As we reach the end of September 2018, we cannot help but feel gratitude – gratitude for a gentle month that in the past has been so hard. And gratitude for the safe arrival of 2 new nephews/cousins for our children – we are looking forward to meeting them and watching them grow! We are thankful this month that the kids have seamlessly slotted back into school life, and that life overall has been good and positive this month!

September for us has always felt like “dooms day”! As it approaches, our emotions and anxieties are heightened as we prepare ourselves for the anniversary of losing our daughter, and another birthday without her here.

Whilst still reflective (and in some ways still hard) we did not feel that heaviness to the same degree this year and consequently it has meant that this September has been a month that we have enjoyed and found love in. We made the most of celebrating Poppy’s 4th birthday through a floral arrangement for her grave, a balloon release at the lighthouse, and cake and ice cream. Our pictures this month were taken that day – the 16th of September and our 3rd childs heavenly birthday! I like that each September now, however hard or solemn, however reflective or even peaceful we feel, we still get to celebrate her, and we still get to have pictures that symbolise us as a family of 6!

Aside from the build up to Poppy’s anniversaries, and time to remember her more so, September saw Ethan and Megan head back to school for years 2 and 3. They have been on time every single day (which is massive) and are enjoying being on Pack ups this year (for a change). They are both doing well so far and seem to be enjoying it and doing well – we couldn’t be happier with that.

September also saw me head back to college to embark on my Level 4 Counselling course – I have only been back 2 weeks, but so far it feels right and I am excited to get stuck into it and make new friends along the way! I am excited to be another step closer to this ambition of mine and the growth and knowledge that awaits in these next 2 years. Once I am qualified, it will be a huge blessing to our family, and a great adventure for me!

In and amongst anniversaries and back to school, September has also seen a few family adventures around Yorkshire. Our family have enjoyed a trip to the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway (as well as a swimming and disco party for our brother in laws 40th that day!), a coach trip over to Preston to our Temple for the day, and a lovely country walk in the wolds yesterday! When I think about September 2018, I am content in the fact that we have each embraced opportunities and adventures that have come our way. Whilst on occasion we have certainly missed the freedoms and fun of the Summer holidays, we have certainly made the most of this month and for that I am thankful.

As October approaches, we are more than excited (and very much looking forward to), celebrating Ethan turning 8, our 9th Wedding anniversary, and then for half term – heading to Tuscany for a week! It’s going to be an epic month and we cannot wait for all of the memories and fun that await!

In September we are Grateful for:

*A peaceful Month
*An opportunity to Celebrate Poppy and send her balloons!
*Family that came to celebrate Poppy – and for the ones who sent their thoughts!
*For new friends and for them making us feel loved on Poppy’s anniversaries and enjoying lunch out together!
*For a trip to the theatre with Mr Smith (Date night out – hallelujah)
*Mummy and Megs seeing Madagascar the musical
*Country walks
*Bonus sunshine days
*Seamlessly adjusting back to school – and enjoying it!

 

 

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On Monday morning I headed to London on the train to participate in some filming with Channel 5 for a piece on Stillbirth. It was lovely to be able to meet such a bunch of brave, and kind women, and to hang out a little with 2 other blogging friends; Laura Dove from Five Little Doves, and Jess from The Legacy of Leo – it is always exciting to meet a person in real life (hi Jess), and to see a familiar face! It will be aired LIVE on Tuesday at 6.30pm and I am feeling sooo nervous about that part, and still can’t decide what to wear for the live show!

With that as the start to my week, you could say that this week has been rather a surreal one, and of course, very reflective. It is so good that Channel 5 are covering such an important topic, and one that is still so widely awkward for people, but sharing our story always stirs those raw emotions I work to keep a lid on day to day. However, I say time and time again that the ripples of stillbirth and baby loss are huge, and looking back I would have loved to have seen women like me sharing how life is months and years on. I did get that a lot from Leeds SANDS, but I know that that isn’t an option for everyone, and so have always said if I can write or do something that can help even one family/person to navigate through the fog of losing a baby, and try to normalise loss in everyday life, then I will jump right on it! Of course it is emotional, of course it is scary and vulnerable too, but we need to talk and break the silence to help others!

Grateful For …

This week I am grateful for my Mum and sister helping out with childcare and school runs so that I could easily go to London and back. I am grateful to be working on an important piece with Channel 5 and sharing Poppy’s story with others – It is a privilege!

I am also grateful for Deli No.1 Milkshakes (choco – mint!) and friends to share them with. And finally I am grateful for lovely friends in the village that invited Alice and I out on Thursday! It was such a laugh, and generally lovely day at The Deep in hull … chasing tots, watching fish and sharks, and seeing the penguins being fed! I never did get my piece of cake I was chatting about, so hopefully that will be next time, but all in all it was a great spontaneous day that left me feeling happy!

Succeeded At …

This weekend I have had 3 of my nephews to stay to enable my sister and her husband to be able to have a lovely time in Cambridge for his Masters graduation (well done guys!) and general celebrations of that. On Friday I also had one of my nieces as my other sister was working a night shift, so here is my ultimate success of the week – 7 kids, about 4 hrs sleep, and me still sane and my house not too trashed = high 5 and ultimate success!

Yesterday we also took a train into Hull with the original 6 and went round a couple of the museums. I loved it, and whilst this was far more manic than we anticipated (and 5 out of the 6 kids ended up soaked to the skin after running through the fountains), we are all in one piece and still had a good day all round. So I want to say I feel good to have succeeded with Nathan at looking after 6 kids from 21 months to 8 years old for the weekend!

Found Beauty In …

Seeing Alice on Thursday at The Deep, was one of the cutest and most beautiful things I have seen in a while! She was loving it, and was so vocal and excited to be there. She shouted at the stingrays and sharks, and couldn’t figure out that there was glass between her and them, so would jump each time they came near. She was mesmerized by the penguins, and both seeing the pretty aquarium and her reaction to it (as well as being with 2 lovely ladies) made for a very beautiful day indeed!

On Friday Ethan and Megan also participated in our Churches Talent show – Megs did an improv dance (it was epic) and then backed up Ethan whilst he sang! They both did us incredibly proud, and it was beautiful to see them shining on the stage.

I hope you have had a great weekend despite these April showers, and I hope this week is kind to you!

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I wasn’t planning on a post today – or tonight even. I was yesterday, about something completely different, but I was far too busy to do anything about that. And so, here we are tonight.. alone in the kitchen with my thoughts, and making a sneaky snack whilst the house is silent (there’s a first!). And so of course I’ve reached for the laptop to blog, and well… basically brain dump to you all!

I don’t really know where I am going with this, other than to share with you all that I have felt troubled for the last few days. Yes troubled and weighed down (and a little heavy too). I have felt overwhelmed with all I am doing and are responsible for, and just generally in need of a mega rest. Subsequently I have spent many moments questioning what my priorities need to be and if I need to cut something out? or of it will even make a difference?

I still don’t know the answer to that, or if it really is the solution to what I feel. You see I think I know why I am so melancholy and irritable. It’s the same reason it always is – the fact that I feel this way comes down to, and always seems to come back to, the fact that I carry a burden daily of loss. Yes some days I carry that better than others (with ease really) but still it is a daily thing and some day’s it’s far from easy!

I feel at the moment that I am in a place where I wonder where the peace is? Where did the ease go that I felt a few weeks ago with this? and why do I feel this torture more so some days? why can’t I get a grip or rather just a break from it all?

I do not get how you heal when a part of you is missing? It just doesn’t make sense, and as much as I try, and seem to make progress, something happens and I am right back to “poor old me” and feeling the strain and unfairness of it all again.

I don’t want to get over “it” and move on, because to me it means we move on from her and that isn’t really an option! You cannot possibly move on in life from someone you love. But I do want to feel lighter, and I don’t want to keep feeling weak, and feeling like a missing part in life. I don’t want to keep pretending on days I feel rotten, and I am tired of feeling vulnerable and tender on a regular basis because we are bombarded with one trigger or reminder after another.

Some days I feel great and life feels almost normal to me, and then on others I feel so tender, delicate and generally overwhelmed so easily by the things I once bore with ease.

I want to remember her – our 3rd little girl. But I don’t want to accept this, by putting on a headstone to see for reals that in there is my daughters body. The body I grew and fought so hard to save, but that I failed at! The body I only held briefly and never kissed enough. I don’t want to see the name we never get to speak without awkwardness, but then I want to acknowledge her existence and reality to us!

I don’t want to acknowledge it, but then I do.

I want to talk about her and remember her, and I want to forget the trauma of it all.

I want to remember she existed and what she brought to our life and family. But I want to forget how she never took a breath, and how I had to birth her body with no life.

I want to remember how she looked so similar to Megan, and yet I want to forget that I will never know if she would have the same characteristics.

I want to remember her every day, but I want to forget the pain that that brings.

I want to remember the facts of her life, her illness and condition. And of course I want to forget how poorly we were treated and how she was never given a chance!

But I cannot forget any of it. Because I want to remember. And this – every painful part, is her story, and therefore our story. It is what makes me me now. I have hard days. I have overwhelming days. And days I cannot bear to remember what I saw and went through. And whilst I may never be able to accept and be okay with the fact my daughter died, I love her and so I live each day, as best as I can with that missing part. I have hope there is a purpose in it. I hope there will be far more days of Joy and peace to come to us and return as they have done, to give us a rest. But mostly I hope we never forget, because I want there to be purpose in the pain and I want to remember that I birthed an Angel!

I want to remember, but for the sheer overwhelming feelings of pain and grief that that brings, some days I just want to forget!

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Last week Megan turned 5, and whilst a simple, low key affair to mark the day, she was over the moon to be rocking a couple more princess dresses, eating a barbie cake with family, and starting off her palace pets collection. She had several princess dresses, my little ponies and barbies at the top of her wish list, with a desire to do “G0 Ape” for her family day out activity! Its plain to see that she still drifts somewhat between the tomboy adrenaline seeker and gracious princess, and we love the vast differences that make her her and generally such great fun to be around.

Megan hasn’t change a whole lot in the last 12 months (other than height wise); she is still the epitome of sass, has an infectious laugh and imagination, is very funny, loving, overly emotional and a complete nutter. But one thing I have noted is how good and kind she is – I often describe her as being full of goodness, and she really is!

In her 4th year of life Megs has gone through some really big things with a new baby last summer, starting school in September, moving house a few weeks ago, and then starting school all over again last week. Of course you wonder how this might affect the kids (especially the first two with her being the “baby” for so long), but I was super proud to see that she embraced each of these huge things wonderfully and has taken them in her stride. She is now writing well, reading at a steady pace, has received all kinds of awards at her old school and makes friends easily. She adores her baby (most of the time) and really smothers her…overall she is growing into a really lovely young lady (with lots of sass).

At 5 years old I want to remember how much she now loves unicorns, princesses, accessories, dress up, movies, the beach, seeing her cousins and of course banter with her siblings.

I want to remember how she needs snuggles one minute and goes nuts if you touch her the next.

I want to remember how stubborn she is…how she mostly thinks she knows best, argues with me over ridiculous things, roles her eyes and bosses everyone about (and of course holds the biggest grudges)!

I want to remember the stories she fabricates (and that teachers believe), and how she believes most of what she watches.

I want to remember how much she loves food, treats, bakery’s, ice-creams, cheese pizza and pasta, and talks about places like Pizza Hut and Domino’s like she’s a regular.

I want to remember her love for animals, her goal to be a vet and marry a farmer, and how she craves adventures!

I can’t wait to see her in a couple of weeks at Go Ape and see how she grows in her 5th year of life. How the heck is she 5 already?

 

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