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, 25 August 2014

Being A Duck

Do you ever feel like a duck? You know, floating serenely along on the surface whilst kicking furiously underneath. That's me. At least it feels like me a lot. 

I know, that for the most part I have this wonderful life with so much to be thankful for. The sort of life some people in this world would kill for, sell their right arm for, sell anything for; you get the picture. I know there are many people in this world who have it much harder than I do. 

I'm a duck floating around on top. I have a loving family, I have a wonderful loving husband, I have two precious incredible boys with me on earth, I have my home, (well soon, but in the meantime I still have a roof over my head,) my home is filled with love, joy and laughter. I have my job, with enough income to feel comfortable month to month. Materialistically, I don't want for much. 

But then there is this huge gulf, where I'm the duck kicking furiously underneath, where emotionally I want for a lot, maybe when I should be learning to handle it all differently. This one tiny person left such a void in her wake that is can't be filled and can't seem to be calmed. Anabelle's absense is so apparent in my everyday life, even when it isn't so apparent to everyone else. My heart continues to stab every day that she is not here with her brothers. 

Then I read this blog the other day. Living An Extraordinary Life After Loss. Inspiring. I wanted to relate to so much of it. I wanted to say I could get there too. 

But there is still so much I need to make peace with, but so much I'm not ready to make peace with either. So much I'm still not willing to accept. So much I still cannot let go of. So much I'm still not ready to explore, here on these pages. Sometimes I wonder if I've sentenced myself to feeling this hurt because part of me is stuck with her, in grief, in 2010. 

There seems to be two of myself. The myself that has such a happy life with what I have here, and the myself that hurts beyond hurt. Some days I feel guilty for hurting when I have so much joy. Some days I feel that I must be so ungrateful for not accepting what we have. Some days I feel guilty for all the joy despite all the hurt - how ridiculous does that sound on paper? And I do enjoy life, I enjoy every single thing I do with my boys, but sometimes I feel guilty for being happy 'without her'. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I don't have to feel grief all of the time that it is OK not to feel grief all of the time.  "I can still live an amazing life and love and miss him (her) at the same time." Thank you for affirming that Still Standing. 

This life after loss is exhausting. The waves keeps on crashing, the milestones keep on coming and I'm still learning to navigate. 

Next week Anabelle should have started school. That is a biggy. Starting school. 

This week I should be organising uniforms, buying last minute school shoes, socks and tights, matching bobbles and clips for her hair. I should be practising plaits and pigtails. We should be choosing new school bags and lunch boxes and fretting and being excited about my baby starting Reception. Instead I'm dreading a week of "My first day at school" photos on Facebook. Not because I begrudge anyone showing off their babies starting school, honestly, you all know me, and know I'll be right there with you on the photo front when the boys get there.  But because this time, this week my heart is heavy that my first-born isn't joining her should be friends at school, and I can't share her cute 'going to school in my new pinafore dress' photo too. 

There is still so much still to make peace with but I will have an extraordinary life.
Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Zachary @ 8 Months

At the grand old age of 8 months, 1 week and 2 days old its about time I wrote all about my baby small growing again. 

Well this month, Zachary has become a little mover! After mastering rolling last month, since then he has been trying so hard to crawl. He isn't crawling yet, but boy does he want to! Zac has his own little way of manoeuvring himself around with a weird stretch and push with feet action. He can rotate himself around on his tummy as quick as a flash using his arms and legs, he can push himself forwards (which sometimes involves pushing his face into the carpet!) and backwards with his feet and he's just beginning to attempt pushing up on his arms and knees - so who knows, crawling might not be far away. But for now, he is definitely manoeuvring! 

Sleep is mostly as broken as ever. A bottle with Daddy is normally followed by two gets up (or more) for Mummy. Teething has upset sleep patterns even more; and so we're officially more or less running on empty now and one very tired Mummy taking me half the morning to wake up enough to function. No idea how I'll ever get to work on time in September!  For now I've resigned myself to baby small not being a sleeper, and accepting that 'sleeping through' is a bit of a distant dream! I've also realised how spoilt we were with Xander being a 7-7 sleep kind of boy by eight months old! 

My darling boy, at eight months old you weigh in at 20lb 8oz. You're firmly becoming known as and called Zac, ZacZac or Baby Small by nearly everyone! Even Xander calls you ZacZac now! Your hair is slowly growing back, on top at least, and you have a fabulous mohican going on at the moment! My little dude.  You don't have any teeth yet but one isn't too far away. My poor boy you are suffering at the moment, you are so upset and I wish this first tooth would hurry up for you. If you find every tooth this painful it is going to be a long twenty teeth for you and Mummy! 

You are becoming very noisy and have really discovered your voice now; squealing, shouting and babbling. You get so excited now and let us know with all the sounds you can make! Your current favourite noises to make are little (but loud) squeals and brrr and a-buh noises. Of course Daddy is encouraging you to focus on your 'Da-da-da's but I think you should be working on 'Ma-ma-ma's - he got Daddy first last time, its definitely my turn you know! Xander is forever telling you to talk and you love gurgling to him. You also love shouting at him too; if he tells you off for playing with one of his toys you've started to tell him off back. It is clear to see you will be giving as good as you get before long! 

You never stay still for long now, you are desperate to get around the floor and a bit frustrated that you can't get what you want quick enough. But a moving baby equals a nightmare to get changed or dressed baby! Nappy changes and getting clothes on you is interesting now you are constantly trying to escape me! You still have little interest in standing just yet, collapsing your knees frequently but you still love bouncing time in your jumperoo, so I'm sure wanting to explore the world from an upright position won't be long! 

Your favourite toys this month have been your robot on your buggy, your linky rings and an bright orange monkey soft toy you were given at a birthday party recently. Although, that isn't to say you've not also loved exploring shoes or your brothers cardboard puzzle pieces! Mummy is forever rescuing you from something you shouldn't be playing with at the moment. It is much harder to keep things out of your reach than it was Xander! 

This month you've been enjoying baths with your big brother. You love lying down in the water and kicking your legs to make a splash. Between the two of you you manage to completely soak the bathroom, and Mummy! You can splash the water with your legs nearly as much as Xander can! 

You're not a fan of uninterupted sleep little man. I can't decide if you are genuinely hungry in the night or if you just like a cuddle with Mummy to check I'm still there! Its a good job you are so gorgeous ZacZac and that you give such lovely snuggly cuddles to make up for the number of times you wake Mummy up every night! At the moment you are exploring different positions to sleep in. You've taken to cwtching a muslin into you, rolling onto your side with your feet resting elevated on the cot bars - which isn't helping your wake ups; at least once a night we're going in to rescue a stuck leg from between the cot bars! 

Mostly at the moment you are Mummy's boy and only I will do.  You will cry and cry being held by someone else when you want me; then instantly calm and content as soon as I've picked you up again! I'll admit it can be completely overwhelming at times being the only one you want, especially if Xander wants me at the same time, and stressful hearing you scream unless you are in my arms but there is something really special about being your Mummy and even when I'm finding things stressful, deep down I love that you know I'm Mummy, and that you only want me to make you feel better. 

All too quickly these sleeping on and needing to be held by Mummy days will be few and far between, I wish I could hold you more baby small. I must try and make more time. 

But for now I'm going to try and get a little sleep. Before you call for me again for our sleepy rocking chair in the dark cuddles. Love you more than you could ever know, my little ZacZac. 

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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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