Our beautiful baby daughter Anabelle was born sleeping June 2010.
Blessed with the screaming arrivals of our gorgeous rainbow sons,
Alexander October 2011 and Zachary November 2013.

Diary of an Angel Mother, Rainbow Mother.
Heartbreak. Joy. Death. Life. But most of all Love.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Zachary @ 18 Months

Zachary is a whole year and a half old (and a tiny bit more) now. My baby Small is becoming my Small toddler at an alarming rate! These last few weeks he has been noticeably transforming from a baby into a little boy - he’s changing in so many ways; his play is more purposeful, his communication is more purposeful and direct, he is cheeky and feisty and funny.

My awesome and incredible little person!

He seemingly understands nearly everything we say to him now. He quite clearly shakes or nods his heads in response to questions and is following instructions and the routine of the day. It is the cutest thing when he toddles off to get his shoes out of the shoe cupboard after asked to find them!  He is pointing at everything and chatty, wanting to join the conversation with his wonderful range of vocalisations

Zachary really is quite the character now, making it perfectly clear when he thinks the situation is not fair or in his favour, letting you know that he thinks he is the one missing out and fighting his corner when he has to! Simply he just wants to be doing whatever his big brother is doing and is most put out when Xander doesn’t want him to join in!

Zac is so strong-willed and determined, much more so than I remember Xander being. We’ve even had a few (but only a few) incidences of biting – which is completely new territory for us and something Xander has never done. Alexander, on the receiving end of those teeth, exclaimed his baby brother had tried to eat him, such his innocence in this behaviour! 

They fiercely love each other as much as ever, it is such a delight to watch their relationship blossom and change all the time.  Alexander loves that Zachary is able to play with him and know the game when it suits him, yet Zachary is equally his annoying little brother and he lets him know it. The scraps are beginning!

These boys are so alike, I read Alexander’s 18 month post back and I see so many similarities in how Zac is now, yet they are so very different too.

My darling Small. At eighteen (and a bit more) months old you are a dinky 22lb 8oz. I say dinky because your brother was as heavy as this at a year old and so to me you feel small. My Small, still very much Mama’s little baby boy.

I hardly dare say it but your sleep is finally improving! You’re not sleeping through all of the time, still far from it, but my boy, you are sleeping through a couple of nights a week now, and when you are waking it seems to just be the once, or sometimes twice. The nights are far easier than they were the last time I updated.

My eighteen month upper limit for breastfeeding appears to have been thrown out of the window with you, as you still very much search for that bedtime comfort, and I’ve no idea how to force the issue just now. The last couple of months we have nudged you into dropping morning feeds, and your middle of the night bottle, but the bedtime feed has remained. For now we’ll keep following your lead and I’ll enjoy this part of baby left with you.   

You’ve had an incredible six months since your birthday. Every day you grow and change, you learn new things. You’re a little sponge soaking up the world and learning all about what it means to be you.

During the Christmas holidays you stood on your own for the first time, and just a few days later on New Year’s eve you took your first steps all by yourself. It was so exciting, you were just 13 months old! But you took your time to turn steps into walking my boy; for the next three and a half months you just stuck with your few steps, you would walk for maybe 3, 4, 5 steps and then drop to your knees and crawl to your planned destination. It wasn’t until the 19th April that you decided you could crack this walking business – at the grand old age of 16 and a half months old. Just like your big brother, although I had been convinced you were going to walk properly earlier!

Every day your little personality shines through some more. You are so cheeky, feisty and funny. I think you’re going to be quite the joker as you already love the reaction of one of us laughing at you! You love to tease and play. You are mesmerised by your world.

You have picked up so many of your brother’s mannerisms. Sometimes it really is like looking at a mini-version of Xander. You have perfected his frown, his eye-roll. You close your eyes just like him and pull the funniest of expressions! You poke your tongue out when you’re concentrating and just like Bampi you have started to walk and stand with your hands behind your back – just like Xander did too!

Your favourite things at eighteen months old are books, ride on toys, your brother, puzzles, Peppa Pig, dancing and climbing but not necessarily in that order!

You are such a little climber. It is a nightmare! We cannot leave the dining room chairs out because if we do you are found on top of the table, climbing across the table and into your highchair. Just as well those chairs are foldable to go away I say. The huge bay window sill is another favourite climb up spot. You are too brave and it makes me too nervous!

But then on the flip side I often find you curled up in the little chair in the playroom, totally immersed in books. You like books that have sound buttons to press or things to feel, you love pointing to the things you can see in the pictures. You are absolutely insistent on your own bedtime story now after making it perfectly clear you felt left out from Xander’s bedtime stories.

Your love affair with Peppa Pig has already begun. You have a handful of words and Peppa is quite clearly one of them. You point at the TV and request Peppa, you point at pictures of Peppa and tell me they’re Peppa, the same with Peppa toys. You are a little bit Peppa mad!!

You are learning new words all of the time, trying to copy sounds and names. At the moment you are learning your animal sounds; you know a cow says moo, a duck says quack and a monkey says oo-oo. You also roar and growl whenever you see a dragon, dinosaur or lion.

So I guess you're officially a toddler now. We'll be watching out for those terrific and terrible twos, and enjoying watching you grow along the way.  

You are such a joy Zachary, my beautiful boy Small, and I adore being your Mummy.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Fight Flight

This week it feels like my chest is being crushed.

I can't seem to expand my lungs properly nor does it feel like my heart is beating properly. This week I feel absolutely drained and on the brink. 

This week the world is feeling too overwhelming, too noisy. Every day tasks are beginning to seem insurmountable; so I'm using all my energy up fronting - forcing myself to function as normal, too keep going, to get through the routine of the day.  I'm managing a busy day and paying for it the next. Today is one of those days; yesterday I did not stop all day. Today I deliberately kept busy to hold the 'crash' off as long as possible because I knew it was coming. I finally left work feeling shakey, all emotional reserves used up and telling myself to hold it together. 

This week I want to run away. Close the door and hide.  Fight or flight it appears; and every cell is my body is telling me to 'flight' but there is nowhere to run. 

Five days to remember day. 

"What doesn't destroy you, leaves you broken instead. 
Got a hole in my soul growing deeper and deeper."
Bring Me The Horizon 

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Xander @ Three And A Half

Boy Big is really getting big now; at three and a half there is absolutely no toddler left in him and he is most definitely now a pre-schooler! What a huge burst of change our little boy has had in six months; Alexander has moved into our new house, he has mastered using the toilet, he has started at his school nursery, made new friends and been on his first holiday in a different country.

We finally moved into our new house about six weeks after Alexander’s third birthday, just in time for Christmas. After months and months (six months, one week and two days to be exact) of being told his new house needed fixing and that his Daddy was fixing it, I think he was just as relieved to finally be moving in as we were.

Alexander seemed instantly at home and all of a sudden, after months and months of toileting up and downs, thinking he was never going to be toilet trained, he did it. We moved in here and toileting clicked, he seemingly just needed to be settled and at home; almost another six months later and I cannot remember our last accident they’re now so few and far between. In fact for all the stress I felt while Alexander was learning to use the toilet, these days I don’t give his toilet trips a second thought – he goes when he goes and he reliably tells me. I’m glad the nagging days are over and I bet he is too!  For now he still wears an overnight nappy, and he is starting to have dry mornings, but on the whole he isn’t ready for the dry at night stage and I’m in no rush to push pants for bedtime thing either.

If I thought the second half of being two was hard work I was in for a shock the first few months of turning three! Wow! Threenager threes are the things to look out for; they make terrible twos look non existent in comparison! Alexander was at his most challenging yet for those first few months after his birthday, many tears and meltdowns but it was also some of the biggest changes for him yet.

In the thick of it, it was exhausting, but now out the other side it is easier to rationalise the extreme tantrums we seemed to be dealing with!  We had moved for the second time in six months (having moved from our old house to my parents, and then finally to the new house) and he started nursery, he was clearly beyond shattered and getting used to new things, new people, new learning. He had gone from being at home/with family 6 out of 7 days to school mornings 5 days out of 7. He was so tired starting nursery school that for six weeks or so he started napping in the afternoon again – almost a year after originally dropping his naps!

And it all stopped as suddenly as it started. That isn’t to say he isn’t having meltdowns now, of course he is – being three and all that – the shouting ‘ITS NOT FAIR’ at me has started already and boy can Alexander be stroppy – but those constant not knowing what to do with himself teary angry tantrums are certainly not what they were around the new year! Once again he is easily manageable and can mostly be distracted or calmed and talked down from whatever has upset him. But for the most of the time he is cheeky and amazing and I’d love to bottle a piece of his three year old self forever; what a fabulous age this is!

My beautiful boy, you’ve grown up some more! Now you are three and a half; even more infact because your half birthday was already six weeks ago. What a little grown up boy you feel now, especially since you started nursery school. In those first few weeks you looked far too little to be wearing a little school uniform and being dropped at nursery each morning; but a term and a half later you seem older somehow. It must be everything you’re learning!

You settled into your new school so quickly, you were tired for sure, but despite my nerves for you on your first morning and taking up your ‘Rising 3’ place two terms early, you quickly showed us you were ready and you were going to be fine; infact every day you run into nursery, nearly always forgetting to give me a kiss goodbye and running off to hang your coat and bag up without a second glance! After a few weeks in school you started making real friends, including your best friend at the moment, a little girl called Emma; you two are really very cute together, you playing the gentleman, helping Emma hang her coat up in school, even though she is taller than you and can reach really; holding hands walking before or after school and just this half term week we met her and her Mummy to go to soft play - we spotted you and Emma giving each other cuddles at the bottom of the slides!

You’re already learning so many new things at school. You know all of your colours in Welsh now as well as a few Welsh phrases such as Diolch (Thankyou) and Da Iawn (Well Done).  You love playing on the Welsh app on the phone, having to listen to the colour name and then choose the right colour teddy or balloon – you think you are so clever understanding in two languages. You’re learning loads at home too; you know your left from your right now – which I think is pretty amazing at only three!

You’ve got such a way with words now, a right little chatterbox and totally a master negotiator! You’ve learnt to hold your own and use those ever expanding conversational skills to exercise your control young man; you can be quite the bossy boots these days. Along with those ‘Its not fair’ from you, our requests are also often met with ‘in 5 minutes’, ‘when the cooker/phone beeps’, ‘when you count to 10’ – but they’re behaviour strategies we’ve used with you, and its worked for you, so you’ve adopted this to your advantage too; so it is working both ways for us.

I hope I never forget your vocabulary cuteness of now. I never want to forget that you call the hoover a moover, the computer a puter, and my favourite; a picnic a pigpig. You’ve begun to recognise when things are very important to you, and make sure we know. Your sunglasses we bought recently for example; you told me to look after them because they are in your words ‘very special for you’. You are totally aware of your ownership of your things now and can be very protective of them as a result. But I love your world when so many things are so special to you.

You have had your first holiday to a different country now; a long car trip through the tunnel to France and we arrived in Disneyland. Your excitement and wonder at everything there was infectious.    You loved being allowed to sleep on the top bunk in our cowboy room. You loved the tea cup rides, the Buzz Lightyear ride, the castle. You loved Lightning McQueen’s ride and the car stunt show. You loved the cowboy show, the parades and the characters, and the FIREWORKS – you were totally blown away by the fireworks. Your face was a little picture of WOW and two months later you are still telling me all about the fireworks you saw at the castle in Disneyland. It was such an exciting special holiday and I already cannot wait to take you to Disney again one day. 

Your favourite kind of play these days involves lots of tiny small figurines, and small world role play. You had a Planes busy book for your birthday and since then you’ve added Jake Pirates, Frozen and Mickey Mouse busy books to your collection. You’ve now got a Tupperware box full of these little figurines that you take on adventures, along with all the little people and animals in your Duplo, and the Happyland playsets. It is wonderful watching you play, talking to each character and making up their stories, making different noises and voices for each one and hearing how they’re all interacting together.

Peppa Pig is still a TV favourite but Umizoomi, Bubble Guppies and Fireman Sam are top contenders too these days. Zac and you have perfected the crazy shake dance at the end of Umizoomi now, absolutely gorgeous and delightful to watch!

Your first nativity performance at church is one of my favourite memories these last six month. You were the youngest on stage and utterly adorable dressed as a little shepherd; but standing in place was not your forte, when after a while you decided this standing around business was not for you and started running rings around everyone else on the stage. Around and around in big circles going faster and faster - but you my boy were absolutely hilarious, the entire audience laughing with you and for a moment you completely stole the show. Mummy was crying with laughter and I couldn’t have been prouder, you made my day! Already looking forward to the next Nativity! 

Can you believe in another five months you will be FOUR?! It is incredible how quickly little babies become little boys. You’ve had such a big growing up time since you’ve been three and we’re so very proud of you, and constantly amazed by you, our precious rainbow boy.

You make our world so much brighter, every day.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Here Comes The Storm

I wanted to post all about Alexander hitting three and a half. I wanted to rave about what a wonderful beautiful little boy he is; emerging from a toddler to pre-schooler and amazing me every day. But at the moment instead I am consumed with anxiety. 

Earlier than ever before my unravelling for June has begun. Unravelling for weeks already; very possibly since almost as soon as we got back from France. Disney the greatest of distractions, until a momentous testing June became the next milestone after our holiday was over.

Each year there seems to be a more violent a reaction than the last, earlier, longer, and a feeling of something, somewhere, continuously, continuously, twisting and turning that knife, cutting me deeper. Those barely scabbed over wounds are open once more and I know the next six weeks, more, who knows, is going to be a huge whirlwind of pain. Who said it was supposed to get easier? Certainly notable people now expect me to be better at this.

This year I'm not just dreading June, I'm outright scared of it. I feel anxious. The kind of anxious that when its really catching you it makes your chest hurt, makes you feel nauseous, gives you that sinking pit of the stomach feeling. The feeling on the brim of tears too often anxious, exhausted anxious, broken-hearted anxious, hide me under a duvet until at least July anxious. 

Here comes the storm. 

And I'm so fed up of this shit. 

Monday, 20 April 2015

The Decade I Called My Twenties

The first week of April we came home from my 30th birthday holiday. At Christmas Jon surprised me with a booking for EuroDisney; I had never been to Disneyland and going for my 30th had all I'd gone on about for about two years! We were not disappointed, we all had a magical beautiful time; the sight of the castle took my breath away, Xander just about loved everything, discovering Buzz Lightyear, Cowboys, and the sheer excitement of every ride, especially driving a car!  Zac mesmerised by the parades and characters and spent much time shouting and waving at them, adding the word 'Wow' to his vocabulary! Jon loved seeing the children's reactions and the awesome fireworks show at park closing time. We had a special super holiday.

But as always, our little girl was missing and we felt it; we felt it walking through the park surrounded by little girls in their favourite princess dresses,  wishing our little girl was dressed in a princess dress too. We felt it walking through the stores with aisles lined with Princess Belle dolls and toys. We felt it when we mentioned how we would've been duped into buying her so much with her name on while we were there if she had been with us, handling those toys for just a moment and wishing we could be duped anyway.  We felt it when a bolt of grief hit hard in the chest out of nowhere in those stores. We felt it when Xander identified a Princess Belle doll and said 'like my sister'. We were reminded (as if we ever forgot) again that even during our most magical times that there is a gaping hole in our family, and she is missed, so missed in everything that we do. 

Naturally these last few weeks I've been reflecting a lot on my twenties. The decade of huge fast paced changes; no way could I have predicted at 20 how my life would be at 30. Of course I had no idea what that decade had ahead of me, no-one ever does but I look at my 20 year old naive blissfully unaware self, looking so young and carefree, knowing now that just five years later my world my heart would be blown apart and never been the same again, that I would never be the same again. At just 25. That is when I grew up. 

This was my twenties. 

Age 20
Age 20 and in my second year of university. Feeling like I was now a 'grown up', living on my own, well on my own with friends. The uni year my school boyfriend and I broke up and I thought I knew what it felt like to feel heartbroken, but of course I didn't have the first clue and neither was I grown up. At the time I felt he had ruined university for me; transferring from his to mine at the end year one, so we were no longer apart, just to cheat merely weeks later and then me be stuck with his presence for two years. It bothered me so much at the time, it hit hard, I reacted badly. But now, ten years later I rarely think of that time in my life, there is no denying I was hurt at the time, but now I know he was just a silly little boy and I equally immature.

The very best, and very worst of my life so far was still yet to come.  Age 20 I 'met' Jon, on faceparty, if anyone can remember that, quite accidentally.  A random message turned into a year of email pen-palling. Who could've predicted then he would be the man I married four years later, and had my babies with. Age 20 was a year of big change, as was most years of my twenties. 

Me on my 21st birthday
This was me on 21st birthday, never mind my 18th, this was the birthday that felt like the proper coming of age this time! I look at this picture and can't believe how slim I was - that dress was a size 10, and a size 10 I am no more! Pre-babies and pre-caesareans. Twenty-One was a good year, I LOVED being 21. Days before my 21st I really met Jon, after he begged for months to move from pen-pals to a drink in real life, I finally agreed for our birthdays and we clicked instantly. A quiet after work drink turned into a whole evening of chatting and laughing, and I think we both knew right there and then we were onto something pretty special. The next night I went out dancing with a friend and phoned him to pick me up at the end of the night, he started visiting me at uni, we pined the gaps in between and within weeks I just knew he was 'the one'. Age 21 was a summer of day-trips, memories of listening to Jem and the BEP's and feeling totally and utterly in love. Age 21 was the beginning of the makings of our family as we know it today.

Graduation Day - Age 21
Age 21 was the year I finished university, qualified as a teacher and couldn't quite believe I was old enough to be so responsible! Fresh-faced and newly qualified I was excited about a career in teaching; within the first year I fell into a special school on supply, fell in love with the job and carved my way into an aspect of teaching I hadn't considered before. I still teach in a special school, love the kids I work with and nine years later I feel somewhat a nearing veteran in the profession. Ok, maybe a slight exaggeration with 38 years of service left before my state pension becomes available, but you get the point!

The day we got engaged! Age 22
Age 22 and things got serious. A few weeks after my 22nd birthday, Jon and I moved into our first house together; a lovely little two bed that we loved calling ours and remained our home for 7 years until we outgrew it with our expanding family. A few weeks after moving in together Jon proposed; he ran me a bubble bath and cooked tea while I had a soak, and I came downstairs (with wet hair, wearing pyjamas) to candle lit spaghetti bolognese. Pudding arrived on the table in a plate covered bowl, and when I took the plate away inside the bowl wasn't pudding but a box with my ring inside. And of course I said yes!  Age 22 we set our wedding date for a little over two years later, and got a little kitten, Fiz, to join our home and went on a little driving holiday jaunt to Renne in France.

Age 22 I secured my first teaching contract. After two terms of full time supply in a special school I applied for a part-time permanent contract at another special school closer to home. Never did I believe I would get the job,  I was very newly qualified with only two terms experience of teaching PMLD and SEN, but get the job I did! For the next few years I worked three days a week at my new school and continued working two days a week at the school where I had been supplying, until going part-time at my three day a week school after Anabelle.

Age 23

Age 23 was all about  being young, care-free and wedding planning. It passed by in a blur of dresses and themes, fushia pinks and white roses. My sister turned 18 that year and she, me, and Mum went for an Easter week in Majorca. Fiz was still a kitten and we took hundreds of photographs of her and celebrated her first birthday - oh how times have changed now - poor neglected ignored in comparison cat!

Its the year of my 20s I remember the least about, probably the quietest year for me with the least of milestones. That summer we took our August holiday in Cumbria, just weeks after Jon had been made redundant; it was a stressful time, with enough redundancy payout to last just three months living, not to mention less than a year to go until our wedding and the saving/spending for that the pressure to get another job was on. Just in the nick of time, as those three months were up he secured a new job, at a company that has seen good career progression for him and couldn't be more family friendly for which we've been grateful for these seven years since!

Our Wedding Day - Age 24

Age 24. It was a beautiful year, so many happy love-filled memories. The year I married Jon. No longer a Villars by name but now a Morgan.  For one day I felt like a princess, in a beautiful big white ball gown dress. Infact just this week, Xander took notice of the photo on the wall in my parents house and told me it was when I wore a princess dress. It really was a magical day, everything about our relationship felt different, even better than it already was. I was so proud to become Jon's wife that day, just as I am still.

We honeymooned in St Lucia, which was just spectacular (if we ignore the two week stint in hospital for Jon on our return with a 'lucky to be alive' pulmonary embolism!) and on our return (after said episode) we settled into our new little life of Mr and Mrs.

Age 24 I was pregnant for the first time. Beyond excited about the prospect of becoming a Mummy, parents. We were newlywed, expecting and everything felt complete. Oh how little we knew.

I find it enormously difficult to reflect on the next few years.

The day Anabelle was born - Age 25
Age 25 marked the turning point for the remainer of my twenties and indeed the rest of my life. The most life-changing, soul-changing significant life event I think I'll ever go through. I was so young and naive, young and excited, newlywed and on top of the world, and in moments that world shattered around me. I feel cheated of my youth. I aged before my time, the person I thought I was changed beyond all recognition and our fledgling marriage faced its greatest 'for better or worse' truth of our vows before we'd even been married a year. Age 25 at 32 weeks pregnant, we lost our little girl, buried our baby and I've never been the same since.

Anabelle, my beautiful precious first born, still my only daughter.  So tremendously missed. I said age 20 I had thought I'd experienced what it felt like to be heartbroken; Age 25 I really knew what it meant to be heartbroken, grief-stricken, traumatised and never really truly be healed or fixed.  Age 25 was a bleak, bleak year and I still struggle with the 'foreverness' and maybe always will.

The day Alexander came home - Age 26 
Days before turning Age 26 I found out I was expecting another baby, eight months after Anabelle had died. Of course I would not change a thing about my rainbow boy, but in hindsight it was far far too soon. We were an absolute mess. It was a hugely fearful stressful pregnancy, of course it was always going to be, but so soon after her death neither of us were emotionally or mentally well equipped to deal with it.

But oh that boy, my Alexander. My rainbow precious beyond words baby. He lived, he came home. I love that boy so much I could burst. He gave us reason to smile again, laugh again, to live again, to heal some of that raw all-engulfing pain. There is a gaping hole in our family but we're forever grateful, blessed and in awe at these two little boys we have now that encompass it all with rainbows.

Age 26
Age 26 (still pregnant with Alexander) we celebrated, for want of a better word, Anabelle's first birthday by fundraising for Sands. When we first started planning and decided we would hold a fete in her honour, a friend and I thought we were being overly ambitious setting a £1000 target. Never in a million years did we think we could've achieved or set our sights on the just shy of £10,000 total that we finally sent off to Sands in Anabelle's name. I was totally blown away at the reach my little girl had had and have been periodically the last few years since.

I always said I would plan another event, albeit more low-key, for her 5th birthday. Her 5th birthday is upon us in just two months now and currently I'm not sure I'm in the right head-space this June to pull any fundraising off at all. Currently I feel like I'm going to be enormously letting her down but at the moment I feel very fragile and wary about June and I'm not sure this is the year for it.  So it may not be for her 5th birthday after all, but I will fundraise for her birthday again.

My 27th birthday
Age 27 was all about being Alexander's Mummy. I absolutely loved being off on maternity leave with him. Our photos from that year are hundreds upon and hundreds of him. (Well, and have been since!) Not wanting to miss a moment or a memory of him. Spending so much time still pretty terrified we still weren't really going to be allowed to keep him. We couldn't believe our dreams of being earth parents had come true.

This photo is one of my favourites; Alexander's Dedication Day. The only day such as this Anabelle had, the only day she was ever going to have in Church, was her funeral, and we needed something so different for Xander. We needed it for him and we needed it for us, to carry our baby down the aisle in a different way. Celebrating and giving thanks that we had this baby in our arm instead of a box. In this photo we look so naturally happy and proud. Our boy.

Alexander's Dedication Day - Age 27

The day Zachary was born - Age 28

Age 28 was another busy year. We discovered we are expecting again, this time Zachary was on his way. This time is was still terrifying, still stressful but somewhat different; this time we felt better equipped to deal with the strain of pregnancy after loss, and with a rainbow baby still less than two years old we were pretty well distracted too. Zachary arrived, screaming, and instantly felt like he had always been here, the perfect fit, our darling rainbow Baby Small.     It was another wonderful maternity leave, learning how to juggle the needs of two small people and give each the attention they need. But in-amongst the angst of hoping I'm being enough for both of them there has been the beauty of watching their brotherly relationship grow independent of me. They were brothers in arms from the word go; a fiercely protective Xander of his baby brother from the moment he came home, a mesmerised Zachary watching Xander's every move from the moment he could take notice. And so it has continued. Today they are as thick as thieves and have each other's back - also known as Xander sneaking Zac the things he wants and there is nothing more beautiful than the sound of them shrieking with laughter as they play their games together.  Age 28 was a year our family grew some more.

Age 28 and I had the once in a life-time opportunity to attend an event at Number 10 Downing Street. It was a huge privilege and shock to receive an invitation to a Sands reception. It was quite an adventure, with hospital bags and notes packed into the car with us. Travelling for a half a day round trip to London, at a massively 36 weeks pregnant, but it was an adventure that could not be missed!  It was completely surreal walking through that door and into the residence of the Prime Minister! We went up a huge grand staircase, with portraits of all our previous PMs on the wall and spent a few hours eating canap├ęs and mingling with too many people affected by baby loss, too many other bereaved parents. It was humbling that a few people recognised me from this blog and I could not have been prouder that I was able to visit a normally locked down world famous building for and because of our beautiful girl. That night was completely about being Anabelle's Mummy and it was a wonderful feeling, to honour her. That Tuesday I was in Downing Street, the next Tuesday Zachary was born.

Another Graduation - Age 28
Age 28 and I graduated again. Finally finishing the post-graduate diploma I had started when pregnant with Belle. I'd been half way through when she died and course I needed to defer until I was in a space, and the course back in the place where I could see it to the end. I burnt the overnight oil many a time to finish that Diploma and passed with Merit. I felt pretty chuffed that day! Another two years on now and I'd like to complete the credits I need to get my Master's next, but with a baby (ok, he'll have to be called a toddler soon) that (still) doesn't sleep through and showing no signs of doing so any time soon, currently I do not have the energy or time to embark on anymore essay writing. But definitely something on the back-burner for the next decade!

Age 29

Age 29 and no signs of slowing down the pace. We spent the final year of my twenties house-hunting and subsequently renovating before moving in just before Christmas. Our lovely little first home two-bed had been outgrown, there was no room for the boys to play, we were drowning under the copious amounts of stuff we now owned, and well toys and it was time to move on.  We didn't quite mean to take on a renovation but in our inexperienced naivety the lick of paint and new carpets we thought this house needed was never going to cut it in the end. After a few years of pining to move back to Cwmbran, and six months, one week and two days after sale completion of much hard-graft, tears and tantrums we moved our family into our new home; a home, number 21 and now named Mehefin, where even Anabelle 'moved' with us.

My 30th Birthday
And now I'm 30.  My 30th birthday was a freak summer weather day for the first week of March and we spent it with friends and their children at the beach. It was just lovely, different and special. A month of birthday celebrations that finished with the most memorable of holidays in Disneyland Paris.

It was a bizzare feeling, knowing my twenties were coming to an end and this whole new decade and chapter was opening up for me. At 30 I feel more 'life' settled now, more sure of myself now; on a good day I know who I am and who is important.  I know what isn't going to change, I know there is thread of pain that will weave its way through my life, but I also know I have a whole load of everything too - my 'little and broken, but still good' family.

Just as I had no idea how my 20s would unfold, the same is true of my 30s; maybe there'll be just one more baby, maybe I'll complete my masters, maybe we'll extend the house - but mostly I think it will be about being Mummy and watching these children grow, filling our lives with love above all else and praying I keep them always. There is a whole loads of maybes and unknowns, I can only hope there'll be no life-changing trauma as there were mid-twenties and that on the whole this decade will be a healing and calming experience.

Reading back it really has been a full on ten years. I can't believe the next big birthday will be 40. *gulp* - lets start filling the next ten years then!

Disneyland Paris - Age 30

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I'm Caz, Mummy to beautiful angel Belle and my wonderful rainbow boys, Xander and Zac. Wife to Jon. Twitter @cazem @tonofunstweets
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