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.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

8. Reasons to be Cheerful

Well I thought it would be good to finish March with some reasons to be cheerful lately. I've been slacking recently, Mother's Day put me on a bit of a downer and as we go into a new month its time to kick myself up the backside again and chirp up. 

There has been lots of lovely things going on...

Xander finally rolled over front to back for the first time, and has done it another few times since! He still has to think about it and put loads of effort into it but he is getting there! Hooray! 

Xander has his first proper breakfast. Baby rice on day one he wasn't so keen on but he has been loving porridge since! Yumming loads up! We'll think about introducing a second meal time next weekend.  

All the sunshine! Its been beautiful and so refreshing to be able to get out and about and we've been making the most of it. In one week we spent three afternoons in the park and enjoying lots of floor play on the grass! 

So on the whole it has been a very happy, fun-filled March and now we're looking forward to Easter weekend and Jon having an extended few days off. We enjoy having him home too...

Here's to a happy April and lots of other cheerful people at Mummy From The Heart.




Friday, 23 March 2012

Sport Relief

I've been sat watching BBC1 Sport Relief. I recognise myself in those bereft heartbroken parents, I know their pain, I recognise the awful broken sound coming out of their bodies as the realisation their child has died sinks in. I know what it is like to hold and bury your dead child. I know what it feels like when all hope is gone. 

Charity drives like this in aid of third world countries are necessary and worthwhile. The disparity of wealth between here and there is a disgrace. Sport Relief reminds us how fortunate we are with the luxury we live in, fortunate because we were born here and not there. We cannot imagine our children working in rubbish heaps, or drinking dirty water, or being exposed to raw sewage and then associated disease and chronic diarrhoea killing them.  

But here comes my but.  

There are many many parents here in the UK who are bereaved. I am one of those parents. Forgotten parents it seems. So John Bishop, I'm pleased you can't imagine it. I wouldn't want you to. But I can. I can imagine taking my child home from hospital and burying them, because that is exactly what I had to do. My daughter died, I buried her. 

So while John Bishop can confidently say that the thought his boys wouldn't survive has ever crossed his mind, there are plenty of parents right here in the UK who have thought it, parents who've lost their children to death. Parents who are terrified their remaining children may be taken too. Death colours the lives of so many unnoticed parents here. 

We as a country as so focussed on children dying in the third world that the country seems to forget many thousands of children die here in the UK every single day too. As somebody on my twitter said, we can talk about baby and child death elsewhere but it is not acceptable to do so here. We are comfortable campaigning against children dying in other countries but here baby and Child death remains a taboo. 

That cannot be right can it?

Hushed hushed; it doesn't really happen. We don't like to think that British children can die. It doesn't happen here.

But it does. 

Tonight on BBC1 celebrities are crying and feeling the rage for the plight of these babies, children and families in the third world, and rightly so. BBC1 isn't easy viewing tonight. We should want to change what happens in these countries less fortunate than ours. 

I know the statistics of infant mortality here and there differ greatly. I know it is less likely to happen here, but that doesn't make the children who die here any less worthy of campaigning for change. Doesn't make the grieving parents any less worthy over here. The parents you are watching grieve on the TV tonight? We've looked like that. Many other parents here have looked like that. Our grief is just as huge as theirs, theirs as huge as ours. We have felt the same. We continue to feel the same. 

I cannot help but wonder where the same rage and tears are for the babies and children that die here every day? Why do our own babies go unnoticed? Why isn't there a national, celebrity endorsed fundraiser for change here too? 

Baby and child death is preventable out there. It is also preventable here.

Not one cause is greater than the other. All baby and child death matters greatly, no matter what country or circumstances it is happening in. So lets take a look closer to home too and bring our own death toll down. 




Thursday, 22 March 2012

A Day of Two Scans

When Belle became Belle...
For the last two years the 22nd March has meant ultrasound scans. 

Two years ago today  Anabelle became Anabelle. It was my 20 weeks scan and we 'met' our little girl, gave her her identity and started our whirlwind on pink shopping. What a high, we were so excited. If only we had known what was to come. I'm alarmed how quickly her 2nd birthday is approaching, I'm not ready for it to be two years. Two years without her. 

We should be anticipating the start of the terrible twos, but of course instead my toddler remains dead. Sometimes I still feel so angry at the injustice of it all. 

I watch Alexander and wonder how she'd have been like him at this stage. I enjoy him so much and just sometimes I look at him and hurt for her. Hurt that we weren't allowed to watch her grow too. 

Then there was a different scan. Alexander's first scan, exactly a year on from Anabelle's 20 week scan. I remember being amazed how it had fallen together. Today (well, like everyday really!) I've been wowed by our wonderful little boy. A year ago today he was a teeny little blob on the screen. We were so relieved to see his little heartbeat and mesmerised that something so tiny was our little baby. 

Can you believe that a year ago Alexander looked like this:

A teeny little Xander baby!

and today, one year later he has grown into this:

Look at me now!

Isn't that amazing! Can you believe those two pictures are the same baby!? My gorgeous little boy, just perfect... 


Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Five Months Old

It only feels like five minutes since I wrote Alexander's 4 months update, but here I am writing about month 5! Before I know it it will be his half birthday!!

So now he is really starting to discover himself and what he can do! He absolutely loves little games in the mirror, his reaction to himself is just the cutest thing. He will look, smile, get excited and then go all coy burying his face in my chest and peek back out at himself from the side! Really quite funny. 

This month he has discovered toys and has started intentional play. He seems especially fascinated by his Pirate Octopus and grab rattle ball! Although toys are not essential; he will happily explore bibs, muslins and blankets intently too, anything he manages to get his hands on really!

He loves his latest 'big toy' too which we've picked up for him - the Jumperoo. Our living room is increasingly looking like a Toys 'R' Us superstore!  I love watching him explore his new skills, cause and effect is emerging now! If the video works it captures him discovering he can spin the lizard on the jumperoo to make a noise for the first time!

video

Last month he was just beginning to pull himself to sitting with a little prompt and support, now when he is sat against you on your lap, or in a reclined chair (e.g. carseat or swing) he is leaning himself forward in an attempt to pull himself to straight sitting, he doesn't want to be sat back as it were. When sitting on the floor between my knees he will lean himself forward onto his arms and hold the sitting position almost independently for a few seconds. It is amazing to think that merely five months ago he was a helpless floppy newborn and now has enough tone to begin to sit, be supported to stand for a few seconds and begin to move. 

A fortnight ago Alexander discovered he could move a little bit on the floor. Led on his tummy he huffed and puffed until he had managed to turn himself around 90 degress; ok so he still hasn't grasped rolling over but he has grasped movement. Just a few days ago, on the floor on his back he spent half and hour developing his technique of moving himself around; this time around in a full circle. It involved rolling onto his side, stretching his head right back and pushing with his feet! Amazing to watch, I wish I'd thought to get video of that too!   Although no doubt I'll be told to jokingly watch out now over the coming few months as he discovers he can be mobile I'm just in awe at how quickly he is learning to do things and how quickly he is changing.  

Of course he is growing again. A few weeks ago the time came to change our pram into buggy mode. I'll admit it made me very tearful that another 'tiny baby' part of his babyhood was over. But he was bored in the pram now, quickly getting fed up at being led down and wanting to be able to see more of what was going on around him when we were out and about. He is very happy with buggy mode!  

The most important milestone this month was Xander's Dedication Day. A day that allowed us to celebrate the blessing that he is to us, to say thank you to God for his safe arrival, to celebrate that our baby boy came home and how much we love him.  To say it was a special day is an understatement. The service was just perfect and everything we wanted for him. Alexander did us proud as always, being a happy little chap and smiling in all the right places! 

Of course he was very spoilt. Thank you lovely people, I promise I will get around to individual thank you notes very soon. With our birthdays and his dedication he has had lots of opportunity to practice present opening. At Christmas he wasn't really at all interested when I was opening his presents with him, now as soon as a present is put infront of him he is clawing at the paper to have a feel and when he gets hold of a bit he actually pulls at it to rip it!  He definitely knows the routine now and you can see his anticipation to get going! Haha! He is so clever! 

You may notice in the photograph this month that Xander's hair is getting lighter and lighter. I can't believe how dark his hair was when he was born compared to the difference now. It was already getting thinner but he has had pretty bad cradle cap this month and in the process of treating it even more of his hair has come out. He looks almost bald in places but that is because the newer hair coming through is white blonde!  Jon and I were fair as small children so this change isn't entirely surprising but I was a bit alarmed how much hair was losing and a bit sad; I've always loved his hair with his cute little spikey mohican on top and I hope it all grows back! 

Maybe it is because his hair is getting lighter and blonde, but I'm sure his eyes are looking bluer and bluer to. My handsome little man!  



Well I think that is month five well and truly covered, can you believe the next update will be his half birthday blog?! 


Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Mother's Day

Mother's Day is looming. Looming like a dark cloud. 

Shouldn't this year be different? Shouldn't I be more together about it this year? 

But no, here I am agonising about it. Agonising because I don't know what to do about it. There is the part of me that thinks I should celebrate this year, even a tiny part of me that wants too; because this is Alexander's first proper Mother's Day. It should be special, shouldn't it?  

The last two years I have been pregnant on Mother's Day. In 2010 I was pregnant with Anabelle. Jon bought me a 'Mother-to-be' card and made a real fuss of me. Then last year, 2011, my heart broke all day. I had to endure Mother's Day without my baby girl. But I was pregnant again, about 8 weeks pregnant with Alexander. Jon tried to mark it gently; from Belle and our new baby, we went and spent the day where we got married. But it stung. I cried before I'd even got out of bed. 

Now there is this year... 

I don't want Alexander to grow up thinking that Mother's Day is only about my grief for his sister. He needs to know me being his Mummy matters just as much, and it does, he is everything to me, but I'm dreading the day this year. Maybe even more so than last year. 

Last year the only expectation on me was to be miserable, this year I don't know what the expectation is. It makes me feel sick. 

I know maybe I should be making some effort this Mother's Day. But engulfing the parts that wants me to have a special day there is a bigger part wanting it to all go away. The adverts, the banners around and about the supermarkets and shops, the build up.

Will it always be like this? 
Sunday, 11 March 2012

7. Reasons to be Cheerful

It has been a really wonderful week; lots of celebrations! Lots of happy people over at Mummy From The Heart bloghop too!

Jon had an extended very long five day weekend. It is so nice having him home and enjoying some quality time with Xander. I often feel sorry for Jon, during the week it feels like he hardly sees Xander because Xander is often ready to go to bed as soon as Jon gets home from work. He misses far too much so five whole days at home with us was bliss! 

Monday Jon came baby swimming with us and had a great time playing with Xander in the water. 

Tuesday was Jon's birthday! He was thrilled with the card Xander and I had made for him and in his element with the copious amount of Lego he was given/bought with his birthday money! I'm married to a big kid! 



Wednesday was my birthday! A mid-week lie in was a real treat with Jon being off and getting up with the baby! After dinner we went shopping to spend some of my birthday money (clothes of course!) and then finished the day with a roast dinner at my Mum and Dads. Lovely! 

Friday I spent the morning watching my class joining in a concert. It was really nice to be in the audience really watching them perform rather than being involved. They were little stars! 

Friday evening we spent with my family having a take-away and playing Jon's Lego birthday boardgame. Lots of fun! 

and today has been the best day of all...

Today has been our baby boys Dedication Day and its been just perfect. It was a truly beautiful service; just so full of celebration, thanksgiving and love for Xander. I read No Matter What for both of our babies, and the Pastor made a point of acknowledging Belle as part of our family too.  Everyone seemed to have a lovely time and Xander was a little gem; perfectly behaved and smiles in all the right places. Thank you to everyone who joined us today to celebrate his life and for all the generosity that has been shown to him! He is such a spoilt little boy! We will be opening presents with him all week!! 


So I'll finish with this, for Xander on his Dedication Day. 

May the Lord bless you and keep you.
may the Lord make his face shine on you 
and be gracious to you.
May the Lord turn his face toward you 
and give you peace. 
(Number 6: 24-26)


Sunday, 4 March 2012

Xander's Dedication

A week today will be Alexander's Dedication day; and the 11th March is going to mean the world to us.It is an important milestone in our journey as Alexander's 'here on earth' parents. 

The last time we were stood at the front of a church with our baby is was Anabelle's funeral and we were handing her over to God's keeping. Broken. Just as that was an important day for our beautiful girl; the only day she could have, this, Alexander's day is just as important. Different. 

Just over a year ago the Pastor's wife asked to pray for me and Jon. She said she had felt led to pray for a future pregnancy. She and two other members of the church sat with me and prayed that God would bless us with another baby, that he would be with us through another pregnancy and that our next baby stay strong and well and come home. Two weeks later I found out I was pregnant again! An instant answer. I was completely bowled over by the timing of those prayers; to me it was not a coincidence.

I know many people continued to pray for us throughout our pregnancy. When my faith was lacking and fear overwhelming there were people who kept on holding us up to God, and for that I am thankful too.  Prayers were answered again, and our son came home. 

Somebody said to me quite recently that Alexander is probably one of the most prayed for babies; and they are probably right! And here we are; a year on from those first prayers able to take Alexander to church and show him off as the answer to all of those prayers. I love showing our boy off! 

There are no words to really express just how special it is to us that this time we're able to stand at the front of the church with our baby in celebration and thanksgiving to God instead of sorrow. We're immensely proud of Alexander, just as we are of Anabelle. He deserves a day, just for him. 

So next Sunday is it! 

Quite a few people have asked me what a Dedication is. 

The best way I can think to explain it is there are some similarities to a Christening, apart from there is no water, and much less ceremonial.  But I guess it is the Baptist version, likened to Jesus being taken to the Temple and presented to God when he was a baby.  In my church the atmosphere is relaxed and informal. As simply as I can put it? We'll be making promises to bring Xander up surrounded by God's love and teachings. His 'Godmother' Sorreya will promise to support us as his parents and to be Alexander's special friend. We'll give thanks to God for blessing us with Xander and he and his life will be celebrated, prayed for and blessed. 

I've been really enjoying planning his special day and making it personal to us and him. After a chat with Pastor today we're all set. Next Sunday is going to be so special. 
Friday, 2 March 2012

6. Reasons to be Cheerful

Well I fell behind on my reasons to be cheerful last week; the days just whizzed by and before I knew it I hadn't posted and was already well into this week! Nevermind. Plenty of reasons to be cheerful this week too:

Who enjoyed the rugby last Saturday?! We did! The Welsh-English game is easily my favourite of the year; I enjoy the banter and rivalry of the two countries and the patriotic Welsh! And the best bit Saturday? Wales winning of course! Great game! This year, Jon is the most into the rugby I've ever know him; must be the dressing up the baby helping along the enthusiasm! 

Hooray for the sun! Sunday we went for an afternoon walk around the boating lake. Xander enjoyed the view of all the trees up above. 

Wednesday, Xander and I got messy! We had a go at his first proper painting session;  well I've learnt using orange paint will end up with a tangoed baby. Two days later he still looks tinted!! 

After painting I was able to put my babies handprints and footprints on the fridge. I scanned and printed Belle's so she could go up too... 

My little babies prints!


Thursday it was St David's Day; which means it is March and I love March! 

I picked up a jumperoo for the baby! He already loves it! 

And finally, today I am cheerful because when Jon gets home from work our extended birthday week celebrations can begin! The next 10 days I am very excited about!

That's our week but there are lots of other reasons to be cheerful over at Mummy From The Heart
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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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