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, 2 November 2015

What Heals You

Today this is easy. 

What heals me and brings joy to my heart is so blindingly obvious; my boys. 

My beautiful rainbow boys.

Alexander arrived 16 months after Anabelle was born. 

I was pregnant just eight months after she died. In hindsight it was ludicrous. In hindsight should I have timed it differently? Probably, but in no way would I want to change it now. We survived. He survived! 

But, there is no denying we were nowhere near emotionally or physically strong enough to embark on the most terrifying experience of our lives when we did. Initially a new baby was the very last thing on my mind, 9 days after Belle was born I was back on the pill. But we got to the Christmas and Jon's 30th birthday was looming not long after that and I wanted to be pregnant again before then. I made that our milestone. 

Jon had made a comment, throw away, not at all meant with pressure,  or malice, that he had wanted to be a Daddy before he was 30. And I remembered that, and needed to give him the chance of having a baby that stayed and came home the year he turned 30. 

It was ridiculous reasoning, an absolute nonsense looking back now. But the mind does not think straight in the thick of raw and bewildering new grief. 

I was in a dark and black place. Questioning why on earth he even wanted to be with me anymore, the wife that couldn't keep his baby alive. On numerous broken occasions I told him to leave and find somebody who's body wouldn't fail them in the worst possible way. I was in a black hole, blaming myself entirely for Anabelle's death at that time. 

But he stayed. Of course he stayed. Continually and constantly reassuring me that it wasn't my fault, he didn't blame me, I hadn't failed him and that he loved me. 

We found out we were pregnant with Alexander just a few days before our birthdays. 

And there began an utterly terrifying eight months. Not daring to really believe that this time there would be a baby at home instead of heaven. I even 'planned' Alexander's funeral and 'redesigned' the headstone figuring out how both babies would fit on there if the worst was to happen.

But even now, now he is here and four, and Zachary here and almost two. Those thoughts never truly leave me. I don't allow myself to ponder of 'plan' in that way anymore, but the intrusive thoughts are there. And I know some of what would be in their funerals if we lost them. 

Those boys.

They came home.

Alexander arrived screaming at 36+2 weeks grown. As far as my fragile tormented mind could handle. After another threatened pre-term labour at 32 weeks and a complete sobbing meltdown on my consultant following this it was agreed 36 weeks was enough.

And he arrived. And he screamed. And we cried. He was alive, what a beautiful sound. 

He felt like our miracle. He really was our miracle. 

That beautiful baby boy turned our world upside down and a bit back together again all at the same time. Those raw broken pieces of heart started to soften around the edges. I was in-love. I'm still in-love with that boy! 

We found out we were pregnant with Zachary when Alexander was 17 months old. Ironically, although we had decided we were going to try and have another baby in the next 6-12 months we had decided I was going back on the pill for at least 6 months after I had finished breast-feeding Alexander. I stopped feeding him at 17 months exactly and was just waiting for my period to turn up to start the pill; that period never showed and Zachary was already on his way. A lovely surprise! 

Another fear-filled pregnancy began, but this one, on the whole we coped with far better. Maybe just because a little more time had passed, maybe because we had Alexander at home keeping us busy there wasn't time to dwell, but maybe we were just a little more hopeful too, because Alexander had proved I was able to keep babies alive. But we were still scared. Pregnancy is scary. 

This time I managed to get the 37 weeks my consultant wanted, although there was a wobble in the final two weeks that moved birth day from 37+5 forward a few days to 37+2. There was no threatening premature labour this time but a water infection saw me hospitalised and my strong resolve vanished with it. So we were having him a few days earlier, exactly one week later than his brother had been born. 

And he arrived. And he screamed. And we cried. He was alive, what a beautiful sound. 

I was besotted with him. I'm still besotted with him. 

I've had rainbow sons now for four years, two weeks and five days.  And each of those days they have helped heal my heart a little bit more. I often describe our family as being surrounded by rainbows, because that is exactly what it is. The grief and hurt sits there, those broken pieces of heart at there, but those rainbow boys envelope it and are the glue that holds me altogether. 

Alexander gave me a reason to live a life of colour again. Zachary undoubtably added to it. Those boys have saved me. When my mental health has been falling to grief-stricken pain it is those boys that pull me up again. 

They are always my inspiration to heal, to rebuild (albeit slowly), to combine my life of grief with a life of joys in gentle and appropriate ways, to find better coping strategies. Because although I cannot deny Belle or the importance of her place in this family I don't want them to have memories of a childhood where grief dominated. 

Grief has its place and walks alongside us, we miss her. We always always miss Anabelle. But joy has a wonderful big space in this family too. 

A friend said on one of my posts last night that she thinks there comes a point in grief where the good days outweigh the bad days and more and more you allow yourself to enjoy those good days without feeling the guilt. 

I think she hit the nail on the head. 

I want our lives, their lives to be happy and beautiful. I don't feel guilt for that anymore. 

And so I concentrate on making memories with those boys. 

Making memories with my boys is what heals me. 

I hope they're never left in any doubt how incredibly precious they are to us. 

Reach out your hands. We will not let you fall. 
Give us your love and trust. We will not betray you.
Teach us once again the joy of living. 
Pam Brown.

Day 29. Capture Your Grief. What Heals You.  


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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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