Day 1 Capture Your Grief
Due to a sicky baby, I thought I'd be up to see sunrise. But alas, she slept!
However, this girl IS my sunrise. Every day I wake to her face and she lights up my life. What more can I say?
I carry her in my heart
Day 3 - Before
This was climbing Moel Sibod in Snowdonia. Climbing 'mountains' would become quite important to us after losing Isla, and this is where we discovered we quite liked it!
We were 4 years down the infertility road and had just had our last failed ICSI cycle. That was it. We were done. A few weeks later we would decide that for once and for all. But miracles will happen...
Day 4 - Capture Your Grief
Now - I am happy. I have an Isla-shaped hole in my heart, but Caleigh is a true heart healer! She has fulfilled every dream I've ever had and both Dan and I are so totally in love with her. She has changed me into a 'real' mum and made me happier than I could ever have imagined being. Isla still plays a part in our lives and Caleigh will hear of her sister often but the dark days are gone. Light has flooded our hearts and home once again. The heart in the top right corner is for Isla.
Day 6 - Book
This was a hard one because I haven't read any amazingly life-changing books - yet! I have a couple I want to buy in the future, to help us tell Caleigh about Isla. But of all the books in this house that are special to me, the most important ones are my photo books. I love photos. I have heaps of photo books of Caleigh and a couple for Isla. In my purse, in amongst the stamps and receipts, I have a mini book of photos of Isla and that is such a precious book to me. A little reminder of her beautiful face, tiny hands and wonderful spirit.
Day 7 - Sacred Place
Isla is buried in the most beautiful woodland burial ground. We don't go up lots really but I blow her a kiss every time I drive past. Caleigh has been up a couple of times, but this photo was taken when we laid the gorgeous wooden plaque for her on Caleigh's birthday weekend. It looks perfect.
Day 8 - Resource
After having Isla, I was in hospital for 8 days, as I was so poorly. Now that's a lot of time to spend thinking, crying and browsing the web. And what you find is a wealth of information and support. By the time I left the hospital, I had already tapped into SANDS, Babycentre and the Carly-Marie website. Through those groups and pages, I found a Facebook group that became a lifeline. The women on there are now truly amazing friends, without whom I couldn't have quite so sanely got through my pregnancy with Caleigh or dealt with my grief so well. There is a whole community of fantastically strong women out there, who have faced unimaginable pain and come out the other side. I am proud to call them my friends. Thank you, girls!
Day 9 - In memory
Every day, I remember Isla. I have done many things in memory of her - my tattoo, the assault course challenge where we raised nearly £4000, selling my sewing for charity, raising awareness of parvovirus b19 (slapped cheek), sharing our story with people, laying her plaque, talking about her to Caleigh and climbing Pen y Fan for the second time - this time with Caleigh! Everything I do, I believe, is fuelled by the strength I found through Isla. I fail miserably at reflecting her peace and beauty every day, but I try very hard to be the best I can be. Mother, wife, teacher, sister, daughter. In everything, is Isla.
Day 10 - Support
My family have been my support. Everyone in the photo of Caleigh's first birthday party has been amazing to us on our journey through grief. And others too, that couldn't be there - other friends near and far as well as the fab rainbow mums I've met. The baby loss community is a supportive place and you definitely find out who your 'real-life' friends are too. Dan has been such a support over the years and we may bicker like cat and dog, but we love and respect each other endlessly. My sister and mum and Iain are constant supports, even through their own issues. I didn't have space for every individual - my brother, Rose, Aunty Jane, in-laws, Gemma, Jes, Kim, Heather, Sarah, everyone at Mutley. I'm very lucky to have such wonderful people around me and I'm sorry if I've missed you off!
Day 11- Altar
I don't really 'do' altars and we don't have a huge amount of stuff on show for Isla either. A few pieces here and there but on the mantel are a few bits - the candle I light for Wave of Light and a memorial tag I bought for Isla's 2nd heavenly birthday. Just enough to catch my eye and provoke a moment of thought and reflection.