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Our Rainbow Baby is ONE! 


This time a year ago I was going to bed really nervous. I was terrified. I was getting up early in the morning to head to the hospital to wait to be called in for our planned cesearian. It was hard to sleep. I’d spent a ridiculous amount of time packing and repacking our bags. I had the most impeccably planned hospital bags. 

When we arrived at the hospital we were in a waiting room with five or so other couples. Doctors came in and called us one by one into an assessment room and had us fill out paperwork. They examined the positioning of Bunny, and told us she was head down and fully engaged. That was a surprise. She’d been stubbornly breech all the way through. Whilst we were all nervously waiting and hoisting on thrombosis stockings, I was on my phone trying to occupy myself. Instagramming. Texting a few people; my mum and brother, who knew that Bunny was arriving that day and a couple of friends, including Bear’s godmother, who didn’t know. We’d kept everything as quiet as possible. We wanted time to adjust to being a family of four ourselves. 

We were called in first. I remember being in a little side room getting changed and I didn’t feel like I was about to meet my baby. It felt so surreal. When we went into the surgery I was joking with the anaesthetists and everything but I was petrified. I was terrified something was going to go wrong. The surgical team were so reassuring. They knew about Bear and listened to me when I spoke about it all and explained why I was so nervous. The midwives especially were really gentle, and asked me about Bear, they genuinely cared. The anaesthetist did an amazing job of keeping me calm. I had such a positive birthing experience, everything considered. Both of my children’s births are just shrouded in an unflappable magic. 

My little madam was born at 9:36 am. Screaming. She is still just as fiery, loud and proud as the day she was born. When they made the incision the surgeon, expecting a head, got a surprise, with a butt. I’d been right. She was still breech but really well engaged. So when she’s older I’ll tell her the midwife couldn’t tell her bum from her head. 

Over the last year she’s changed hugely.  She’s tripled in size, which seems utterly bananas and is walking and talking. She’s super tall, loves dogs, and as we discovered at her birthday party, is terrified of candles. Breastfeeding, dare I say it, is finally going smoothly. That was more of a farce than I could have ever imagined but now we show no signs of stopping just yet. I am so proud of the person she is. She has the most fantastic drive and curiosity about her surroundings and she is caring and kind. 


Having a rainbow baby has been terrifying. From the moment I found out I was pregnant in December 2015, to present day as she lies here sleeping, Angelcare monitor clicking away. When I was first pregnant I was a bit like Schrodingers cat; as long as she was in there I didn’t know if she was alive or not. Then the movements started, and along with it, a taste of the paranoia to come. I was so absolutely petrified of her being stillborn. I don’t know if that’s because so many of Bear’s friends we’ve met along the way were. It opens your eyes, loss. Stillbirth seems so much more common now. 

After she was born the ride continued. As a mother I’m a funny balance of cautious and protective. I want her to experience everything so happy popped her in a ball pit by ten weeks old, but at the same time there was this horrible bitter anger and discomfort anytime almost anyone else held her bar her Dad and I. I didn’t trust anyone to look after my baby; I still don’t feel comfortable with that. I was talking to a fellow rainbow mama the other day about how there’s always a guilt, for bringing them into a family who is broken and always will be in some way. 

But then there’s that rainbow magic. Broken doesn’t mean not functional. Maybe, our version of broken means that our income will be a little lower from me staying at home, but we have a house full of love and kindness. We’ll look a bit scruffy around the edges, my hair isn’t washed every day, there’s always a gallery of food stains on us on the go, and the washing up isn’t always done the same day, but we’re having fun. We don’t put life on pause for the trivial day to day things. If broken means that every day we live for and remember a little girl who forever holds out hearts by being kind, helpful and friendly and inspiring others to do the same, then I guess we are broken. But as a family we are strong as we are perfect for each other. 

To any rainbow mama to be out there you absolutely can get through this pregnancy. Because you love this baby, and that, as we know all too well, can survive anything life can throw at us. My love for Bear long outshines her death and it would be the same for Bunny if history had repeated itself. Amongst the fear that has given me confidence. That’s the little fiery fight in my me roaring to never let the hand we have been dealt to batter us down and take away from our experiences as a family of four. 

Over the next year we have some big changes coming. Amongst the usual madness I hope we get to have a lot of fun. To explore and to learn, to give and make friends and try lots of new things. I can’t wait to share the adventures of our rainbow toddler! 

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Mummy guilt and my career after #infantloss

Something that is on the forefront of my mind at the minute is what on earth I’m going to do with my life. Before Bear died I was doing a MSc + PhD studentship with the MRC in Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research. She was born early, the week of my exam board for my masters. Everything went on hold. We moved away from the area, back to our hometown when she died. I wanted to transfer my PhD studies to a local university and set up a supervisor. This didn’t go through. Apparently your baby dying and not wanting to be haunting by tantalising memories where you spent every day of your pregnancy, is not reason enough for a university to transfer the funding elsewhere. 
I could have fought that. I tried to. I considered taking the ludicrous situation to the press. Baring in mind when I was supposed to return, I’d previously been assured this was an option, because I’ve been a student my whole adult life, I have no class 2 national insurance contributions, and with my husbands income qualified for absolutely no benefits. 

I was heavily pregnant with Bunny. I was unable to walk far, constantly throwing up and very badly anaemic and mostly, my grief was rife. It hadn’t even been a year; I didn’t have any of the vague clarity I have now. I’d only just been thrown onto this rollercoaster. 

I decided overall, that even when I was in labour with Bear I’d been considering leaving; I wanted a longer maternity than six months. I wasn’t satisfied with my job. I wasn’t going to fight tooth and nail for a job I didn’t really want; in a fight that would take away from my time with my babies. So then it came to what to do next, and when. 

I knew I wasn’t going to be ready to leave Bunny for some time. This is what isn’t spoken about enough. Rainbow babies are full of joy, so much joy, but are also an anxious and terrifying time – and that doesn’t go way after they’re born. A lot of my friends who have rainbows had stillbirths, and the majority of their anxiety was around the birth and pregnancy. For me, the anxiety really began to take shape after Bunny arrived. She was born in the August and I originally considered starting work in the new year, then the summer, then September. My goal if I return to formal employment is now the new year. 

There’s so much guilt. I feel guilty that I’m not back at work like my friends, and that I didn’t go back and get the PhD; that I’ve done crap all with all those years of study. I’d feel guilty leaving her, I’ve never left her with anyone apart from her Daddy for a few hours, and that’s how I want it to be; it’s my choice. I feel awful that I barely bring in any money and I put that pressure on my husband, that we can’t move to a nicer house, and that buying is nowhere near in our future. I feel guilty that we can’t travel and provide our daughter with opportunities that other kids have. It’s such a constant war in my head. 

Then comes the question of what the hell to do with myself now. I’ve considered teaching, or social work. Both of these are full time courses; and I don’t feel ready to leave Bunny for something so intense yet. I am looking at part time options however, but I jut don’t know how financially viable that is. There’s also a bit of a pipe dream in the works. 

I love art. I love creating. I love colour. That’s how my head works. When Bear died it was my solace. There was something magical about it. I’d put pencil to paper and I’d feel her right there with me. My little beautiful creative girl. Last year for SANDS and the Lullaby Trust I made the Little Boxes of Sunshine. I wanted the deliver handmade treats to encourage self care and positivity. It filled me with reassurance when I could draw Bear, draw her with her cousins and the people she never got to meet. I wanted to give that to other people. I made some invites to weddings and christenings over the last year and I wished I could do that for now. It was something I could enjoy, and that relieved my anxiety; it feels the closest the therapeutic I’ve found.  

I’ve been umming and ahhing over it all. There’s a lot of pressure from our living situation for me to go back to a stable salary, although how that would work out with nursery I’ve no idea; childcare is super expensive. So I think, maybe I’m gonna give it a crack. Self employment. I’m gonna take the plunge and do what’s good for me, and can potentially make others happy too. Hopefully, along the way I’ll find some faith in myself that it’s going to work out a bit, because I’m currently a little discouraged. Maybe me and my little clever girl can work together and make this a success. 

Have you changed career after having kids? What did you do and how did you make it work around your family? 
Mama Fierce xx

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10 Month Update: Raising Our Rainbow

Ten month update
Our rainbow little girl is ten and a half months old. I’ve been a little out of touch with blogging after a hectic few months, and have never really been one for monthly updates. She has changed so much, so quickly, though, I’m feeling more and more inclined to jot it all down. Here’s what’s been going on with our beautiful Bunny.

Height & Weight: Bunny has had quite a journey with her weight after being born on the 91st centile, and having a significant drop. She was steady on the 50th for ages, but then since start food she’s been tanking on the pounds! She was 75th centile when she was last weighed at eight months. She definitely hit a point over the last month where I could tell she’d gotten noticably heavier. She got weighed at the beginning of the month and is almost 10kg, she’s shot up to the 91st centile again! I feel very proud, and definitely less stressed about it all now! 

Height wise she’s super lanky. We haven’t measured her in ages, but she’s too tall for the Jumperoo. Her wardrobe is mainly 12-18 months & 18-24 month clothes, and even some 2-3 years. Where has my tiny baby gone!?

Sleeping: What sleep? We were lulled into a false sense of security by her sleeping through the night for the first six months. Then when the first two teeth came in, sleep was never to happen again. I feed madam 3-6 times a night. A good night she’ll wake up every three hours. That’s okay though. We’ll stay determined and sleep when we’re forty!

Eating: Bunny eats amazingly! We’ve still not really found a food she doesn’t like. She has three meals plus snacks, if she’s awake for them. Out of personal preference, we still don’t give her refined sugars. She loves hummous, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, nectarines, watermelon, potato wedges, mashed potato and cheese. She’ll try anything, and that’s exactly what we’ve tried to encourage.

Speech: Speech is coming on great, we have a super chatty baby. When she’s playing there’s a constant stream of waffling coming out of her mouth – you can tell she’s up to mischief when she’s quiet. She currently says ‘mama’, ‘dadda’, ‘baba’,’yeah’, ‘hi’, ‘hello’, ‘hiya’, ‘nai nai’ (my mum), ‘dog dog’ and her big sister’s name which is possibly the cutest thing she could say.

Milestones: She started crawling and walking with her walker just before she turned nine months and has spent the last month perfecting those. When she first started crawling she was always trying to stand so was all over the place, sticking one leg up. Now she scrabbles along everywhere at high speed. She pulls herself up and is cruising around the furniture. In the last few weeks she’s started to take a few little unaided steps between objects, so we don’t think walking is far away!

We have been swimming for the first time, which as I can’t swim, I was a bit terrified for. I neednt have been, she just laid back and floated as soon as she got in. Bunny absolutley loves playing in the water. She has been to birthday parties, been to soft play and gone down the big slides, and played in sand for the first time too.

Toys/Play: This month we have been loving our ‘That’s Not My’ books. ‘That’s Not My Bunny’ was what Chris bought Bear for her first Christmas, we decided to each choose her a book, so they’re extra special to us. Bunny has learned to stick her finger out and feel each bit, which is adorable. She loves sitting and pawing through them right now.

Sensory, tactile play, and creating little treasure baskets of household objects for her to play with has been a big hit. Anything that lights up or crinkles, but also recently, the things she sees us use too, like toothbrushes, plastic picnic cutlery, plastic bottles with colourful or noisy things in.

We’ve also gotten all of Daddy’s old duplo out, which she loves. Especially the animals. We like to cover the living room in towers and our little demolition crew crawls around dismantling them and chomping away on them.

She also loves watching Bing & the Teletubbies. They’ve been a lifesaver for unsettled car trips. I have a bit of hero worship for Flop from Bing. He’s a gentle, patient saint. We could all be a bit more like Flop!

Not long until our gorgeous rainbow is one! Bring on the bunny themed party!

 

Mama Fierce xx

 

Cooking & Baking · Raising a Rainbow

Two Months In: Baby Led Weaning

Food, and our weaning journey so far is something we’ve been enjoying a lot, and wanting to share here. Our gorgeous rainbow, Bunny, is now 8 whole months old. That feels positively crazy. She’s been here with us, in our arms, for as long as she was growing inside of me. It doesn’t feel like the same about of time at all, because that pregnancy felt so impossibly long.

We began giving Bunny food when she was 6 months old. I’d researched a lot about what I wanted to do. I have a pretty crap relationship with food. Whilst I enjoy cooking, I also enjoy food that isn’t too good for me and struggle to find a healthy balance. Food should be fun, not something to judge yourself on. All food. I don’t want Bunny to grow up to feel confused or pressured by food; I don’t want mealtimes to be a battle. New flavours should be something exciting. Baby Led Weaning seemed to be the best approach to instill in Bunny an open attitude to food, and a varied diet.

BLW

BLW is simply giving the foods you’re having, with no purees or spoon feeding. Baby self feeds from day 1, however, you can give loaded spoons of food to baby for them to feed themselves. We’re mindful of salt content, and also give no whole nuts or honey before one, following NHS guidelines. Rather than slowly introducing one taste at a time with more tradition weaning approaches, you can jump straight in with what you’re having, three meals a day, as long as baby is awake for them.

To begin with, not much will be consumed… Bunny’s first food was a stick of crumpet that she optimistically gummed. She didn’t have much of a pincer grip and was totally flummoxed by picking up cucumber. We’d let her play with spoon as teethers so she did surprisingly well with loaded spoons from the off. It was also a struggle getting her to drink any water with her food at the start.

Two months on and she is doing so well! Her pincer grip has come on brilliantly and she now accurately picks up small things like blueberries and quartered grapes to scoff. She’s a little cheese fiend an certainly doesn’t have any of mummies allergies so far. It’s been really nice that she’s taken so well to it and we get to sit down and have meals as a family. Eating actually hot food with two hands for the first time in six months wasn’t bad either.

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We haven’t really found a food she doesn’t like. Not every meal goes down well at all. Food get thrown and almighty strops are had, but overall she eats well. Generally, if she’s not overly keen on something the first time, if we keep offering it every now and again, she starts to eat it quite happily. She wasn’t keen on cheese at all the first time she had it, and absolutley gobbles it up now.

‘Won’t she choke?’ is something I get quite often from older relatives mostly. In reality, BLW makes choking less likely, as they learn to chew before they swallow. We read up a lot on first aid, and the differences between gagging and choking to prepare. Whilst we’ve never had a choking incident, she has gagged on a few little bits here and there. We both just stay calm, reassure her, and offer her water; she doesn’t freak out if she gags on something, but calmly coughs and spits it out. It doesn’t become a big panic that could make food a bit scary.

My mum has been a bit panicky over the whole experience. I do find that goes away though when people see her eating so well for a young baby. The other day in Sainsbury’s Cafe I had a older couple commenting on how well she was doing and how independent she is; I loved that!

Prior to starting I was looking at cups like the Munchkin 360 and the Doidy cup. I bought some Tommy Tippee free flow cups but she wasn’t awfully keen. When Chris and I drank from glasses she’d always reach for them and seem interested so I tried giving her the sippy cup with the lid of and it was a hit. Messy at first, but what about babies isn’t? She drinks well from a open cup now and is good at telling us when she wants it too. I think for future babies I’ll just start with an open cup too – why not skip out a stage? We’ve stuck to only water too, no juice, and she actually likes water, after a bit of perseverance.

We sit down together to eat breakfast every day, and eat almost all of our meals together. Salt and sugar content have been something I’m much more careful about for all of us. I’ve also found Chris & I eating way more fruits and vegetables that we used to. I love that Bunny expects meals to be a social, family thing, and she’s not all too happy if she’s the only one eating. BLW has made me re-find my love of cooking all over again beacuse I love seeing my little girl experience it all.

The mess is a little bit crazy, but you quickly become a well oiled tidy-ing machine. Having a dog, a splash mat, and antisceptic wipes have helped! Coverall bibs (Sainsbury’s, Morrison’s, I love you) have been a god send, and saved us a lot of outfit changes. It is a lot easier though if we’re at home to just strip her down to eat and bath her afterwards.

Since I’m enjoying cooking, I’m gonna be posting some of our favourite, frugal family recipes, and showing you some of the best bits of BLW kit we’ve bought. BLW has been a great fit for us so far, and I’ll definitely do it again with future children. How did you wean your babies and what are your best tips for developing a less fussy-eater toddler?

For more info our Baby Led Weaning, I’ve been loving the Baby Led Weaning UK Facebook group. If you’re more for books, Gil Rapley is your go to lady!

Mama Fierce ^_^ x

Raising a Rainbow · Uncategorized

Our Breastfeeding Journey – Pumping, Pumping, Pumping.

Sketches - 24

Our not so little rainbow baby is six months old already! She is a very tall girl, off the top of the charts and quite a chunk for a thirty seven weeker. This wasn’t always the case! Bunny was tiny in length when she was born and suddenly shot up at about six weeks old. She was 7lb 12oz at birth at 37+1, which is quite large. She lost 14% in her first few days after struggles with feeding, jaundice and breathing which landed us in neonatal and she came home after a week.

After the death of her big sister in her first week, it was terrifying for our rainbow to be poorly at all at that age especially. I struggled a lot with breastfeeding. I struggled a lot with formula. Looking back on our journey now, it’s something I’m proud to share.

I almost lost my mind in the hospital. It had all hit me at once that nothing was guaranteed. We still might not get to keep her physically here with us. I was terrified our rainbow would die. Every time she had a blood test (and she had 12 in a relatively small amount of time) I was terrified it would come back that she’d have something wrong that would mean there was nothing we could do. I was so so scared. That affected my ability to breastfeed.

I always joked to my friends who had never held a baby until Bunny (our rainbow) that babies can smell fear, and she could. That, coupled with a super fast let down, oversupply, and an early baby who was very dopey at latching, meant that breastfeeding did not work for us very well.

This was hard to accept. With Bear, it was instantaneous and beautiful. She latched in recovery and I adored breastfeeding her. Yes it hurt a bit but it does for the first few days. She fed great and we bonded so firmly. It was never frustrating like it was this time. I felt like there was something wrong with me.

Honestly, I don’t really feel like I was offered much in the way of support, especially given the sensitive nature of our situation. I felt backed into a corner and useless. My baby was losing weight, I couldn’t feed her by breast properly, and I daren’t formula feed, because I didn’t want to put her at higher risk of SIDS. Her sister was breastfed. I was petrified to play with risking that again in any way. They’re tiny odds, but once it’s happened to you once the irrationalities are rife.

I broke down. When her bloods came back and she needed to go back under the lights again. Her weight hadn’t gone up I felt like a massive let down to her. I felt sorry to her that she had a mummy who couldn’t do it. An amazing midwife stayed with me and spoke to me whilst I spoke about Bear and Bunny and explained my fears. She got a senior registrar from neonatal to come and talk to me about a feeding plan, and expressing. I spoke to Bear’s little snow globe photo I took in my hospital bag and she gave me a kick, she got me to stay determined.

I started pumping and got little milk. 30ml was exciting in those early days! I had goals of the amount Bunny needed per day and for weeks we wrote down every feed she had to monitor it. I actually had a notebook where I wrote down every poop, pee, nap and feed. I’m keeping it to read for when I get broody for baby number three to make sure I’m certain I’m game for a newborn again! Having numbers and something to aim for worked for us.

I had three brilliant sources of help in those early days. First, my husband. I’d just had a c section and he helped me setting up the pump to pump every two hours and sterilising the parts. I remember having a nap and waking up and he’d been reading through kellymom and LLL pages. He’d had become an expert on pumping and had equipped himself with all this info on how often to pump and how to maintain my supply.

My second support was my neighbour, she’s a breastfeeding peer supporter for Bosom Babies, a local support network. I sent a lot of super long stressed texts in those early days and she was always so encouraging and full of helpful advice. I think I’d have ended up quitting if it wasn’t for that reassurance early on! A local charitable organisation also loaned me a hospital grade pump for free until I could get my own. Without that help I wouldn’t have been able to continue my pumping journey!

Being home was exhausting. I pumped eight times a day, still tried to breastfeed her at least once a day to keep the option there as well. My pumping mamas will know the ‘MOTN’ (middle of the night) pumps are crucial in the first months, so I barely slept. I initially only made enough for the next feed. We topped up with a bottle of formula every few days to let me get ahead, however by three weeks old this stopped as it didn’t seem to sit well with her.

In late September I started to build a freezer stash. I now have about 9L of breast milk in the freezer. I’m down to two pumps per day, which feels like freedom after our beginning. Bunny has gotten the hang of breastfeeding for the most part. Bottles actually helped her learn to latch better and she happily switches between the two. When she was four months I start upping breastfeeds. We had a regression and a total breast-protest at the end of December, but after that things have gone from strength to strength. I now pump in the morning and before bed. Her first and last feeds are bottles, but the rest are comfortably breast. It took six months, but I’m finally loving breastfeeding Bunny.

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One of the many interesting ways we ended up heating up milk on a meal out for my birthday

Pumping is daunting, exhausting and draining. So many times I’ve just wanted to skip a pump. I feel tied to it. I feel like a cow. If my pump didn’t cost so much I’d happily go at it with a hammer some days when all of this is over. At the same time, I’m incredibly proud I’ve stuck it out. I’ve watched my little girl grow and finally, after six long months, we’ve come to love feeding together like Bear and I did. Not the same, but both incredibly fierce, strong bonds built with my girls through feeding.

I’m not bashing formula. Pumping is not a long term option for most. We used formula ourselves and have considered stopping pumping many times. I think if I didn’t have such a massive milk supply I would have considered it. With our history with SIDS and it occurring less in breastfed babies they’re odds I personally couldn’t put aside when pumping was an option. I don’t want this post to make anyone feel bad; I weighed up my options and opinions and did the best for us. I’d love for this post to show somebody as overwhelmed as I was that there is another option. Pumping isn’t just for those odd few bottles, it can be a long term solution. It is possible to breastfeed without nursing, if you want that option.

I’ll be posting links to some of my favourite pumping must haves soon, including my choice of pump.

Bosom Babies (Blaby/Oadby/Wigston Breastfeeding Support) | Exclusively Pumping Mamas FB Group 

Bereavement/Life After Loss

Our Baby Girl is ONE #3: Back to Ours

For Bear’s 1st birthday we wanted to celebrate her on all of the five days she was with us. We had her party on the actual day, and then couldn’t do too much on the following 2 days as that was when Daddy started back at university. Bunny and I did however go for a lovely walk in the park to think about her big sister

The day before the anniversary of Bear’s death, we went back to where we lived. We lived in a village near my postgraduate university when Bear was born. When she died we couldn’t face that house, or all of the places we envisioned taking her; her growing up there. We went back to our home town, moved in with the in laws at first, and then to our current house. Back in the city where we grew up. Bunny was actually born in the same hospital Chris and I were.

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Selfie taken on our walk around the park, wearing my bunny scarf that I wore when I was pregnant and when Bear was with us in those days. I love that I look so truly happy because it was a day so full of my big girl ❤

There was a lovely park in the village we’d lived in. We went there all the time when I was pregnant with Bear. I envisioned pushing her peak through there when I was choosing it. I imagined taking her to feed the ducks. There was a springy trampoline floor in the toddler bit of the park and I used to daydream about taking her on there when she was toddling about.

We decided to go back and visit it; for the very first time. I thought it would hurt more. It was bittersweet going back there, with Bunny in the pram, not Bear, and not pregnant. Little had changed in our old village. It didn’t feel like it had been almost a year since we’d left at all, it felt like I was going home, even after everything that has happened. We’ve decided we’ll take a family trip there every year, because it so full of our lovely little girl and that innocent time in our lives.

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Our duck friends!

There’s a lot of places I thought I could never go back to. Our old village being one of them. I still don’t think I could go back to the hospital where Bear was born, and where we had to leave her body when she died. I feel torn apart thinking of that. Leaving. I know so I much I never left her. She’s right here with me. But no parent should ever have to walk away and leave any part of their child, it just shouldn’t be a possible thing that happens.

I guess what drives me is our little girl. I love anything that connects me to her, to that time in. Our lives. I want those memories, those feelings. I want to show her how proud I am and embrace any way I can return to those days. That bond overrides any fear, any terror. My kids make me the most fearless me I could be. If there’s an experience coming up that you think may be triggering; going somewhere, seeing something or someone, I’d advise you to do it. Throw yourself into it but make sure you have control. I throw myself into situations only when I know if I reach my limits and I need to leave and go to somewhere calm, I can. I feel most proud when I strive to push my boundaries and chase the moments full of my family of four.

Bereavement/Life After Loss

Our Baby Girl is ONE #2: The Birthday Party

Something I worried about approaching our Baby Bear’s birthday was her party. I really really wanted her loved ones to come together and celebrate her, but I was also so so scared that nobody would want to.

I do feel a lot like people think that I’m a bit mad; that’s it, that she’s dead, that I do too much for her. In the same breath, I don’t care whether people think that. She’s my baby bear, my little girl. She’s a little person who I carried for nine months and I hold every day, whether physically or not. I’ll celebrate her and shout from the rooftops how proud I am to be Mama to my little girls, no matter what.

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A birthday cake for our birthday girl, handmade by mummy!

The day was overwhelmingly positive. There were hiccups, of course. I had a major panic in Toys R’Us buying her birthday balloon in the morning. Lots of people who I hope might be there, family, weren’t. They’re to ones that don’t mention her anymore. They’re people who don’t understand our little family, don’t try to, and fid our whole situation awkward. Ultimately, they’re no loss, but that lack of understanding still stings and hurts, because it feels like my little girl doesn’t matter to them.

Bear’s party was at Grandma & Grandad’s house (Daddy’s parents). Grandma put on some food, which I’m bloody grateful for because my head just wasn’t in it. She fed the thousands, as usual, and fed them well.

It was truly beautiful to see a houseful. There was a house full of people who love our little girl, all squeezed in, travelled from all over. Talking about her, talking to each other, smiling and laughing. A few of her little friends were there, causing chaos and her cousins and baby sister. I’d spent so long feeling so terrified it would be awkward, but it was a beautiful, heart healing day. Our rainbow wore her little sister t-shirt proudly.

I’d taken Bear’s birthday presents for people to see; which I’ll detail in another post, but the photobook I made of every photo of her, and our journey from the positive test to now writen down as a letter to her was being passed around to read. I felt so proud to share it.

I made party bags for all of Bear’s friends and cousins who came to the party, and that was something I loved, being able to give them something from her. To have that normal experience.

I made her cake too (pictured above). A lemon cake with lemon curd, and lemon buttercream. I craved lemon drizzle cake towards the end of our pregnancy so I figured that’s her favourite! Our baby girl’s initials are LCFC, so it was the shape of a fox. Everyone had cake and sung happy birthday to our little one.

Something Dadda wanted to do was to light tealights. Instead of candles on the cake, which Bear would be unable to blow out herself, we lit tealights when we sung. One for Bear, and one for Uncle Bungie, Chris’ godfather who died an hour and a half after Bear was born. The idea was when they went out themselves, that was Bear blowing them out. When we got home that night as soon as we got in the door we got the text from Grandma to say they’d gone out.

So many people bought cards, and even little gifts for her, which I didn’t expect. Beautiful tributes to our baby. I’m planning on making her a memorial play garden in the summer and we now have some beautiful additions for it. A friend gave us a set of monkey rattles, and whenever Bunny, our rainbow, plays with it, I know she’s playing with her sister too. I love that.

The day as a whole made me so positive, and hopeful. I was so glad I did it. I truly do encourage you to invite people to celebrate your baby with you, to let them in. As daunting as it is, those who let you down will be completely overshadowed by those beautiful individuals who are right there, celebrating with you. A lot of the time I feel irreparable; forever incomplete. I love the days where I know I’m not, and where I know that we are undeniable a family of four; SIDS can’t take that away.

I’m recording this weeks and weeks later, because I wanted to share, I wanted our beautiful day and these ideas out there. I wanted other bereaved parents reading this to know that these days won’t have to be horrible. But writing about these days sometimes takes time, even with memories as beautiful as the ones we made that day. I’m back in a good head space to write and communicate.