagine what my life would be like without the boys and I really want every woman to have the choice, even if it means sharing a little part of myself.

I know that this is a brief post and that it doesn't begin to address the true depth of all the elements to thhis proces but rest assured that I will get there and I hope that you'll join me in creating wider discussion.

All the best :-)


Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The Resurrection

It has been a while and I make no promises that I will be better at maintaining the commitment required but here I am, with the very best of intentions.

The year has been eventfull, the boys are older (I am older), the world has changed and the winter has been COLD but I am still standing and intend to keep it that way.

I guess the main reason for resurrecting the blog is that I have something coming up which I would like to keep a record of and since I have written about my issues here before I figured it was as good a place as any to record the new happenings.

In the meantime, I hope that you're all well (actually I have still been following all of you so I am up to date) and pop back later for the details.