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.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

The 28 Week Milestone

So I'm officially now in the third trimester and a maximum of ten weeks away from meeting our little boy. 28 weeks was the next milestone on my list of markers. The next after this are the tricky milestones. 

So here I am. Right at the start of the anxiety ever-increasing weeks. They've been on the horizon for a while, but now we're here. 

I feel like a ticking time-bomb waiting to go off. 

Just sat waiting to threaten an episode of severe braxton hicks, that start to become contractions that threaten to become premature labour, just as I did at 31 weeks with the other two. 

Just sat waiting to get to, and get past, 32+4 weeks with my baby boy still alive. 

Tomorrow is my next appointment with the consultant, for a growth scan, general check-up and my Anti-D injection. I haven't had a scan for five weeks and after I get over the first moments while they show me his heartbeat, I'm looking forward to seeing him. Care-wise I'm seeing somebody weekly now, after my midwife recognised anxiety was on the up a few weeks ago. It is my focus each week. Getting to the appointment where she'll listen to his heartbeat, but I'm hoping the consultant will start seeing me more regularly now as well after tomorrow, just to get me through to the end. 

So near, yet so so far. Even though Alexander came home I still cannot trust me or my judgement, not really. I hate them asking me about his movements. Although I think for the most part he is an active baby, and I'm beginning to notice a pattern when he is most awake (late at night, typically!), on a quiet day I freak out. Or I wonder if he is as active as I think he is or have judged him to be. Should he really be more active? I'm always scared I'm missing something. Always scared I'm going to get it wrong. 

Saturday I'm really looking forward to seeing him. The highlight of the week is our 4D scan. 

With Alexander a 4D scan was booked at the last minute, in a moment of complete panic. Truly fearful he was about to die and I wouldn't have seen him alive. This time we booked it weeks ago, ready for this point in the pregnancy when I know I'm likely to start going a bit crazy with fear. This Saturday I'm going to see Zachary alive. I hope we'll see him frowning, waving his arms around, rubbing his head, and sucking and opening and closing his mouth just like we did his brother. I can't wait to see how much he looks like his big brother and sister.

A little DVD, a piece of him alive forever, seeing how he really looks like and moves. I don't want to say incase the worst happens, but its why. 

This week I've gone into nesting mode. Its a response to the milestone I'm sure. I'm thinking about overnight bags for me incase I'm admitted anytime now over the next few weeks. I've sorted drawers in Alexander's room to make space for tiny baby clothes again. Clothes are down from the attic and in the midst of being washed and put away. Yes it is all very premature and I know more than most there is no guarantee he is coming home. But I want to believe he is. I want to be ready for him, however these next few weeks pass by.

So the 28 week milestone we're marking by seeing him alive. By 'meeting' our baby and showing him to his big brother, who is coming with us to the scan. 

Stay safe little one. 
Saturday, 14 September 2013

I've Forgotten Her...

... well not her, but I've forgotten exactly what she felt like. How precisely tiny she was. 

Back in July I overcame one of my biggest hurdles yet. I held someone elses new(ish) baby for the first time. I say newish because the little girl I held was already three months old. Still small, still new, but not quite brand-new newborn.  

Today I faced another step along the mastering new babies path and held two very tiny newborns; my friends five-pound-something twin boys. Proper newborns, one day shy of two weeks old. And not just proper newborns, but the very very small kind. 

Very very small like my Belle, only she was even smaller again. My tiny 4lb 5oz baby girl. 

I felt surprisingly mostly unfazed by the babies themselves. I instantly just felt comfortable enough to whip them into my arms for snuggles and enjoyed these small sleeping babies. I think it shows how far I've already come since my first baby in July, although I will of course acknowledge the fact they were boys and not girls makes it different mindset, and a different hurdle. Easier I guess. 

They made me very broody for Zachary; my newborn-to-be to stay safe for another 10-11 weeks before I can hold him.  They were an excellent, insightful, oh my goodness, introduction to toddlers and newborns! Alexander was totally mesmerised by the fact there were two babies and just wanted to keep touching them and having his own cuddles. It was actually quite stressful! Haha! Continuously reminding an almost-two-year-old about gentle hands and being on pins that he was going to pull one of the Moses baskets over as he leaned over them to watch the babies! Luckily the twins parents were much more relaxed about Xander around their babies than Jon or I were!   

To say Alexander with Zachary is going to be busy is an understatement! But maybe we'll be more relaxed with our own newborn and toddler? Tips for management of those tiny days with the two of them welcome!

But of course these beautiful tiny boys have made us think of Anabelle. The closest babies to her size we've seen since we had her. Today Jon had tears in his eyes as he remembered our tiny daughter on his bare chest. I gulped that I couldn't remember enough, not in the way I want to. I'm struggling to explain quite what I mean. How can I convey that I remember and I forget all at the same time?

Anabelle: 4lb 5oz and 44cm long. 
I knew I had forgotten how really small she was. The her size was escaping me.  The boys felt absolutely miniature, their clothes smaller than newborn and I know she was another pound smaller again and in smaller clothes again. I know she was small, I know she was tiny on me. Half the size again her brother was as a newborn. But I had forgotten what tiny felt like. Of course I had. I have equally forgotten how small Alexander once was. Evidence that looking at newborn clothes again for  Zac and being wowed that they were once big on Xander. Just as I'll forget how little Zac once was in years to come too.

But it is so much harder accepting I've forgotten exactly how small she felt and was, because Anabelle never grew. 4lb 5oz is all she ever was or will be and I wish so hard I could hold onto that. That part of her, everything she was, all we had of her. 

Why is it so hard to retain this feeling of her size in my memory?

What else will begin to fade with more time? It frightens me that we could 'lose' even more of her in this way.

Darling girl. I miss you. 

Sunday, 1 September 2013

And So The Unravelling Begins

The unravelling has started. 

Even earlier than in Alexander's pregnancy, which makes absolutely no sense to me. 

Yesterday, fear, panic and anxiety got the better of me. 

At not even quite 25 weeks. 

We were having a lovely day. To make up for an abrupt cancellation of Legoland due to the sickness bug hitting the household midweek, we decided to do another of the Treasure Trail maps at the weekend. Monmouth bound and picnic planned. 

We had a lovely day; apart from me becoming increasingly fearful as the day went on. 

From the moment I woke up Saturday I was anxious. Obsessed with how much, or little Zachary was moving. He was quiet all day. I kept making us sit on benches throughout the trail so I could try and make him move. But Zac was having none of it. At least not in the way I wanted him to. I could feel him, the occasional little wiggles, but the big strong 'make your whole tummy jump' boots were not forthcoming. I was unravelling. 

You see I don't trust myself, I don't trust my judgement. I don't trust myself to make the right call or decision at any given time. The wiggly movements don't always feel defined enough for me to count them as a 'real' movement. Because I get scared I've just imagined them. You can't imagine a boot that jolts your entire stomach. They are the ones I need to keep me together, the ones I need to know he has really moved. 

Why do babies move so differently every day? Today I've been booted plenty. Is it me? Do I just stop being able to feel when the anxiety starts sky-rocketing?  

By the time we got home I was becoming frantic. Panic completely getting the better of me. Knowing I was being unnecessarily hysterical but reaching the point of not being able to do anything at all about it. Past the point of reigning myself in and past the point of all rational thought. Convinced myself he was dying, but knowing I was probably being ridiculous all at the same time. 

So last night, simply to calm me down and get me reassurance before the awful night hours (because night time is my worst hours for fear.. Midweek I was up for an hour between 3-4am obsessing about movements again), for the first time this pregnancy, at 24+6 weeks pregnant I phoned the delivery ward and asked them to calm me down. Which they did, told me to come in so we could listen to him to give me the reassurance I needed to know everything was ok.  They were wonderful. A midwife I've never met before but she was fab and knew exactly how to handle me. I'm so thankful they are so patient with me, telling me if I need to make this call every day to get me to the end, they will listen to him every day for me, just like they did was Alexander. 

I haven't even reached the 3rd trimester without this need for emergency reassurance starting. This doesn't bode well for the 13-14 weeks to come. There is still such a long way to go and I need to keep it together so much better. Stay safe little baby. 

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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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