Initially I didn't feel the same level of grief following this miscarriage. I had lost 3 babies in the space of 11 months but still it was Emilie who I missed so terribly, and we were approaching her first anniversary. I thought about her every minute of every day. I would find myself fingering her footprint necklace to help me remember her. I spent time looking through her memory box, touching and smelling individual items and relishing in the memories they evoked. I wondered what she would look like by now had she survived. Would she have my dark auburn curly hair? Would she have John's blue eyes? Would she look like Samuel? I wondered what her personality would be llike. Sam has always been so cheeky; so confident. I would have loved to know the girl she would have developed into.
As Emilie's anniversary approached I felt suffocated by the change in the seasons. Every leaf that changed colour, every conker that fell and the developing colour of the sky, the trees, the ground; the changing position of the sun in the sky, the feel of the warm autumn sun, the smells of the season and even the seasonal vegetables we were eating...these all reminded me of Emilie. These all reminded me of the things that, one year ago, had heradled that I was getting closer to meeting my little girl and instead these things of beauty were now stark reminders of the pain I still felt every day. I loved looking down tree lined paths and seeing the golds, reds and oranges of the trees but then, a mere moment after taking in the beauty of the colours, I would feel the familiar pain in my chest that would remind me that autumn had become a time of painful memories.
The hopelessness of autumn felt stifling and I I desperately wanted something to look forward to. My heart literally began to feel heavy again and I was flooded with memories from the previous year. I decided to try and see the start of the year after Emilie's anniversary as a fresh start; the first time I would be able to stop saying 'this time last year I was pregnant/choosing names/having a scan....' We had deccided to go away for Emilie's birthday and anniversary and went to a friend's cottage on the Welsh Peninusla for a week. We were away from technology and got to spend some great family time together making new memories. It was during this week that I started writing with any real intention or motivation. I had decided that I wanted to share my story. I had no idea how the story was going to end and at that point I still felt like I was in an immense amount of pain. However, once I sat down and started writing I sudddenly began to see how far we had come in the year since Emilie's death, inspite of the miscarriages. I also started looking at Autumn in a different way; Everything around me was changing colour, falling to the ground and dying. I realised, at this point, that I had been missing something. Autumn is the preparation for winter; a time of rest, a time where life does not immedietly come to mind. However, spring always follows winter and new life breaks through again. This is what I needed to focus on.
Emilie's anniversary arrived and Samuel made his sister a card. He used gallons of glue and seemlingly hundreds of tiny pom poms and sparkles. I made a cake full of choclate and caramel and we lit a candle. On the day itself we spent the day together riding steam trains, having lunch and exploring. We went down to the beach for a walk, had a lovely family meal and lit sky lanterns. We celebrated her life and talked about her. We shared memories of the pregnancy and warm memories of friends supporting us since her death. We made wonderful memories together.
We returned home rested and ready to move forwards. The pain was still there but our capacity had definitely increased and that was something that I had learnt in our time away. I was learning that I needed to come to terms with the fact that I might never have another baby of my own; I might never know what it is like to hold my own newborn baby without the wires that surrounded Sam and the silence that engulfed Emilie. I was trying to come to terms with the fact that my path - the plan God had for me - might be different to the plan I had for myself and I needed to trust him in what he was doing. I had spent the past year (and much longer) comparing myself with other people. With other mothers. I had wanted what they had to the point that I had begun to lose sight of what I had, of my gifts and of how far I had come. I had given everything over to God after my second miscarriage and I needed to learn to trust him. We were a couple of weeks away from our foster training and so far the paper work side of things had been surprisingly smooth. This was where we were going.