As you might have noticed Benthe (@menswearmeisje) and I are expecting a little boy in December. On top of that you will have seen that we visit the hospital quite often. Soon after we learned, 12 weeks and six day in, that Benthe was pregnant we also heard that there was a so called ‘defect with the baby’. In short, this is our story.

We are getting a son. And our son will be born with gastroschisis. This means that there’s a belly defect; an opening next to the belly button allowing part of the intestines to ‘escape’ from inside the belly and moving freely in the amniotic water. Gastroschisis appears in 0,05 % of all child births. There's no significant 'reason' for this defect; it's just a 'building mistake'. Because of the amazing skills of the medical teams that work with us we have tremendous faith in a perfect result. Due to this condition, our boy will be born after 37 weeks (instead of 40).

After our son’s birth ,he will be in surgery within the first six hours of his life. During the procedure, the doctors will place as much of the intestines back inside the belly as soon as possible. Depending on the actual size of his belly and the opening they might, in the most positive of situations, be able to do so in one go. Relying on the chances that this will not be possible, the intestines that ‘won’t fit ’will be placed in a ‘squeeze bag’ on top of his belly. During the following days, they will slowly squeeze back the intestines by applying pressure to this bag. Obviously he will spend the first days or weeks inside the V.U. Medical Center.

There are two sides to the danger of this condition. First of all there’s a chance of having multiple organs outside of the belly (likethe stomach, blather, liver), but we are fortunate that in our case it’s just part of the intestines. The second danger is the intestines getting infected during the pregnancy. You can imagine that laying outside the belly the intestines are more vulnerable to any kind of bacteria et cetera. But thus far, with all the ultrasounds we experienced, our boys intestines still look very healthy, fresh and, very important, they move just like they should!

After the defect was noticed by our midwifery, Onder de Linde, during our first visit in June we were immediately send to the V.U. Medical Center in Amsterdam. Experiencing a ‘medical pregnancy’ is obviously different, but the amazing team allowed us to appreciate every moment of the past five months.

The process started with an ultrasound every two weeks, completely reviewing every part of the baby.The past two months this changed into weekly ultrasounds. The fact that this requires time and energy never adds up to the amazing feeling you get from being able to see the baby every week and get a confirmation he’s doing perfectly fine every single time! Since the beginning of the 35th week Benthe has to have a daily CTG-scan measuring the baby’s heartbeat. So far those have been perfectly well. This set up is based on the Flamingo-procedure.

During the ultrasounds, they look at the general growth of the baby’s head, belly and legs; they make sure heartbeat is okay and they check conditions of the blood vessels inside the brain, the heart and the belly. After every ultrasound, we enjoyed a consult with one of the specialists time keeping track of the baby’s data. During these short meetings, the doctors show amazing interest in the psychological side of the process and take good care of Benthe.

The precautions the doctors take can be even frustrating sometimes. Like the first time Benthe had to do a CTG inside the hospital on a Saturday morning. The outcome of the data showed signs of Benthe having some contractions alarming a huge team of doctors.In the end we spent four extra hours in the hospital with Benthe going through all kinds of checkups and me staying in touch with friends and family who had been waiting in a Haarlem café for hours for the baby shower. I was happy to drop her off at the end of the day, because the signs of contractions were just the result of her body reacting to the kicking baby.

It’s important to know that in general this condition that has no further effect on the rest of our boy’s life except for a small scar next to his belly button. He will have some troubles with food the first days or weeks – depending on the seriousness of the defect -, but other than that, with a bit of good fortune, he’s going to be a healthy young fellow!

We are so grateful for all the support we have experienced from family and friends. And very happy with the amazing skills of all the professional teams at the V.U. Medical Center. We’re looking forward to the upcoming days and hope Benthe and I can still spend a bit of time at home before we move into the hospital Friday December 8th. That’s the day when they will start inducing labour. We can’t wait to hold that little one in our arms! It has a been an amazing experience until this stage and we are super proud our little legend is performing much better than we and the doctors expected at first. It's not an easy pregnancy, but it sure is special! 

Thanks for your support!

If we can be of any help with your kid with the same or similar conditions, feel free to drop me an email at menco@maisonmono.com

Left image: an illustration of a child born with gastroschisis just after birth;

Right image: an illustration of a bag and how they apply pressure to the intestines inside the bag to slowly place them back inside the belly.

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Wow, this is was one hell of a great blast! In the midst of taking over the marketing responsibilities, in the midst of the buying season and in the midst of preparing for the next selling season I spend a lot of time creating one of the best shoots we have even done!

Thanks at everyone playing a roll in creating this new piece! Super happy and proud!

The full magazine is visible online and a print version is available at the OGER Online Store .

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I ran into this great and true post on LinkedIn. It was written in January '16 but never more true than now. Bob Phibbs is the Retail Docter .

'November and December online retail sales figures showed that 42.7% of online shopping occurred with Amazon according to Slice Intelligence. That compares with 24.8% share for the next 10 biggest retailers combined, including Wal-Mart, Target, Macy’s, Nordstrom and Best Buy.

Let that sink in...combined.

Yes you can make gains from where you are but those gains will be very hard fought with significant headwinds.

The elephant in the room could be found easily for many retailers who are showing lower sales figures for the holidays...and it is clear to anyone who tried to buy something during the holidays...

I was in Vegas the week before Christmas. It was a coldish night around the dinner hour. The mall was anything but packed.

When I went into Neiman Marcus looking for a particularly nice gift, I passed two cosmetics girls who didn’t even glance at me but continued to talk about their personal lives. I went into their gift area where a woman stood behind the counter. I looked around for about four minutes. It wasn’t until I was leaving that she shouted to my back, “Good evening sir.”

Geez.

At another department store, almost every employee I passed was looking down to their smartphones as shoppers walked by.

Sur La Table looked like a distress sale with signs for 30% off this and buy one get one free that all over the place. I looked to find someone to ask if they could ship. No one came over to help me. As I was leaving, a guy walked up to the front to fix a display.

Geez.

I went into Macy’s, a store so crammed with merchandise and decorations, I couldn’t even see where the housewares department was or of if they even had such a department.

Next I went into Nordstrom and got the usual zero interaction from two young guys on their smartphones chillin’ at the counter while I was looking at Robert Graham shirts. Those guys also ignored a woman considering a Burberry coat while their one good salesman worked with a young couple.

I found a great guy at the Robert Graham boutique down the way who recognized me from a few months before when I had purchased a shirt. He then went to his computer and confirmed which shirt I had purchased, then showed me a few similar shirts.

Smart.

I walked into another luxury boutique where I expected an exceptional experience but was only greeted with, “Would you like a bottle of water?”

Really?

That’s your opening line? It’s winter. It’s 20 degrees. There are a million places I could get something to drink in the mall. If it were August and you were in a strip center maybe, but really? That’s the best you can do?

Heck, when I picked up my Hertz rental car, they offered a bottle of water at the booth. Are you no better than them?

Geez.

Sorry retailers, practically all of you showed that customers are not your concern.

You think you have time.

That we’ll wait.

That we are mesmerized by watching your untrained employees, bored out of their minds, lean on your counters and play with their hair.

Those of us who DO have money, DO want customer service, and DO expect our discovery experience to be fun won’t be buying anything from you.

The elephant in the room is your customer service, we simply won’t be coming back when we have these types of forgettable retail experiences.

But you’re probably not paying attention to that truth because you're too busy decrying the death of the luxury shopper.

Or saying that omnichannel is the only way forward.

Or offering yet another loyalty discount program.

How wrong you are...

The day of reckoning is coming for many of you.

You think we don’t notice your rotten attitudes, your one-person coverage, or how your chummy crew treats us as an inconvenience?

Oh but we do.

You think your supervisors and managers don’t have to be on the floor watching all the time?

You think your employees will do fine on their own?

They can’t and they won’t.

You think customers are disposable and fickle?

You are so wrong.

When a customer makes the effort to get in their car and drive to your mall, your center, your store, you’d better respect the fact they did that.

If you work on the floor of a retail store, you’d better respect the fact it is something you have to work at.

It is not your living room where you can talk to your pals any time you want to.

Or that shoppers are there to entertain you and ask you to help them. We’re not; you’re there for us.

Be grateful.

Because I can tell you retailers…and I’m talking luxury retailers in particular…you have been weighed and are left in the balance.

There’s no there there.

Is your marketing department, your social media, your PR claiming cache, exclusivity, personal service?

Don’t make me laugh.

You’re Walmart without grandpa greeting me at the front.

You’re Kroger with your begging us to join your loyalty club.

You’re Dollar Days with your 40% off entire store.

There’s nothing special about your merchandise and really nothing special about the people you’re letting define your brand.

Are there so many levels of management that no one sees what I see?

A lot has been written lately about how consumers are increasingly looking for experiences. Too many falsely believe this only means ziplines and thrill-seeking.

Shoppers want experiences in your stores.

In Sum

Stop phoning it in.

Your shoppers are out there again. They might give you just one more chance before swearing off your brand forever.

Don’t screw it up.'


Source: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/retailers-elephant-room-isnt-weather-web-its-bob?trk=v-feed&trk=v-feed&lipi=urn%3Ali%3Apage%3Ad_flagship3_detail_base%3B6MNCILGvBq00oeBTHe8MIw%3D%3D

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Great sweatwear at OGER to survive Spring.

Top left: graphic tee by Moncler. Also because these fashionable Moncler items deserve to be mentioned.
Top right: I know this isn't easy, but it's cool. Huge logo polo by the Neapolitan sartorial kings of Isaia.

Lower left: the Moncler special logo polo in a great shade of grey. Again, this is a different Moncler.
Lower right: beautiful quality longsleeve polo by Isaia . To be worn with al buttons closed.

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Because everything they do is just so damn right. At least in advertisment that is.

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