My friend Rachel Marek makes a brilliant tea loaf, and as she always seems like one of those mums who Knows What They’re Doing, I presumed it would be somewhat difficult to make. Hmm! So earlier this year Rachel went off skiing and I lent her my Out and About buggy for the trip, because quite frankly that thing could survive a nuclear war so baggage handlers and a couple of foot of snow would be no issue at all. Anyway I asked in return for her tea loaf recipe and it turns out its about as difficult to make as a ready meal. Personally, I’m currently making this about once a fortnight, and if I didn’t have to turn up at the office as often I’d probably make it every other day. Its perfect for those among us who like to bake, but for whom life tends to get in the way….
What do you mean you don’t want to make your own blood bag?! Nice bit of crochet anyone?? Tsk…. people today….ok, so here’s the story of why I’m supporting The Blood Bag Project and then hopefully you’ll all want to join in with a little craft project of your own.
When I was pregnant with my eldest child I had one of those gloriously uneventful pregnancy’s. Yes, I had morning sickness, was knackered and just generally felt bleugh, but my midwife appointments were always done in super quick time and there were no issues. I was happy, and who wouldn’t be?
The issue was in actually giving birth. I joked for years that we wouldn’t have kids as there was no way a child was coming out of ‘down there’ and typically the joke backfired. Due date came and went and still I was sat on my sofa eating cheese on toast and watching Top Gear on Dave. Eventually the induction was booked and 13 days overdue husband and I braved the snow storms and toddled along to the hospital.
13 days overdue – Prostaglandin. No sign of labour but ‘Help, I’m a Celebrity’ is hotting up.
14 days overdue – morning – Get doctor to break my waters. Surely the baby will arrive now? Having had 5 weeks at home with only mumsnet and Jeremy Clarkson for company (possibly not a common mixture) I have scoured the advice and figured that if I’m not getting my lovely water hippy birth then I want industrial amounts of drugs please. Refuse Syntocinon until I get an epidural, thus pleasantly avoiding any of that rather nasty sounding contraction stuff. Erstwhile doctor still decides though that he cba with a tourniquet and uses a rubber glove, squirting my blood all over the room. Nice.
14 days overdue – lunchtime – Contractions apparently quite hard. Read interesting article in Grazia.
14 days overdue – dinnertime – Midwives crank drip right up. Not much on tele is there…
14 days overdue – evening – body refusing to comply, not dilating, fed up, nothing on tele, read all magazines, agree to c-section
15 days overdue – in for the c-section, doctors open me up, pull out baby, and then, umm, I’m not quite sure. Because at this point I start to do what I think is fall asleep due to my rather long day reading magazines, but which I’m reliably informed is more likely to be due to me blacking out due to blood loss.
I lost five pints. My husband got told that they ‘wouldn’t like to promise’ that they could save me. I (when I was occasionally with it) got told that everything ‘should’ be ok, but there was a fair chance of losing my womb. I spent three hours on the operating table, which isn’t much fun when you also consider that the poor quality design means you can actually see whats going on reflected on the ceiling.
Anyway, I lived. Which is a good thing. It was a bit dicey for the first couple of days, and it was a while before I had the strength to look after my son, but my son was healthy which I am always grateful for, and if its a choice between me going through that and him then I choose me every time.
I did feel a bit funny though about the whole blood thing. Not enough to really justify talking about generally, and besides ‘I might have died but I didn’t’ seemed an unreasonable moan. But enough to occasionally stare out at the sea and just think that actually, if it hadn’t been for people who I don’t know and who I’ll never meet, my husband wouldn’t have a wife and my son would never get to see his mum.
So I’m thankful, but in a way that I can’t really put in words.
So this is why I’m supporting The Blood Bag Project. Because I can’t thank the people who helped me, but I can help someone else who needs help. If you would be so kind as to look at their website, read Chloe’s story and help to raise a bit of awareness, it would be much appreciated. And if you want to crochet your own blood bag, then that would be grand too.
The small thing is not the greatest eater. I’ve tried Baby Led Weaning, I’ve tried Annabel Karmel, I’ve tried softly weeping while he won’t even look at something beautiful from the River Cottage book that took me hours to make. His favourite meal would probably be rice cakes and water. In essence it’s like living with a fourteen year old girl.
But what a shock, he likes cakes! Pfft… This contains two types of fruit and therefore must be pretty close to being nutritionally perfect, right?
Stupidly Easy Banana and Raisin Cake
(This is taken from nibblous but has a couple of changes)
4oz butter or margarine
6oz any sugar you can find
8oz self raising flour
2 or 3 very ripe bananas
A couple of handfuls of raisins
Heat the oven to gas mark 4; 180C
Grease a loaf tin.
Mash the bananas
Cream the butter and sugar together and mix in the eggs
Mix together the two yellow sludges and the raisins
Mix in the flour.
Scrape into the loaf tin and bake for 40 minutes. Check it’s cooked by popping a knife through the centre and if it doesn’t come out clean then then lower the temperature to gas mark 2; 150C and cook for a further 30 minutes.
Wait for it to cool slightly then pop out onto a wire tray and then eat. You could wait until it’s properly cool first but I’ve yet to manage this…