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.

Monday, 30 April 2012

O is for...

...overweight...

Sigh. 

Horrified by the scales today! After initially flying down to below my pre-pregnancy weight with Xander and indeed even before I had Belle, since Christmas its been creeping back on and I'm back up where I don't want to be. Have been spending far too much time pigging out and snacking this maternity leave! So this evening I'm looking through the slimming world cookbooks ready to go back on the diet. 

Joy.

Not.

Ok, two children later, stretch marks and the wobbly bits are not going to go away, skinny is unachievable but just feeling comfortable in a Size 12 instead of being a 14 'on a good day' at the moment would be nice!

The mission begins. Tomorrow!


Sunday, 29 April 2012

N is for...

... news... 

Every so often something in the news really affects me. A few weeks ago it was this article. 

It floored me and I was surprised by the strength of my reaction to it. 

On one hand I thought it was completely amazing that the baby had managed to survive such trauma, so premature and to not have been fed or kept warm for so many hours. What an utterly terrifying story on all counts. But then on the other hand I found it unbelievable.   How could it possibly be true? To be declared dead at birth, sealed in a coffin and placed in a morgue. What sort of Doctor, even in Argentina could make such a fundamental error as declaring a death without making sure? 

And then the story filled me rage. Angry, jealous and choked up. 

It made me think of Belle in her coffin. Flashbacks. Where was our miracle? 

Why couldn't our Doctors have somehow been wrong about Belle? It isn't fair. My daughter should be here. Once again reading this article the truth again was overwhelming. We have a dead daughter. Dead. I mean how do I actually process that in its entirety? Sometimes it feels like I must be watching somebody else's life, I can't have seen my daughter in her coffin and buried her can I? With her birthday ever approaching on the horizon again, more than ever I'm thinking about what she would be like now at almost two years old. 

I was shaken by the article moreso than I had been for quite a long time. Maybe I just shouldn't read links like this from facebook! 

I know Alexander is our miracle. Our precious boy who lived and came home, but hurting for Anabelle is never going to end. There is so much we are missing, so much Alexander is missing even if he doesn't know it. I wish so hard she could've been a miracle too. 



Monday, 23 April 2012

M is for...

Ah, I fell off the Alphabet Blog again... I will finish it, even if we go into May! haha! 

Anyway, M is for... Monday... 

What did you do today? 

Today one of the Morgan's went to work... that Morgan was not me! Yay for maternity leave! 

Me and the littlest Morgan went to baby swim class this morning. We go every Monday. Xander seemed to especially enjoy himself today, lots of smiles! Which is massive change on last Monday when he just told me off the whole way through. Today old people have annoyed me at the pool, but I've ranted enough about that on my photo blog... I'll leave you go across there for a nose. 

The rest of the day we've popped to Asda for nappies and washing powder, loaded the dishwasher twice because it wouldn't all fit in one load, sorted the washing into piles, started the never ending washing routine, played, given the baby a bath and some snuggles on the sofa. 

You know, just a normal busy Monday! 


Sunday, 22 April 2012

Half Birthday Old


Half Birthday Present
A week ago we celebrated Alexander's half birthday, complete of course with a present to open. Any excuse! The stark difference between him turning 6 months old and the dread that filled me as we approached Anabelle's half birthday was more than apparent. I was excited about Xander's half birthday. Marvelled that I couldn't believe it was already half a year since his birth and until his first birthday; it really had flown by and we've loved every minute.  He is so precious, I spend much of each day just wanting to soak him up. I still can't believe he is mine, to keep. 

So to start his half birthday we enjoyed a Toy's R Us shopping trip to buy him a new toy to mark the occasion. Jon of course chose for him his first proper car toy. The cars whiz around and around; Xander was mesmerised! Definitely a favourite toy to grow into and enjoy playing with Daddy I think. 

This month Alexander has discovered food. We started the weaning process at 23 weeks old and he is loving it, can't get his food quick enough and I've been alarmed how quickly his portion sizes have increased over the last 4 weeks! In the last few days we've introduced his third meal. He seems so grown up now he is eating and enjoying eating. But then feels like my little baby again as soon as he snuggles in for boob. 

We've gone for the mainly purées approach with some finger foods mixed in. He very quickly got the hang of spoon feeding; opens his mouth, leans towards it, makes yum sounds. But feeding himself, not so much. He doesn't quite seem to grasp it,  he won't reach out for the food, won't pick it up off his tray, but will accept me putting it in his hand. Then he bends his head down to his hand instead of lifting his arm up to his mouth, he doesn't hold the food for very long and gives up and complains until I finger feed him from my hand! 

So far we've discovered he LOVES fruit but HATES vegetables. He will begrudgingly eat sweet potato mixed with other tastes such as rice, carrots, apple etc but other than that he indicates a firm dislike for veg. (Rolls eyes, typical child!) I've run out of ways to try and make potato appealing now! Haha!  Fruit on the other hand he cannot get enough of; he loves bananas and pears especially. Just today he tried his first strawberry and thought that was wonderful.  


After months of trying he has finally mastered rolling! Hooray! He looks so pleased with himself when he manages it. It has become second nature to him now; you put him on his tummy and he is back over in seconds or occasionally he will attempt forward motion first. He's managed a few inches pulling on his arms and pushing with his feet, yes mobile baby will be on his way in the coming months and it will soon be time to baby proof our house.  Other than that he no longer stays still on the floor and will move himself around in circles on his play mat and is constantly playing with his feet, pulling socks off and chewing his toes. Very cute. 

The jumperoo continues to be a firm favourite playtime, especially now he has discovered how to bounce! He goes crazy in there jumping up and down. 

His little personality is really beginning to shine through now and we're discovering the little boy he is going to be. For the most part he is so happy and smiley and mischievous. He loves nothing more than laughing at someone being silly and joining in the game. His favourite playtime of all is interacting with familiar people. He is so noisy now and has really discovered the volume control on his voice, of course his favourite volume is loud and screamy! Haha!   Current new sounds are buhbuh and woowoo. Oh as well as pfffffff raspberry type sounds! 

Call me crazy but we're convinced he recognises his name now. A number of times over the last few weeks he has turned towards the person calling his name. Other people, unprompted by me have also commented that he appears to know his name now, so it is not my imagination. Of course it is sometimes hard to decide if he has turned toward the familiar voice or the sound rather than his name but the fact he has turned towards an unfamiliar person calling his name across the table in a noisy room signifies to me he is at least aware of the sound of his name now. I'm so proud! It is really quite magical watching his discover his identity.

 It is funny how caring for a baby can change your perception of time. Because of Alexander's routine what used to feel like the afternoon now feels 'late' - we get to 5.00pm and we're thinking of tea, wind down time and bedtime.  For the most part Xander leads his own routine and clearly gives us cues he is ready for bed, usually half way through Waybaloo on Cbeebies he is rubbing his eyes and grumbling to be taken upstairs.  

Xander is hugely attracted to screens, whether it be the TV, the ipad or iphone. I can see he is going to be a little boy who is probably going to have to his screen time limited as he gets older! At the moment he probably watches about half hour or so in the morning and another half hour in the evening, the evening being his wind down time before bed. Waybaloo has easily become his favourite programme, his little face lights up even as the music starts. I'm fascinated that already he recognises the tune and how it seems to trigger his 'it must be time to get sleepy' thoughts! That is why I'm annoyed Cbeebies have decided to change their bedtime hour line up. Who knew it would become a pivotal part of our bedtime routine! Haha! 

Up until a few weeks ago we were still swaddling Xander for bed. It has taken him a long time to feel comfortable without the security of the blanket snuggly around him, but at over five months old he was starting to get too big to swaddle. I was anxious now he was learning to roll that he would end up on his front without his arms free and get stuck. The process took weeks! Xander was initially very unimpressed and he took a long time to settle.   First we loosened the swaddle, then we just swaddled one arm and left the other out, then let both arms out and just swaddled his tummy and then finally about ten days ago he started going to bed in big boy sleeping bags!  Another little part of my little baby growing up. 

He seems so big now. More little boy than little baby!  

This month ahead we're going to be practising sitting up. He is very good at sitting up with support from us but not quite able to support himself without. We're practising with a nest cushion around him at the moment, but he wibbles and wobbles and ends up falling over to the side or onto his front. Not that is bothers him, he just lies down and rolls around instead.  So for the moment we'll be playing lots of sitting up games! I don't think it is going to take him too much longer! 

I wonder what skills he will have mastered by month seven?! 

Beautiful Boy

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

L is for...

Ah I slipped with the alphabet blogging and now ever further behind! Nevermind. Where was I?... Letter L.

... Love...

And now these three remain; faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.  
1 Corinthians 13 v 13


In these last 22 months my hope and faith has been tested to its limit and beyond. But not love. Love is the greatest because real love is always steadfast and strong. Like the love of God. 

Like the love in my marriage. 

A week from now Jon and I will have been officially together for six years (married for three this August)! And what a six years they've been; one house, one engagement, one cat, one wedding, one girl and one boy later; and everything else in between, the good, the bad, the heartbreak and joy - always surrounded by love. 
Saturday, 14 April 2012

K is for...

... Kaz...

Yes, for a little while, when I was around 12/13 I experimented with spelling my name with a K. Must've thought it would be cooler, or something! Haha! 

It didn't last long though and I quickly came to my senses and started spelling it properly again... 

Friday, 13 April 2012

J is for...

... June...

Which month of the year do you think about the most?

For me it is June. The month in 2010 when my life changed irreparably forever.  You see an enormous part of me never left June 2010. I am stuck there, often reliving the days running up to Anabelle's death and birth and funeral, remembering what it felt like to hold my daughter plays over and over in my mind. I'm scared of forgetting.

Last year in the run up to June and her remember day, birthday and funeral anniversary day I was busy. Busy planning the huge fundraising event for Sands. To be honest I hadn't give myself much time to focus on much else, sure I hurt throughout the month a lot but there hadn't been time to wallow, not really.

It never occurred to me that this year would be worse. And I already feel worse, even about the build up.

June is looming now and I am dreading it. I don't want to be busy, I don't want to have to put on a face when I need to wallow in my grief, just for a while. I don't want it to be two years.




Thursday, 12 April 2012

I is for...

... inappropriate?...

In the midst of smothering Alexander in kisses tonight Jon asked me when I thought the time would come that it would be inappropriate for him to do so. My instant answer was never. How on earth can it be inappropriate for a father to kiss his son? 

Jon is very tactile with Alexander. He isn't scared to show his love and affection through hugs and kisses. I love watching them together, and Xander clearly loves his Daddy's attention too.  Jon gets in from work and Alexander's little eyes follow him around the room, he so eager to interact with him. 

I understand that as he gets older (much older I hope) he may not want Jon (or me!) to be affectionately tactile so much anymore, and I guess that is part of growing up,  but I want us to always be an emotionally hands on open kind of family, the kinds of family that are comfortable with hugs and kisses. I want Alexander to know we are always here for cuddles and affection if he wants it. I love holding Alexander in my arms, I hold him for so much of every day because I know one day he will outgrow sitting on my lap and wanting Mummy cuddles, and so until that time I intend to soak up every minute of it. 
Wednesday, 11 April 2012

H is for...

... history...

One of my favourite subjects throughout school. There is something enchanting about the past and ages gone by. It is so difficult to imagine what our world looked like hundreds of years or even some decades ago. Before my time fascinates me. 

In school I remember being particularly fascinated by the stories of the Kings and Queens of the past, King Henry VIII and the fate of his six wives being a favourite, but enjoyed the stories of Elizabeth I and Victoria too. 

To this day I continue to be fascinated by the history of World War Two.   I find it incredible that my grandparents lived through such a terrifying time in our history - it is something that we cannot easily comprehend. Unless we've served or lived through Wars in other lands or been involved in terrorist attacks it is pretty impossible to imagine what it would've been like to live in a country at war; the threat of bomb attacks on our doorsteps and rationing. We are so lucky here in Britain to be, for the most part, safe. 

The first time I was taught about WW2 I was in Year 3 at school. My grandparents showed me their old ration books and told me their memories of their lives in the war. My grandparents were teenagers in the war, which is some blessing, because a few years older and my grandfather's would've been signed up to fight and serve. I believe that my Grandad living in South Wales escaped much of the horror or war and his most distinct memory is one bomb which landed on the mountain above the town. My Grandma lived and grew up in Bristol and her memory of war is different. She remembers carrying her gasmask, and having to practice the run home from school to the air raid shelter if the alarm was sounded. Her parents decided against evacuating the children; the mindset being that if they were going to die they would all die together. The bombs missed my Grandmother but she remembers one landing on the next street and killing a family. 

I never get tired of hearing of personal tales of WW2 (or WW1). The tales of the soilders and the families left behind, the political history and decisions made, the injustice and lives lost. 

And neither should any of us, lest we forget. 

Even writing this blog has made me want to visit the Imperial War Museum again the next time I'm in London! And one day I will visit the trenches left behind in France, the war cemetery and the remains of evil concentration camps because I want to remember, and not forget these times in our history. 
Tuesday, 10 April 2012

G is for...

...gardens...

I'm not green fingered, in fact I am well known for killing flowers and plants. We are so useless that my Dad has been called down many a time to tend to my 'garden'. I say 'garden' because I can hardly call it that! We don't have a garden really, just a tiny patch of decorative stone area outside our front door.. But that is where Anabelle's rose lives. Her rose from her antenatal group ladies is one plant I'm determined to keep alive; hence my Dad's involvement with the pruning and seasonal care! 

Anabelle's rose in bloom last year.


As we head towards the summer I'm ready to brighten up the outside of my house again. Last year we decorated it for Anabelle's birthday and I'm sure this year we will do the same. 

A few weeks ago on Mother's Day we decorated Anabelle's garden. I don't like saying grave; grave is far to a morbid place for a baby, and so her resting place is her garden.  It is the best it has ever looked; colourful windmills, beautiful butterflies, her heart, an elephant decoration, a blessing from God and many beautiful flowers. Perfect. 





Monday, 9 April 2012

F is for...

... finding time... 

Alexander has rightfully taken over every aspect of our lives; I am in no way complaining, I love it. I was born to be a Mother I'm sure and I love my life revolving around my children. But how on earth do those of you with children still find the time to blog so regularly? Or indeed get anywhere on time?! 

My blog has always been my avenue for organising my thoughts and processing the stuff I find difficult. But these last few months I've really struggled to find the time to do that and I've posted much less than I want to and often need to. Quite often now I'll have something on my mind but cannot find the time or am often too tired to process it all out here and so instead I drown it out with being busy with Alexander. 

Eventually I will have to find the time to type it out again, but for now, I'm busy being his Mummy! 

And as for getting anywhere on time?! I'm resolved to the fact being late is just part of the course now! 
Sunday, 8 April 2012

E is for...

...Easter

I know the game is to not technically post on Sunday's, but as I'm a few letters behind I thought this would help me catch up! 

Happy Easter Everyone!

It has been a nice day, a lovely service at church, followed by Roast dinner and Xander being spoiled by the Easter bunny! (a.k.a Auntie Bex, Nana and Bampi!) 

But as an aside from the Easter bunny this morning we sang this hymn at church; the message of the real reason for Easter...

This the power of the cross: 
Son of God, slain for us. 
What a love! What a cost! 
We stand forgiven at the cross. 


Saturday, 7 April 2012

D is for...

...the dark... 

I'm afraid of the dark, isn't that plainly ridiculous for a grown woman? I know the dark in my own home cannot hurt me but often the dark makes me anxious. Anxious to walk from my bedroom to the babies or to the bathroom. I HATE coming downstairs when all the lights are off, or upstairs when all the lights are off. 

For most of the time I get over myself and tell myself how ridiculous I'm being and get on with it, and sometimes don't think of it all. But then every so often I have a few nights like the last few, where the dark really really bothers me. 

To the point I've been sending Jon upstairs to turn some lights on before I'll go up to the toilet or to bed. 

I know the trigger and I know its silly; it is because this week he has been watching The Walking Dead, a zombie programme and I'm overly sensitive to scary faces. 

Well at least Jon thinks it cute that I'm a big wuss at times! 

Friday, 6 April 2012

C is for...

... courage...

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; 

courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. 
Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as he did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; 
Trusting that he will make all things right if I surrender to his will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with him forever in the next.


Amen



Courage to change the things I can... What can I change?

I think the biggest thing I need to find courage for is acceptance. Accepting what I cannot change.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

B is for...

... breastfeeding...

Well I haven't done a feeding journey update for a while, so thought that the letter B was the perfect opportunity! 

Alexander is coming up six months old now and we are still feeding! Now if you've read my previous blog posts on this subject you'll know what a huge milestone this feels for me. In those early days this felt like an unachievable life-time away goal; the difficulty getting established, the feeding shields guilt, epic hour long plus feeds to be doing it all over again two hours later, feeling smothered and trapped, the pressure to express a decent amount. Now all that feels like a distant memory! 

Now we've reached that all important six month mark. 

I can pinpoint the day my feelings changed, when it stopped feeling a chore; the day I allowed myself and allowed Xander to have formula for his late night feed.   

Up until then I had been expressing for that last feed of the day and this had been working really well for us. I was getting one feed 'off' and getting some sleep in before the middle of the night feed started. Until my excess supply tailed off as my body stopped over-producing. Then expressing became a burden, struggling for a few ounces and struggling to find the time in between his epic feeds. 

For days I tormented myself about what was best to do. I needed that break every day, when Jon took over for a little while, but I wasn't getting enough milk for the baby to carry on the way we were. So we considered formula and I got the formula guilt didn't I...looking back it is beyond ridiculous! 

Why did I beat myself up so much about introducing formula for one bottle?   Because in hindsight it is this one bottle of formula that was the beginning of everything getting better! I thought it would be a slippery slope to stopping altogether, but infact it has been the the exact opposite. I truly believe without that one bottle I would've reached breaking point and given up entirely long ago, not here at this golden six month mark! 

The changes we made and the pressure I took off myself was the best thing for my family. 

Now we have fed for six months I know we can do it for another six months and alongside weaning and solid food I would love to keep going until his first birthday! A few months back I never in a million years thought I would feel this way. It took a long time but I've gone from feeling a bit non-plussed about feeding Xander, sometime hating it to now enjoying it! Sometime in the middle of February I suddenly realised I was enjoying it and only enjoying it - all the negative feelings were gone. 

I can't claim to have exclusively breast-fed my son for those golden six months, but all for that one bottle a day it feels as good as! And you know what, I am proud and glad I made those changes that were right for my family. 

So anyone struggling right now, it will get better. It is hard to believe in those shattered early weeks but it will! Whatever better means for you; whether that be like me one bottle to give you a break, exclusively breast, a bigger mix of breast/formula or exclusively bottle... whatever is best for you is perfect because the only thing that really matters is a happy family. 

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

A is for...

... Anabelle and Alexander of course! 

I'm late to the party as usual, but I really want to get in on this years A-Z Blogging Challenge.  I feel like I haven't posted it ages and it will be a fun way to get me back into the swing of things.  The idea is each day, apart from Sunday's, you post about a topic starting with the next letter of the alphabet. 

So today, a few days later than I should be, but please forgive me, I'm starting with A. 

And the letter A is of course all about my beautiful babies. 

I talk about them enough through my blog, so I thought I would try something a bit different. Do you remember at school having to think of a word to describe yourself using every letter of your name?  I'm going to give it a go for Anabelle and Alexander, this is actually a lot harder than it looks! 

A - Angel
N - Neverending
A - Asleep
B - Beautiful
E - Enchanting
L - Little
L - Lovely
E - Elegant

A - Adorable
L - Loveable 
E - Excellent
X - Xander
A - Amazing
N - Noisy 
D - Dazzling
E - Excited 
R - Radiant 






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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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