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, 22 March 2016

Who is this little baby going to be?

It seems pertinent tonight, the night before we hopefully find out the gender of our little baby, to re-share this post (please click the link).  

Pertinent because FB reminded me today that six years ago, on this day, that we found out that our first child was a daughter. Six years and a day later we're might find out who our final child is. 

And of course our feelings surrounding finding out feel somewhat chaotic - trying to determine what our emotional response will feel like either way. 

Knowing this baby is already who they were always meant to be, that they are who they are; explicitly already a huge part of this family. I'm left in no doubt that either way - a little boy or a little girl - will feel like they were always a part of us as soon as they arrive, just like Zachary did. Ours. Loved beyond measure and completing our family in its incompleteness. 

But tomorrow I could very well be facing the reality of all of my 'what ifs' in my post in October. If I am - I'm still none the wiser how I go about finally finding peace with it, grieving it and putting it to bed. Acceptance. 

I do know that regardless I will continue to love my life of raising boys. My wonderful boys. 

I do know I'll continue to feel robbed of my girl. Because I am robbed of my girl - even if we have another one. Robbed of Anabelle doesn't change.  There was a life with a daughter that was supposed to be. 

Tomorrow we hope we'll be announcing who our baby is.  Either way, boy or girl, please be mindful that each and either comes with all the complexities of grief attached too. 

A boy means we're never having a girl. We won't deny there won't be sadness attached to never having an earth girl. But we will also be excited! We'll have our little trio of boys - and I can really imagine Alexander and Zachary as a three!  A real band of brothers. It will be beautiful, even if I will be well and truly outnumbered.  (However for the first time ever we don't have a name ready at this stage if it is a boy, Jon is completely uninspired and vetoing all of my suggestions - this is making me twitch that we might have an unnamed child at this point in our pregnancy!) 

A girl is a whole other can of worms.  We will be undoubtedly excited. Another chance of pink in this family, another chance to experience raising a girl.  A biggest brother who is adamant he is getting a sister and that he wants a sister. Along with a whole concoction of emotion around girls in general,  the girl we should already have had. A daughter after a dead daughter - I'm not really sure how I go about those potential feelings yet either - how much I still have to deal with. We will be terrified in equal measure. After all my track record of successful girl pregnancies is zero.  (We do have a girls name though, so pleased to be at least sorted there if it is pink.) 

Tomorrow is a big important exciting day, either way, but please be mindful I might also feel over-sensitive to some things, whatever the gender for a while. 

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Pneumonia and all that Jazz

What a month!

This is the first time in weeks I have felt remotely well enough to sit at the laptop long enough to record the saga that has been life! The Morgan's have been an ill bunch. We have been plagued between us with the usual concoction of winter germs; general coughs and colds for us all, a ear infection each for both boys, a bout of tonsillitis for Jon, and for me.... an horrendous cold that after a week turned into a pretty severe pneumonia infection. February 2016 completely written off. 

In London, no less. 

We had tickets for the Strictly Come Dancing tour at the O2 on Valentine's Day. The day before I had been feeling somewhat better; still full of cold, but not as yuck as the few days before that. So we decided to go, abandoning the idea of tubing into London for a shopping trip, but still making the show and still having our first overnight away in three years. Only the Saturday night I hardly slept, so Sunday morning got up feeling pretty low again. Keep going I thought, sleep in the car on the way down. Take a nap in the hotel before the show when we get there. 

We arrived around lunch time and I could barely face three or four mouthfuls of my dinner. I knew I was going downhill again. So I took some paracetamol and packed myself off to bed in the hotel room. I didn't sleep much, between coughing, feeling sick and an ever increasing chest pain. But still determined was I to make this show! We got to the show, feeling horrendous. Took more paracetamol. 

From what I remember the arena and the showmanship of Strictly was impressive - but the details of the show itself, I couldn't tell you. I sat there feeling more and more unwell through the first half, distracted by the pain in my chest, breathing becoming more erratic, heart getting faster and faster, totally unable to get comfortable. By mid-way through the second half I just wanted to get out of there. 

So we left early. Clinging to Jon fearing I was going to collapse. By this point the pain in my chest was unbearable, I couldn't breath properly and felt really quite frightened. Managed to get to the tube, Jon practicaly dragging me along and me feeling almost hysterical. It was one stop then a line change, then two stops to the hotel. We did the one stop, and I knew it was absolutely time for a Doctor. So back to the hotel was abandoned and instead we bundled into a taxi for the nearest A&E - and even at this point feeling worse and worse almost by the minute. 

A GP triaged us straight away on arrival, and within a few minutes I was through to their 'majors' section of the emergency department being hooked up to drips and machines, and poked with needles for whatever tests they were doing. My temperature was 39. something and my heart rate astronomical. I had initially thought my heart rate was around 155bmp on arrival (and that would've have been crazy enough) - Jon has told me since that actually it had been 177bpm at its fastest! 

After considering a blood clot verses a chest infection the Dr decided secondary infection was most likely given my weeks worth of nasty cold and temperature. So I was sent off for a chest x-ray which concluded, along with the through the roof infection markers in the blood results, that I had developed a severe pneumonia. 

Being pregnant meant limited ineffective pain-relief options at around 4.00am I caved and gladly took the Oramorph I was offered, knowing from previous experience it would make me woozy and sleep within minutes. I needed that break! 

I was admitted to the ward in unfamiliar surroundings, in London, not even knowing what hospital I was in for the first 24 hours. (I was in Newham University General Hospital). It is surprising how comforting the familiarity of your local hospital is should you need a hospital - it felt a very different experience being so far from home. 

So definitely not the London adventure we planned. Paying out for extra hotel room stays for Jon and myself as an inmate for three nights just waiting for the IV antibiotics to do some magic and to be well enough to travel home. Three long days away from the boys; the longest we have ever been apart. 

All in all February has been horrendous. I had no idea how long it could take to recover from pneumonia and have felt shocking for weeks. Just ill, low, continuously breathless and exhausted. After the initial antibiotics were completed I picked up a little for a few days only to get really low and feel really ill again a few days later. Another visit to the GP, another blood test with raised infection markers, another course of antibiotics and a pregnancy complicating recovery. It has felt never ending. 

That course of antibiotics finished at the weekend and the last few days I am feeling so much more well in myself, and generally brighter. I'm still feeling shattered and normal general stuff still feels an enormous effort; I'm definitely not back to normal, and my Dr has said I need to take everything slowly and easy for another good few weeks/month but hopefully the corner has been properly turned now and soon I'll feel back to my usual self. Well as usual self as you can feel getting increasingly pregnant anyway. 

Which brings me to that. 

Pregnancy seems to be progressing well so far, remarkably given my poor health - although that hasn't come without its surprises the last few weeks either. I finally saw my consultant (after an epic complaint I'm back under the care of my previous consultant, which is just as well given the new circumstances!), to receive feedback from my c-section with Zac that I really should have had at his birth; during the operation a small tear was discovered on my womb, threatening to rupture. How lucky were we that he was born when he was! Obviously this alters the care plan for this baby and he/she will now be born at 35 weeks - to reduce the risk of my womb over-stretching and tearing again. 

I'm still getting my head around it all to be honest. As if third trimester wasn't as stressful enough as it was. I'm really going to have to be careful as I get bigger and bigger this time. 

I was still feeling so unwell when I saw my consultant and so shocked that I hadn't been told (it really would've have altered our family planning decision had we known about the tear previously), and absorbing the 35 week birth plan with senior staff presence already on the notes, or earlier if I present with contractions as I have before, that at the appointment I didn't ask any questions about it.  I don't know what the monitoring plan is other than early birth, or what symptoms or signs we're looking out for.  We're seeing consultant again, together, on the 23rd March, so we'll be going with our list of questions then. 

As usual, I don't seem to do things by halves. This baby will arrive, all being well, mid-July. Which considering my mid-August due date seems incredibly early. It also means I'm already half way though. I do wish I was 'better' at being pregnant.  

Now if I could start feeling baby movements any day now that would be great too. 

So that's us. How has everyone else been?! 

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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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