On Happiness


I was tempted to start by saying all is quiet and then remembered that last time I wrote that the day ended with giving birth. So let’s not tempt fate and just say that all is well for the moment. Spent a happy morning shopping for preemie clothes and micro nappies (hmm and maybe a thing or two for mummy) at Kew Retail. It was nice to finally get to the shops. How we suffer without the freedom to buy things for a few days. It’s like a disease. The decision about dressing Bea in pink was entirely out of my hands as the range for what look like dolls clothes (1.4kg and under) is so limited. It’s more or less the first clothes I’ve bought them short of a few plain vests. I have still resisted all the incredibly cute dresses. Sorry Alexander. Your sister’s clothes are much more tempting and you have Lucas’s entire big boy wardrobe somewhere in the loft.

Felt very guilty as I didn’t get to the hospital till nearly 12. Had to pump as soon as I arrived as I was heaving. I forgot the burden of milk and am having to plan around my three hourly stops or the day runs away with me with nothing as simple as a baby crying to remind me to keep my supply up. It basically means I have to be home or at the hospital every three hours to achieve this.

Babies were settled and sleeping well when I arrived. Both had had good nights and Beatrix had made it to 9 hours on ventilation 3 hours off. Soon she will be off completely. She is looking much more complete and less like a cappucin monkey now. I would say this, but she’s really very pretty (even though she doesn’t look at all like me ha ha). Alexander’s face is yet to emerge for me. He seems younger and I already think of him as our youngest child, although it’s only true by 1 minute. I don’t want to do this to him so early on as I think these things can hang around for your whole childhood and affect a child psychologically if they are babied or made to feel less adequate. Perhaps because of what happened to his twin or because of his waters breaking I do feel differently towards him. Very protective, as if he is still more vulnerable which he is a bit. And slightly less bonded if I am honest as I think I resisted getting attached while he was in my womb in case anything happened. Still, I’m sure I will get over it. As he cried and cried today to fight off his c-pap mask and tubes I felt very maternal and wanted to free him and make him comfortable. It’s not about loving him any less, that comes with time anyway, but about my own sense of security and confidence with him. He is slipping slightly behind in terms of progress. He stays on his ventilation for 6 hours on. 6 hours off as his sister races ahead and has not quite regsined his birth weight but they all say prem girls do better. I had to adjust my expectations of a 34 week return today (which I have clearly made up for my own sanity) as the nurse, on being quizzed, said that sometimes it can take weeks to establish breast feeding and weeks once they are off cpap sliding backwards and forwards and needing help again. maybe 37 weeks. It’s a long haul. A summer of semi darkness and permanent twilight in the special care baby unit.

Today was restful as I managed to read while holding them, and sit by their incubators getting a few things done. I am literally in love with my iPad having initially resisted it as a big iphone that didn’t phone. My neighbour Nicki and my dad came up in the afternoon. I wanted Nicki to be one of the first to come as she helped us so much around the birth, driving me in when my waters broke, babysitting Lucas when we had to go into hospital, even at 5.30 in the morning. Next week we will have a little dinner at our local Italian for all our neighbours who have knitted, called and done small things to make life easier these past few months.

My dad was tentatively persuaded to put a hand in Alexander’s cot today. He says he doesn’t want to take the risk (of what? Squashing them?). He brought a costco chicken and enough oranges to last me till December. This is how Chinese fathers find it easiest to show affection. Through food. I think the message has been passed on and sometimes the husband accuses me of being a ‘feeder’. Lucas will be obese on my love if I am not careful.

Went to our Italian ‘La Rosetta’ tonight. A Friday night ritual that I have missed. Lucas is so comfortable there, having been in residence since he was four days old, that he eats his regular bowl of penne with tomato sauce and his ‘pink and yellow’ (ice cream) in a contented silence while we have adult conversation. The only time he piped up was to tell me it was good to see me again and to agree with me when I told his dad that my priority this weekend was to spend time as a family and to play with Lucas. I forget, he listens to and understands everything.

As I sat there waiting for the bill and watching the husband and Lucas play outside I had a moment of clarity and happiness thinking that, for all my fleeting dreams and aspirations (normal stuff, bigger house, fancier lifestyle, better more ambitious career etc), this is it. In a good way.

This is life and this is happiness. Right here right now. Not over there at some unspecified point in the future. It struck me between the eyes in a mundane moment in a seventies style Italian in Brentford. I was properly happy. And it doesn’t take much, just the simple things. Family and friends you love, hope for the future, a good meal out on a Friday night in a place where you are known and liked, living in a community where you feel supported. Strange in a way to find myself having such contented thoughts at such a time but I think all the drama and real potential of life and death makes you appreciate what you’ve got and not take any of it for granted. We have been extremely lucky.

Some thanks and congratulations. Thanks to my new mummy pal Morvern (aka Dandelion Dinners – do google her food blog!) and her daughter Martha from sunny Brentford came round last night and answered my call for foooooooood with parcels of frozen pasta and pretty little moulds of bolognese. Lucas was very happy with that for lunch today and we will be too as the long evenings wear on.

To Sharron for being psychic and sending comforters (flat rabbits and ducks) amongst other beautiful things on a day when the baby whisperer recommended I go out and buy some so that the babies an have my smell in the incubator.

To Ashley, Johnny and Madeleine for going nuts on gorgeous twin outfits. (Lucas is still doing his jazz hands thanks to your bad influence).

To Arvind for stunning flowers and chocolates.

Congratulations also to Nadia, Claude and Leya who welcomed Elliot into the world today. We are so thrilled for you and happy that all went well. Although a little on the late side, Elliot was depsatched rather more efficiently than our two with a hospital stay of, I think, less than 36 hours. We missed each other at West Mid by one hour as mine shipped into the other end of postnatal ward and they shipped out. How exciting to have a little pal for Beatrix and Alexander already.
Well done.

Right I am up too early. Back to sleep for an hour. Have a nice Saturday everyone,


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