Tag Archives: iugr

How to make scrambled eggs

It happened at 7.10pm on Friday 26th July 2013. Two years ago today. Under bright lights, in a bustling room, with morphine coursing through my veins and Mark’s cheek pressed hard against mine. I became a mum. Even writing that sentence brings a lump to my throat. It’s a big deal becoming a parent. Your life is no longer your own, as the wellbeing of a tiny human becomes the centre of your universe. And Thea was tiny. 576g. That’s a little over two blocks of butter. As a cook, I always I think of it that way.how to make scrambled eggs

Tears were rolling down my face and my heart was sinking in my chest as Thea entered the world. Momentarily she was revealed to us, delicately cupped in latex covered hands, before being taken to the resuss team. 29 weeks was too early to be born, and at just over a pound she was incredibly small, even for her gestation. Yet, she cried out with reassuring kitten like screams. Mum, dad, I’m ok. I’m itty-bitty, but I’m ok.how to make scrambled eggs

Having a premature baby is an odd experience. Instead of holding my new bundle of joy on my chest, feeling delirious and exhausted, gazing at her with utter love and amazement as I had always imagined I would, I was able to have a fleeting glimpse of her propped on a little nest of carefully arranged turquoise sheets, inside a warm perspex box. Mark had cut her umbilical cord and told me how she had tightly gripped his little finger with all of hers. He had said that she was perfect. Absolutely beautiful. All I could see was a tiny, fragile looking creature whom I didn’t know how to care for. All of my motherly instincts were useless.

how to make scrambled eggs

After a few hours sleep, breakfast arrived on a tray, as it had done for the duration of my stay in hospital, an occurrence I remember now with fondness. Who doesn’t love breakfast in bed. Under a brown plastic cloche were scrambled eggs. A bland, solidified, pale yellow mound, swimming in a little pool of liquid on a white plate. I ate them, but without much gusto. I still wasn’t quite sure how to feel about having become a mother, but I stoically kept my smile in place. Everything would work out for the best. Two days later, I left hospital after my three and a bit week stay, relieved to be going home where I felt safe and away from all the constant monitoring. I was leaving my brand new daughter behind though and all of the careful preparations that I had made for her arrival; washed and folded newborn onesies, cot sheets with little blue clouds, a giraffe painted on the wall overlooking her cot, were redundant. A reminder of her absence. (Yes, I had made all these preparations, even so early on. I was so excited be having a baby and organising was a joy).

how to make scrambled eggs

For 12 weeks until Thea came home, I diligently returned to the hospital every day. To say it was easy would be a lie. I cried, I laughed, I hurt, I got angry, I was impatient and confused. The traffic to and fro drove me crazy. But I wouldn’t change the experience. Not for anything. In fact I’m thankful for it. I had the privilege of meeting Thea early. I was able to watch as her eyelashes and finger and toe nails grew (she was born without any). She reached a kilo in weight and I baked all the nurses a Chez Panisse chocolate cake to celebrate the milestone. She started to fit into tiny clothes that friends and family bought for her. We persevered together to master breastfeeding. Her wires and tubes became less. She became more and more beautiful every day. And she was alive. She wasn’t sick or injured. She was just small and growing, ready to come home. She gave me perspective and strength and a view on life that I would not otherwise have. I am grateful, humble and oh so proud to be her mum.

How to make scrambled eggs

For 2

  • 200ml cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 20g butter
  • pinch sea salt
  • non stick pan
  • silicon spatula

Crack the eggs into a bowl, add the cream and whisk gently to combine.

Melt the butter in a non stick pan over a medium heat. As soon as it’s liquid, add the egg mix and leave it to sit for about 10 seconds.

Using the spatula, go around the outside of the pan moving the egg that has set to the centre and then take the spatula through the centre of the egg mix, making sure to run it against the base of the pan. Do this a few times and then leave the eggs to sit for another 10 seconds, before repeating the process.

Remove the eggs from the heat before they are fully set as they will continue cooking as you portion them on to pieces of hot buttered toast. Season with a pinch of sea salt and enjoy.

If you liked how to make scrambled eggs, you might like this carbonara recipe.

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A simple but stunning chestnut soup recipe.

DSC_0606My baby girl is one. A year has passed since the scary day that she came into the world unnaturally early. Eleven weeks premature, red, transparent and frighteningly small, proclaiming to the world with her kitten like screams that she had arrived. I cried. Tears of sadness, not joy. I felt cruel for having her before she was ready to breathe or feed by herself, not doing my best as a mother to protect her. But as my body was not giving her the things that she needed to survive in utero, it was time for her to brave the big wide world and show us her true strength.

And show us she has. I have marveled at her constant tenacity and unyeilding inquisitiveness for life. Her small stature has in no way affected her ability to reach milestones and endlessly gains her attention, in which she delights. She is cheeky, determined, curious, adventurous, never misses a thing, has an infectious, perpetual smile and takes everything in her stride. I am ridiculously proud to be able to call myself her mama and eternally grateful for the gift of a beautiful, healthy daughter.

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DSC_0651 To celebrate Thea’s first birthday, July 26th, I threw a Christmas in July long lunch for all our closest friends and family. For the occasion I wanted to make chestnut soup. Chestnuts are not in season in NSW in July though, but ever the pre planner, I ordered them online in May. With the help of Ma, I roasted and peeled  three kilos and froze them ready to make soup in July. Doing a job like this is so satisfying. It takes time, but ultimately I always feel the resulting dish is that much better for the love that you put in to  it. All the babes at the party seemed to agree, lapping up spoonfuls of their mum’s and dad’s chestnut soup.

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Christmas in July would not be complete without a turkey and this bird was  stuffed with lamb, harissa and rose petals. The idea of something a little bit different appealed to me and the rose petals sealed the deal. It was served with all the essential seasonal trimmings, including Brussels sprouts, roast parsnips and duck fat roasted potatoes. Thea loves roast potatoes! I think that she had four, which for a tiny human is a big deal.

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For her first birthday cake, I made her a banana and coconut maple buttercream frosted  baby friendly cake, baby friendly because it contains no refined white sugar or flour, only delicious, whole ingredinets. I found the recipe on the lovely blog Rubies and radishes. The frosting truly was something else and perfect for small fingers to get stuck in to. DSC_0611DSC_0612

This was a very special meal to mark an especially happy occasion with a wonderful group of people who supported me, the contemporary builder and Thea through an emotionally tough period in our lives. The act of preparing food, for me, is a way of showing love and affection, thanks and respect and I hope everyone left the party with satisfied tummies and full hearts. x

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 Chestnut soup

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 4 sticks celery, chopped
  • butter to sweat veggies
  • 1kg chestnuts, roasted and peeled
  • 2 litres chicken stock
  • good pinch of thyme, few bay leaves, grating of nutmeg
  • sea salt, black pepper
  • milk to thin to desired consistency
  • chopped parsley and cream to garnish

Sweat the onion, carrot and celery over a low heat with the lid on for about 10 minutes until very soft and translucent. Add the stock, chestnuts, herbs, spices and seasoning and simmer until the chestnuts are soft enough that you can blend them with a stick blender. Thin the soup with milk as desired and check seasoning. Enjoy x

Flapjacks, the best and most simple bar around.

A year ago today I was 28 + 6 weeks pregnant and camping out at Royal North Shore hospital waiting for Thea’s imminent arrival. A dodgy placenta meant that Thea wasn’t getting the nutrients she needed to grow and was very small for her gestational age. The consequence of this was that somewhere between 28 to 30 weeks of my pregnancy, when it was  seen on my bi daily ultrasounds that the blood flow in the umbilical cord had gone into reverse and was flowing away from Thea, she would be delivered.

It’s amazing writing this now, so matter of factly, because at one point getting to 28 weeks had seemed like an insurmountable feat. Thea’s dad and I first learned about her restricted growth somewhere around 24 weeks. I can remember so vividly the hairs standing up on the back of my neck, the blood rushing to my cheeks, my heart thundering in my chest, as the news was explained to us. Our baby may not survive and there was nothing that we could do about it. All the love and hope and possibility that we felt for our unborn child as prospective parents was fully realised, as we learned that the blood flow in the umbilical cord was so bad that it could reverse at any point, cutting off Thea’s lifeline. We were made aware that it was not a good course of action for our tiny baby, who was estimated to weigh 360g, some three weeks behind in growth, to be delivered, as a baby that young and that small does not have a good chance of survival or at best, survive with out long term damage. We were advised that the best thing to do would be to wait and hope that the blood flow sustained until 28 weeks or a weight of 500g was reached, at which point the outlook would be slightly more positive. But it was up to us. We decided to take a leap of faith and wait.

For 5 weeks I patiently rested on my left side. I drank beetroot juice (thought to promote good blood circulation) for breakfast followed by eggs and bacon. I ate liver, kidneys, meat, butter and cream. Nutrient dense food to help my body and my baby. I had acupuncture. And I googled the hell out of IUGR (in uterine growth restriction) for two weeks whilst at home. Then I was admitted to hospital where I stayed for another three. In hospital, I had breakfast delivered to me in bed every day. I read books cover to cover. Dozed. Meditated. Had visitors. Received flowers. Food parcels. Felt loved. I listened to my baby’s heartbeat for nearly an hour everyday and saw her on a screen every other. She reassuringly kicked me late at night and early in the morning. “Mum, I’m still here. I’m ok”flapjacks

 

During my stay in hospital, I asked my mum to make me some flapjacks. A comforting and familiar childhood snack to munch on with my morning tea. And that’s the recipe for this post. Reminiscing about my pregnancy and the birth of my daughter, I was inspired to make a batch of these oaty, wickedly moorish biscuits. The act of baking them acknowledges how far Thea has come, how beautiful and alert and simply perfect she is and how wonderful it is to be a family of three. On Saturday we will celebrate her first birthday. But that’s another story.

Flapjacks

  • 150g brown sugar
  • 250g butter
  • 1tbs golden syrup
  • 350g oats

Simply melt butter, sugar and syrup together in a pot over a low heat. Add the oats and mix well. Transfer the mixture to a lined baking tin and bake for about 40 minutes at 150 degrees. Slice into squares when cool.

 

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Thea three days after being born at her lowest weight of 525g. I love this 
picture. It's the first time I saw her with her eyes open and the pen speaks 
volumes about her tenacious personality.