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, 15 January 2018

And Then Big Was SIX

Well this update is a long time coming, so much so I'm going to have to be careful not to overlap between six and what will be seven too much now; Alexander's sixth birthday was an amazing three months ago! To say my foot has been off the 'Boy Update' boil is an understatement. Although if you've read my last couple of blog posts you'll know that October was not a great headspace time for me. But it seems beyond that, that life is generally busier than ever.  Three small boys and teaching fill up long hours of every day, not to mention planning a hen alongside too in the run up to Christmas. My headspace and the evenings haven't felt free for a long time to write about my boys. All three of them are due, or infact in the case of Alexander and Zachary, overdue, their birthday updates.  Alexander was 6 in October, Zachary was 4 in November and Lucas will be 18 months old this Friday. 

Xander is 6! And not so small really at all anymore - since his half birthday update he has grown 5cm and is now 112.5cm tall. He is getting taller and suddenly kind of lanky with no clothes on. His body suddenly seems so very skinny with long limbs off it. He is so busy and always covered in bruises. His legs especially look so battered. He is kind of clumsy like he doesn't always really know where he is in space and falls over thin air.  He suddenly seems so grown up. 


Approaching that 'older child' rather than 'younger child' bracket. And I'm so not ready for it. I find myself clinging onto the 'younger boy' part of him, buying him clothes I know he will soon decide are too babyish for him. But while he fits into 5-6 I can't help like I did this week, but buy the novelty dinosaur lounge wear onesie for the three of them from Next. Another year and matching them opportunities may begin to be limited!



My beautiful beautiful boy. I think we can both agree from looking at your birthday video that this was the year of crazy photo faces. Bu how did you get so big?! What happened in a year? Where has that baby-faced Reception child gone! The difference in two school photos was pretty alarming! Year 1 has seen you change so much and so fast. 


Reception October 2016
Year 1 October 2017




You were worried about starting Year 1. The night before 'move up' day you came home beside yourself. Distraught at the thought of leaving Mr Butcher's class and going for a visit to the unknown of Year 1. You cried for literally hours, there was no consoling you. You told me you were categorically not going and that you were staying in Reception forever. You said you would cling onto something metal in the classroom so they couldn't move you or make you go!  You were worried you wouldn't be with any of your friends anymore and wouldn't know the teacher. But of course you did go; and it wasn't as bad as you feared. Now you adore Miss Burdett as much as you adored Mr Butcher. Maybe even more so because you've made her numerous cards to take into school already this school year and we've only just started Term 2! 

Big things have changed for you again in the last six plus months. You lost your first baby tooth! After months of it wobbling (and quite frankly grossing me out, I need to get a grip on wobbly teeth considering I have three mouthfuls to deal with over the next 6-10 years!) it popped out on the 16th June. Followed by your second wobbler on the 4th September during the day on your very first day in Y1!  Your grown-up molars have started pushing through too although you don't seem to have noticed it too much. I had forgotten there would be more teething around now. Life seems to be all about the teeth to be honest, between yours wobbling and growing and your baby brother teething half of the time too. Now all we need it Zachary to join in! 



But the biggest thing you've had to get used to since my last update is your hearing aid.  Following a further failed hearing test you were moulded for a hearing aid for your right side and started wearing it last July. Six months ago already. Your left ear remains borderline but for now we are seeing how you get on with just the one aid. Of course you chose a red and blue hearing aid to be like Spiderman. You mostly took the introduction in your stride, but there were teething problems, feeling self-conscious and finding the world too loud for a little while.  With a little bribe to help motivate you to wear it we were well on our way - keep it in in school for a week and you got a new car. Keep it in all summer holiday unless we were at the beach and you got another new car to go back to school with. 

You don't need to be bribed anymore. Six months later, it is just part of you. You remind us to put it in in the morning, you tell us when the battery needs replacing because it is helping; you know you can hear better with it turned on. You notice when it stops working and things become more difficult to hear.   At your last hearing test a little before Christmas there had been no change and it will be another six months until your next review. 

At SIX you have the attitude of a teenager! You are discovering a world of sarcasm and answering back. Just recently you retorted with 'Yes (your majesty)' under your breath when I asked you to go for your bedtime wee.  Ooo you are finding your feet more than ever before. Trying to stand your ground on occasion. Telling me when I'm wrong. And you know what, sometimes you are right and I am wrong. I love that about you, that you have the confidence to stand up for what you believe to be right and that you're not afraid of me. I wouldn't want you to be. Sometimes you remind me when it is my turn to say sorry with a perfectly rational explanation as to why. 

You've become a total backseat driver. Your Daddy would say just like your Mother. You understand some of the road signs now and the notion of a speed limit and at times check with me how fast I am going. Or as you say it 'What number am I doing!'  You got your own little taste of 'driving' recently at Legoland; big enough now to do the older children's driving school and we have a lovely little video of you driving the car, stopping at a junction and looking both ways before pulling out into the road. When I asked you about it you told me you knew to do that because that is what me and Daddy do when the road looks like that when we're in the car! My observant boy! 

At SIX your favourite things are Lego and Spiderman. You've rediscovered Lightning McQueen with the new Cars 3 release this last year and we found ourselves trying to move heaven and earth to find you a Jackson Storm car not too long ago! You spend less time on the whole on your iPad now, but your Lego can keep you entertained for hours on end. You my boy are a Lego artist, I've said it before but Daddy and I are constantly amazed by the models that you build with just your imagination. 




You still love school and learning and you're coming on fantastically. Your reading is superb now,  last July you were still bringing home Level 1 books, and since September you've been bringing home Level 4. Now you read them with such fluency and need barely need any help at all! To be honest I think you're ready for another level up.  And your writing and drawing! You write and draw for pleasure now, creating books and stories, making cards and no end of pictures! 

At parent's evening my favourite comment was that we should be so proud of you because you show your values every day. Values of kindness, respect, thoughtfulness, friendship, courage - among so many more that your school focuses on throughout a school year. That makes me prouder more than any of the clever academic things you can do. 

And you have your moments, all children (and sibling relationships) do, but you show your values at home too. Luc adores you (and Zachy) and you have developed a really special bond with him. The way he looks at you is just beautiful, excited to be playing with you or you showing him any attention. You work so hard to look after him, distract him for me, make him laugh or stop him crying. Equally you so often try to get around Zachy for me, knowing that sometimes he needs encouraging or persuading, so you try your very best to encourage him or calm him. You might moan occasionally that you are the biggest but you really do take your big brother role very seriously and lovingly! 



So you are now SIX! We celebrated your birthday in London, just you, me and Daddy. It was my favourite thing, being able to spend some quality 2:1 time with you. I'm so often aware you take the brunt of being left to 'fend for yourself', or the brunt of my impatience, being expected to wait where the other two get instant gratification. Another of the perils of being the eldest. So two days of totally giving you our undivided attention was a real treat all round.   




We took you to see Big Ben, the Palace and the History Museum. We visited Hamleys and the London Lego shop (the biggest one in the WORLD!) so you could spend some of your birthday money - birthday money that was 'flat', because in the lead up to your birthday you clearly discovered flat money was a bit more exciting than coins, even going as far as to request 'Please could you have flat money now'!  

We took you to see your first musical, Wicked, and dined in Leicester Square for  TGI birthday spectacular complete with a birthday song! I loved every minute (especially the bit where you fell asleep on my chest on the tube on the way back to our hotel late Saturday night, still Mummy's baby!), and so did you, you've constantly gone on about your birthday trip to England since and in true Xander style is already making plans for your, dare I say it, seventh birthday! Your mother's son! 



My son. My biggest son. My baby. 

You light up our world completely, like you have right from the moment you were born. We're already loving the adventure of the year between six and seven. 




Don't you ever forget how loved and adored you are. 

Mummy and Daddy xXx 





Sunday, 31 December 2017

2017 Might Have Been Different

The last day of 2017. A day of reflecting on a mixed bag of a year. 

Another year where I felt like I almost went off the rails completely. Another downward turn where just for a while I thought my broken pieces couldn't possible take any more pain and darkness was going to win. Another year where for a while I questioned the solidity of my mental health and how to put together I really am. And then again, as I always seem to do, I came out of the other side. Sometimes I wonder goodness only knows how. 

I started 2017 (click to open) with high hopes that it was going to be the year for conscious healing, a new era and chapter for our family. The year of accepting and making my peace with no more babies, no girls. Only it is another year where that hasn't happened. In an entire year I still haven't found the courage to 'blog that out' and if anything events led to me spiralling and not at all coping with our reality again. Even further from ready to blog it out. 

But if I'm going to finish 2017 honestly, I need to be honest. And my blog, this space, has always been my way of dealing with the big stuff.  I probably should be telling my family this before I tell my blog and its readers, but we'll deal with that later.  You see, if 2017 had been different, this week there would have more than likely been a new little Morgan baby. If 2017 had been different I would've been 36 weeks pregnant on Christmas Day and if that baby hadn't needed to be delivered even earlier than Lucas I reckon it would've been a 27th December kind of baby.  

But that baby, who should never have existed given Jon's snip in mid-March, somehow came to be and then didn't. So there is a lesson right there, when they tell you you're still going to be fertile for up to 16 weeks following a vasectomy there is every chance you will be. And we were less than careful after the magic number of 'goes' he was told. I reckon I caught in the last few days of April. 

So that was a hell of a week right there back in May half-term. If I'm honest I had known for about two weeks before I tested. I had had weird spotting and I just knew. You're not pregnant four times before without knowing. And then by the end of those two weeks, feeling slightly off, slightly queasy, and still just knowing I continued to bury my head in the sand. Then got drunk at my best friends engagement party and thought a few days after that I had better do a test. Tuesday. A positive test. 

The unhappiest of positive tests. Jon FREAKED completely (I wasn't much better). Not because he thought for a minute I had been unfaithful but because he was terrified. Terrified it would kill me and the baby. Lucas only just 10 months old, Lucas my third section, nowhere near healed from it and in no fit state to even carry another baby. I was terrified too figured the advice from the consultant would be a termination and that was certainly what Jon wanted. We fell out, majorly. Because there is no way on earth I could ever have made that decision or lived with it.  

Wednesday. I rang my consultant in hysterical floods of tears. Who calmed me down. Told me it was by no means ideal but that I wasn't her first and wouldn't be her last lady to find themselves in this position and she would put together a very careful plan. It wasn't as dire as I had wound myself to feel.  So between Wednesday and Friday I started to calm down a little. Shell-shocked but not hysterical anymore, started to wonder how on earth we would cope with such a small age gap. 

Then Friday I started bleeding. Really bleeding and I knew it was game over. Wondering if I had imagined it and was it even real in the first place.  In all the periods I've had and the post-partum bleeding I've had I've never encountered anything like this. It was all and flooding or nothing. The tail end of the bleeding went on all month. And of course by now it was June. I started to miscarry on the 2nd of June. Why June? Why? Of all the months in the year.  All of the week long fight with Jon for nothing apart from this photo. Miscarried. Compounded by the Monday news I was having a niece. May half term was an excruciating week that I didn't know how to cope with, but somehow carried on as if nothing was happening, complete with guests and day trips. I've absolutely no idea now, how.   


My usual June grief took over. I reminded myself that this miscarriage wasn't the worst thing I had gone through. And it may be offensive to some but it wasn't. I was shell-shocked in a whirlwind of confirming what I had already known and then it being all over before I had got my head around it, but it wasn't the worst thing I had lived through. I convinced myself it must've been a girl because I'm so unworthy of one. My desperate pain for the daughter I knew and had took grip as raw as it had the day she died. It all got a bit confusing. Then July, as it always seems to do, but especially with Luc's first birthday, sorted me out. 

Now I'm fairly sure what really happened is my surgically damaged uterus just wasn't up it. Which is hardly surprising after section three and only 9/10 months past it. The surgically damaged uterus and surrounding area which still causes daily pain now we're 17 months past it and waiting to see gynae. 

Then it was September before it all really hit. I think I went back into denial. Jon by now had been given his 'sperm count all clear' and that was when it really started to hit. There was a baby, then there wasn't, there will be no more babies, which is absolutely the right decision but. Always a but. Still not ready to accept my only daughter being dead. And by then really not coping with the build up to the impending new girl in our family. September and October was turbulent. I felt ill. In a way I cannot really describe (Click to open).  But of course, the build up, my fragile insides made it all worse than it was in reality. Deep breaths, getting by with a little help from my friends and a courage from somewhere I don't know. 

And now, at the end of 2017 this entire part of the year just feel surreal. Did this actually happen.  Another year of the could've beens if events had panned out so differently. So there, I've now been honest and blogged the year out.

But all that being said. I've continued with my photo a day this year and making a note of all the SUPER SEVENTEEN things that have happened too. And there are many. I love looking back on them, scrolling through the months to find their highlights.  What wonderful little boys I get to keep; the three of them are marvellous in every sense of the word and continue to save me from my very worst. This years best of nine includes Belle's birthday balloon release, water fights in the garden, walking in the forest, Belle's Christmas, our 'going to Spain' photo, Luc turning one, his dedication and me meeting Prince Charles.  I'm sure my facebook best in nine would look different but I'm thrilled so much of Belle still shines through on the grid seven and a half years after she was born. 



January 

1st  - The boys new bookcase

2nd - Big and Small go to the cinema with Daddy so Little and Me go shopping and he has his first ride in the big boy buggy mode.

3rd - Simon and Jon fix he buggy hood after Mamas and Papas basically wrote off a repair!

4th  - Playroom labels

5th - Nana "Zac why don't you sit next to Bampi, I thought he was your best friend". Zac "No, Mummy is my best friend"

8th - Xander, after seeing a factory with a big chimney and white smoke coming out... "Is that where the clouds come from."

9th - Zac's first day at school nursery.

10th - Playing pirate hiding and finding treasure with Zachy.

11th - Luc starting to sit up.

12th - Sorreya and Keith getting engaged!

13th - The tiniest smattering for snow but both boys excited anyway. Zachy, never seeing snow before said it was Elsa snow and wanted to build a snowman.

14th  - Sorreya's 30th night out.

14th - Zac crying when I left for the night out and when I asked why he cried he said "because I lost you Mummy"

16th - Xander's nomination assembly and being able to share why we are proud of him at home. A brilliant and thoughtful big brother.

19th - Lucas 6 months old

19th - Family Thursday with Zac at school, making a rhino face.

21st - Photos with Sorelle

21st - Luc's first taste of food.

22nd - Family bedtime story time.

25th - Jon's little romantic St Dwynwen's day gift.

25th - Luc rolling properly front to back.

30th - Nursery ready - Luc moves into his bedroom.


February 

2nd - Family Thursday in nursery with Zac.

3rd - first post baby Luc date night at Stuffed Dormouse.

4th - Luc rolling back to front.

11th - Lucas's first tooth.

13th - A little trip to the park and Luc's first go on the swings.

13th - Luc looking towards you when you call his name.

14th - New early birthday boots, new early birthday hair and an M&S two can dine steak dinner.

15th - Stay and play with Xander at school.

16th - Family Thursday with Zac at school. He was so confident and proud sharing his special box (animal habitat - Jungle)

18th - Cousin wedding fun!

20th - Train to Cardiff

21st - Lego Batman Day

24th - Meeting Prince Charles

26th - Xander seeing Zac's name written in full and asking what it says. Then telling us we are wrong because 'c' and a 'h' together make a 'ch' sound not a 'c' sound.


March

1st - Dressing boys up for St David's

2nd - Dressing boys up for World Book Day. Zac being particularly happy about being 'Room on the Broom'

6th-10th - Bluestone Holiday!

6th - Jon 36

7th - 32nd birthday for me and a day at Folly Farm.

8th - Rainbow show and baby yoga. Swimming in the Blue Lagoon.

9th - Spa morning and illuminated fairy woods evening. Seeing the frogs.

10th - Blue Lagoon swimming.

12th - Day out with Sorreya.

14th - Xander's conversation with Jon about a flood of babies.

18th - Zizzi's with the girls.

19th - Playing catch the teddy at Grandma's.

24th - Zac "It's happy nose day" (Red Nose Day)

28th - Lucas commando worm crawling.

30th - Family Thursday easter cakes and chicks with Zac in school.

30th - After school mud monsters in Nana and Bampi's garden.


April 

7th - Boys both winning prizes for egg competition at school.

7th - Evening in the park - such lush weather this week.

12th - Zac "You are the best Mummy eber"  (v sounds are a b)

12th - Xander achieving his Wave 1 swimming badge.

16th - Easter egg hunt.

17th - Forest of Dean walk.

18th - Mountain View Ranch with baby club.

19th - Greenmeadow Farm with Ryan Marie and Boys.

25th - Last day of Maternity leave, harvester meal.

30th - Fiz's final farewell.



May 

1st - Parc Play and Kaspa's

7th - Jac's birthday party.

19th - Luc pulling to stand.

29th - Sorreya and Keith engagement party.

30th - Plymouth with all extended family.


June 

2nd - Hannah and Jack and kids staying.

3rd - Mountain View ranch

16th - Xander losing his first baby tooth.

17th - Baby club photoshoot then Roath Park with Sorreya and Keith.

19th - Paddling Pool fun.

20th - Sorreya has booked her wedding!!

21st - Belle's pool party.

23rd - Zac wanting to send Roo a letter.

24th - Barry Island day.

25th - Zachary making me a heart at Olivia's party.


July

1st - Gruffalo woods and Joel's party.

2nd - Luc calling me Mama! First words!

3rd - Luc walking across room with a walker.

8th - The rainbow run with baby club.

16th - Lucas's dedication and birthday party.

16th - Sorreya asking me to be a bridesmaid! I cried.

17th - Zac giving his last chocolate finger to Luc.

17th - Boating Lake fun with Zac and his class.

19th - Luc's first birthday!

21st - Me "What day is is tomorrow?"  Zac "Holiday" (meaning school has finished for summer)

23rd - Wedding dress shopping with Sorreya and co.

26th -  Butterfly farm with boys.

30th - Bug hunting in the garden with boys.

31st - Drawing around boys to make life size pirates.


August

1st - Eighth wedding anniversary. Spent in Abergavenny treasure hunting!

2nd-4th - Mini holiday in Carmarthen with Hannah. In the old uni house. Visiting Tenby Beach.

3rd - Botanical Gardens

4th - Exploring uni grounds, seeing my old uni campus room and Llansteffan beach.

5th - wedding dress shopping with Sorreya

7th-13th - Family holiday week with in-laws.

9th - Tenby beach.

10th - Folly Farm.

12th - Scolton Manor.

15th - Bristol Aquarium and Weston Super Mare day out.

16th - Penarth Pier and the Wetlands.

17th - Seaside tuff spot and mega movie watching day; Nemo, Dory, Moana.

17th - Xander making me a card because "you work so hard for us Mummy'.

19th - Cardiff bay beach evening.

22nd - Dinosaur swamp tuff spot.

22nd - Marie painting a rocket on the wall for the boys bedroom.

23rd - Xander telling Luc he loves him. Luc getting so excited to see Xander in the morning.

23rd - Dinosaur babies at Cardiff museum.

24th - Dinosaur encounters at Cardiff Castle.

25th - Penarth to Cardiff bay walk with Emma and Sorreya

27th - Cardiff Bay with Marie and boys.

28th - Plymouth day trip!

30th - Dewstow Gardens and Zachy falling in a pond!


September 

1st - Barry beach for the twins birthday.

4th - Starting school for X Year 1 and back to Nursery for Z. Xander losing another tooth of the first day of year 1!

7th - Legoland booked for Christmas!

10th - Xander asking for 'flat' money now!

12th - Zac stroking Lucas's head when he was having a nappy change and saying "shhh baby calm down" really gently.

18th - Lucas first shoes 3.5G.

24th - Mountain View ranch with Sorreya Keith and Boys.

29th - Xander's awesome drawing of himself as super Xander.


October 

1st - Lucas standing by himself.

6th - Luc's first steps!

13th - Xander's birthday party at Cheeky Monkeys

13th - Isla Mai born.

14th - Xander is 6 and we got to London for a Big Mummy and Daddy special trip!

24th - Zac's parents evening - improving all the time and trying hard.

25th - Xander's parents evening - Shows his values all day every day.

28th - Spain holiday. Boys in the cockpit on the plane.

30th - Estepona with Mike and family.

31st - Xander swimming width of pool by himself - all the way - 10m approx.


November 

1st - Day in Mijas.

2nd  - Zac swimming a little on his own in the pool,

13th - Lucas walking across a room.

15th -  A very funny sibling school photo!

20th - Zac saying to Luc "cuddle time Luc" and Luc throwing himself into Zac's arms.

21st - Trampolining fun with Sorreya and Lex.

23rd - Xander writing a sotry and making a book.

25th - Zac's birthday party at The Ark Victory Church.

26th - Zac is 4 and a day out to Cantref Farm with Sorreya Keith and boys.


December

1st - Elf Day.

2nd - boys on their new bikes.

5th - Xander's year 1 Christmas concert - he was a Donkey with three lines!

8th - Luc learning to say cheese for the camera. Leaning his head right back when he does with a cheeky grin "Eeeeeeeees".

9th - Snow and a snowman built!

9th - Bath Christmas market with Mum.

10th - Proper snow!

14th - Zac's nursery christmas concert - looking as fabulous elf even though he didn't want to go on stage!

15th - Me "What did you do in school today Zachy", Zac "I did a wee"

15th - Xander trying to be sarcastic - "Yes your majesty" under his breath after being told to go to the toilet.

23rd - Legoland F.C. trip!

25th - Christmas Day. Xander favourite; Flash Lego. Zac favourite; PJ Masks school bag. Luc favourite; Catboy.

26th - Luc so chuffed with his big boy scooter.

28th - Celtic Mano with Lex and Sorreya.

29th - Going to see Hannah Jack and kids.


One hundred and fifty six memories of note recorded this year. No doubt many more moments missing and forgotten.  A year of numerous firsts for Lucas and many for the other boys too, watching them all grow another year older, starting the year still on maternity leave, incredibly apprehensive about returning but finally enjoying going to work again, being honoured to be asked to share in my special friends wedding and all of the build up plans, enjoying a year with many holidays and day trips and making memories with our family. 

And although it is impossible to really choose the one moment that is my favourite of the entire year, I'm going to choose Christmas Day. Because despite the parts of 2017 that really hurt, Christmas was peaceful, slow, quiet. The boys took most of the day to finish opening their presents and didn't even get dressed and I even managed a sofa doze when the baby has his nap. This year it was absolutely just right.  It has taken many years but we really have cracked it now. A plan that is really working for us. Belle on Christmas Eve and just us for Christmas Day. Shutting the world out for most of the day and allowing ourselves to just be. 



And that is my goal for 2018. The Morgan's are going to allow ourselves to just be. 

Wishing you all a happy and calm 2018.  

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Smile Tho' Your Heart is Aching

Smile tho' your heart is aching
Smile even tho' it's breaking
When there are clouds in the sky
You'll get by


If you smile
Thro' your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll see the sun come shin-ing thro' for you


Light up your face with gladness
Hide ev-'ry trace of sadness
Altho' a tear may be ever so near


That's the time
You must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying
You'll find that life is still worth-while

The last time I posted was Baby Loss Awareness Week. I was on the brink of my usual 'grief collapse'. It happens from time to time.  For the first time ever, I didn't participate in Wave of Light. We weren't home. Not for the first time, we were at the close of Xander's birthday celebrations (The Big Boy is 6 update to follow at some point soon!), travelling home. Not that that has made a difference in previous years; I've just joined in late when we have arrived home. But this year, the place I was in was becoming so dark I couldn't join in. I didn't want to light a candle. I didn't want to be a part of it.  

This year it was baby loss awareness week. World Mental Health day fell within it. As did day of the Girl. All of which felt poignant, and dark and overwhelming.  And well, when the day of the girl started and all the 'my wonderful daughter and what I want in this world for her' posts started I just wanted to file them under PISS OFF along with all those awful 'Daughter's Day' and 'If you have a daughter who' memes that pop up from time to time. All I wanted for my daughter was life. She didn't get that simple pleasure, neither did we. I've often debated where 'just grief' ends and where maybe 'depression' takes over. Although absurdly I've never considered myself classically depressed it is glaringly obvious I am damaged. I truly believe I have some elements of post-traumatic stress. I've posted about it before. 

A few weeks ago this was the song on Strictly. You know, on the Sunday night results show, an artist sings, the professionals twirl around them while they sing.  I don't know who was singing. It wasn't Nat King Cole, clearly. But it resonated with me instantly. Timing apt. 

Right there in the middle of grief consuming me and struggling to keep my head above the ever deepening water. 

Smile tho' your heart is aching, Smile even tho' its breaking. 

Hasn't this become the soundtrack to my life? 

And oh boy haven't I become the expert! Masterful at the game face. Carrying on. Always carrying on. So when in the midst of it, no-one, other than those in my closest circle could have any idea that I'm hurting.  Because that is what you're expected to do, isn't it? Especially so, the further and further we move on from 2010. 

Light up your face with gladness. Hide every trace of sadness. 




2010 was a long time ago wasn't it. Its been almost seven and a half years.  Goodness I know how tired people must be of me. Even in those closest circles. Maybe especially in those closest circles. I'm tired of myself. I'm tired of hurting. So tired of hurting. Every time there is a 'flare up' of grief and the rawness hits me all over again. These last weeks/months have been littered with dark thoughts. Intrusive and awful. Telling me things I know not to be sensible, or true. But they've been oh so loud. I've desperately wanted something else to hurt other than my insides. 


I've been up, and down, and up, and down. 

I think we're coming out the other side again now. Into another period of calm and restoration. Into another period where I'll work on healing. I've realised again it is almost like I need these extreme reactions to process and settle once again. Sometimes it needs to blow up to put me back together again. 


My best friend and my husband have categorically told me they think I need counselling, again. In seven years I've already been through that process twice. Is this going to be it? Every couple of years I need some professional insight again?  Previously I've seen a dedicated 'Pregnancy and Baby Loss' type counselling service. I don't think that is what I need anymore. That initial loss isn't my biggest problem anymore. More a 'Life after long-term loss' service maybe. Someone telling me how on earth I live the foreverness of it all intact. 

They'll be cross but I haven't done anything with it yet. I haven't had the time, or energy to fight for a 'routine' Doctor's appointment on a day and time that I can go. Or be bothered for the inevitable waiting list after a referral has been made. Right now, coming out the other side what is the point?  By the time I see anyone we'll be so far past the latest crisis point that will the conversation even be relevant. I don't know. 

Life continues to be a juxtaposition of the strikingly wonderful and happy life we have intermingled and parallel to the never-ending trauma that my only daughter died. Will I ever really truly be able to make a peace with it, even of sorts? I don't know. 
Monday, 9 October 2017

Collision

It is that time of year again. When my news-feed becomes awash with Baby Loss Awareness Week.  So many people with a part of their lives missing. All these bereaved parents I've 'met' along the way over these last seven years, three months, two weeks and four days

What an insane amount of time! A lifetime ago but yesterday all at the same time. 

It has always felt so poignant that Baby Loss Awareness week combined with the build up to Xander's birthday. Our wonderful first rainbow who came home. A week where utter relief and joy filled our lives and spread colour throughout it again. Our boy Big. We have such wonderful plans to celebrate his 6th birthday this week, we are very excited! 

In previous years I know I have been a lot more vocal than I'm going to manage to be this week. This is such an important week; breaking the taboo, breaking the silence around stillbirth and miscarriage. Baby loss affects so many more people than you could possibly imagine.  

But I cannot champion it or join in the capturing grief project this year. 

This year I don't have the energy to confront grief. I don't have the energy to capture it, or reflect or allow it the time. Grief is teetering on the edge of consuming me somewhat at the moment without giving it active space. Even though maybe that is what it needs. Maybe soon. But at the moment I'm deploying the "fill my life with distractions, happiness and excitement" strategies instead. I have plenty planned to keep us busy until Easter!

After more than two years now of being in a relatively settled place, once more it feels the two parallel and overlapping parts of my life are colliding. The last few weeks have been met with so much inward panic. I'm managing, my game face has been fiercely on, but I can feel it building, I can feel is spiraling once again. Anxiety intermingled with a grief that will never let me go. Absolute desperation for my daughter. 

There is so much I need to say here. This used to be my safe space. But at the moment I'm so out of touch with myself and here. I'm certainly more guarded than I once was and I daren't allow myself to spill. Not right now. 

This week, like every week, we think of our beautiful Anabelle Violet

Always missed, always loved, always everything. 
Sunday, 3 September 2017

Six Weeks of Summer Week 6: Outer Space

Well we were supposed to start the final week of the holidays with a bank holiday day trip to the Space Centre up in Leicester... what better way could there be to start Outer Space week...? However, we were feeling utterly shattered Sunday night and after much umming and ahhing we decided to abandon the idea and think of something a little less full on for the bank holiday instead. I knew then from the outset that to be honest it was going to be a 'wing it' week with a bit of space thrown in if we were lucky! Haha! (We're now going to save the Space Centre for a birthday day trip maybe next year!) 

So Monday was visit the family in Plymouth day instead! The boys always love getting together with their cousins and we spent an unusually sunny bank holiday playing on Dartmoor and with the paddling pools and water squirters in the back garden at my brothers house. Lucas's highlight was of course definitely some ice-cream. 




Tuesday we did manage to space it up a bit. We baked some stars, moon and planet biscuits whilst listening to The Planet Suite by Holst. The boys had a good go at guessing which part of the music was about which planet and I was surprised by how many planet names they already knew. They all loved baking, even Lucas who had each step of the ingredients given to him on his tray to explore; I should do it more often with them, especially now Mum and Dad bought me my own mixer for our wedding anniversary this year (that I somehow managed to find a home for in my kitchen! Haha!)  Xander thought the spinning mixer bowl was fairly hysterical and Zachary loved getting his hands stuck into the biscuit mixture. 








Wednesday was of course 'big boys' day out. This week we went to Dewstow Gardens and Grottos near Caldicot with my Mum. She has wanted to go there with the boys for ages, but it isn't a baby suitable place so it had to be a day without Lucas. The gardens and grottos are fairly magical and very different; so we pretended we were going on an adventure to a new planet. The boys promptly decided between them we were visiting a planet called "Zoomi Mars" and thoroughly enjoyed themselves running across bridges and stepping stones, into caves and caverns. My little plonker Zachy managed somehow to fall into one of the little ponds and finished exploring the gardens soaking wet... we even pretended the water might turn him into an alien! Haha! 









Wednesday night the boys had the real treat of sleeping over Nana and Bampi's house so Thursday was another fairly quiet day after we had returned home. Lucas has some rare 1:1 playtime in the morning before went to collect his big brothers, so we played with our  'space blanket' and he discovered some plantets and stars using our imagination with some of his orbit rattles, tambourines and star stacker toys! He loved the foil blanket and made sure he had a good go at shaking it as loudly as he could! 





When the big boys were home we watched some story bots videos on YouTube - with this planet video being one of my personal favourites! 


Friday was a complete Space off day (as Saturday and today have been, apart from watching a film called Planet 51), and instead we spent a glorious start of September day at the beach celebrating our friends twins 4th birthdays. We arrived at the beach at 11.00am and didn't leave until bedtime. We really are loving the seaside this year! 



The weekend has been spent mostly getting ready for school. We have had the most fantastic summer and we can't wait to do it all again next year; infact the boys have already requested some themes for next year so Boats and Jungle are already on the list for Six Weeks of Summer for 2018! 

And now it is time for back to school... Boo! But we've got so much to look forward to before half term, and indeed throughout this entire academic year with Big's birthday in 6 weeks and his London weekend away, our fly away holiday at half term in 8 weeks, a new cousin for the boys around the same time, Small's birthday in November, Christmas, my BFF's Hen weekend to start 2018,  Jon has the stag to look forward to in Feburary, our birthdays in March and the wedding of course all before we get to Easter! 

How lucky am I to have been able to have so many adventures with my boys this summer! My confidence with solo outings with three has definitely improved (although ask me again next Summer when Little can walk! Haha!). We've made some wonderful memories and I'm determined to make the most of our summers like this every year until they decide they are too old. I'm just loving them at the age they are now; yes sometimes it is really exhausting and really hard but they are little children that just love life and prove to me every day that life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful.  Even though I think they are pretty perfect! 

Our wonderful summer and my rainbow boys, still healing me. 

Six Weeks of Summer Week 5: Dinosaurs

I absolutely cannot believe that tomorrow my babies go back to school! 

I've been entirely rubbish at keeping up with my Six Weeks of Summer diary entries but we really have had the most marvellous summer. I'm not ready for it to end and feel sad that its over. I know I'm exceptionally lucky to be able to spend school holidays with my children and jam them pack full with adventures in the way that we have this summer; but now I face term-time when I'll miss 'Family Thursdays' and the prospect of many other things in school because the irony of my job makes it difficult to attend school events for my own children. 

Back to school is a milestone each year that rests quite heavily on me; it is undoubtably exciting and the boys are definitely excited to spend the day with their new teachers and cannot wait to see their friends. But along with the momentary gut-wrench that my boys are moving another year away from being babies and getting so big,  there is always that smack in the face that another chalk board should be ready for the 'Back to School' photo tomorrow morning too. Another yearly milestone where Anabelle is missing. Tomorrow she should be starting the junior school, joining Year 3 and feeling very grown up because she isn't in the infants anymore. But her cohort starts without her again while Alexander start Year 1 and Zachary becomes a rising 4 at Nursery instead of a rising 3. 

The last two weeks have been so busy. Although I'll admit Week 6 we have been flagging. Outer Space week has been extremely flimsy on the ground to say the least, to the point that its hardly worth giving it its own blog! Haha!  We've all been tired, six weeks of adventures have tired us out, so although I don't back to reality to arrive I think we'll all certainly benefit from the back to routine. 

But anyway.... Week 5, Dinosaur Week. 



We started the week with some dinosaur egg hatching. The boys had been dying to do this for ages, after we had found them in the cupboard (we had forgotten we had them!) but they made a perfect activity for dinosaur week so I saved them for the summer. We found our eggs with our dinosaurs and put them in water, waiting for them to grow and hatch. Zac was most put out that they were not going to hatch instantly! 



Tuesday was a home day. We spent the morning building some Lego Duplo dinosaurs (and watched The Land Before Time). The boys worked separately on this for a while, Xander building lots of different designs of dinosaur and Zachy making a Diplodocus. After a while they started to work together, joining their bricks to build a very tall dinosaur!  Later on in the day they then decided to build a tree for some of their dinosaurs to eat. 





In the afternoon I went to get the tuff spot out. I was going to make some sort of dinosaur land in it for playing in the garden that afternoon but discovered it filled with water (note to self - the blue sheeting isn't waterproof!). Not to matter I thought it can be a dinosaur swampland! Now the boys loved it but I don't really think entirely thought the swamp through... of course all three of them were in it within minutes; the baby especially thought this was marvellous! But the soggy mess! Haha! 





Wednesday was 'big boy' day out and this week we went to Cardiff Museum, especially for the Dinosaur Babies additional exhibition currently there. We arrived to discover some enormous dinosaur footprints outside the museum and some ominous claws over the side of the building! We spent a good few hours discovering animatronic dinosaurs, fossils, skeleton models of dinosaurs and their babies, baby dinosaurs in their eggs, the children had a pit they could climb in to reveal dinosaur bones, made up their own dinosaur names, dressed up as a dinosaur, read dinosaur books, and completed big dinosaur puzzles. It was an exhibition well worth the visit and the small entrance fee to that part of the museum. Both boys came away happy with their mini dinosaurs I bought them too. 







Thursday we were in Cardiff again. This time for the dinosaur encounter event at Cardiff castle. I must say, that although we had a lovely afternoon out it was an incredibly busy session with many many other people there too. I was quite disappointed that the group was so large because it meant there wasn't any opportunity for the children to have a 1:1 moment with the T-Rex in the walkabout session and didn't get chosen to meet one of the animals in the animal encounter session. The boys were subsequently quite underwhelmed by the whole experience to be honest! Zachy lost interest and all Xander had to say was the T-Rex was a man in a costume because he could see his legs, jumper and shoes. Not the best effort into disguising! They enjoyed themselves though in the castle grounds - we'll definitely be back with our castle keys (heavily discounted 3 year entry passes because Jon works in Cardiff) soon to explore the castle properly with more time (and less people!) 



Friday was mostly a dinosaur day off. Instead we met with some of our friends for a day out in Cardiff Bay. We parked in Penarth and walked and scooted along the barrage to the Bay, stopped half way for a play in the park,  had ice-cream and another park play when we got there, had a Starbucks, couldn't get on a boat (too full) so had to walk the rest of the way back as well. 14,367 steps (or 4 miles). The children were super!  


Luc got in on dinosaur day though, because after a late nap and then a car nap he wasn't going to bed on time that night. So instead had a dinosaur hopper session! Hehe! 


Saturday the boys watched The Good Dinosaur in the morning and played in the sand making Triceratops skeleton fossils with sand moulds in the afternoon. 


And then Sunday was another dinosaur day off and another day spent in Cardiff Bay with a different friend!


Then we loosely started Outer Space week... more to follow! 

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Caz
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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