Thursday, 31 October 2013

Day 31 - Sunset

Day 31 - Sunset

The sun sets on this project amidst controversy and sadness. The baby loss community has been shaken after this event was removed from Facebook for offending people. I am actually too upset to go into it all really. The wonderful lady who organises it, Carly-Marie Dudley, has been obviously distraught and is releasing a video later, which I will post a link to on my blog. I hope it continues in 2014 as I would love to see how life changes in another year's time! 

Thank you to those of you who have shared this project with me, supported me and made it feel even more purposeful. I hope some of you have learned something too - I have certainly learned more about myself, the baby loss community and my friends! 

I am afraid to say Caleigh and I slept through sunset tonight! How awful!! But some of my wonderful friends have sent photos of sunsets to me so I have made a montage of them instead - and what a beautiful image they create. 
I wondered whether I would stop blogging at the end of this project, but I think I'll keep it open - just in case I have more thoughts at any point in the future! 

2012 Entry

Day 31 Capture Your Grief - Sunset

So that's the end of baby loss awareness month. Though obviously not the end of our grief.

The weather here in Croatia was not good today so I prepared by taking a photo last night when the sky was beautiful.

I have found this project healing in a way. I have found it therapeutic to be able to share my grief with others. I apologise to those who have not shared in this experience and found it useful in some way. Thank you so much to those of you who have.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Day 30 - Growth

Day 30 - Growth

When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandise the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something has suffered and has a history, it becomes more beautiful. ~Barbara Bloom 
Now, I'm not saying I'm more beautiful, but I have changed, thanks to Isla. I do see things differently, as in I feel the grief of other mothers and want so badly to help prevent similar losses to mine. I definitely have more of a zest for living - you only live once after all and life is short! There are more important things to worry about in this life than money or objects. It's about happiness and love and peace. I sound like a right hippy! 

So, the gold that has aggrandised me is made up of Caleigh, Dan, family, friends, Fudge, memories of Isla and all the everyday things that make me smile now. And for that, I appreciate everything in life just that little bit more. 
2012 Entry

Day 30 Capture Your Grief - Tell the World Your Grief

Taken in Korcula, Croatia today...

It says "This is Isla, my daughter. Ask me about her. I still grieve deeply for her.

Day 29 - Healing

Day 29 - Healing

To be honest, the greatest healer has been Caleigh. As I walk through this month of Capture Your Grief, it has become even clearer to me how amazingly blessed we have been. And what an impact she has had on my healing this year. I'm not going to end up back in that dark place. Yes, I still hurt sometimes but, where there once was a gaping hole in my heart, Caleigh has helped fill it back up with love, joy and giant smiles. 

However, another aspect of healing has been talk. Talking about Isla to family and friends. Talking about slapped cheek. Talking about infertility. Talking about counting the kicks. Talking about sadness and seemingly endless grief, jealousy and guilt. As I mentioned on the Support day, family and friends have been amazing. 

One friend, after her own loss, recommended the counsellors at Plymouth Pregnancy Crisis Centre. A lot of hospitals around the country have bereavement midwives and offer counselling following a loss. Plymouth does not. You leave the hospital with empty arms and that's it. Fend for yourselves. Which we accepted was just the way it went. Until my friend told me about PPCC. So last September, almost exactly 2 months after losing Isla, I sought them out. And I met two of the loveliest ladies. I worked through my grief on something called The Journey. They listened, they smiled, they cried, they supported, they explored and they understood. It was just what I needed. They were also some of the first to know I was pregnant with Caleigh and, when I finished counselling in January, I was 11 weeks pregnant. What a journey indeed. 
I'm being interviewed by Comic Relief this Thursday about the counsellingI had, as PPCC been given some finding to develop their work with grieving parents. Nervous doesn't even cover it so I hope I can do them, and my daughters, justice. 

2012 Entry

Day 29 Capture Your Grief - Music

At the Exeter Cathedral service by Saying Goodbye, Lara Martin sang a beautiful song called Soothe, which was about her own baby loss. It was beautiful and very poignant. She doesn't have a YouTube video for it however, so I had to make my own up with her song ion the background - Lara kindly offered it for free after the service.
I also love this song, which we had at Dad's funeral. We sang the traditionalAmazing Grace at the crematorium but this version at the church service afterwards. I have it on my phone, so when I play the music on shuffle, it sometimes pops up. It came up twice today!

Monday, 28 October 2013

Day 28 - Special Place

Day 28 - Special Place

Isla is buried in the most beautiful spot - a woodland burial ground in Yealmpton, South Hams. I have always loved that she is surrounded by new life and gets to become part of nature. I love that going to that place is so peaceful. I don't go so much any more, I just don't feel I need to. I never went heaps anyway, though we went up the other day and laid some more flowers. Both of us were very emotional actually, with Caleigh now sitting in the back seat. 

The photo shows a picture of me just after I had planted Isla's crab apple blossom tree, which was last November. It also shows the flowers that our family laid for Isla on her birthday in July. I was pregnant with Caleigh at the time and found it quite hard to be true to my feelings, in all honesty. One of the plants, the one with little red flowers has, in fact, taken root and found its own new life right at the side of Isla, which I find very lovely and poignant. 

Thinking about last year's entry on memories - I still have those pregnancy tests from Isla but also now have the ones from Caleigh! I took about 12 this time which is quite a few!!
2012 Entry

Day 28 Capture Your Grief - Memories

I have put my pregnancy tests as my memory. My VERY first memories of Isla. I have every single one of them still. Only the digital ones have worn off. I have about 6 still. 2 are in her memory box and the others are in a basket in the bathroom. Blimey, it hurts to see them when I open that basket up. But it's a pain I need, almost. I need to remember that happiness. I need to remember how to feel that happy. I need to look at them and feel hope about seeing something so amazing again. That disbelief that we had got pregnant became the most immense happiness I have ever felt, only to end in such an intense depth of sadness, I'm still not sure how to get out of it. 

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Day 27 - Signs

Day 27 - Signs

This time last year, all the signs I saw were so negative. But this year, we have with us the greatest sign of hope - Caleigh. Dan was only just saying to me that 2013 will be the first year in over 3 years that we have not faced struggles or tragedy. Touch wood!! But in Caleigh, we have hope again. And happiness and laughter. 
Caleigh is a sign of joy, a sign that miracles happen, that infertility isn't always unbeatable, that rainbows come after the storm, that we are a strong couple, that you should never give up and that the smallest people really can change your lives so enormously. 

Caleigh is also a sign to remember Isla. We will tell Caleigh about Isla, so her memory will live on. I also see signs of Isla in Caleigh. Her brow and her little sloped nose. Her long fingers and perfect head! Signs of Isla live in Caleigh and that, to me, is so fantastic. 
2012 Entry

Day 27 Capture Your Grief - Artwork

Two pieces of art I have put in my picture today.

1. Night and Her Train of Stars by Edward Robert Hughes.The priest at the Saying Goodbye service in Exeter Cathedral explained how his wife loves this painting following her own baby losses. He didn't necessarily explain why, but I love it. I have thought of it as all the lost babies being comforted in the sky by the beautiful night. They are safe and shine brightly.

2. Mewstone and Rainbow by Toby Ray. I grew up in the same village as Toby and have bought a couple of his pieces in the last couple of years. The Mewstone is a rock in the sea by the village of Wembury in Devon. We scattered Dad's ashes from a yacht there last Easter, as he wished for us to do. The rainbow is significant to all angel mums as a sign of hope amidst the grey, miserable storm. It is beautiful ~ though it cannot take away the storm itself, it is a sign that it will end and sunshine shall return. To have both those things in one piece of art really touched me when I saw Toby post this picture just the other day. I have bought 4 cards of the print and have put the A4 print on my Christmas list!

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Day 26 - Community

Day 26 - Community

You don't even think of there being a 'community' of women who've all lost babies, until you need it. You need someone to turn to and ask questions, a safe place to vent and the truly understanding ear of someone who has already been exactly where you are. These women (occasionally men) know the road we travel all too well - some are further along it than others but everyone feels one another's pain. Gradually, from the first entry you put into a search engine - in my case, I was still at the hospital - you find the SANDS forum, where someone puts you in touch with a Facebook group called Angel Mummies. Once there, you might join the TTC group (Trying To Conceive) and then hopefully get to the Rainbow Mummies group once that positive test makes an appearance. 

This group became a lifeline for me, as these were women who had been through losses and were now pregnant again. And I tell you what, it's a whole different kettle of fish once you've experienced loss like that. Some were 30-odd weeks pregnant and others just beginning the journey. But at all times of day or night, they were there. No question, issue or problem was too big or too small. Sadly, some women had to return to Angel Mummies. Such tragedies united us in our grief for one another. Hopefully they would return to great elation. Though every new member was greatly celebrated. Once you have your baby in your arms, you also become part of the Rainbow Babies group - what a privileged group to be part of, again providing much needed advice and support - often now in the wee hours!

ALL of these groups have helped me through dark days, joyful days, difficult days and contented days. I hope I can give back to them and others in the same way I have benefited. 

2012 Entry

Day 26 Capture Your Grief - Her Age

Friday, 25 October 2013

Day 25 - #Say It Out Loud

Day 25 - #sayitoutloud

There are lots of things I would wish to shout from the rooftops about this journey.  

~ Talk to me about my daughter, Isla. She is still so important to me
~ Don't be afraid to ask me about Isla
~ Don't forget Isla, say her name!
~ Listen to your instincts when pregnant - be strong about getting the right care
~ Miracles do happen
~ Bad days are now rare, but I still get them
~ You can survive this 
~ You don't get over the death of your child, you get through it / around it
~ Count the kicks 
I could go on. But the one thing I am just  passionate about people hearing is about Parvovirus B19 (slapped cheek). Why is immunity to it not routinely checked at booking in appointments? It doesn't cost the NHS a penny more but apparently saving 1 in every 20,000 babies is not worth the effort. Women, especially those in regular contact with school-aged children, should know their immunity status. Only when you know your status can you spot the symptoms of infection and catch it early enough or be monitored more closely. 

I asked to be tested and was told to stop worrying as I had probably had it as a child, I wouldn't be able to avoid catching it anyway and, at 16 weeks pregnant, it's not dangerous after 20 weeks so why bother? That false reassurance led to Isla's death and was wrong. 60% of adults are indeed immune to it. I was one of the 40% who weren't. No, you can't avoid catching it, but if you know that symptoms in adults are different to those in children - headache, fever, lethargy, achy joints - you can watch out for them. Though, as in my case, there can be no symptoms at all. And it IS dangerous after 20 weeks - less so, yes, but it can still infect your baby, as I and others know. 

Talking about saying it out loud, I have been asked to talk about the counselling I had with Plymouth Pregnancy Crisis Centre - by Comic Relief! The centre have been given some funding from Comic Relief to expand upon their pregnancy loss support programme called 'The Journey'. Caleigh and I are meeting a lady for a filmed / taped interview next Thursday! Could be a lovely opportunity to honour isla further,  raise more awareness of the support needed for grieving families and speak out about the taboo surrounding baby loss. Maybe I can even drop in some info about slapped cheek!!

2012 Entry

Day 25 Capture Your Grief - Baby shower / blessing

We didn't have a baby shower, though they're not really something wedo amongst us. Or maybe we do. I don't know. My sister gave me some lovely bits but I don't have them to photograph as they're now in storage. Dan's Aunty Jane sent stuff almost every week it seemed, which was so lovely. I know some people were making quilts or bibs and I'm sure others were planning stuff that they haven't told us about to save us the tears. I'd love to know if there were other little things people were planning to give Isla. I don't think I'd necessarily want them because I have nowhere to put them but to know she had belongings already seems quite important. 

We hadn't bought much really, because we were supposed to be moving house and didn't think it was sensible to buy loads only to have to move it. I had whole folders on my computer of stuff I was going to buy as soon as possible though. However, I did get the odd few bits which again I didn't really photograph - why photograph them empty when soon they'd be full of baby? I found a rocking Moses basket in a charity shop and called Dan to ask if I could buy it. It was so cute seeing it sitting there waiting for her. She never got to lay in it. The shoes in the photo were in a little box of stuff I bought from a lady at school, barely used seconds, though these seemed brand new. I adored them and took photos of them resting on my growing bump. Such happiness. 

To have a baby shower for a future baby, if we are lucky enough, is not something I think I'd want to do. Until I'm home and safe with a happy little baby, I don't think I'll be able to enjoy such an expectant event. But then, I guess I don't know for sure how I'd be if we were so lucky again. 

Day 24 - Art

Day 24 - Art

This time last year, I posted about the painting in this picture but I only had it as a print on some cards. It is painted by a friend, Toby Ray, whose work I love. It symbolised the hope of a rainbow baby whilst commemorating my dad, whose ashes are scattered near the Mewstone, the rock off Wembury in Devon. It meant so much to both Dan and I when my mum and step dad commissioned an original of it for our Christmas gift last year. By then, it held a whole load more meaning, as I was now 9 weeks pregnant. It hangs where I can look directly at it in our living room, a very special piece of art. 

The button art is something I created for Caleigh's nursery. A rainbow, for obvious reasons, and then, to represent Isla, a heart etched with the words 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' - as in, dreams really do come true! 

As I return to my post from last year, I remember that Siblngs was one of the hardest subjects to consider. The thought that I would never bring home a living child was so devastating. It played almost the biggest part in my grief. I wrote that I would not be pregnant again in 2012. Little did I know that just 11 days later I would conceive my second daughter! Amazing!!
2012 Entry

Day 24 Capture Your Grief - Siblings

Well Isla doesn't have any. And that is what makes me go all faint-feeling and nauseous these days. Was Isla our only child? Will I only ever be mummy to an angel? Will our story only ever be 4 years of IVF and a stillbirth? Will Isla ever be a big sister? She seems to have potentially kick-started something in me but we've got plenty of other issues working against us, as we always have. Plus Dan is away now, basically until Christmas with the odd days in between. I guess I won't be pregnant again in 2012. 

It breaks my heart to think of never being a mummy to a living baby. To think of never being pregnant again. Never feeling a baby inside me again. Never seeing another baby on an ultrasound screen. Never being able to get that beautiful Moses basket and cute little clothes out of our friend's garage. Never needing to open that box of maternity clothes again. To never feel that unconditional love for a little person who has grown inside of me again. 

My picture shows the glimmer of hope I sometimes feel about our future. Some days it's all black - we will never know that happiness again. Other days I feel more positive and can find hope of a happy future, but the glimmer is so small still. 

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Day 23 - Tattoos / Jewellery

Day 23 - Tattoos / Jewellery

I've written about all these pieces before actually. I've got my pink 'cradle' necklace from mum and my forget-me-not resin heart that I wore to Isla's funeral and ever since. Though having said that, the chain broke on that necklace the day before I went in to be induced with Caleigh. Since she pulls and grabs, I haven't replaced it yet as it'll only end up broken again. 

Then I've got my beautiful new rings - the forget-me-not knot ring and blue stone that I've been wearing every day. 

The tattoo survived being pregnant! I thought it would stretch and distort but no. I love how it reminds me of Isla and dad and, in the bump photos I took while pregnant with Caleigh, even more so. 

2012 Entry

Day 23 Capture Your Grief - Isla's Name / photo

I took ages trying to find the way I wanted to present my baby girl's beautiful name and am so pleased I found a way and could just about follow the instructions!

We took a while choosing names and think Isla is just perfect. It's such a pretty name and fits with our surname so perfectly. We would have given her a middle name had she been born crying, but it seemed fitting just to have a perfectly wonderful, solo first name. 
____________________________________________A close up of the photo...

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Day 22 - Words

Day 22 - Words

So many poems and verses have touched my heart over the last year. Song lyrics and passages on blogs will reduce me to tears. But the poem I have chosen today is one I wrote out and tied to Isla's tree just after her funeral. It just summed up my feelings then and even now. (Writer unknown)

2012 Entry

Day 22 Capture Your Grief - Place of Birth

Isla was born sleeping in Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, almost exactly 48 hours after we were told she had died in me. 48 hours from that awful moment that the consultant looked at me and reached towards me. Since we screamed and cried and sobbed some more. Since my heart broke into a million pieces. Hence the mosaic of the maternity entrance placed upon a typical view of Plymouth. 

I am broken. My heart is in a million pieces. I will never be the same again. Fault lines run through me. They can be 'grouted' or repaired but you will still see them. Forever. Some people may think I am complete, but this is just not the case. I pray that one day I may feel whole again, have a purpose again and feel less pain every single day.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Day 21 - Honour

Day 21 - Honour

I'd like to think that, in honour of Isla, I have lived my life slightly differently, given more to the baby loss community and offered a more empathetic support to other pregnant women. In terms of living my life more positively, I am certainly a more thankful person. I appreciate the little things as well as the big things. Two years ago, I probably would have said I did this anyway but I'm really not so sure! 

In honour of Isla, I have my personal mini-campaign regarding parvovirus b19 immunity testing in pregnant women. It is so important that awareness around this issue is increased. If I can make at least one woman aware of slapped cheek that might otherwise have lost her baby to it, I would be very, very happy - but then, I'll never know whether that happened!

The most honourable thing I have done in memory of Isla is, I believe, helping raise money for the Snowdrop Appeal. To raise money for the Snowdrop Appeal is very close to my heart. They are trying to raise money for Derriford Hospital in Plymouth to have a separate bereavement room for grieving parents going through the worse time in their lives. They are well on their way! Thanks to them, we were able to have Isla in a 'cold cot' when she was born, which allowed us to spend over 2 days with her, making some precious memories. As well as giving the profits from my sewing to them (, my choir chose them as their nominated charity ( and my school raised a generous amount over Christmas. By far the biggest, most honourable achievement was the charity event I organised in December 2012 with my friend Abbie. It was a sponsored assault course and we had so much amazing support from friends and family. We are trying to wrack our brains for what to do next, probably in February or March 2014. The amount raised for the Snowdrop Appeal was £3237.49 which is so amazing! 

Thank you to everyone who supported us last year - please get your ideas to me for next year's event!!


2012 Entry

Day 21 Capture Your Grief - Sacred Place

This weekend Dan and I joined 10 other people from our bootcamp to go to the Brecon Beacons in Wales and climb a mountain or two. We climbed the mountain on Saturday. I was, of course, the most unfit and slowest but darn it, I was determined! 

Having just had Isla's due date on Thursday, we had made this weekend quite special, saying we were climbing the mountain for Isla. We chose to lay an engraved pebble at the top once we got there! We climbed Pen y Fan on Saturday. I love the thought that she represents an achievement of ours and that other people will see her pebble and not know who it's for or what happened to her, but they will know it means someone special has been lost to the world. As we were up there, having laid the pebble with another memorial stone, other people were having their photos taken at the summit. That means that their photos will have Isla in them. Other people from now on will have Isla in their photos. Our group leader, Tick, said he'll tell the military guys he knows to keep an eye out for Isla's pebble when they train up there. I love that. This is my sacred place now - one day we will go back ... though maybe climb the easier, gentler route!!

We climbed another peak that day and went up some more mighty big hills! Roughly 20km I think we walked, up hill and down. Slightly achy today for sure! Here are some more photos of our weekend!

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Day 20 - Hope

Day 20 - Hope

Hopeless to Hopeful to Hope Fulfilled. 

Need I say any more?


2012 Entry

Day 20 Capture Your Grief - Charities

There are a few charities who have touched my heart throughout this painful journey. When you're faced with such awfully deep sadness as we have been through, you find all these wonderful people who've not only been there before but are using their own grief to try to make things that little bit better for us all. Many heartfelt thanks to them all.

Snowdrop Appeal - Raised money for the cold cot Isla lay upon in hospital, that allowed us such precious time with our beautiful daughter. Now raising money for a separate room at Derriford for bereaved parents, which we are hoping to raise a lotof money for!
Saying Goodbye - the Exeter cathedral service which was just so very beautiful
Aching Arms - What a beautiful sentiment, to receive a bear from another grieving mother to let you know you're not alone at such a sad time
Upon Butterfly Wings - Lovely gifts for bereaved parents from Bobby's Beanies
Fifth Disease - An Irish charity dedicated to raising awareness of Slapped Cheek / Parvovirus B19 / Fifth Disease. They sent me a load of fliers which I have given to the head of midwifery at Derriford hospital and will be sending to all child centres, GP offices and play groups in the city hopefully. Awareness will hopefully mean no other babies need die from this little-known but deadly virus.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Day 19 - Support

Day 19 - Support

All our friends and family have been immensely supportive. We have had so many people chuffed to bits for us having Caleigh. And those same people supported us at the time of losing Isla and since. People get on with their lives quicker than we are able to, which is to be expected. But just having people remember her every now and then means so much. 

For me personally, my family have all been amazing. My mum talks of Isla lots and remembers her in gifts and letters, which is so amazing. Everyone has been great. My photo shows Dan and Fudge because they have been my everyday support. They are the ones I came home to and hugged. And still do, as well as Caleigh now too!

Thank you to all of you - you know who you are!! 

On a separate note, we went up to Isla's spot today and laid some flowers. Looked so beautiful up there. Some flowers that were put down on her birthday have taken root and look lovely too. What a special place we chose for her to rest. 


2012 Entry

Day 19 Capture Your Grief - Project

Brief post today as I'm off to the Brecons in a moment to climb a week mountain!

I'm doing 2 projects at the moment. Christmas fayres and the assault course challenge. Busy busy but loving it so far! All to raise money for the Snowdrop Appeal who are just amazing.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Day 18 - Release

Day 18 - Release

I have, over the last year, released a lot of emotions, so this has been easy to think of but incredibly hard to think about

I  have tried very hard to release the guilt over 'killing' Isla with parvovirus B19 (slapped cheek). Now that has been bloody hard and actually I do still get upset that it was a virus in me that she died from. I absolutely hate that she only had it mild to moderately, so was dying slowly within me for a couple of weeks and had anyone listened to me, she could have been saved. How can a mother truly get over that guilt?

Which leads me to the release of fear. Fear became such a huge part of my grief last year. I was heavily grieving a future I no longer believed possible - that of ever becoming a mother to a living child. Getting pregnant then brought with it a whole host of other fears but we have our much-wanted future in Caleigh now. So I can release that fear in particular. I'm still fearful of other things happening to Caleigh but a prevailing fear is for other pregnant women - that they may suffer the same tragedy as we did and, even worse for me, that it would be due to parvovirus.  

Finally, I can release the deep, deep sadness I felt this time last year. The person that sat in that counselling room, that had to be signed off work, that constantly shouted at God, that shook with jealousy towards happy and content people and that cried herself to sleep every night. How I hope and pray I never have to go to that dark place again. And that's just it - these can be released because of HOPE

Edited later this day to write the following:

Totally forgot that I also need to release the guilt over now feeling happy. Caleigh has brought true happiness back to our lives. The tremendous guilt I now feel around that dilemma of 'If Isla had lived, we wouldn't have Caleigh'. How can I crave one daughter when it means not having the other? And how can I know for a fact that Caleigh was always meant to 'be' when it means I must believe we had to lose Isla in the process? This is where my brain starts to implode!! How can I release this confusion? 


2012 Entry

Day 18 Capture Your Grief - Family Portrait

I can't take a family portrait today because Dan had to go to Scotland to work. Today is our due date and both of us were dreading being apart. However, thanks to great friends I know that I have certainly found more peace today than I thought I would. He is meeting me tomorrow in the Brecon Beacons to prepare for our mountain climb on Saturday!

Today I went for lunch at the Ship Inn, Noss Mayo

Then laid some flowers on Isla's grave.

Then we had a lovely riverside walk with Fudge and my friend Jess. A very lovely way to spend the day. I do hope Dan managed to find some peace today amongst his hard work. 

But because Dan was away, I have chosen a photo of us the week after Isla's funeral, when we were in France. I have this photo up in our living room. I don't have any photos of Isla up at all but this photo reminds me of that time. Of the week we escaped to the middle of nowhere and spent lots of time talking, crying and eating. 

Of course, Fudge is missing from this photo, so here's an old one from summer 2010 of all 3 of us!

Day 17 - Time

Day 17 - Time

It has been 39,787,680 seconds since we lost Isla. That's 663,128 minutes or
11,052 hours. 

Time has passed. Some has been desperately sad, some even in depression. Some has been full of guilt or terrible envy. Some has been painful, some has been silent and some has been hopeless. Then came moments of 'ok' and periods even of 'fine'. This led to happiness, joy and fulfillment. 

It's amazing what can happen in 460 days, 12 hours and 8 minutes. 


2012 Entry

Day 17 Capture Your Grief - Due Date

Today is not my due date. Tomorrow is. 

So it was marked on my calendar when I was pregnant. As was every weekly number. But when we lost Isla I scribbled them all out with marker pen. I put 'Due Date' back up there the other day because it's still important. 

Of course it's important. But it's just a day. Who really has their baby on their due date?! We have made the coming weekend more important, as we go to the Brecons to climb a mountain and lay an engraved pebble and some flowers at the top for Isla. Dan has had to go away to work as someone let him down, so tomorrow I'm seeing a friend for lunch, laying flowers for Isla and going for a walk, and then going to choir in the evening. Should be busy enough but peaceful too. 

Speaking of peace, I don't have much today. Or for the last few days really. Here are some things that are making me angry at the moment...

~ House move not happening any time soon. We're being seriously messed around. And if ONE more person laughs at how long it is taking, I'm going to punch them. It is not funny that it has been 6 and a half months now. Even more not funny that we may not even be in a new place by Christmas. Really not hilarious that we're losing house after house that we really like because we can't confirm moving dates.
~ Emailing people really important things and them not getting back to me
~ Phoning same people about raising a shit load of money for them, and them not being there when they said they would be
~ People driving really slowly and pulling away from green lights at a snail's pace
~ Always being the one at the back, or the one taking the longest, at bootcamp. I actually walked off 20 minutes early today and sat in my car and cried uncontrollably. Have a feeling there may be more to that than just being annoyed at jump squats or whatever they were!
~ Some flowers I was sent being left so long in the box that they're ruined and smell really bad!
~ Parking ticket on my hire car because my permitted car is still in the garage
~ Trying on hats. I hate trying on hats but need one for Brecons! Last time I wore a penguin hat and looked a wally so I've got a new one now!
~ Ridiculous traffic that meant I couldn't get out for tea at my friend's house tonight. Had to just come home and eat both kievs to myself and now I'm stuffed!

On a happier note, that brings me a glimmer of hope, the clinic called today and confirmed I ovulated this month according to 2 blood tests and a scan! 

Yay! Beautiful little Isla has kick-started something in me that could well bring us our rainbow baby. 

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Day 16 - Seasons

Day 16 - Seasons
Summer was when Isla was born (centre of picture) - July 13th 2012. Friday 13th. I was born on the 13th too so that didn't bother me - in fact I rather like that it was the 13th too! Summer is also when Caleigh was born (black and white photo). I like that July won't only be a month of sadness - joy has been brought back to that month! So now we both remember and celebrate both our daughters' birthdays. 

Spring is when the flowers bloom. We buried Isla in a woodland burial ground, surrounded by new life. I put flowers down for her regularly, but try to leave it as natural as possible. 

Autumn is when Isla should have been born had she not passed away. She was due at the end of October. I don't think I'll do anything specific at that time of year again, like we did last year, but it will certainly pass with a moment of recognition. 

Winter is lovely, isn't it? Well, when it's all cosy and snowy and Christmassy it is. Winter is when we remember Dad - his birthday, our last Christmas with him and when he died. With remembering dad, I always think of Isla too. That comes naturally. But Christmas is still a happy time and I look forward to it every year, especially Caleigh's first one this year! 


2012 Entry

Day 16 Capture Your Grief - Release

Release is a funny one. It seems wrong to 'release' feelings sometimes. I like to bottle them up and keep schtum about them really. But losing Isla has taught me that I need to talk to people more. So release has become something I've been practising!

The things I have chosen are:

Sewing - I'm doing some craft fairs this Christmas so am putting my love of sewing to good use, putting the profits into the Snowdrop Appeal. 
Big Noise Choir - 2 hours on a Thursday night where I am completely absorbed doing something fun!
Bootcamp - 3 times a week (on a good week!) where I can scream, grunt, cry and sweat - and shout back at someone!
Visiting Isla's grave - I find peace here because it is such a beautiful place. I shall visit there this week on Thursday, as it is my due date on the 18th. 

As time goes on hopefully I will find more things that bring me peace. Talking to friends and family about Isla, about my feelings and about things that frustrate me is probably the biggest release but the things above give me those moments of silence in my brain. 

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Day 15 - Wave of Light 2013

Day 15 - Wave of Light 2013. In loving memory of Isla, born forever sleeping 13.7.12, and all the wee ones too precious for this earth. 


2012 Entry

Day 15 Capture Your Grief - Wave of Light

I've had an impossibly miserable today. Feeling incredibly sad, desperate and alone. Lit the candle for Isla while literally arguing with Dan, which felt so very, very wrong. So I post today's photo with a heavy, broken heart. I have no more words tonight.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Day 14 - Family

Day 14 - Family 

My family currently consists of Dan, Caleigh, Fudge and I. Isla has a place in our hearts and if you look really closely you can see a smidgen of the pain of losing her etched on our faces. But as I have said before, Caleigh has brought these smiles back to our faces. And it is genuine happiness! We will tell Caleigh about her older sister and allow her to ask questions. Isla's little footprints will leave little marks on all our hearts forever.

Our extended family have also been amazing. I am making a scrapbook for Caleigh and the top part of the image shows the family tree I gave created in the book. There's a few people I need photos of yet but there's some pretty amazing people on there! 

Thank you to all our family members for helping us become strong and loving parents to our children. 


2012 Entry

Day 14 Capture Your Grief - Community

Well this is quite exciting. I wouldn't have had anything to put today really, although I have found the SANDs forums and Babycentre Pregnancy and Infant Loss forums very useful, as well as all the many baby loss blogs I have read and related to.

Until you're IN this community of people who have lost their children, you don't really realise it's there and it's huge. People now tell you about their own losses, recent or from years ago. But still there's a veil of secrecy around it, which is why this project is so good. It's okay to talk about these things, even though talking about a baby dying is one of the most painful things. 

I've recently found out that a number of people have 'unfriended' me or blocked my posts since I lost Isla. Not just since I started this project and posting every day, but since she died 3 months ago. Maybe they find my grief too much to confront. That's fine but I hope those that do read and respond in some way are finding ituseful / interesting / fascinating / sad / helpful / inspiring / memorable (delete as appropriate).

Anyway, aside from the huge community of bloggers and forum users, I am organising a community event alongside a friend of mine. We haven't any photos yet but as of yesterday we have a website, sponsorship forms, info pages and safety disclaimers! We are organising a commando-style assault course at Okehampton Camp in Devon in aid of Snowdrop Appeal in memory of Isla and Cure Rett, in celebration of 4 year old Holly who is battling Rett Syndrome. It's going to be such a great day out! 


See our fabulous new website for more details and downloads! My photo for today is our event poster:

Hopefully the first of many fundraising events!