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

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

Friday, 23 November 2012

Normal

A fellow bereaved Mum wrote this as her status update yesterday.  A poem about 'being normal', whatever that is. The normal that is different for us now, on weeks when I feel like this is, it is the normal that is complex. Mind in a whirlwind, not able to make sense of the intertwining strands of our lives. Complex, confusing, bewildering, exhausting. That's it. This week I'm tired, tired of carrying the weight of grief. Relentless, desperate, life-time lasting pain. I miss her. I miss how my family should have been. 

This Mum aptly sums normal up for us; "normal is these extremes"


Normal...

How often do we hear those words?, What do they mean? To be normal again,
To not now be grieving, not cry any tears, to not feel ashamed of our anguish our pain!
What can we do... how to react, Feel ready to move on, but then again how so?
How can we move on, once more push ahead if to do it means letting go,
Sometimes the pain is our link it’s our memory , it is all that we have left,
At times it is tangible so real and so true, Sometimes it’s ok to be tearful, bereft,
A bereaved parent never moves on, can never be ...your....... normal again,
Can never heal or forget the anguish or ever forget the pain,
Now this is my normal please try to understand... listen to me say,
It’s ok for me to cry, this is my life now, this is my way,
I guess you can’t really know it, I’ll never forget this lost child of mine
It is unfair of me to think you could even really understand in time,
The grief now such a part of my life, there in every breath of me,
It is my template, my life’s path my past present future, can’t you see
There every meal time one less at the table, I think every day she is gone,
I can’t portray to you how this grief possesses me its will can be strong,
It moulds me, now it paves my way; grief now is in my heart and my head,
Every day is a battle, even if I am strong... sometimes all I can do is cry instead,
you have not the right to pass judgement, Don’t judge me you have not walked a mile in my day,
You have not had your heart torn your love and life tested this way,
Just know I am trying to keep my head up, but some days this alone it is tough,
One minute I can be laughing the next deep in pain, I cannot stress to you enough,
Normal is these extremes, normal is to me now so changed.. please let me explain,
I will... never ...nor would I want ...or can ever be known as normal again.


Christine Bevington x
Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Pregnant Friends

This year I have discovered that the fear of pregnancy extends way beyond myself. 

It wasn't enough to be fearful for my own baby, my own pregnancy. No, clearly I'm fearful for everyone else's too. Currently two good friends are pregnant and there isn't a day that goes by when I haven't thought about them, wondering how they are.  Wanting to be involved but wanting to avoid it all at the same time. I'm anxious for them to get to the end, anxious for nothing to go wrong, just anxious for their babies to born safe and screaming.  

Over the coming months, years, I know there will be many more pregnancies. We're at 'that age'. I hate that naivety and innocence of pregnancy has been taken away from me. Instead of being able to fully join in the excitement for a family or friends pregnancy, there at the back of my mind is the anxious sick feeling.  The fear. 

The fear of the pregnancy and then the fear of the baby when it gets here.

I still haven't held another newborn that wasn't my own. I'm still not ready. I simply cannot face it yet. I dread being asked if I 'would like a hold?' I'm not entirely sure why, I know it isn't rational. I thought after Xander  this fear would be erased, but apparently not.  I know this is something I will have to make myself move past soon.  And I will, one day. On my time, on my plan. And it will need a plan, a get out clause, an understanding audience that babies are a very mixed up emotion for me. 

I'm sure my friends will not mind me saying how nervous I am of meeting their newborns. A hurdle I have to get over twice before long, because I do want to meet their babies. Two and almost a half years on from our precious girl and I still cannot cope tremendously well with other peoples newborns. Silly? Maybe. Real? Yes.  Baby girls especially. I only hope people understand, understand that I'm not bitter or twisted. Understand that my world is still broken, that it has been no time at all in the grand scheme of my life.  

For me, for us; pregnancy and tiny babies are forever changed. Please be patient, gentle and understanding with our family. 
Friday, 9 November 2012

Risks

"An extremely difficult time."   

That is how a family's nightmare is described after their baby has died.  Extremely difficult? It doesn't even come close. Doesn't do the hurt, despair, brokenness any justice. Our lives have become irreparable and to the outsider it is simply an extremely difficult time.  When does it stop being an extremely difficult time? Never. 

Things change, differing periods of crushing hurt. But the extremely difficult times, when they come, are forever. 

Last week in Gwent, another family's experience was described as an extremely difficult time. A baby died during birth because there was a two hour wait for an ambulance. An ambulance that was needed to transfer the mother and baby from the midwife led unit (MLU) to a hospital that had Doctors and facilities available to cater for emergency birth situations. 

A hospital that regardless of ambulance wait was already a 30 minute or more journey from the MLU. 

MLU's scare me. In an ideal world we would all have terrific, romantic, empowering births. But we don't live in an ideal world. Our world is scary. I know most pregnancies and births are trouble free, I know most births do not need intervention and I'm fully aware that my experience of pregnancy and birth has left me skewed.

But, when a situation arises that a midwife is no longer equipped or qualified to deal with, and they often do; I personally feel Doctors should be there somewhere. Should be available on site. I'm hugely aware even with Doctors, things can still go wrong. But if an emergency is identified; a Doctor, a theatre should be there already. Babies lives are too precious. Not 30 minutes or more away. 30 precious or more wasted minutes away. Nevermind the additional ambulance wait in this case. 

I know many won't agree with me. I know there is a whole movement to de-medicalise pregnancy and birth. On one hand I understand the reasoning behind it; giving the power back to the mother, power back to nature for the low-risk birth. 

Low-risk, not NO-risk. 

But then again, I hear you say my appreciation of risk value is skewed too. My 1 in 200 chance of my baby not coming home was a low-risk. Or at least it sounds fairly low until you are that one. It isn't great odds really is it. 

How do you really identify who will have a low-risk birth? How on earth does anyone really know how it will go until they are in the throws of labour? Even with the best will in the world, the most comprehensive birth plans, antenatal classes designed for stress-free births and whatnot, childbirth in reality is a risky individual unknown entity. 

So on the other hand I don't understand it at all; the rate of infant and maternal death during chlidbirth can only have gone down in recent decades because of the skills of our Doctors, the facilities that are available to us. Why would you not want to take advantage of that?   

Maybe it is because as a nation we have become blasé about the risks of childbirth. We don't expect babies (or mothers) to die, so we forget that they can and actually do.  

Although a significant factor, I would argue that baby died not only because of the ambulance wait. That baby died because a Doctor and emergency facilities were not available as soon as an emergency was identified. Even if there has been an ambulance straight away; there still would've been a long blue light journey to get to a Doctor for that baby. Maybe if the MLU had Doctor-led facilities across a corridor, instead of in a different hospital, that baby would've survived.

What an unnecessary death. Another broken family. 
Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Awww? Adorable? Cute?

The other night, browsing Not On The High Street, I came across this.   An angel babygrow, with little wings on the back; "I'm a baby angel" printed on the front. 

Awww. Adorable. Cute; you may say. 

But not to me. It made my stomach lurch as soon as I saw it. Made me audibly say 'Ugh', made me panic a little on the inside, my heart pound a little harder. Made me want to cry. 

While some parents get to play on the 'Awww. Adorable. Cute'  factor of dressing their children up like angels, the representation of a baby dressed as an angel is all a bit much for me, because the representation is our reality. 

Once upon a time I might've been in the 'Awww. Adorable. Cute.' camp. Not now. Not when my daughter is actually a baby angel. 

I hate it when people refer to their living babies as their 'little angel'. I hate it when people label Xander an 'angel' or call him 'angel'. He clearly isn't. It makes me very uncomfortable when the representation of a baby angel is his sister. His dead sister. 

We called her our Angel Belle while she was still alive. Thinking it was cute. Our pet name for her. She died. It came true. Maybe our sub-conscience always knew. 

The babygrow made me feel sick. Maybe it feels like parents, dressing their little babies as little angels are unwittingly playing with fire.  Maybe like we were. We got burned. 

My baby girl, my baby angel. 
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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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