How lucky am I?

How lucky am I?

To my little Riley Roo Roo

Today you are nearly 2 weeks old, our life has been turned on it’s head since you arrived and I wouldn’t change a minute of it. You are to me the most beautiful and perfect child, I’m sure every mum thinks it, but you truly are. You have helped fill a very large hole that was left in my heart 3 years ago when your sister left this world. I won’t pretend life with a newborn baby is easy but my god you make it worth it, when you look up at me with those big beautiful blue eyes, my heart just melts. 

This morning at 4am we lay in bed the two of us, and I just loved holding you close. I know I will blink and soon you will be grown up and it won’t be cool to give your mum cuddles any more, but until that day I will cherish every cuddle, kiss and snuggle I can take. 

I spent so much time when I was pregnant with you terrified I wouldn’t know how to be your mummy, scared I would do something wrong and my biggest fear is I will ever let you down. I can’t promise I will get everything in your life right, but I can promise that I will try to do the best and the right thing for you, every second of your life. I won’t promise to always be your friend and I’m sure we won’t always see eye to eye, but I promise to always try to keep you safe and I promise to make sure you know just how loved you are. 

You see when we said goodbye to your sister I knew I would cherish her siblings that but more, because I know I will take night times of you crying and lack of sleep over saying goodbye to another child again. I right now am the luckiest mummy in the world because I get to be your mummy, and to me that is the best gift I can ever be given. So know everyday my little roo roo that I am here, I will be the one to push you that bit further, to hold you that bit tighter and remind you just what a special and amazing little person you are. So now I am off to give you an extra little cuddle and kiss, how lucky am I?

All my love

Your mummy xxx

A rainbow pregnancy the highs and lows

A rainbow pregnancy the highs and lows

I have been in debate about if and how I write this post. I would never want anyone to think that we for a second forget how lucky we are to have a rainbow pregnancy, it took us two years to get here and many times we came close to giving up hope. However in all that time I don’t believe we were ever prepared for how hard a rainbow pregnancy is.

Not the physical side, for me I seem to be lucky and pregnancy seems to agree with me, I have little to no sickness to contend with and my body just seems to go along with the changes. But a rainbow has a huge emotional toll.

We started this pregnancy with as much positive thinking as we could muster. I kept saying to myself that, worrying won’t change if this baby stays or not so I may as well enjoy every day whilst I have it, but as we get further along and closer to our due date it becomes increasingly harder. It has turned into endless nights tossing and turning, questioning when the last movement I felt was, worrying trying to remember if at any point today I have knocked or hurt my precious bump. 

The late night hospital trips when he hasn’t been moving are the worst. I sit in the car and dread what might happen, preparing yourself for those words again just in case. Luckily every time it has always been good news but I can never explain how emotionally draining it all it. We often don’t talk about these hard times because we don’t want to burden others. Everyone else is so excited and we need them to be, we don’t want everyone to have to experience these scares or feelings like we do. We need everyone around us to be full of positivity to keep us going when we don’t have any. 

I have at points spent hours at night running every scenario in my head of what could go wrong, what would we do differently this time, if it all went wrong. The rational day time me can usually push these thoughts away, knowing they are counter productive, and positive thinking really is the only way to go. But 2am me isn’t rational, 2am me is the demon that allows these thoughts time to take over my brain and drain my emotions. See for me, a rainbow pregnancy is about being aware that there is always the chance of 2 outcomes.

As much as we plan for our future, we talk as if sure it will happen I know we are both on edge, the slightest mention of an issue and we are both alert, we don’t talk about it but it’s there. When I look back in the last 30 weeks I’m not actually sure I can recall a single conversation where we have spoken as if he will actually come home. We talk about the practical stuff, we talk about pregnancy but never have we dared to talk about what having him here will really be like. Because we are scared, scared to dream and to imagine we still are just living one appointment to the next I think.

I love this baby with all that I have, as much as I love my Leela, and I guess in a way I am glad for what we have, we know how precious this baby is, every milestone we hit now feels like we have climbed Everest. But there is a thing of too much knowledge, it leads to worry about new issues you never knew before, you are heightened to potential dangers you wish you never knew about. It is hard sometimes to think rationally and remember that most pregnancies end well, we are in the minority that we have experienced otherwise. At the end of day all we can do is to take this a day at a time.img_0194

 

The next step… our rainbow

The next step… our rainbow

The news is out and a rainbow is coming, we are ecstatic and over the moon and we know how lucky we are to be here. The blog has been very quiet the last year or so and I guess our Rainbow journey seems a good reason to bring it back to life, to document the highs and lows that come with a rainbow pregnancy. I guess it is a direction I always hoped the blog would take but never dared to imagine it would. Unsure if it would happen to us or that when it did if we would feel like talking and documenting it. But I guess it seems that if pregnancy and infancy loss is hardly spoken about then the true journey of having a rainbow is even less so spoken off.

So what is rainbow a baby? A rainbow baby is the pregnancy that follows a loss, it is from the understanding that after the storm that seems to follow a loss, hope is found in the rainbow at the end, that beauty and life always prevail. It is not as some may believe that this new baby will replace the one that was lost, for us Leela will never be replaced, she will always be my first born and we will always remember, but it means we now have space for another child in our lives.

The journey so far has been up and down, full of excitement and joy but crippled with fear and anxiety. The early days were hard, we were lucky to have had an early scan which bought about some comfort to see the heartbeat and know that for now at least baby is safe. I find now as we get further and closer to the point at which we lost Leela it becomes hard in a new way. It becomes familiar that if something were to happen we know exactly what will happen. We know we would have to face birth and funeral all those events again. No matter how hard you try to stay positive sometimes these thoughts still creep in and they are terrifying and heartbreaking. We made the decision to go public with our pregnancy at 12 weeks, many have expressed their surprise but it feels we need to be as normal as possible, we have to have the belief that everything will be alright and publicly acknowledged our pregnancy has been a  huge part of that. To have the support of others has been the best thing.

Currently I am 17 weeks and 6 days, I feel like I am getting bigger by the day but can’t deny that I love having bump. I seem to have been lucky with having so few of the horrid pregnancy symptoms, we have been placed under consultant care but with an issue of no one knows what went wrong last time so they are currently unsure what care we actually need. Really it feels like everyone just has their fingers crossed that it all goes ok and if it doesn’t then we face it if/when we need to. For now we are on the countdown to 20 weeks to find out if we have a blue or pink bump, we aren’t too fussed either way but we are excited to find out anyway. It feels different this time, I guess we have been through the worst so this pregnancy seems less daunting it has been easier to relax and just enjoy it this time which I think we really needed. So here is the start of what we hope will a quick and happy rainbow pregnancy.

2016

2016

So here we are a new year and it seems a good time to reflect on what has been before. I am aware  that recently the blog has been quiet. It isn’t that I haven’t been writing I just haven’t been publishing. I relalised something, I started this blog to raise awareness and to give a voice to the grief that follows pregnancy loss. However I have always very aware of the blog becoming self indulgent, berating people for not understanding something that I think cannot be comprehended truly until experienced. I was aware that I wouldn’t want someone new to this journey of grief to read this and think it never gets better, but equally I don’t want it to appear that Leela is forgotten and we have moved on. 

The truth it life has settled. I rarely cry anymore, I have learnt to live with grief without it dictating my life and choices. I feel that if I want to stay true to the reason behind this blog then I need to tell the truth, not write only when I am at a low or a high but capture a true experience. 

The truth is loss becomes part of our life, it is almost normal as much as it can be. People feel less scared of talking to us about Leela, so I assume we appear less fragile. Loss no longer defines us, we are not just the couple that lost their daughter we have some identity back. Of course I miss Leela that never changes, I still imagine her in our lives now but it no longer consumes my thoughts. Everyone always told me time is a healer, I don’t know of that is true. Nearly 2 years on the pain is still there, but time does give knowledge and acceptance. I accept that chances are nothing could of prevented her death. I know now that holding anger at others for having what I wish we had will not bring me any happiness or comfort. 

So we start the new year in a good place. I am still amazed sometimes at how far it seems we have come but  we still have a long way to go. Here is to a happy and memorable new year. 

A life is a life

A life is a life

A person’s a person, no matter how small! – Doctor Seuss

personWhen I say my daughter died, you instantly feel regret, you feel pain and empathy, if I tell you my baby died, this becomes heightened the idea that an innocent baby lost their life, you think “how can the world be so cruel”. But wh
en I tell you her death was a miscarriage you don’t feel so bad anymore, you say “it was only a miscarriage, they weren’t really a person were they anyway?” How wrong you can be, the loss of a child at ANY stage is painful and heartbreaking.  If you held that child for 4 or 40 weeks, you still held them, that child was a part of you, your body sacrificed things, you felt sick and tired, you ached and your head felt like it would explode with emotions to give this child life, but what happens then life never comes to be.

You dream and imagine how your life will change, you change your entire life to give your child the best. That child grew from your body, you nourished and provided for them from the tiny spec to the baby they become. You had a heart that beat inside in you, for a while you were two of you, you were your child’s entire world, they knew and maybe will never know anything outside of the safe place within you that they lived.

You had two hearts, two heads, four arms and legs, 20 fingers and 20 toes for that whole time you carried them. So how can you ask me to simply “get over it” something died within me, Something I grew and I made that couldn’t make it any further?

I carried for 20 weeks before our girl grew her wings, only 20 weeks you say, Just think..that is from now to the end of February, it isn’t only a few weeks people seem to believe. Imagine what you will do in that time, I carried my daughter for that whole time. So please never tell a bereaved parent to “get over it”, please never say “you never knew them” or “they weren’t a person” because to us they were, they were our baby, we lost our child and we lost the future we had planned. We watched it shatter infront of our eyes. We fear to feel hope again, we feel guilt for feeling happy, we feel anger we can’t explain and sadness deeper than the ocean. We wish you never feel an ounce of the pain and anguish we feel, and we hurt deeply when we hear that one day you do. Because we know the pain and I never want anyone to feel it. We wish it could end with us but it won’t. So lets think about our words, lets celebrate and remember every little life, no matter how little. Because sadly more little lives will be lost, and I hope it never one of yours, but lets support and show love, not diminish and hush other’s pain. Lets show everyone the love and support the deserve and they need and remember all the little lives lost this Pregnancy and child Loss awareness Week.

Capture Your Grief 2015

Capture Your Grief 2015

Capture your grief is a blog/journalling/personal reflective project which runs throughout the Month of October. It is run by Carly Marie and it is a month of daily prompts which help to capture your journey, current and future grief after the loss of a child. Last year the loss of Leela felt to raw to try this, but this year I will be trying to keep up with the daily prompts. I will be documenting my month on Instagram (hannahmcleod91) I have chosen instagram as it is quite forgiving I can use daily images without a word limit to go with them. Some of the days I may choose to add in a blog post aswell. For me it is chance to write and express areas of our loss which we haven’t before. It is also a chance to connect with the larger angel parent community.

It is as much for myself as it is for others. It will be good for me to be made to look at things in a different way from the daily prompts. The project is run during October as this month is generally recognised a month for Pregnancy and child loss awareness. It seems a good chance to reflect and see how we have progressed even since this time last year. Having so many taking part in this project brings some awareness to the life changing effects of losing a child at any stage. This month and project for me is for everyone who has suffered a loss from 4 weeks to adulthood the loss of a child is still such a deep emotional pain. If you would like to follow this month project you can follow me on Instagram (Hannahmcleod91) or follow the hashtags of #CaptureYourGiref and #WhatHealsYou.

Also let me know if you will be doing this project and how you will be documenting so I can follow your month aswell 🙂 captureyourgrief

Flight or Fight

Flight or Fight

Fight_FlightI remember standing outside the crematorium, standing around the car which held our tiny baby’s tiny coffin, no bigger than a large shoe box. It’s strange the reaction you have, we stood and we cried as we hugged friends and family, we laughed at the most stupid of things, anything to distract our mind of what would be undoubtedly the hardest half hour of our life. We had to wait while the funeral before us finished, I remember the large doors being opened, hearing our little girls song “hello world” starting up. In that moment I froze, I knew I had only seconds to choose I wanted to run away, to pretend we didn’t have to do this, to run as fast and as far as my legs would take me, but I was rooted to the spot. I watched like an on looker seeing the coffin being handed to Craig, the flowers being fussed over and arranged on her tiny little coffin. I remember someone putting their hand no my back gently pushing me forward, going into auto pilot walking into the little chapel.

I forced myself to sit down as I knew if I didn’t I would run to her, I would fall over myself to have her with me again. I knew in that moment it was final, I would never see her again, never hold or feel her again, in a few short hours her body would be no more. I sat frozen for most of the ceremony, I don’t know that I even remember crying that much, I knew if I started I wouldn’t stop. I remember hearing the sobs behind me, but I wasn’t strong enough to acknowledge them, I knew if I saw how her loss had affected others I really would crumble. I sat and I listened, I tried to take it in as I knew this would our last time we would be in a room together. I tried so hard to be present but I couldn’t, the whole thing washed over me. My brain couldn’t accept the reality of what was happening. At the end the final music had to be played twice as I just couldn’t get up and leave, I couldn’t leave my little girl behind with strangers. I couldn’t bare that it was over, that was it, she was truly gone.

I believe its the hardest thing as a bereaved parent you want to take flight, to run, believing running putting distance between you and life will make you forget about your loss but it doesn’t it only seems to highlight it. Fighting is even harder, it’s like wading through the thickest of treacle. Sometimes no matter how hard you fight you don’t move forward and some days you do. It is the most basic of human instinct, we don’t have over think it, our bodies and our minds seems to know what to do even when we don’t.

To the grieving father

To the grieving father

To you the grieving father.
The one who held her as her heart broke, who held her hand when you were told that awful news, thank you. You kept her going, you told her it would be ok, when you could have no way of knowing it would, but you knew what she needed to hear. 

You fielded phone calls and visitors, you did all the things she couldn’t. You answered the questions of how is she and what happened? Yet no one ever asked you how you are but you didn’t mind, you needed to make sure she was ok. You held strong as you carried that little white coffin in, you held her as she sobbed, you thanked people for coming and made the small talk she couldn’t. Even months on you lie in bed and hear her crying again, you hold her and know you don’t need to ask what is wrong, but you are as ever her pillar of strength. 

So it’s easy to something that forget men grieve to, your child also died, your future was also smashed and your heart broken. So for all the grieving fathers from a gieveing mother I want to thank you, for always being there, for pretending to be ok even when your heart was breaking. Please know, we haven’t forgotten your hurting to, don’t be afraid to say when it all becomes too hard we will grieve together just as we remember together, we laugh at the good times and share hugs and tears at the sad ones. So today tell a grieving father you are thinking of him, ask how HE is, mentions his child’s name. Because it is Father’s Day, and I can’t think of anyone who deserve the title of father more than a bereaved father. 

  

The Not Knowing

The Not Knowing

10698607_10154873186075305_4935369188681940083_nI love knowledge, I love to feel like I have the full facts on anything in life. You can promise I will be the first to google symptoms or a diagnosis, read medical papers I don’t understand, read case studies just to have the full knowledge of something especially when it comes to health things. Throughout my pregnancy Craig had to ban me from googling, googling every symptom to see if it was normal, googling every benefit of breast feeding or formula, of cloth or disposable nappies… I am a self confessed google addict.

With this in mind I think one of the hardest parts to find peace with after the loss of Leela was the lack of knowledge. It boggles my mind that in a matter of seconds I can have days worth of information from google for almost any illness or problem. Yet how can my daughters death be totally unexplained? We went against our initial thoughts and allowed them to perform every test possible on Leela after her death, in the search for answers. We waited what seemed an age after her death without any ideas in the hope we might get answers, but still we got nothing. It is so difficult to live in the day and age we do, with all the technology and medicine we do that a child can die of no apparent reason, can die so suddenly so unexplained. I went to drs with every questions I could think of that may shed some light, to be faced with brick walls of “we don’t know” at every turn.

At moments I questioned do these Drs even care? She was only 20 weeks, these drs have probably seen much worse and dealt with much harder things but to me this is the hardest thing I will ever face and I got nothing back. I was told simply don’t google it, don’t think on it, we have no answers and you have to make peace with this. Why should I? I have no reason to give my future children as to why they lived but their big sister didn’t. Dr’s tried to tell me that having no answers is comforting because there is no apparent reason why I won’t have future children, what they don’t realise is that nothingness is the scariest thing. If I had an answer I would know we could do something different, but when I am told hear death is one of those things, it just happened. Where is the comfort in this? I just don’t understand how there can be no answers, how can a baby supposedly in the safest place they will ever be , the womb, just die and how are we supposed to be ok with this? Why am I expected to just accept there is no reason, I have a million questions that will never be answered. Why am I shielded from the little facts there are, when requested I was advised I shouldn’t have any of the results after her birth or death, told I wouldn’t want to be hung up on them but at least I would have something, at least I might know something.

All I know is she was our little girl that is it, not a single other piece of information has ever been passed to us, we were told suspicions from midwives of what it may be but at the end we were given no reason. A year and a half on I still struggle with this. I struggle to find peace and comfort in her death being totally unexplained. I don’t know if it’s something I will ever find peace with, I will always have more questions than there are answers for, I have to instead find a way to carry on and live life around it. I will never know why my first born was taken from me and quite frankly that sucks but that is how it is.just another part of the life of an angel mum, part of a life I wish I never knew about.

First holiday

First holiday

11168031_10205550362093104_5221566904302221020_nLast weekend we had our first holiday since having Leela. I was desperately apprehensive about it, knowing I would be faced with young families which would be a constant reminder of how we should be, I knew it would be difficult. Our first holiday was something we talked a large amount about when I was pregnant. We had planned to go on a small UK beach break once Leela was born and I could ‘t wait for it to build family memories. Facing that first holiday I felt that we would really feel what was missing and I was dubious of if actually i wold feel worse for having been away with out her.

Admittedly setting off at 5 AM my thoughts were more focused on coffee and the drive ahead as opposed to what should be. Once settled in, actually I was surprised at how easy I was finding it, even seeing other families wasn’t as painful as I expected. Admittedly I did have moments where I felt myself sigh as I watched other families and thought of Leela. Moments where I desperately wanted Leela to be there just to play in the sand with her, or see her face as she watched the donkeys parade up and down the beach. However the most part it was lovely,  to get out of the ‘bubble’ and gain some perspective felt refreshing. It has become so easy to become bogged in just day to day life, I have a constant fear or 11247085_10155623645715305_438020872273088657_nseeing or doing something that will make me sad. When in fact, actually getting out there and doing you see it isn’t all as difficult as my head makes me believe it is. It was great for me and Craig to have some time to reconnect away from work, and all the little bits on the day that distract us. It is warming how Leela can still be involved, although we had moments where we deeply missed her, we spoke about her, we knew she was still a part of everything we do, when she isn’t here she is always in our hearts.

As awful as I feel to say it, we know it’s the truth life has to go on, that doesn’t mean we forget, that doesn’t mean the sadness ends. it means we reach a stage where we realise we are still here, we have to continue with life as much for Leela as anything else. It would be  waste of all our lives if we refused to live our lives again because she isn’t here and I believe she would want us to be happy. She is still involved, we still love and miss her just  as much. but we have come to accept that it is ok to be happy again, it is ok to be excited and hopeful for the future. Because she was the beginning on our family and that means she will be with us the whole way through and that is something that feels very special to me.

10645313_10205562678281001_2799155167172879504_nA year and nearly 3 months on, we have now survived most of the firsts and this was just another to get through. I know it will never be easy but it seems to be getting easier. Days seem a bit brighter, I look to the future with excitement of the rest of our lives, not the dread and guilt I was filled with before. There are only a few big firsts to get through then I think we can say we really are starting to come through, if we know we have done them all once, then we can do them again.