Our beautiful baby daughter Anabelle was born sleeping June 2010.
Blessed with the screaming arrivals of our gorgeous rainbow sons,
Alexander October 2011, Zachary November 2013 and Lucas July 2016.

After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows
Heartbreak. Joy. Death. Life. But most of all Love.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Happy Birthday Blog

One year ago today I did my first post. Life

By this point in September 2010 I'd reached my breaking point. After 3 months of living in some sort of haze and bubble, the bubble had burst and the reality that our daughter was dead sunk from the surface into every part of me. Everything felt broken, I couldn't imagine putting anything back together again.  Two days previously, on Anabelle's 3 month birthday, I'd walked into a counselling centre and promptly broke down. 

Then I discovered blogger, and this blog has become my salvation ever since. 

After Anabelle started as an outlet. My space to organise the unbearable pain, to figure out my thoughts, put my brain into some sort of order again. A diary to document how our lives would unfold without her. It became a space to share with the world what it means to be a bereaved parents. It became a space to raise awareness of stillbirth, the facts, the figures, to break the taboo of baby death. It became a place where I refused to be silent and very willing to share the deepest and darkest days and thoughts along with happier times too. Because this is our reality. 

Life one year on, although a long way from the constant darkness we were feeling on the day my blog was born, is still fragile. The reality may have sunk from the surface, but you only have to scratch us for it to emerge full force upwards again. 

Today my blog is still all of those things. Its become part of me, who I am and how I cope.  If I could describe my blog in one word now, I would probably choose "honest". 

Honest because I've laid lots of my life out like an open book. Honest because I think I've covered almost every emotion possible over the last 12 months here.  I hope by being honest it has raised awareness of stillbirth and what it really means to be angel parents. I hope for lots of people reading it has encouraged empathy and understanding of bereaved parents they may know.

So time for a review. Blogger has handy tools to help with this. It has a stats page that tells me how many page views I've had, what countries people have 'visited' from, which posts have been the most read.  After Anabelle has had a staggering 45,826 page views, visits from of course the UK then the USA, Australia, Austria, Germany, France, Singapore to name only but a few. 

And my top 5 posts? 

The Caz and Belle Blog - 3rd October 2010, 966 pageviews.  Written following a troll drama on Mumsnet that hugely unsettled the bereaved Mummy board. Barely after my blog had begun and feeling vulnerable I didn't quite know who to trust or what to believe.  It was a horrible online experience I'd not had any direct experience of before and hope I won't again. Now I know that whether there was any truth in the accusation and uproar or not there are no winners when someone shouts 'troll' - only lots of very upset people. 

Fundraising Update - 14th June 2011, 612 pageviews.  All about our planning and preparation in the run up to Anabelle's Angel Day, raising money for Sands. Fundraising had already surpassed the £900 mark (of an original £1000 target) before our events had even taken place.  Fundraising was the way we chose to celebrate Anabelle's 1st birthday, give her shortest of lives a positive focus, her little life having an impact in this world. And impact she did; our beautiful daughter inspired a final figure of £9340.74 of donations. Money that will help support a charity continue to support broken and vulnerable bereaved parents, and help to fund research that will hopefully one day prevent so many babies from dying every day. 

Repeating History  - 17th September 2011, 547 pageviews.  One of my most recent posts. Written from my hospital bed, terrified after threatening prem-labour again with Alexander at almost the same point of pregnancy that I did with Anabelle.  The fear that the next bit of history will also repeat itself. We're currently counting the days down to him surviving the remainder of his pregnancy to a happy outcome on induction day on 11th October. 

Eastenders - 30th December 2010, 332 pageviews.  The baby-swap storyline in Eastender's last new year distressed many bereaved parents. Distressed that instead of using a storyline for good to focus on the reality of being a bereaved parent, they instead decided to sensational it and portray a grieving mother as a lunatic. To this day I still believe more damage was done than good, and opportunity was lost. 

Anabelle's Story - 8th May 2011, 288 pageviews.  This is my contribution to a book, organised by another bereaved mother. This book will tell the stories of many bereaved parents and raise awareness of stillbirth and neo-natal death. Soon to be published and on sale, proceeds will go to Sands.

Happy birthday blog. I look forward to figuring out year two of our lives After Anabelle with you. 


Lynn C Schreiber said...

Happy Blogging Birthday.

I hope that in a couple of weeks you will have no time to update your blog, because you will be too busy cuddling and caring for little Alexander.

All fingers and toes tightly crossed.

Maria said...

Happy Birthday Blog.

You've come a very long way. Anabelle has been there every step of the way.

Big hugs

fingers still tighly crossed for baby A!


Anonymous said...

You are amazing Caz. Thank you for sharing your life with us all on this blog.

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After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows. I'm Caz, Mummy to beautiful angel Belle and my wonderful rainbow boys, Xander, Zachy and Luc. Wife to Jon. Twitter @cazem Instagram @cazzyem
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