Archive for me

that last day

i know how it goes by now. i’ve been through it a few too many times, maybe… that last closing of your usual programs, that last email, that last call, last signature, last thoughts and lists, that turning off the computer really has an effect on me.

i’ve done it before and everytime it happened it was always my choice, my decision and that’s probably why it’s hard because at that last “are you sure you want to turn off computer” you have no clue what you’re sure of. the decision was made, but it seems way too scary to click YES, and it’d be so easy to say NO and keep sitting at your desk.

not many people have had this kind of last days, i’m sure we all complain about our jobs, i’m sure we all hate or have difficulty getting up in the morning so early and either take the bus/tram/car to work, face traffic, most people have to take care of a million things before leaving the house wishing they could start work later but still finish in time to see daylight. i’m sure there are a million things to say about what we like least about our jobs, but our jobs are our lifes and take up enormous amounts of our energy so it’s naturally a very big part of us. i’ve complained, i’ve whined really, gosh i worked in places where i had to struggle through rain by bike to get there, imagine that at 8am and then having to work 8 hours with wet clothes. i’ve worked in places where i had to drive 12kms through unbelievable traffic and praying “our father” in order to keep myself from thinking i was going to die! i’ve worked in a place where a tram ride would take 30min, i could read a book feel relaxed but had a car speed by at my exit sending a massive wave of dirty rain water at me! so, yes, i’ve have reasons to complain. i’ve had stressy bosses, wierd colleagues, long work nights, early morning deadlines, stupid printers and computers that would be better off in the trash… but that last day…

that last day seems a bit too ridiculous to think about all of the things above, but mostly i think about how scary it is to picture the next morning you won’t know what to do, as if you could eliminate habits in one second… seeing that habits take about 3months to BE a habit, stopping one might take more, maybe… or not. because after that last day you notice how much you needed to stop. all of the last days i’ve had have been sad and in a way plain simple. you start work, there’s a glow in your face only because you know everyone is thinking about it, and then there’s a moment where you get hugs and best wishes and all of the most amazing compliments for what has been and who you are. which believe me, compensates for any stress you’ve ever had. i’ve even had ex-bosses cry that last day because they finally realized how much i’d be missed and was important to the “team”… not here in moz! i think i was appreciated every step of the way and that helps make my job easy ;)

anyway, every last day has a calm aspect to it, a moment of laughter… and that insane feeling that you’re about to burst up in tears at the end.

not everyone has had the amazing opportunities i’ve had and who knows if they’ll keep coming, but i’ve been very lucky. in maputo i worked with friends, with people my age, with great minds, great designers and above all what it felt like family. this will be a turning point for me, for i’d like to start something of my own, though i will look for a job nonetheless, somebody needs to pay for the daycare, but i’ve reached a point by watching others around me, where i hope to do something with my name on it too.

it’s been a great ride working with you estudio4 i’ll always remember my corner in that office and will keep the memories, the sand, the lunches, the red-lining, the misspelled emails we received, the frustrations, the stress but foremost i’ll remember you… us… the team!

THANK YOU!

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14 months and moving on

after the twelve months i really thought things, surprising things, would slow down, i really imagined that between their mommy who started walking at 9 months, and their daddy that got up at 2 years-old, it’d take a while before walking was part of their lifes. but their 13th month was really just a space between crawling fast, to too fast and getting up and walking. 5 days before their 14th monthaverssary they got up and instead of the usual and already so common two-steps-fall, F got up and walked from their bedroom to the livingroom (mommy style)… which are about 15steps in their tiny feet… M watched that day still playing it safe and not really wanting to be less than perfect (daddy style)… the next morning M at around lunch time decided it was his turn to shine and did the same, circa 15steps from bedroom to livingroom and clapped in the end. i never thought it’d be so overwhelming, i mean i had seen so much already, between sleeping the whole night, eating everything (only complaining when the plate is empty… which always seems too soon for them), blabbing, crawling, i thought i had prepared myself to see them walk and think “good for you” without tears or ridiculous “awwwws”… but no. no way could i see those proud smiles, laughs, claps and not shed a tear or hold them so tight they’d want to not walk but run away. it’s impossible to watch all that effort for a few steps and not feel an imense joy, and a scary feeling for them. if you look at them while they focus on their feet and overcome obstacles… my kids not only walk but they prefer to step over higher things, they don’t go around the toys, they rather go through them, stepping over boxes and pillows, the harder it is it seems to make them happier and less scared of whatever crosses their way. and i just stare. i cheer, and i hold them at the end of the corridor when they decide that they want to try running and they can’t seem to find the brakes, but just before they fall into my arms laughing and pretending their running from eachother, i freeze time and see every muscle growing, moving and their hearts beating faster and happier. i see their eyes open up as if they just saw the world, i see every little movement as a conquest. there isn’t anything in this new phase that i can’t relate to right now.

as they beging to walk and discover how amazing it is to do things by themselves while still knowing we’re there right behind them, we, the adults, the parents are also about to embark on a whole new world.

i left lisbon in 2002, initially for only 10months… well, that ended up being 9years… he has also left his home in milan in 2005 and what was uncertain became 6years. we are about to go away, towards north this time, to the hemisphere we grew up in, to europe, to portugal… to lisbon. i am finally going home.

i do not know what to expect. yes, it’s the place i grew up in, the place i left but always wanted to go back to… but while doing this i had no idea i’d be who i am right now and so going back is not going back to who i was, it’s a whole new thing. i’m scared of everything that i have missed, or thought i couldn’t live without and did, scared of having made up an idea of what lisbon is, instead of what it became. i am scared of realizing i am part of a much larger world and not of just lisbon. you may think this is contradictory to what i always said, but when the moment finally arrives you notice that you might now know the place anymore. in 9 years i’ve gone back “home” always on holiday or maternity leave and what place doesn’t look, feel, taste new than when you see it on a 24h timelimit? i had no plans, i could visit all my friends in just one day, or divide them up between meals in a whole week. i could climb all the 7hills on one day (except when i was carrying twins obviously!) or decide not to and take the tram (also not when pregnant!). i could decide to explore new shops, new restaurants, new parks, new brunches, new views just because i had time… but what happens when that time in that same city you explored thouroughly is replaces by a 9 to 5 job? do you really see it anymore? do you really live it? in milan we did, in antwerp we did, in maputo we tried… but when you had such an admiration for a place and a almost mystical feeling towards it, it might just come crashing down… and that scares me… a lot. it’s like their tiny steps…

i’m taking it slow, though all tell me to hurry for there is an economic crisis in the world, as if i’ve been living away from it, as if i haven’t felt here any of it. i know it’s going to get very tough, but i need this, i want this and i will do what i can to make the transition easy. my babies will feel the change, i know, even if only through us or maybe because they won’t see their nanny anymore, gosh if i could she’d come with us, but they will have grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, my friends and their children to grow up with and maybe one day i’ll be able to explain how hard thought needed this decision was. leaving is not leaving, it’s starting… it’s trying harder to give them and us what makes up happy. we chose to have them to ourselves for this year, we decided things for them and we created a world for them with the four of us, it’s time to share, to let them see everyone else to let them know that we also are beginning… also taking our first steps towards something we can’t see but hope and imagine it as a happy place.

a birth story…

that morning i woke up feeling tired for the first time in 37 weeks of a wonderful pregnancy. someone once told me “the moment you feel tired, something’s about to happen”… they were right.

my c-section was scheduled for two days later and i had spent the day before enjoying a wonderful time with friends on our terrace eating a great and tasty bbq. i was not worried, but that morning i woke up wanting to go back to bed. my sister sent me an sms very early knowing i was waking up early too to pick up my in-laws telling me that i should measure my blood pressure just to keep an eye on it until the delivery on wednesday… she knew i had no more appointments until then so as a doctor herself her advice was very clear. as he went into the coffee place i decided to go to the pharmacy and have that blood pressure measured… as the nurse measured it and his eyes become worried i felt a small panic inside… “maybe you should call your doctor…” i did… “stay calm… get someone to drive you to the hospital asap and i’ll be right there” i cried… there was no one to drive me… i drove myself to the hospital with a very high blood pressure, two babies kicking and tears swelling up in my eyes… while i drove, he made a few calls and his parents who were already waiting for us at the airport were picked up by someone else and found out in their first moments in lisbon that they’re 5th and 6th grandchildren were about to be born.

as i parked the car in a non-parking zone and walked slowly to the EMERGENCY entrance at the São Francisco Xavier Maternity Ward in Lisbon i felt better, someone feeling them move and kick made me know we were ok. the three of us.

the doctor that received me was not the onw i was witing for… in a public hospital you can’t really chose… so i took it as it came. she meassured my blood pressure confirming it was too high. she decided that i should calm down a bit before deciding to deliver the babies and with that deciding also to do one last ecography to see if everything was ok.

it was then that my sister walked in and held my hand. things weren’t supposed to be this way but it took about 5 long minutes of silence, 2 more minutes of calling another doctor and a very long sigh… “one baby hasn’t survived” i heard… i’m sure my heart skipped a few beats. my sister, doctor as she is but more importantly my sister, gasped, cried, and left to not make me nervous. i yelled to her not to tell him… and i told the doctor ignorant as i alsways have been in medicine… “it’s not true. they’re both alive… but if i’m wrong, please get my little bosy out” no one had told me they were boys, but i knew it, for 37 long weeks i knew they were boys… two… two alive little boys. but i’m not a doctor, just a pregnat woman speaking as afraid as she’s ever been. tears ran down my cheeks slowly and quietly and a silent prayer was said. i felt the kicks still and secretly hoped the doctor was wrong. another 2 minutes went by that seemed so long until i hear “no… it’s here, it’s here. they’re both alive”, no excitement, no happiness but a beating tiny heart making all the noise it could to make mommy know everything was going to be ok.

after that everything went a bit too quickly eventhough i had to lay down for about 20mins in order to slow down my blood pressure and be ready to deliver the babies in a c-section.

i didn’t tell him straight away, i let him not worry about it until the day after. so i went into this surgery room hoping i’d leave it with two perfect little boys that would be as beautiful as he was… at least to me.

c-section isn’t something i’d chose myself, but i believed and still do that mother’s in labor should suffer the least in order to give their best afterwards. in case of twins, if one delivery can strain you, two is just crazy. i didn’t give much thought, i wanted them out, clean and smelling of CHICCO products, no matter how they got there. but… if i can be totally honest a c-section is a traumatizing occasion. i hated it. i felt as if they were just plainly shaking my body back and forth, i felt nauseous, dizzy, tired and i admit, afraid. not feeling almost your whole body is a horrible experience… until… until you hear that cry.

matteo arrived first right at 13:01, just in time for mommy to skip lunch and there for helping me lose weight… he cried, not loud, but still a powerful cry. Federico arrived three minutes later at 13:04, crying the same tiny, quiet but beautiful sound. this time tears fell again but my heart pounded so much stronger! they were here… just a meter away from me… they were alive. i kept thinking they’d die riht away, thinking that because they couldn’t find a heartbeat that someone they were born with some defection in their hearts…

i cried a lot, silently, watching the nurses clean and dress them, but it wasn’t until they brought them to me, and laid them in my arms that i realized there was nothing to cry about, nothing to be afraid, they needed me and i was ready, whatever came our way i was there. they were finally here… my tiny little boys.

the three of us “lived” together still by ourselves for another two hours, and in those two hours i talked to them constantly, reminding them who i was, what was about to happen and how i wished the best in the world. they were the most perfect little boys and i was the happiest and most fullfilled woman on the planet at that moment. at least until he saw them and named them… then yes, i was done. everything i ever wanted was there… the pain was gone, the fright relieved, and worriness diluted… at least for then. and he was in love.

three days later we went home, from that moment on we were a family, learning everyday, together and for eachother.

i will never forget the day you were born my bunnies and no matter how scared i was deep inside i knew it couldn’t be true. sometimes instinct is all that keeps you focused. trust it… always.

 

1 year!

products that work 001

nipple protectors

i know, it’s funny to open a blog and have nipple protectors as a welcome image, but i assure you, you have to read this or at least pretend. i found this product on an AVENT catalog, while i was 7months pregnant and wondering how the heck was i supposed to nurse (as americans like to say. breastfeeding for us other normal human beings) twins!

all around me people told me “breastfeeding is wonderful, but you’ll have twins so you probably won’t be able to…” or better “don’t even think about it, it hurts enough to breastfeed one, let alone two!”, or even “you’ll never have enough milk!”… or better days i’d hear “don’t even try it, because after a while you won’t have enough so at least you didn’t ruin your breasts!”… i was devastated.

i wouldn’t be able to give my own milk to my babies… i kept immagining all the disadvantages of it and felt horrible. the things you hear and read about breastfeeding makes you think babies that don’t are horrible. so… i panicked… TWO horrible babies was going to be too much for me. instead of letting the panick get out of proportion i decided to buy these NIPPLE PROTECTORS and think positive really, because ok so i was going to have twins, but who knew? i could probably nurse them for a few days have that mother/baby moment everyone talks about and then change to bottle feeding.

the moment they were born i put them to my breasts and noticed how easy it was for them to feed. they never complained and milk was slowly coming up… those first three days at the hospital i had no use for the PROTECTORS because milk isn’t so liquid so it was up to the babeis and my massages to give them enough food. it worked.

the day i left the hospital the nurse sadly looked at me and said “take this prescription for artificial milk and give it to them from the moment you get home, your milk won’t be enough”… i was devastated. on the way home i remembered the protections i had bought and how thinking positive soemtimes does work. so as soon as these babies got home i fed them. my milk had finally come up, it was liquid enough to put the protectors on and off we went. they fed for 20min each, never falling asleep, never distracting from their food and burped perfectly well. and guess what i didn’t feel any pain, nor sore feeling on my nipples afterwards.

everyday, and before every breastfeed i wondered if i had enough milk, but the other wonderful thing about the proctections is that if you have the feeling nothing comes out, juts slowly push it out of their mouths while they’re drinking and you can actually see how much milk is in it, making it very easy for you to understand the amount. it was always full to my delight. and at every feed my nipples were ok.

…the most horrible thing i heard someone tell me about these protections was that they would influence my babie’s mental development. that by using them, the baby would only get air inside, it would go up to his head and make him mentally disabled and basically not normal. i cried a lot becasue of this… i felt so annoyed and scared at the same time. i spoke to my pediatrician and she laughed, she said there was no way that could happen and i shouldn’t listen to people like that. that i should do what i felt was ok to do. whoever said those things had no idea how much that could affect MY mental health… but the person who made these comments will never understand how much it affected me and how ridiculous she is.

i never wanted to prove anyone wrong. i wanted only to give my babies the best, and if that meant breastfeeding for their first 3months for 16times a day, 8 for each baby, then that’s what i had to do. slowly at night he started giving them a bottle so i could sleep for longer hours at night, it made wonders, but my babies were having my milk for most of the day.

all this while using the AVENT protections and feeling so glad i did.

7 months i breastfed (the equivalent of 14months for one child!). 7 months i gave them what i could to make them as healthy as they could be. they have never been sick. they are very healthy. they seem normal mentally! ;) and my breast even though smaller they look ok after so much use. yes i do feel like i spent their first 7 months of life naked from the waist up, but it was all worth it and i hope that if i have any other children, hopefully just one at a time, i’ll be able to give it the same quality product too! all using something to protect myself too.

so. i reccomend it. i do. you might think it’s stupid, mothers don’t use it and are fine, sure, i know. but i didn’t want to risk having sore nipples and trying to breastfeed with a smile while crying of pain.

searching for you…

i wonder sometimes… when did it stop being so wonderful? when do you stop looking at your children and not be happy, or just amazed by their ability to learn, try and be surprised by the smallest things in life?
when did we stop being important enough to make those who made us not love us unconditionally?
i wake up every day and find my babies bigger, smarter and so much more fun than the day before… and sometimes when they sleep i can find, in the dark, things about them to be proud of and i look around and see by the ammount (not too many, mommy says!) of toys, by the growing complexity in those same toys, by the clothes that are already too small, by those that are still too big, and by the way their room is used, i can lose myself in tears and sighs just realizing how far they’ve gone already and how much it has changed me.
and still… i wonder in shock how for some people i know, their children have stopped surprising them, how they’ve “decided” to ignore how much they’ve grown, how far they’ve “travelled” and how much they have learned.
it seems to me, some have stopped looking around them.
some, have stopped wanting to know, to know about their children, in a way about themselves.

i get it… young adults are boring sometimes, babies are so much more fun to watch, but young adults were once babies too, their babies, and need those older to look at them as yound adults starting off but also need those baby awwing eyes too and i just wonder when that awww look stopped watching me?
…as i pray at night quietly for their wellbeing and health and cuteness to go on forever, i pray too that i never lose that aww look and no matter how embarassed they’ll get, and how much rolling eyes i’ll receive that i never, even for a second forget that the future yound adults were once my babies and need that amazed search in my eyes.

detail #043

…7 months it took me to let my hair down, go to the hairdresser, do my nails.

painted them purple to remind me it’s still possible!

detail #039

one year ago… i got up… and did the test

it was positive… lucky strike the first time!

the most nervous, excited, scary and happy day of my life!