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 June 2017

When Anabelle Was Seven

June has been undoubtedly hard, but, I think this year we had a 'good' birthday. 

This year I tried so very hard not to watch the clock, not to allow myself to feel like we were running out of time. I tried to be realistic with what we could fit in in a day. Because that has always been the trigger for a birthday meltdown; the clock. The clock and the feeling of nothing happening like it was supposed to. 

So this year I was so aware that I wanted it to be different. So I tried to 'relax' more than I have other years. To go with the flow just a little bit more. I think it worked, mostly. There was a while from around half five where I could feel the usual birthday panic rising; where we hadn't got home and there was still so much I wanted to do for her birthday but was worrying about preparation time and the boys teatime and bedtime.  But I kept myself in check all but for a wobble.

I think what really helped this year was just two hours child-free time in the morning. Time when we could go and collect her balloons and party food and everything else without lots of little boys in tow too. It was Lucas's nursery day, so after Alexander and Zachary had gone to school we had a little time to be quiet, collected and organise ourselves without worrying about anyone else's needs for a little while. 

I cannot believe it has been seven years. That Anabelle is seven, should be seven. The movement of time seems so hard to comprehend sometimes. This year she should be finishing the infant department at school and moving up to the juniors. More than ever I feel increasingly aware how big she would be in Year 2,  going into Year 3 now, when Alexander in Reception, going into Year 1 is starting to feel so big.  

Since her last birthday I've joined the PTA and been more involved in a few things at school, for example, the Christmas disco. And there seeing all the little girls that would have been her cohort, her class, her friends and realising time and again she should be in amongst them all too. That the boys school have a Year 2 pupil missing. 

Our darling girl. On Wednesday it was your seventh birthday. 

On the longest and HOTTEST day of the year so far. My girl, you were born on a scorcher, and you've always had good weather for your birthday since. But this year the heat for your birthday rivaled  the temperature on the day your baby brother was born last year.  Up and over 30 degree centigrade. Hot! 

I tried to imagine what sort of things you would have enjoyed or been into now. At a big seven years old. What would we have bought you? I reckon you would've been about the trend around now. Maybe you would've had a whole drawer full of those ridiculously enormous Jo-Jo bows. I hear there is a special expensive brand of children's stationary that is all the rage at the moment, maybe you would have wanted some special pens for school. Maybe this year you would've wanted lots of Beauty and the Beast merchandise because after all Princess Belle is your namesake and it is the year of the big film. 

But for all the maybes I don't really know. I can only imagine and pretend. 

This year for your birthday we bought you the Princess Belle Lego castle. We bought you a Guess How Much I Love You colouring book for your brothers to decorate in all the colours for you. We bought you a Nutbrown Hare garden ornament for your garden. We bought bubbles for your brothers to send to you from your garden. We bought you balloons. We bought you a Beauty and the Beast cake and your name spelt out in candles to go on top. 

So this year on your birthday, after getting your brothers to school and nursery, your Daddy and I went for a birthday breakfast. It was a real rare treat to have a few hours to ourselves and go for a cooked breakfast! It was a good and calm start to your birthday; so unlike so many of your birthdays before. 

After breakfast we collected your huge number 7 balloon for your garden and the pink balloons your brothers would send to you later on in the day. Then we got food ready for the party we planned for you later. 

Your brothers were excited it was your birthday again this year. And you have another brother now! Lucas, and my he looks so much like you. From the moment he was born he was the image of you; and still now, even though we never knew what an 11 month old you would've looked like, I can see you in him. His soft and delicate features that are ever so slightly different to your other brothers. Lucas is the closest to knowing how you might've looked. 

And then there is Zachy, who is so much more aware of you this year and was shouting 'My sister Belle is seven' and telling Xander that is was your birthday. Like Xander before him Zachy is beginning to think about the concept of death now. They both often say they miss you, they miss you and they miss FizFiz. We scattered Fiz's ashes with you on her birthday a few months ago; I like to think she found her way to you and you have your own little cat pet friend now. 

So after school and collecting the boys, we went to your garden, with all our flowers, and bubbles and garden ornaments. We cleaned your headstone up and trimmed some grass and made it all pretty just for you. Your brothers helped of course and sent you their balloons. Did you catch them? But most of all they were absolutely desperate to get the bubbles out for a play. So play we did! Bubble blowing everywhere. 

But the highlight of your birthday this year? 

A pool party and BBQ in the back garden at home! Because what seven year old wouldn't have loved a pool party with her brothers and the treat of staying up really late?!  So we pool partied, and BBQ'd and sang Happy Birthday to you with your cake. 

And then, after the bigger boys were in bed (at nearly 9.00pm, and lets not mention what time they finally went to sleep after that!), Daddy and I built your Princess Belle castle together and drank Processco. Raising a glass to you our beautiful girl. 

Our beautiful girl who we wish with every fibre of our being that you could be here celebrating your birthday properly with us. You are so missed Anabelle. So ever absent, and we all feel it, all of us, including those brothers that never even met you. Another precious birthday for you. 

Always missed, always loved, always everything.  Fly high baby girl xXx 

Saturday, 17 June 2017

June. June Again.

Here we are again. 


Those days. 

Yesterday it hit me like a ton of bricks. The entire day I felt like I was wading through treacle and then come 7.00pm I couldn't keep my eyes open to put the baby to bed. I was asleep before Lucas was.  

I wasn't just tired, I was utterly exhausted. 

Today has been better. After a wobbly start my nerves eventually calmed and an afternoon in the sun with friends helped. Energy levels have been better. I'm still awake which is an improvement on yesterday after all! 

But it has been the theme of June so far.  For more reasons than even a 'normal' June. Exhaustion. Not 'the baby has had a bad night' exhaustion, but 'grief is here' exhaustion. My body feels so heavy. 


Going through the motions but not really feeling quite all there. 

Even though I spent the yesterday 'carrying on', in work and directing lessons; my body physically was letting me know what the date was, even if I was trying to ignore it.  It is like an involuntary response. 

The day she died.  Knowing hour by hour what was happening seven years ago, life spiralling out of control and obliterating. The pivotal moment when my life changed irreparably forever. 

And I re-live it, and remember. I remember what it felt like to still be pregnant but my baby had died. Even now, seven years later, that blows my mind! She was dead inside me and I just had to wait and wait for an intense induction to work. Five whole days.  

These five whole limbo days. 

Is it any wonder I remain feeling so traumatised this time of year? 

Its as if delayed reality sinks in again and again. 

And it makes me an impatient mother, a crappy wife and crappy daughter.   I feel like I've done nothing but snap and get on at the boys for the last few weeks, my tolerance level for anything but toeing the line is low. And it isn't fair on them and I know I need to be better. I hear myself snapping and barking over such small things and I hate it. Hate it, but can't seem to stop myself doing it. Reacting before I'm thinking. 

Wondering if they're starting to hate me a little bit when Alexander has cried that he just wants Nana at the moment... oh and has called me 'Mean Mummy' on more than one occasion in the last few days too. That isn't to say his behaviour isn't pushing boundaries all the time too at the moment, he is absolutely trying to be a law unto himself frequently every day, but he is going to remember. He is old enough to remember when I was horrible now.  

Urgh. Well done Mummy,  hey. 

Old enough to remember but probably cannot yet understand why. And certainly cannot distinguish between justified tellings off for his poor behaviour or the times when I was less tolerant than I should be.  Cannot correlate time of year with Mummy's behaviour. Maybe I need to try and explain its nearly Belle's birthday and it makes Mummy tired and grumpy and sad. 

Not that is should ever be an excuse for me behaving poorly towards them either.

Somehow I need to start getting better at June. Someone please tell me how. 

I keep telling myself tomorrow is another day. I'll try again tomorrow. 

But Father's Day is tomorrow and not a thing has been bought, for my husband or my Dad. And even knowing Jon largely still wishes to ignore Father's Day, knows that he gets 'extra' stuff is just all too much this time of year, still I feel rubbish that I haven't even attempted to pull it out of the bag tomorrow. 

Everyone and everything is irritating me.  Everything feels a massive effort. Patience is short. Anxiety is sky-high. 

Needing to just be. 

Four days to Anabelle's birthday. Two weeks until July. 

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Zachy Small @ Three Plus Half

In a month where there always seems to be so much to say and process, I want to start with this beautiful little boy. 

My Small. My middle son. Sometimes the one I worry about the most. Oh so sensitive in so many ways but my little wild one too! I can't believe he is three and a half already, that he has already been in Nursery class at school for a term and a half. These months are flying by. 

He's seeming so big now, but still so Small all at the same time. Still my baby.   Not that he would allow me to say that of course, because you know, he is NOT a baby, he is a BIG BOY. 

So much has changed in six months, but in others ways very little has changed at all. 

My beautiful Zachy Small. You are now three and a half! You were so super excited on your half birthday, absolutely thrilled that you got a present and that just by chance I came home with half a birthday cake on your half birthday too. You went around telling everyone that weekend that it was your birthday and that you were three and a half. Oh how lovely to be an age where the half is so important! 

At three and a half you are still a little one. You've grown only one centimeter since your birthday and only put on one pound. Making you a grand total of approximately 90cm tall now and 29lb heavy! You still have a few trousers you wear of 18-24m, but on the whole you are now in your (mostly sizable) on you 2-3 wardrobe. All of your 2-3 trousers fall down, so Nana has taken nearly every single pair you own in at the waist for you! 

You still have a tendency to be a little Jekyll and Hyde, but less so than you were six months ago. But you are easily unsettled; a noise, the smallest of fallings out with another child/your brother, being rushed, me being the slightest bit annoyed or impatient with you, things like this can have you in real tears so quickly. You are my little sensitive one, the one I feel the need to shelter sometimes and make everything better for you. 

The biggest thing for you after your birthday was starting at school. You LOVE it! You run in each morning without a backwards glance, often saying 'See you later Mummy'. You've made little friends and are so excited to see them in the morning at the school gates! You won't tell me anything about school really though, I get little snippets occasionally, like what you've made with the playdough, or if you've done some dancing, or if you played in the garden, but mostly you come out of school and tell me you have done nothing! Little rascal! 

But I know you are learning. You absolutely blew me away a few weeks ago when I realised you could write your name! You are always so desperate to have homework like Xander, so I said we could practice writing your name. I went to find a highlighter so you could practice some over-writing - but when I came back to the table you had already written it. Your 'a' was spiraled and the 'c' was backwards, but it so clearly looked like your name! 

Its funny. We've been practising 'Z' for a while, but you haven't always been consistent, and you're still not very consistent - but you are already so clearly giving it a good go with your letter formation. When in the right mood you draw so beautifully - already thinking about the details in your pictures and wanting to practice your pencil control, keen to write and mark-make.  

You can recognise all your numbers to ten consistently now and count to ten consistently too. You know some of your colours in welsh and recognising letters and sounds too. You love it when you see a Z for Zac! 

You are fun and cheeky and wild. So often looking for mischief, making ridiculous noises and laughing to yourself about something. You think you are hilarious; hiding in our bed and getting ridiculously overexcited at bedtime, throwing yourself around, jumping on the bed, off the bed, roly polys the lot. You know how to be the perfect monkey!

You're taking more and more to being the big brother too. You've always loved Lucas but recently you are making so much more time for interacting with him; telling him he's cute, trying to make him laugh with funny noises, wanting to push him on the swing at the park, climbing into his cot with him to read him a book and stop him crying, giving him toys, or his dummy and telling me that he 'wants it Mummy'.  It is adorable! 

You are NOT a baby though and your don't let anyone forget it. You frequently remind me you are a big boy and not a baby, and at the mere mention that you are cute you very firmly say that "I am NOT cute, I gorgeous' *giggle* You seem to think cute is only for babies.

At three and a half you still love stories, fairies, pink and princesses and Happyland but you love magic, My Little Pony and unicorns too now. Your favourite is Twilight Sparkle and you told me a few weeks ago that when you're a grown up you want to be a Pink Fairy. Your favourite story is Room On The Broom, so-much-so you can recite it to me, and for book day you wanted to dress as the witch. I adore that you have no idea you're going against the grain of gender stereotypes at the moment, you are just being you! 

And you being you is wonderful. 

You are so full of love, affection, discovery and joy.  What a beautiful boy you are. I love being your Mama Zachy, you make my world brighter and I'm loving this year of you being three!  Keep loving life my Baby Small! xXx 

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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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