Saturday, 27 February 2016

A healing birth, love after loss and Casper's birth story

Our son Casper is three months old today. I can't believe it and every cliche you can think of is true. I've been contacted a few times recently by people who have also lost their babies asking how did we know were ready to have another child, how did we cope with the fear and anxiety, how this birth was and how we feel now. So I thought I would share my thoughts in a bid to help others in similar situations.

Honestly, I think while Alice was still in hospital we knew it wouldn't be too long before we tried again. Our desire for children grew even stronger having felt unconditional and eternal love for Alice. We knew we wanted to feel that again on a more permanent basis. Three months afterwards we started trying again and straight away we were blessed to conceive. This probably seems very soon and it was, but we knew it would have a healing affect, and it was so healing for everyone, especially for me.

Throughout the pregnancy I did an awful lot of work on myself, which I've written about here. I still use the EFT techniques and in fact needed an emergency session on day four to cope with the onslaught of hormones I was feeling.

I did feel fear, I felt it mainly because I had planned this birth so much. I was having a C Section on the 27th of November and that was happening. But I started getting braxton hicks around 33 weeks and that brought on the fear of delivering early, as that wasn't part of my plan. I needed control over this birth. I knew deep in my heart that this birth would go well, that I would be bringing a baby home, but sometimes the fear would take hold and try and throw me off course. I began to recognise what was happening and steer myself back on track and did hypnobirthing (specifically for c sections), practiced yoga, and did EFT tapping too.

The closer we got to the golden date, the more I knew that it was going to go as planned. And all of a sudden the date was here! The night before we went out for a family meal for a birthday and it felt very strange. There was a big elephant in the room.

We managed to get some sleep and the morning of the 27th Dave, my parents and I drove to the hospital. It was still dark when we got up! I had had a lovely blow dry the day before (all part of my grand plan), I was determined to look good! We were ready.

We were taken to the labour ward and given some time to prep. It was about an hour and a half before we got to go into the theatre, so that wait felt long. My blood pressure and pulse were taken and the midwife remarked how calm I was - I was off to a good start (must have been the hypnobirthing and deep breathing). The prep went quick, the epidural went in without pain, and very quickly the surgeons had arrived. I knew they said it would be quick but god the five minutes it took to get Casper out went so fast. Before we knew it we heard this almighty scream and the midwife said, 'look at all that hair'! They dropped the curtain very quickly for me and I saw him pink and white and roaring! They had to pull the curtain up quickly, I vaguely heard 'cord around neck' but very soon afterwards he was brought around to my chest. He stayed there for the full 40 minutes afterwards while they closed me up, again the time flew. I didn't notice anything but Dave and Casper and I had the biggest smile on my face. I didn't get a good look at his face for ages. He was nuzzled into my chest, still roaring, head bobbing and keen to get some food. Once in recovery he settled for a long time. I can't even remember now if he managed to get some food, he must have, but it was the most amazing experience. The happiest I've ever been.

The birth was fantastic, the team of people were so wonderful, very sympathetic and reassuring. Casper was born on the day I had planned. It went exactly to plan, and he was a dream boat.

The recovery however wasn't so wonderful. I had actually not really thought past the birth itself. I didn't really read up on recovery expectations and what happened to me was unfortunately and I couldn't have foreseen. I had lost a lot of blood during the birth so I became anaemic. That coupled with very low blood pressure meant I was exhausted, I fainted a few times (scaring poor Dave who had to pull an emergency cord in the toilets!) and got an infection a few days later, so went back in for an antibiotic drip (which was brilliant). Once all of that drama was over (the first 5 days), things went a lot smoother and I started to feel a lot better. The 6 week mark was a big milestone. I had made it to Ireland for Christmas. I wasn't on painkillers any more. Feeding was going a lot better (had broken the pain barrier on the nips) and Casper was starting to be more engaged and fun.

The baby blues hit hard around day 3-6 and I just couldn't say anything without crying. I hadn't planned this. I kept looking at Casper thinking where is this big rush of love I was supposed to feel. I had felt it with Alice and I really expected to feel the same if not more immediately with Casper. It didn't happen like that. I was so upset about it and in particular on those days it felt tragic. I also felt guilt about taking Casper home from the hospital instead of Alice. Walking through the front door with Casper was just so emotional. I sat on the couch, got him out of his car seat and just held him and cried. He grabbed onto my hair with his both hands and pulled, it was amazing.

I called my EFT therapist and got an emergency Skype appointment. I cried the full hour long session (from bed as I couldn't get out of it). I had a MASSIVE amount of emotion over the whole thing. But, that's normal, I know that now. I knew that a few days later when everything just lifted and I felt like a different person. Thank god it lifted. I really don't think I could have coped with post natal depression. The love for Casper grew day by day and about two weeks in the gush of love came.

Now he's three months! I am fully healed thank god. Casper has grown so well he is now double his birth weight at 14lb 12. He is such a content little boy, full of smiles and lots of arm and leg movement. His chat is coming on too but he's definitely more active than chatty right now. I am loving seeing him develop each day. It is a pleasure and privilege to be his mum - and I am so in love with this incredible little human.

Looking back at what we've been through it sometimes feels surreal that it happened to us. That we had a little girl that is no longer with us. I still think of her every day. But the real pain that we felt at the beginning is gone. I think of her now with huge fondness and love. In a way, I believe Casper was always meant to be in our family, and he was always meant to follow Alice. I couldn't imagine life without him. He is our special boy and has hugely helped heal my heart. And right now I am the happiest I could be (despite the tiredness). I know that may not last, and that grief could come again, but that's ok. If it does come again, I know some good techniques to help handle it. I'm focusing on now and now is good. It's great in fact.

{If you know anyone who has suffered a loss be it miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death please share this with them. It might give them hope that they will be happy again in the future. My recommendation is to push on, to get some help in dealing with the grief, to try again, to believe that happiness will follow and trust if possible that everything will be ok, I do hope it will be for everyone} xx

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Raising money for Rockinghorse this Christmas - Infinity Jewellery by Velvet Parsnips

Velvet Parsnips Infinity Jewellery

£11,100 raised and counting!

Thanks to a huge amount of amazing people, from NYC to Tasmania, we've raised an incredible £11,100 in 11 months of fundraising! The funds so far have been split like this:
  • £7,500 for the RETCAM for the Trevor Mann Unit (NICU Brighton) helping to scan premature baby's retinas
  • £2,000 for the Trevor Mann Unit parents area refurb
  • £1,500 for the Special Care Baby Unit at Haywards Heath
£1,900 alone has been raised through the sale of the above stunning infinity jewellery, and Clare's lovely shop is open for Christmas and taking orders now. Help us get to £12,000 in 12 months - how amazing would that be. If you are looking for Christmas present inspiration then please consider an Infinity Necklace or Bracelet for you, your friends, or your little ones (minis available too!) - available here!

Please also check out the rest of Clare's incredible jewellery. She is a very hard working mum and she designs & makes absolutely everything herself. She has been so generous to give her time and energy to raising money for Rockinghorse - we are eternally grateful.

A huge thank you to all of our supporters especially all of the lovely ladies posting their amazing photos of their jewellery. Please join in too on Instagram or Facebook with #angelalice or #alicearmy

Or if you'd like to make a donation directly please do so here.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Fear can 'f*ck off'! [excuse my French]...

It has been a while since I've written, time has gone really slowly and really quickly in equal measures! Right now I'm 33 (nearly 34) weeks pregnant. I'm feeling big, getting more tired and welcoming each kick (even though that's hard to remember at 5am!). I have 3.5 weeks left at work before I start maternity and the countdown is on. Our bags are packed and ready to go just in case. I'm feeling more in control.

Over the past few weeks I've realised CONTROL and FEAR have reared their ugly heads. I mean, it was there from the start - that wait until I could do a pregnancy test, the wait for the 7 week EPAC scan, and then the 12 week scan. But, from about week 29-32 somehow fear had gotten the better of me. I think it came out from an EFT session I had with my therapist Kate. She asked how I was feeling about the scheduled caesarean - and I was in a good place with that. I've been doing some hypnobirthing specifically for caesareans so that's helping me get a bit more prepared.

She then asked, how did I feel about if I went into labour naturally and described her own recent experience having her son on her bathroom floor within an hour of starting labour. This brought up a whole new level of fear and to be honest it freaked me right out. Jesus, I had barely gotten my head around going in for a planned section, I hadn't even gone there to think about natural labour either at home or the hospital. BUT, she made a great point, and she was provoking me deliberately. What if it did happen? How would I cope? What feelings did it raise in me - mainly my need for control (hence the planned schedule) and my fear of it not going to my new plan. I honestly believe that what happened with Alice won't happen again. I just want it to go my way this time.

So, we did a lot of tapping and clearing on this to help release these feelings. I know elements of control and fear are natural, useful and needed. I still have those, but I needed to clear and release the paralysing fear that I had. I don't want to spend the next 6 weeks not being able to sleep because of it.

Since then I've had to do some tapping on my own in order to release the fear that comes up. It didn't go away in one session, which just shows how strong it was. I was flying to Spain recently for our last break away before baby comes, and I spent a lot of the flight thinking 'what happens if I go into labour' and freaked myself out a bit. Tapping and distraction did help, but one day in Spain I woke up and thought, I'm fed up giving my thoughts and feelings over to fear. I felt it like a shadow following me, and I realised I could tell it to 'f*** off'! Ever since then I don't feel like it has controlled me. I feel more in control. I've packed my bags and if things happen early, then I'm ready, I'm ok with that.

If this little man wants to come into the world earlier than planned, then I'm now ok with that. I want to stay calm, and keep him safe and I will trust in the people who will get us there. I'm happy with where I am now. I've proactively dealt with the fear, have some techniques in my armour to cope with it over the coming weeks and I am now getting SUPER excited about our pending arrival.

I know I still have a way to go. I'm very vigilant about tracking baby's movements and hoping that I don't miss something. There is still an element of fear about ensuring he is ok, BUT that fear is healthy - that's what will keep us safe. So, I look forward with a smile on my face, with a little bit of fear in my heart and a deep knowing that everything is going to be ok soon and we will meet our healthy, happy little boy. I cannot wait (although I can, please stay where you are baby, we'll come to get you!!!).

A little note about Emotional Freedom Technique / EFT / Tapping:
I am good at using Faster EFT techniques by myself when I'm in the moment of a negative feeling such as sadness or fearful etc. I can use the techniques (outlined below in case they help you) to help clear the negative emotion I'm feeling. My work with Kate however is more probing and much more of a therapy session, where we investigate my real thoughts and deep feelings on a subject and tackle them head on - releasing them as a result. These feelings may be past, present or future too, so I find they're great at looking ahead, and clearing future negative feelings as well.

So a bit about Faster EFT - (in my words) when I am feeling something I want to clear, I tap on the points below saying to myself 'I let it go', 'it is ok to let it go', etc until I finish working through the points. I find that it clears really quickly for me. Maybe worth a go the next time you're not feeling great about something.

There is more info here and on You Tube channel

Saturday, 13 June 2015

My healing journey through EFT

It is nearly 7 months since we lost our daughter Alice. I personally have come a long way since that time. It is cliché but time does heal, however I’ve also done a lot of work on myself too. Years of spiritual work personal beliefs and my own personal strength have helped me put into context what happened to us, why Alice was here, why she had to leave us, her on-going purpose, what she taught us and continues to teach us.

Over the past months I have had powerful healing sessions, lots of acupuncture, Reiki (energy healing, I myself am a Reiki master), counselling, and have written blogs. I have also gone back to work and faced some tough days with as much positivity as I could muster, mothers day being one.

Fundraising has been a huge healer for me and this ties back to Alice’s on-going purpose and legacy. So far we’ve raised an incredible £10,000 thanks to some wonderful and generous family, friends, acquaintances and strangers. The genuine care, love, prayers and words of support from everyone have been so healing. Knowing that Alice’s short time here has reminded people how precious life is, how to appreciate good and bad moments, how important it is to reach out to each other with encouragement, support and love. Strangers supporting each other, in person and on Instagram, especially encourage me. The sense of community there is profound and special indeed.

One of the biggest healers for me has been getting pregnant again ;) I am 14 weeks pregnant, as I write this. It’s like a huge weight and responsibility has been lifted. I feel we’ve been blessed and I do feel Alice’s presence supporting us all the way, and it is all part of the master plan.

Being pregnant has brought a mix of emotions to be honest; delight, sadness, relief, fear, excitement. I’ve had numerous flashbacks of the unpleasant memories associated with Alice’s birth and I have also felt somewhat unconnected to our new baby. This may sound strange but with Alice I talked to her all the time, and I really felt a connection to her. This time around I have been struggling to connect to this little soul, and I so desperately want to.

Over the course of the last month or so, the mention of Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) came up a few times with a close friend. In fact this friend found a local Brighton practitioner and sent me the link. I read that she had a pregnancy specific package designed to help release trauma and fear surrounding pregnancy and birth. I had a real sense that this could help me.

I contacted Kate and had my first session last week. I hadn’t done much preparation in so far as reading up on the subject, I just decided to go with the flow and see what would happen! I knew it involved ‘tapping’ and that was about it. I had already explained my situation via email and a chat on the phone, so that gave me the confidence to give this a go.

My plan is to share with you how these sessions go, as hopefully what I am going through can help others too. My first session was at week 13 the same day as my first scan. Kate made me feel very comfortable and safe and we started by doing some basic EFT technique, where she asked me to tune in to any stress and tension in my body and we worked through the standard tapping sequence.  I tapped on myself and Kate led the way in terms of what statements I repeated after her.

I felt good after that fist sequence and Kate asked what we should focus on next. I decided there was no point beating about the bush and that we should go straight into the deep end and tackle the most tragic of recent memories; Alice’s birth from just before my episiotomy to 5 days later and helping her pass on. Kate regularly checked in with me to make sure I was okay, comfortable and felt safe.

We covered around five or six different memories that I chose, and the process for each was the same. I remembered and described the scene to Kate, she asked a couple of questions for clarification, as it was important for her to assess how I was feeling at the time. I usually started crying while I was describing the scene. It was as if I was already releasing the pain. Kate guided me to approach the Sarah in the scene (I now know this is known as an Energetic Conscious Hologram ECHO. For me this is like a frozen scene of trauma in time that our conscious splits off from every day life almost as a protection mechanism).

Kate sat beside me and tapped on the main points, saying statements that I repeated.  I approached the Sarah in the scene, introduced myself and told her that she is loved and safe and that I am here to help. I was then instructed to tap on Sarah in the scene the same way Kate was tapping on me. As we moved through a variety of statements and tapping, the tears fell. Proper belly grief and heartache was released. We would work through each scene to a point where I felt Sarah was ok, and sometimes we would approach Alice and Dave’s ECHO too, to see if they were ok, and needed some help. Often Kate would give me time to talk to Sarah, Alice or Dave privately to see if they had any messages for me. It was interesting with Dave as I was able to understand the scene from his perspective, which I hadn’t really done before.

One of the main benefits for me was to enhance and develop a connection to our baby inside me. One exercise we did was to send love from my heart to the baby’s heart. The feeling and response I got back was incredible. I felt immensely sad that I hadn’t connected to him/her properly but I felt that didn’t matter and all was forgiven. I know that when we suffer loss, pain and heartache we find it hard to release the same amount of love again, in case it is taken away from us. We hold a bit back just in case. (Lorna Byrne writes a lot about this). I feel I’ve released that fear that was holding me back and my love can now pour fourth.

We ended the session in a very special way, as I saw our new baby join the scene. It was a wonderful moment seeing the four of us together all connected by deep cords of love, binding us together. We created a frame around the scene to magnify its light and beauty and then I visualised it coming into my body, reaching every cell, so I could feel the happiness of it throughout. By now the tears had stopped, and I had a huge smile on my face.

Since then, I feel a huge weight has lifted. I’ve been able to think of those scenes without the pain or fear that I had felt previously. My attitude and feelings about the memories are changing. I can write this without feeling upset and I have a beautiful family picture to focus on daily.

I have five other sessions booked with Kate, and I might keep one for after the birth. I am hoping to keep you posted with how they progress and share with you more about my EFT journey and what I learn about it and myself along the way.

If you are interested in reading more about EFT and Matrix Reimprinting Kate’s book is called Transform your beliefs, Transform your life and her website is

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Lucky to believe and a tribute to my Grandmother

Today is three months since Alice grew her little wings, and I honestly feel like a weight has been lifted off me in the last few days. Over the past few months I have been going for all sorts of therapies from a sound bath, to reiki, to amatsu, to acupuncture, to mindfulness, to tarot cards and energy healing. We have been going for really long beautiful walks near where we live which is making us appreciate what we have even more. I feel it has all had an impact in helping me lift the grief I've been carrying.

I feel very lucky to have something to believe in. One of my new friends from the SANDS charity asked me am I religious? My first response was No. I would say I am Spiritual, however I do find comfort in churches and some catholic prayers. I also find comfort in believing in Angels and past and future lives. I know that I am lucky to have faith as I have a clear place for Alice, where I believe her to be, what her little mission on earth was and how she will help us from heaven.

My grandmother Frances Thornton passed away last week on the 16th of February and she gave us all such a precious gift. She faced death with such dignity, peace, calm, acceptance and love. She was so ready to go and her love and dignity really has made us all accept her death with the same energy. She passed away very peacefully with my mum and two aunts by her side. Her funeral was beautiful and there was probably between 800-1000 people who attended services over the course of two days. Although it was sad because we can't talk to her any more, it was a beautiful celebration of her remarkable life. She was the kindest, happiest, most generous person I've ever known. She didn't judge anyone, had a wealth of forgiveness for everyone, and was so thoughtful.  That is why we gave Alice Frances as a middle name. I know that the two of them are in heaven now together, along with many other family and friends. I'm glad Alice has such a wonderful lady to look out for her.

I absolutely feel that all of my beliefs have helped me through the last three months and help me deal with my grandmothers death. I have faith to keep strong and to look towards the future with positivity and not fear. Yes I may have a slip up every now and again but on the whole I know I am on the right path. 

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Raising money for Rockinghorse

Rockinghorse is the main charitable organisation that provide extra support to the Trevor Mann Baby Unit and the Alexandra children's hospital in Brighton.

When organising the celebration of Alice's life we decided to not have flowers and encouraged donation to Rockinghorse instead. We set up a Just Giving page on the Thursday, when we announced details of the ceremony, and by the following Saturday we had raised £3,000. Unbelievably the donations have kept coming and we are currently at £6,919, which is just so incredible to us. The generosity of family, friends and complete strangers all over the world is going to make such a huge difference to so many precious babies. 

We recently met with two lovely ladies from the Rockinghorse charity. They explained that the NHS provide a basic level of equipment to Brighton hospital. However they only fund what they see as life saving, or a necessity. This is why the money raised through the Rockinghorse is used to provide very crucial equipment or services that is not deemed 'life saving' but is as critical to the care of the children in the hospital. Key members of staff sit on the charity board and they meet regularly to discuss what projects will be funded and the progress of those projects. It is important to know that all projects are conceived of and implemented by the key members of the hospital team. That means that every project is truly needed. 

We have decided to use the money to fund a very needed Retcam digital imaging camera for the Trevor Mann Baby Unit. This will be used to help diagnose Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP), a eye condition which can cause blindness in premature babies. This can be used by the nurses on a daily basis once an issue is diagnosed the baby can be given laser eye surgery which has a 98% success rate of normal eye sight. The £7,000 we have helped raise is being used to top up the fund meaning Rockinghorse have now reached their goal and the machine is on order. 

So, thank you so much to everyone who donated to this amazing charity. Everyone is so grateful to your generosity and it really will make a great difference to the little premature babies and their families in the future.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Being Mindful with Headspace

Over the past few weeks it has been taking me a really long time to get to sleep. My mind is full of thoughts. I just can't stop them. I realise that my subconscious is trying to piece together the events of  the past two months. I know this is part of the healing process too, but I would like a good night sleep every now and then!

In the past year or so Mindfulness has crossed my path a few times. In particular, I watched Dr David Cox from Headspace talk at the Adobe Summit last year. He was very inspiring and I wanted to start it then, but for some reason or another I never got around to it.

So, this week I have decided to start. I've downloaded the app and I'm doing the 'Take 10' free trial and plan to sign up when that is finished. My mind is living in the past or furiously planning the future and is not being present enough right now. I've not read too much about what Headspace promises to do for me. I have no expectations of myself. I simply want to learn how to be in the present moment for at least 10 minutes of my day. Any other benefits will be a bonus!

Want to join me on a Mindfulness journey? If you are already doing this or want to start, please get in touch! They have a buddy system too so we can keep each other on track. I will keep you posted in the next few weeks on how it is working. Wish me luck xxx

Visit to find out more