Birthdays…

By |2016-10-13T17:20:23+00:00August 4th, 2014|The First Year|0 Comments

I knew this month I wanted to write about Finley’s birthday – 2nd August. This year he will be 5. Many people wonder how they should/could/will honour the date their angel baby was born once their rainbow comes along.

I thought I would write this month about all of Finley’s birthdays (with the exception of his actual day of birth. If you want to read this story, it is reflected within my posts on my facebook page this week, and in my book).

1st birthday

Finley’s little sister arrived 1 month and 9 days after Finley’s first birthday. I took a look back through my pregnancy journal to see how I was feeling at the time.

“I went to see the counsellor. Sometimes I struggle to find anything to talk about for an hour, but today I could not stop. I cried and cried today. I feel so sad that it is almost Finley’s first birthday. It is hard to believe it has almost been a year. I cried because I was not ready yet to get Finley’s head stone. I don’t want to cover him up. Its so final, it’s like he is getting further and further away. If we get a head stone all of a sudden there will be lots of soil, layer of concrete and then stone on top of him.

As it comes to the end of his year, it feels so hard to move into a new year with a new baby on the way. I am finding it hard to be wholly committed to this pregnancy all the time. I want to allow Finley this last part of his time in my life, before we necessarily have to let him go another notch. It is fair for him to have this time and focus, and then for Twinkle to have my time and focus. I am starting to be able to integrate both of them into my life. I am sure that this is a familiar worry to Mums, but I don’t feel like I can love two of them equally at the same time.

It is hard being pregnant again, as much as it is wonderful. I cried and cried today talking about how wonderful it was being pregnant last time. This time it is so different. It is a physical experience and every physical change just reminds me that I will never again have this with Finley. He cannot have a physical experience with me again, our relationship and our connection has changed. Its not Twinkles fault, but I have to acknowledge those feelings and thoughts and let them out. Pregnancy is a time that is amazing and I long to feel that, its just that every moment of amazingness is tempered with sadness or anger.”

We wanted to celebrate Finley’s birthday.

We decorated his grave, he had some new gifts from other people.

Decorated for Finley's 1st birthday.

Decorated for Finley’s 1st birthday.

We started a new tradition of letting balloons up to the sky.

Releasing balloons with a bump.

Releasing balloons with a bump.

We walked up to a beautiful spot on the hills, that has always been a place we visit to reflect, think and be at peace. We watched the sunset on his birthday, knowing that the one thing that’s for sure, it will rise again tomorrow. And we began to look forwards.

The sunset in peaceful countryside.

The sunset in peaceful countryside.

2nd birthday.

This birthday was the first one Twinkle joined us for, she was just under a year old. For this birthday, I’d been working in the baby loss community a while, so I invited people to help us celebrate by painting a pebble. I thought this was something that little Twinkle would like, all the colourful pebbles.

It never occurred to us not to involve Twinkle in her brothers birthday. We had/have photos of him all around the house, talk about him frequently. It would not have been our way to celebrate without her. By this point, I’d realised that our sadness was not her sadness. I wanted her to know her brother, but not to be upset by his story.

We decorated his grave with new stones, and a number 2 made from painted pebbles (hint use acrylic paint and varnish). I kept all the parcels he received, and placed them at his grave the night before. I lit a candle there.

Opening presents at Finley's grave.

Opening presents at Finley’s grave.

On his birthday I went alone, at his time of birth and opened all the presents, placing all the painted pebbles on his grave.

Painted pebbles from around the worlds.

Painted pebbles from around the worlds.

3rd birthday

I’d love to write that it gets easier but I can’t. I spend the time leading up to his birthday worrying, remembering, planning and feel very low each year. By his 3rd birthday Twinkle was growing up quickly. She could now sign and speak, and make choices. Finley’s headstone was placed just before his 3rd birthday, the perfect words and beautiful granite replacing the need for decoration.

A card from his little sister on his 3rd birthday.

A card from his little sister on his 3rd birthday.

We went to his grave, with Twinkle and some balloons. I’d left his cards there the night before and she helped to open them. She also took her own card – a laminated page with her footprints on it which the childminder had made with her.

Twinkle takes over the flower arranging.

Twinkle takes over the flower arranging.

Twinkle had by now picked up the art of flower arranging, and with some help enjoyed putting them in the vase. She took responsibility for releasing the balloons.

Watching the balloons go to the clouds.

Watching the balloons go to the clouds.

But my favourite part of this particular birthday has to be the duck race. We wrote little letters to Finley and attached them to plastic ducks. Twinkle really enjoyed releasing them to the sea.

A duck race to the sea.

A duck race to the sea.

Twinkle enjoyed this gift to Finley.

Twinkle enjoyed this gift to Finley.

4th birthday

Time passes so quickly. Finley’s 4th birthday was about paying it forward for me. I delivered 15 Butterfly Memory Boxes to the hospital he was born at in his memory. I sat and spoke with the midwife who had delivered him, and watched as with tears in her eyes she explained the impact Finley’s birth had on her and the changes that have been made as a result. As well as the memory boxes, we also delivered a cuddle cot.

Donations to the hospital.

Donations to the hospital.

5th birthday

And that brings us up to date. Finley’s 5th birthday. I don’t really understand time. It simultaneously feels like only yesterday and like a lifetime. I cannot believe that 5 years have passed in the blink of an eye.

This year has felt so, so hard. There has been much change which has taken it’s toll on my emotional state. I have been running on empty in the build up to his birthday, and finally a couple of days ago cried to a friend, that I didn’t want to go to Finley’s grave. I hadn’t been going regularly as it became too painful for me. Whilst I can make excuses for not going in the busyness of day to day life, the pain I felt when I said that I couldn’t face going on his birthday was indescribable.

A good chat with my friend and she offered a solution, to go but to not be alone. She and her family would come with us. This helped so much.

Twinkle this year has so much more awareness. We no longer talk about going to see Finley, as I felt it had become confusing, so now we go to Finley’s grave. Each time we go it is because she has asked to go.

We’ve faced more questions, including “can I go to Finley’s birthday party?” and “can Finley come down from the clouds for his balloons?”.

I decided this year to make Finley some flowers in the shape of a Butterfly. This was something Twinkle enjoyed doing with me.

Creating a butterfly flower.

Creating a butterfly flower.

We had cupcakes at Finley’s grave which my friend brought and she had each person add a candle and blow it out sending a wish up to Finley with the smoke.

Cupcakes and wishes.

Cupcakes and wishes.

This birthday was also about allowing people to raise my spirits… I invited them to join in with a #footprintforfinley. A random act of kindness completed conciously in his memory. And I have popped on and off twitter and facebook to read about them. The beautiful words people have left me and the things people have done in his memory have helped bring a smile to my face.

#footprintforfinley

#footprintforfinley

As with parenting after a loss in general, birthdays are a balance of life and death. A time to reflect, a time to be present.

A bittersweet moment of family life.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the Author:

Mel Scott
Mel Scott is an Occupational Therapist, Teacher, Life Coach and Writer. In 2008 she excitedly began her journey to motherhood. Sadly this ended in a missed miscarriage at 8 weeks. Falling pregnant again 6 months later, she immersed herself in her perfect pregnancy. Sadly her son Finley was born by emergency caesarean, in 2009 at 41+5 weeks pregnant. He didn’t wake up. Mel went on to fall pregnant quickly and her daughter was born, healthy and happy in 2010. Mel is passionate about writing about pregnancy after loss after struggling with extreme anxiety herself as she is the author of two books, After Finley a captivating, real time journal account of life after the loss of a baby and her second book The Fairy Caretaker gently, in an enchanting way, explains the death of a sibling and visiting a cemetery to young children. Mel also created registered charity Towards Tomorrow Together in the UK, providing support at a local level to baby loss parents. She also runs Finley’s Footprints, providing support, information and resources to people affected by the loss of a baby.

Leave A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.