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.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

I Am Two

Tonight; tired and emotional, just this:


I am two
Can that be?
I question which one's really me.
One is smiling? Coping well?
The other weeps in a living hell.

One is
too tired to deceive,
And wants to be alone to grieve.
The other 
Tries to battle on
Even though all meanings gone.

Some days, one
Is stronger than the other,
Or, the two,
Will merge, then I'm another.
Perhaps one day
I'll find the real 'I'
But until then
One will laugh
And the other will cry.

by Ann Holloway - taken from her book 'Matthew - Shadows Soft Around His Name'
Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Above the Bright Blue Sky

There's a friend for little children
above the bright blue sky,
A friend who never changes, 
whose love will never die;
Our earthly friends may fail us, 
and change with changing years.
This friend is always worthy, 
of that dear name he bears. 

There's a rest for little children
above the bright blue sky,
Who love the blessed Saviour,
and to the Father cry;
A rest from every turmoil,
From sin and sorrow free,
Where every little pilgrim
Shall rest eternally. 

There's a home for little children
above the bright blue sky,
Where Jesus reigns in glory,
A home of peace and joy;
No home on earth is like it,
Nor can with it compare;
for everyone is happy,
nor could be happier there. 


Sending a lantern filled with light and all our love to Anabelle in the skies tonight. One year since we put her to bed in her garden and gave her to God's keeping.

Mummy and Daddy love you, always, 
to the moon and back xxx 

Stargazer

A year ago today Anabelle made her final journey. Up her aisle in her Daddy's arms, through a sea of people dressed in pink just for her. She was carried up her aisle to Gymnopedie No.1 by Satie and back out to Stargazer by Hawes.  In the moments after her Daddy passed her perfect beautiful tiny little body into her bed in her garden this prayer was read out to God. Today it feels just as relevant.  A year may feel like a long time to some, but to Jon and I, handing over our daughter's little body to the ground and her little soul to God, happened only yesterday and the tears stream down as I once again listen to Stargazer, the last music I listened to with my daughter. 


Lord, (a year ago) today we sent our baby to you
Please give her wings and let her fly
She's new at this so take it slow
Teach her how they flutter by
We'll miss her so much
And we'll never know her smile
But you need her and now she's yours
She was only ours a little while
She'll never know pain
And she'll never know fear
For we know that you will keep her near
And now . . .
We close our eyes to say good bye
And watch her fly away to you
Please keep her Lord, and love her 'till
We get our wings and join you too.
Monday, 27 June 2011

The Thank You's

I've finally compiled the list of companies, people and friends that were involved in making Anabelle's Angel Day the success that is was. There are so many I'm a little nervous I will unintentionally miss somebody out;  but I also feel these companies, people and friends need to be thanked publicly for all the support they've given to Jon and I in this venture and their part in a total that has just pushed through £5000 for Sands and still counting! 

So lets start with the companies and people who donated or organised raffle prizes! Thank you to: 
The Traditional Shaving Company Taskforce PaintballingTechniquestThe Parkway HotelPeacocksToby CarveryThe Cwrt Bleddyn Hotel and SpaHoliday Inn Hotel NewportHilton Hotel CardiffBlush Beauty SalonArthur Llewellyn JenkinsDan-Yr-Ogof ShowcavesDance World NewportLegolandManor House Wildlife ParkThe Health BoutiqueUrban Reef RestaurantGreenmeadow Community FarmGiggleicious PhotographyBlue Lagoon Water ParkBellePixelleHeathertonSarah Stone PhotographyWith Love From MeMade For You by VanessaAnimalTescoWales and West HousingWater BabiesSilver ArtzGoldsmithsCakes Glorias CakesWallisLady Sue's Sparkles, AS Domestic Appliances, The Salon on Heather Road,  as well as the lovely people Lynne, Ambia, Tracey and Karen! 

And then the companies and people who made things for and/or gave their time on Saturday to help us raise so much money!  GlitterbugzTetley Tea, Catherine's Cakes, Kate of Absolute Bespoke Creations, Losely Icecream, The Rum Puppets, Sam Scott and Sally Greenwell, My Mum, Dad, Parents in law, Danny and Janet, Bex, Sorreya and her Nan, Marie, Ryan, Mike, Anwen, Leanne, Sue, Ant, Simon, Tracey, Jean, Sara, Naomi, Sian, Jodi, Ambia, Cath, Miriam, Ellie, Steve, Mat, Shaz and Jan.   And of course my Jon! 

I hope I haven't missed anyone out!  And a big thank you to everyone who donated any amount of money. Big or small, it is only because of you we've achieved such a tremendous running total! 


Sunday, 26 June 2011

My Response to The Sun

A number of weeks ago I was approached regarding my blog and asked if I would be interested in contributing to an article commissioned by The Sun regarding Mummy Bloggers. After some thought I agreed and decided the opportunity to raise awareness of the reality of stillbirth was one not to be missed.  So the interview by email took place and a photographer visited me to take pictures to go alongside the article. 

Friday, the article was published, only for me to be told that I and two other Mummy Bloggers parts have been cut out of the final piece in an editorial decision. 

Friday and Saturday I've been far too busy with Anabelle's Angel Day to think much about this, but today I'm feeling disgruntled. Not because I personally haven't been included in the piece, but because The Sun's editorial decision has fed into the silence and taboo surrounding stillbirth.  A national newspaper saw fit to include blogs covering general family experiences but not one covering the hard hitting reality of baby death and what that means for a (my) family's experiences. Maybe baby death is just far too serious a subject matter for The Sun. Article Here

Tonight I've emailed them and told them as much.  I wonder what response I will get from them, if any... 



Dear Dominic Mohan (Editor)

I write regarding the article published this week "The Mummy Bloggers"

I actually spent time contributing to this article after being approached by Liz Jarvis a number of weeks ago. I was disappointed to hear of the editorial decision to cut my part of it out along with, I was told, 2 other Mummy Bloggers. 

I understand the nature of my blog (cazandbelle.blogspot.com) is hard hitting and a serious subject matter; but in the year since my daughter's death I have repeatedly experienced a great taboo and silence surrounding stillbirth. 

I cannot only help but feel that The Sun's decision to not include my blog in this article has fed into this experience further and you yourselves have fed into a widespread "brush it under the carpet and not talk about it" attitude.

I understand that the nature of The Sun is to focus on far more light hearted matters but I felt strongly enough to bring this to your attention. With the The Lancet report only a few months ago, and an ongoing campaign between Grazia Magazine and Sands for research to reduce the number of stillbirths in this country, it is important that the tragedy of stillbirth is reported and discussed.

17 babies die in this country every single day; 11 are stillborn, another 6 die in the first few days/weeks of their young lives. This is 6500 every year and equates to 16 jumbo jets crashing each year with no survivors. I'm sure if 16 jumbo jets were to crash each year, The Sun would be one to report that.

As a national newspaper you could've done a lot of good by bringing to the public attention the devastation and realities surrounding stillbirth and helped the cause in raising awareness. I am disappointed (although not entirely surprised) that you chose to perpetuate the silence and taboo that the topic endures.

Regards.

Caroline Morgan. 
Saturday, 25 June 2011

Anabelle's Angel Day

I am absolutely gobsmacked as I write this, and so in awe of everyone who has donated to Sands in Anabelle's name and supported us. 

Today we held Anabelle's Angel Day Fete. Her birthday celebrations raising money for an organisation who provided so much support in those early days after her death. Sands, the stilbirth and neonatal death charity support anyone affected by the death of a baby and promote research to reduce the loss of babies lives. 

I am so very excited and emotional to announce that our SEMI-FINAL total in Anabelle's name for Sands has reached an absolutely staggering £4948.37. 

This figure so far includes everything donated online on our JustGiving page, various multiple offline cash donations we've been given, money collected so far from our sponsored walk last week, a second fete held at the same time as our in Belle's name in a different part of the country and everything raised from today.  It really is quite phenomenal. There is no other word for it. 

Now this is a semi-final total because we're still counting...

We still have more sponsorship money from our walk to collect, stock left over from the fete today is going to make a bit more money elsewhere and then added to our running total, and the biggy - the promised part-matched donation from Santander is now to be organised and sent onto Sands in Anabelle's name. 

So while we currently sit just shy of £5000, and I marvel in this alone, I already cannot wait to announce our final final total over the coming few weeks. 

Anabelle my incredible little girl has inspired amounts beyond my wildest dreams, and I thought £500 might've been ambitious when we first started this venture!  Such a massive thank you to everyone who has been involved to help make today a success, to everyone who has donated and supported us. Your donations will make a difference, and will contribute to help Sands continue to help bereaved Mummies and Daddies around the UK. 

I'm so very proud to be Anabelle's Mummy and to have achieved everything that we have for her. 
Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Guess How Much I Love You

By Sam McBratney, Illustrated by Anita Jeram 

Little Nutbrown Hare, who was going to bed, held on tight to Big Nutbrown Hare's very long ears. 

He wanted to be sure that Big Nutbrown Hare was listening. "Guess how much I love you," he said.   

"Oh I don't think I could guess that." said Big Nutbrown Hare. 

"This much," said Little Nutbrown Hare, stretching out his arms as wide as they could go. 

Big Nutbrown Hare had even longer arms. "But I love YOU this much." he said.

Hmm, that is a lot, thought Little Nutbrown Hare. 

"I love you as high as I can reach," said Little Nutbrown Hare.  "I love you as high as I can reach," said Big Nutbrown Hare.  That is quite high, thought Little Nutbrown Hare. I wish I had arms like that. 

Then Little Nutbrown Hare had a good idea. He tumbled upside down and reached up the tree trunk with his feet. " I love you all the way up to my toes!" he said. 

"And I love you all the way up to your toes," said Big Nutbrown Hare, swinging him high over his head. 

"I love you as high as I can HOP!" laughed Little Nutbrown Hare, bouncing up and down.   "But I love you as high as I can hop," smiled Big Nutbrown Hare - and he hopped so high that his ear touched the branches above. 

That's good hopping, thought Little Nutbrown Hare. I wish I could hope like that. 

"I love you all the way down the lane as far as the river," cried Little Nutbrown Hare.  "I love you across the river and over the hills," said Big Nutbrown Hare.That's very far, thought Little Nutbrown Hare. He was almost too sleepy to think anymore.

Then he looked up beyond the thorn bushes,  out into the big dark night. Nothing could be further than the sky.  "I love you right up to the MOON," he said, and closed his eyes.

"Oh, that's far," said Big Nutbrown Hare. "That is very very far." 

Big Nutbrown Hare settled Little Nutbrown Hare into his bed of leaves. He leaned over and kissed him goodnight. 

Then he lay down close by and whispered with a smile, "I love you right up to the moon...AND BACK." 


This is the story I read to Anabelle yesterday. This was the moment my friend Ally wrote a beautiful blog post about today.  (Read Ally's Post Here)

Mummy reading to Anabelle

Guess How Much I Love You is one of my all time favourite children's stories. When we were expecting Anabelle I bought her her own copy; her first book. I intended to start reading it to her before she was born,  but that time never came. I never read a story to my daughter while she was alive. I find that very difficult - the book had been there for weeks, why hadn't I read it? What was I waiting for. I don't know. 

I imagined sitting in the corner of her nursery in our white and pink gliding chair after it had been finished, still anticipating her arrival, reading to her, playing her music, spending time together in her room.   I imagined then and could only ever imagine now. 

In the chapel of rest, the last thing we did with Anabelle before kissing her for the final time was read her her book. I promised her then I would read the story to her every year on her birthday, and yesterday I kept that promise to her on her first birthday. 

The final words in the book seemed so perfect to be engraved on her headstone. Such a special moment we'd shared in the chapel. Although Anabelle could never guess how much we love her; because even to the moon and back is no where near far enough. 
Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Happy 1st Birthday Belle

Pink Birthday Lantern
At 00:08, at the moment Anabelle was born one year ago, Jon and I were on 'her' mountain.  The mountain we'd so often driven across for our antenatal appointments with her, the mountain where we'd written her eulogy.  It seemed appropriate we should start her birthday there.

We took pink chinese lanterns with us, hoping we'd be able to send one to heaven on the minute she was born. Unfortunately the weather wasn't kind enough to us; we were able to light the lantern and watch it glow, but the wind was too high and the rain started and it couldn't fly away.  We've saved the other lantern to have another go maybe next Tuesday; the anniversary of her funeral and goodbye day.

So after going to bed in the small hours, we got up to remember Anabelle in everything that we've done during the daylight hours too.

Today was remarkably calm. Surprisingly calm, peaceful.

After the anguish and pain I felt for much of last Thursday I expected the same today. Instead we've been able to celebrate our daughter. I'm glad we got the being in a complete state out of the way last week. Despite the tears for the birthday we wish it was today, the one where Anabelle would be here to join us, we've been able to make the birthday it is so very special.  Anabelle's 1st birthday.  

Birthday flowers from Mummy and Daddy
With a white rose for each of us xx 
Dinner time we collected her posy of flowers and went onto buy balloons. A pink star balloon which we released into the sky and off to Anabelle in heaven and another big pink 1st birthday balloon to decorate her garden.  We spent lots of time making it just perfect for her and I read Anabelle her story, 'Guess How Much I Love You' just as I promised I would do every year on her birthday.   After spending time in her garden we went to the garden centre. We've been given beautiful things today and wanted to make Anabelle a home garden. Something in her quiet place, and something at home with us now too.  Isn't it pretty?

Anabelle's home garden, outside our house!
Throughout the day we've opened the thoughtful gifts and cards that our friend and family gave to us and Anabelle for today; a personalised photo frame, pretty girl bunting with her name on, a solar lantern plaque, a heart shaped outdoor tealight holder (identical to a pink one we'd bought for her!), an angel shaped oil burner.  We've seen the beautiful floral tributes on her garden and opened lots of beautiful messages of love, support and happy birthday wishes to Anabelle on email, my pink place, Mumsnet, facebook, text message, our just giving page....

We really have been overwhelmed by kindness today and in awe at the reach of Anabelle's birthday across the country and many different people.

Today Anabelle's just giving page reached our £1000 target. Not only did it reach, but it has ploughed straight through! Birthday donations flooding in from friends and family and lots of strangers too.   Stangers donating to Sands because of my daughter on her birthday - amazing! For this I have to thank Mumsnetter MmeLindor who this morning wrote a beautiful blog post in tribute to Anabelle and started a thread to rally the support of the boards and implored people to donate. And donate people have. We can only thank you a million times over to everyone who has given today.  

What a perfect day to reach and smash a target. On her 1st birthday! 

As of tonight, as Anabelle's birthday is about to end, the JustGiving page alone stands at £1182.44! How incredible!!! Today over £200 online alone has been donated to Sands.  And get this; almost another £500 was handed to me in cash after a fundraising day in Anabelle's honour took place at my friends workplace.

Already we've raised more than I ever thought in my wildest dreams. I am gobsmacked and really have absolutely know idea at all what sort of figure to even hazzard a guess anymore of our final total sometime next week.

My beautiful girl has inspired all of this; her little life achieving so much to hopefully have some difference to families in the future. I'm touched and honoured by everyone who has got on board behind us. 

Tonight we finished Anabelle's day by visiting her garden again before it closed for the night and by lighting up our house and her home garden with flickering candles, and wished our girl once more a Happy 1st Birthday. 

Darling Anabelle, we hope you have had a very special angel party day. 


Birthday balloons

Beautiful pinkified garden for Belle's birthday...

Pink heart tealight holder,
flickering candles to finish her birthday in her home garden. 


Monday, 20 June 2011

To Anabelle

I've just written Anabelle's birthday card. Ready to take with us to her garden when we visit tomorrow. For once words nearly failed me, because words will never be enough to express how much our beautiful daughter means to us and how much we love her with every ounce of our being. No words could ever be enough to express how we wish her 1st birthday was so different...  With 1 hour and 23 minutes left to go until the clock strikes on the 21st and Anabelle's special day her card has been written in pink (of course) and we prepare to take a drive to her mountain to send pink lanterns into the night time sky at the moment she was born.  

Our beautiful baby girl

It is not often Mummy is lost for words, but this is one of those times. We can hardly believe here we are writing your first birthday card and you are not here to receive it. How can it be your first birthday already when it feels like you grew your wings only yesterday? Time moves too quickly…

 There is not an hour of a day that goes by that we don’t think about you. Mummy and Daddy miss you more than you could ever know and wish things were so different.

No words are enough to express just how much we love you Anabelle, our beautiful precious girl. But here we are wishing you a special 1st birthday in heaven. Have a big party with all the angels and look out for your birthday lanterns and balloons.

Happy 1st Birthday Anabelle

We love you, always.
To the moon and back.    
                    
Mummy, Daddy, Alexander and Fiz 
x x x x

Father's Day

I've been lucky to have been blessed with great men in my life. I have a wonderful Dad and a wonderful Husband. Anabelle and Alexander have also been blessed with a wonderful Daddy even though unfortunately my wonderful Jon has not been blessed with the same in his life. 

My Dad walking me down the aisle to Jon...
My Dad has always a constant in my life; reliable, dependable, providing endless love and support, often the calming influence in many a strife, always there to turn to and be my strength when I've needed him. Even now as a grown woman I rely heavily on my parents continuously, I'm sure they wonder when that elusive "Caroline is now totally independent" day will come, but in truth I cannot imagine a day when their input in our lives, in whatever capacity, will no longer be needed. 

I owe my parents so much and appreciate every day how lucky I am at how selflessly they've loved me and put me first. I know I can turn to them in any situation.  We know we will endeavor every effort to provide our children with the same constant in their lives, and hope one day they'll be able to say the same about us. We wish we could've done this for Anabelle.

A year ago, when Anabelle died, Mum and Dad instantly stepped into the role of caring for us. We moved in with them while we were too fragile to go home, to fragile to look after ourselves. Once again I became as a little girl and had my parents tending to us. I felt safe in my childhood home under my parents protection. They could shield me from the world when I felt so unsafe everywhere else. 

As Jon carried his daughter in his arms into her funeral, I clung to my Dad behind them. It was him who got me to the end of the aisle when all the strength in my legs had all but gone.  It was the second time in 11 months my father had walked me down an aisle; the first being my wedding day, the second being an event none ever imagined happening. 

Today we've lived through another Father's Day. A day to recognise the men who've done so much in our lives, especially this last year; my Dad, Mark (Jon's step-dad) and of course Jon personally. 

Precious Moments: Anabelle and her Daddy
sharing time together just after she was born.
Today has been so very different to Father's Day last year. Last year we were in a hospital room, at the end of labour ward.  Jon watched on for the most of the day while I was drugged up to the eyeballs on concoctions to get me into labour and spaced out on morphine. Never leaving my side, there through it all. And then at 7pm on Father's Day when I finally went into labour he supported me all the way, through every contraction and all the pain.  Instead of getting Daddy-to-be cards last year he watched as his sleeping angel daughter started to make her way for so brief a time into this world. 

Anabelle missed being born on Father's Day by 8 minutes, instead arriving as we went into the Monday midnight morning and a new day. 

This year we've had a long lie in, I gave Jon his presents from his children in bed, and he has cuddled in next to our Alexander bump to spend time with his son. We visited Anabelle in her garden, and started to make it pretty for her birthday, we've had a roast dinner and enjoyed a walk along the sea wall as the sun has set to finish today. 

Remarkably peaceful really. 
Sunday, 19 June 2011

Almost the 21st...

Today I made Anabelle a birthday card from her Mummy and Daddy.  

I know some people will think this is completely weird; but can you imagine not writing your children cards for their birthday? Making a card for Anabelle was something I needed to do. We'll take it to her garden while we're there with her and then afterwards it will take up a page in her memory book. 

We're in new territory. We've not faced a birthday before, this will be Anabelle's first one. 

It is a very strange, difficult and painful place to be and now we only have two days to go. We're not sure what to do, we're not sure what is "appropriate" when marking the birthday of a dead child. Although I don't think there is any such thing as inappropriate. What feels right for one bereaved parent may not feel right for another; at the moment we're figuring out what feels right for us.

So Anabelle has a card, we've ordered a very pink posy wreath with 3 white roses to go on her garden, we'll buy a balloon decoration to leave there and another to release into the sky up to heaven. Before all of this at 00:08; exactly a year since she finally arrived sleeping, we'll be on 'her' mountain sending pink chinese lanterns into the night. We know its a plan that gets us through these important Anabelle days, but what else can we do to fill the long 24 hours that make up her birthday? 

But first tomorrow, we're to get through Father's Day...
Saturday, 18 June 2011

Anabelle's Walk

Worn by Daddy!
Yesterday we walked for Anabelle and for the other 16 babies that were born sleeping or died on the 21st June 2010; infact we did it for all angel babies. 

In quite miserable grey and wet conditions 28 of our friends and family (and 2 complete strangers!) turned out to walk alongside us and remember our daughter!  I say it often but as usual we were overwhelmed by the love and support; continuously amazed by the generosity of the money being donated. 

The walk alone has raised somewhere in the hundreds; I haven't got an exact figure yet but at a glance I know the walk achieved a great figure! 

When we planned it we thought it would be a nice extra to add to the fete; if everyone raised £10-20 each from the walk it would add to the final figure and boost it up. We thought it would be nice to do something on the 17th of the month to further emphasise the importance of the number 17.   I never imagined we would raise multiple hundreds in Anabelle's memory from the walk alone! 

Everyone had an array of 17 things with them; even if some were hidden under umbrellas and raincoats!   Anabelle's Daddy carried 17 pink flowers, I wore 17 bracelets and plaits in my hair, others also had plaits and bracelets, carried 17 balloons, teabags, wore 17 apples, badges and Anabelle's full name with added hearts! 

Everyone who walked for Anabelle

And we're off! 

Walking in the rain! 

Jon and Me 

Jon and Me 

Well needless to say the walk has exceeded all my expectations. Just as everything we've planned to mark Anabelle's 1st birthday and raise money for Sands has done.

So to everyone who got involved yesterday and walked for our daughter (including a special mention to those who travelled from afar and rushed straight from work to join in), thank you so much. We love you all. xxx 

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Anabelle's Remember Day

Here we are then.

A year.

A whole year of Anabelle being dead.

A whole year since Those Words.

A entire year since our world shattered beyond repair.

Anabelle is not here, will never be here and all I want is to hold her in my arms and forget this pain just for a little while. But I'll never get what I want. This is forever.

Hurting, broken, exhausted.

Today I haven't got the energy to say anything else.
Wednesday, 15 June 2011

The Scan

For a split second of a moment today I froze. 

A year ago tomorrow we had THAT scan; the one that confirmed our beautiful girl had grown wings. Today we had another scan with Xander. A scan that took me into THAT room, the one where we were told Anabelle was dead. 

It was nano-seconds, but I froze, then took a deep breathe and walked in.   

I led there thinking about my daughter and thinking about the fact that I was back in that room again a year to the day with my son. I led there looking at Xander completely mesmerized by him; his little feet, legs, face, arms, hands - even little fingers! I led there and remembered the same moments we'd shared with his sister. 

Today has been bittersweet. 

Despite the hurting today (and tomorrow and for the many days in a row to come as we live through her birthday and all the other anniversaries) we got another beautiful picture of our already very cute little boy.   What has also been special today is comparing Alexander's "20 week" (although I'm 19 weeks) scan picture to Anabelle's picture - they are so strikingly similar. 

Alexander's profile next to Anabelle's is identical.  Their little noses the same shape as their Daddy - it appears Jon hold's the dominant genes! (Although their little butterfly mouths are mine!) I think Alexander is going to look a lot like his big sister. 

Anabelle 20 weeks grown!

Alexander 19 weeks grown!


But I don't want it to be tomorrow in just under 3 hours. I'm not ready for it, a whole year of my daughter being dead, I'm not ready for it to be tomorrow. 

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Fundraising Update


Yesterday Anabelle's JustGiving  page broke the £900 mark; her angel day celebrations are now 11 days away and we're only £90 short of our target in online donations alone! I'm really quite excited to announce the final figure when online and offline donations from her walk and angel day are calculated altogether. My little girl has achieved all of this, inspired her Mummy, Daddy and whole lot of other people to come together and organise and contribute to something very special. 

So we're in the 'final touches' stage of organisation now. 

Friday evening we'll be walking around Cwmbran Boating Lake and the Woodland park on the other side of the road in Anabelle's memory; lots of people hopefully carrying or wearing 17 things to represent the 17 babies that die every day because of stillbirth or neonatal death. 

I'm currently getting through out final "to do" list in preparation for the biggy, the finale of our fundraising - Anabelle's Angel Day. I'm drawing floor plans, begging for last minute advertising, trying make sure each and every stall is well planned and just perfect.   There are so many people I need to thank for their help, for their time, for the lovely things they have sent or made.  That will be some astronomical thank you blog after the event let me tell you! 

If you live in my area; I hope to see you there! 


Friday, 10 June 2011

Wriggly Baby

Well after weeks of noticing little movements (which started at about 14 weeks) and deciding between them being definitely baby or maybe wind; the last few days I'm becoming more and more aware of Xander. I'd forgotten almost how alien it feels in the beginning when the little 'pops' turn into little wriggles and much bigger 'pops'. 

It is alien, but lovely and reassuring. I absolutely cannot wait to feel him move on the outside and even more excited for Jon to be able to feel his son too. 

I think it is time to start playing Alexander some music, encouraging him to respond and move around some more. It worked very well for Anabelle. The first time I finally felt a proper 'pop' that I knew definitely was her, and not wind, we were playing her music - I was 19 weeks pregnant and was euphoric that I definitely knew it was her this time and not just wind.  Its true what they say; you know the movement so much earlier on on your second baby, I've been noticing Xander pops for weeks and he is already wriggling!  


We'd bought Anabelle the Classic FM CD for babies and spent many lovely hours lying in bed with massive headphones around my tummy and watching her 'dance' to the music.  

We were in a state of romance - wanting to do beautiful things with our beautiful growing baby. I had read somewhere that music babies heard in the womb they would remember when they were born, that music stimulated development and I wanted that experience for Anabelle.






I want it again for Alexander, although we might have to buy a new CD because I simply cannot remove Anabelle's from her memory box for her brother.


Music was a big part of Anabelle's pregnancy and a special part of her funeral, personal to her and our time growing her. 

Most girls choose what piece of music they want to walk up and down their wedding aisle to; whether it be the Bridal March or something alternative (personally I went for an alternative and walked down the aisle to Jon on my father's arm to the sound of "The Swan" from Carnival of the Animals piece and back out to "So Close" from Disney's Enchanted), for us and our baby girl, the only aisle Anabelle was ever going to have was her funeral aisle in her father's arms. There is and never will be no wedding for us and Belle.

Anabelle was carried down her aisle to Gymnopedie No.1 by Satie and carried out to Stargazer by Hawes. Both really very pretty pieces of music chosen from the CD we'd bought with such anticipation and excitement to bond and interact with our unborn beautiful daughter. 

Now it is time to continue to bond each and every day with our son, interacting with him, getting to know him; because it is one of the most beautiful parts of pregnancy, falling in love with your child before you meet them, and because we'll never know if one of these days might be his last - I want even his life inside me to be as full as we tried to make his sisters.


Now, which CD shall we buy just for him, our little boy? 
Thursday, 9 June 2011

Antenatal Care

Another disclaimer post - too much information probably mentioned! 

Well today we are 18 weeks and 2 days pregnant with Alexander. So far this pregnancy I've visited the hospital or midwife a total of  12 times.  6 of these visits have been routine or pre-booked; the other 6 visits have been extras and a result of bleeding scares. 

For the most part I cannot fault the hospital's care. They've had me in quickly when I've needed to be checked over. They keep scanning me, re-checking my cervix to ensure everything is ok and listening to Xander's heartbeat. 

Today was yet another of those days; which also included an insensitive and fumbling Doctor.  

My only complaints so far regarding my care is the Sunday episode and having to wait 2 days to be scanned because it was bank holiday, and this Doctor today who insensitively bowled in with the question "is this your first pregnancy" because he evidently had not bothered to look in my notes he was carrying under his arm.  Really; would reading my notes and handling me gently be too much to ask?  He has been my least favourite encounter so far and inspired the least confidence in me. 

Anyway, yet another bleed last night that felt like it filled the toilet bowl and spotting afterwards meant another phone call to the hospital to be told they wanted me in for first thing.  

This time I've been diagnosed with cervical erosion. A 'harmless' type of bleeding in pregnancy I'm told, often caused by hormonal changes affecting the neck of the womb; being sensitive and inflammed can lead to bleeds of various degrees, but totally unrelated to the safety of the pregnancy itself and well away from the womb and the baby. 

Well it may be harmless to Xander but it is pushing mine and Jon's stress and coping levels to new limits at the moment, an added worry that we just don't need. 

Who are these women who sail through pregnancy? Why can't I be one of those?  I thought I had sailed through more or less with Anabelle until our threatened prem-labour, but now in our subsequent pregnancy when I'm feeling increasingly fragile we could really do with the bleeding to go away and stay away more than ever. It doesn't look like that is going to happen and so this bleeding may well continue on and off throughout this pregnancy.  

The Doctor I saw today said there was no need to come in again for it unless I thought the episodes were substantially worse or accompanied by pain, but as I said, not bothering to check my history didn't inspire confidence in me and I just want to see my consultant now who knows the bigger picture and more ready to appreciate my crumbling emotional health.

Being this time of year and June is not helping at all. A week today until it is 12 months since Anabelle died. 

Another question I want to ask tonight is; why does it take our family history and Anabelle's death to give me this level of prompt care in pregnancy?   We had a few bleeds in early second trimester with Anabelle, nothing to the extent as its continuing with Xander but it happened; it happened three times before anyone wanted to see me at all, three times before they would scan to see if everything was ok.   The difference of care I'm receiving at the moment is quite astounding. 

I know the answer is cost. Caring for people costs money. Of course I'm currently costing the NHS thousands of pounds in Doctors time and equipment; I know that my son is worth it, but so was my daughter. 

Why does it take one baby to die before this level of care is put in the next pregnancy?  Will this level of care make a difference to the outcome of this pregnancy? Or is it to ease my anxiety a little?  I suppose the hope is if even the slightest of changes will be spotted instantly and acted upon, but surely all women and babies, regardless of obstetric history should receive close monitored care? 

So far in 18 weeks Alexander has been scanned by the NHS 5 times - we have another 2 pre-booked routine scans booked in next week which will take us to 7, and they'll continue at a maximum of 4 weeks apart until he is born unless it is deemed necessary to look in even more frequently than that. I think the final number of scans will be quite something. Apart from scans I'm booked into see consultants at a maximum of 4 weeks apart from Monday onwards for various other checks and  weekly midwife from 25 weeks pregnant onwards as well. 

Anabelle had extra scans too - we had 6 in total with her; her dating scan, an extra scan after the three bleeds, her anomaly scan, a random scan with a consultant to check her position which we weren't expecting, the scan I had before being discharged following threatened prem-labour and then that final sixth scan that confirmed she had died.  But no-one was "on top" of my care as they are now. No-one was going out of their way to reassure me. 

Monday I have an appointment with my consultant. I'm desperate to see her now for any level of reassurance and understanding. These last weeks have been increasingly tough - feeling fragile and vulnerable about sums it up, a single thread of coping left, no energy left to deal with anything else scary with Xander and still so much of June to get through. 

I miss Anabelle. This isn't supposed to be how my family is. 

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Mummy Moment Blog Hop

Ok so this is my first attempt at a blog hop! I've no idea if I'm even doing it right - someone guide me if I'm not! Celebrating Mums have started a new Mummy Moment blog hop - sharing photographs of special Mummy times. Well what could be a more special Mummy Moment this week than seeing my sons face for the first time! So I've added my Alexander Jon post to the first hop competition.

Right now to figure out how to add the linky list thing...!

Capture a Moment... 17+6 Boy Bump

Yesterday we celebrated our little boy bump by Jon taking some more photographs of him! So here we are, Alexander and me 17+6 weeks grown, but feeling much bigger than that! Infact at the moment, based on weekly photographs taken of me this pregnancy and in Anabelle's pregnancy - we're currently matching my size last time at 22+ weeks! 




Monday, 6 June 2011

Alexander Jon

Wow! We have a little boy! I'm so excited to introduce you to our precious growing SON! 

Alexander Jon Morgan (or Xander, as he'll be known for short!)   

Today has been a really happy day - such a lovely warm fuzzy feeling since the sonographer announced our baby was team blue and we had a very clear view of his winky and a special little look at his face in 3D - even if he did refuse to move his arm out of the way for a full look! 




I had forgotten what this feeling was like and I'm so thrilled that we could enjoy this moment to its fullest as we did with Anabelle.   This afternoon we celebrated our son by buying Alexander the blue "A" from Mamas and Papas, just as Jon had done for Anabelle with a pink "A" - choosing another name with the letter "A" was so very important to us, another special connection between our first and second child. 

Today deserved celebration because there is much to fear. I can honestly say this is the first day so far this pregnancy that I've enjoyed whole-heartedly; dismissing how frightened I am and embraced the excitement surrounding seeing our beautiful boy. Today it was much more important to enjoy and celebrate than let the fear tarnish Alexander's special naming day.  

Our second child is named and I cannot wait to get to know him, watch him grow, pray hard he stays safe, meet him and bring him home.   So here I am, the extremely proud Mummy to both of my children; my beautiful babies, Anabelle and Alexander. 
Sunday, 5 June 2011

This Time Last Year

A year ago tomorrow, on the 6th June, our nightmare was beginning.  We didn't know it yet; it still hadn't occurred to us our daughter would die, but the 6th marks the day it all started to go wrong for us and Anabelle.  

It was a Sunday and we were due to go to a 1st birthday party. Anabelle had been quiet, I wasn't sure I'd really felt her move much since Friday and I was starting to get a bit concerned. I didn't feel at all sure of myself; I'd been feeling what I thought was Braxton Hicks and had put the quietness down to the running out of room. Not being pregnant before I relied on the baby books for the information and 31 weeks meant running out of room for lots of movement and expecting to feel Braxton Hicks. But we were beginning to feel anxious we phoned the hospital for reassurance and asked to go in to be checked over.

We assumed we'd be up there an hour; the baby books say babies start moving around again as soon as the Dr's try to monitor them on a trace. So we let people know we'd be late for the party but expected to get there a bit later.  Only we never arrived and missed the party completely.

I was put on a trace and yes, Anabelle did the moving thing the baby books said she'd do, but almost immediately the trace identified the "Braxton Hicks" were actually more like early contractions/tightenings and worse that Belle's heart rate was dipping with each one and dipping spontaneously in between.

Never in a million years did we expect to go up to the hospital for monitoring to be told I was threatening premature labour and that Anabelle would be delivered by c-section if they couldn't stabilise her heart rate and stop the tightenings.

Everyone was springing into action. I was put on a permanent trace and a Doctor was checking my cervix was still closed and ordering drugs to stop the tightenings and steroid injections to help Anabelle's lungs and breathing if the other drugs didn't work, ordering catheters and other 'prepping me for theatre bits' incase the other drugs didn't work.

It was incredibly frightening and we were terrified our beautiful girl was going to be born too early, worried for her development and how it could affect her future if she was born 9 weeks early.  A neo-natal doctor was called down to delivery to talk us through what would happen to Anabelle if I was taken into theatre sometime that day or over the coming days.

Thankfully (I think? I'm tortured by the what ifs of the whole situation) the drugs worked and the tightenings started to settle down and space further out, Anabelle's heart rate stopped dipping. The fear of theatre was now on hold and after 8 hours on delivery thinking our daughter was going to born we were transferred to maternity ward for a nights rest; more monitoring and treatment, two days on maternity ward before being allowed home. Scanned and discharged they were confident Anabelle was absolutely ok.

We went home and rushed about preparing things for Anabelle, fully expecting that a 40 week delivery seemed unlikely now.  Every extra week was going to be a bonus. Little did we know we only had one week left with our daughter alive at all.    We made a cast of my bump, we had those precious bump photographs taken, Anabelle's room was painted, I washed all of her clothes ready for her, Jon started building her furniture.

I cannot help but think how things could've been different. We're promised the threatened premature labour is in no way related to her death seven days later, that it was just a horrible co-incidence in timing. Would she be here if she'd been born on the 6th June? Would she have been safer in a special baby care unit than she evidently was inside me?

How will we ever know... I have to trust that the hospital did what was best for us with the information they had at the time; they had no reason to think Belle would die and neither did we.

What decision do we make if we find ourselves in the threatened premature labour again? We thought we'd done our best by Anabelle but she died. I know, at 31 weeks she would've had a good chance of being strong and surviving. I know she equally could've died in a SBCU but would the doctors had more chance of saving her there? If Bow tries an early escape what do we do?  I'm not sure I could cope with even a sniff of history repeating itself in that way (or any way); even if I'm told the premature labour wasn't related to her death, I cannot help but think now it was a warning sign. Something was wrong, she wasn't happy, she was trying to let us know and maybe we made the wrong decision for her.

I don't trust myself in this pregnancy, not at all. I'm not sure I can make the right decision for my baby, or notice the things I'm supposed to be noticing. I'm doubting myself all of the time. There is such a long way to go.

Last year on the 6th our pregnancy was rocked with the unexpected. The start of our list of painful "this time last years" is marked with tomorrow being a special day - this year on the 6th June we're being introduced to Bow as a little boy or girl. By tomorrow evening I hope to be able to tell you all if we're having a blue or pink baby and introduce Anabelle's little brother or sister by name.
Friday, 3 June 2011

June

There are 18 days left until Anabelle's 1st birthday. 

How is it June again already? 12 months gone by, a whole year. It's too fast. I'm not ready for it to be a year. Life feels heavy at the moment; the weight of the world on my shoulders, juggling far too many balls. Of course I knew June was going to be difficult but here we are and I'm wondering if I've bitten off far more than I can chew. 

I'm beginning to re-live the "this time last years" when our nightmare began. The onset of a threatened premature labour, a hospital stay, a discharge and then after thinking we'd succeeded in keeping her safe for the time being and out of special baby care, she died a week later. 

Maybe the start of June is contributing to the pressure and fear of this pregnancy. This time last year I ended up on the sick and then on maternity leave far earlier than I ever imagined. After all it is this time last year it all ended for us with Anabelle. Or maybe it was this time last year that everything started for us with Anabelle; I suppose it depends which side of the coin you're looking at. 

I don't think I'm quite all there at the moment, I can't pull my head together properly. A big part of me would love to start curling up away from the world, see as few people as possible and hibernate until November. Not that it is possible; trying to meet my teaching responsibilities and the start of the second busiest half term in an academic year, my angel Mummy responsibilities and pulling off a successful fundraising day for Anabelle, my pregnant Mummy responsibilities and just somehow keeping Bow alive (although realising that this one is completely out of my control)... lots of hospital appointments and remembering everything else that has to happen this month too.

Maybe I should've just concentrated on getting through June instead of having all these plans to contend with on top of all the first anniversaries and Anabelle's 1st birthday. 
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Caz
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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