Trigger warning: You may find this post upsetting if you have personal experience of miscarriage or baby loss.
At the beginning of July, our rainbow baby boy turned one. That is a over a year of having his sunny presence in our lives. And a year of knowing that the miscarriages are far behind us.
My last miscarriage was in May 2015. And in September 2015 we were given the news that the miscarriages were unexplained. That there wasn't a known reason for our baby loss.
Then in November 2015, we began our journey to complete our family.
November is always a tough month for me. Lots of memories and loads of sadness.
At the beginning of November 2015, my mum mentioned that something wonderful might happen that November. And she was right. Because it was only a few weeks later that I found out I was expecting Little Mister H. But I couldn't see the pregnancy ending well and I didn't believe that our heartbreak was behind us.
I was anxious throughout my pregnancy. I was plagued by thoughts of the pregnancy going wrong. And when at seven weeks pregnant I had a heavy bleed, I was convinced I was having my fifth miscarriage. And without it ever being spoken, Mr H and I knew that, whatever happened, this sixth pregnancy would be my last. I couldn't keep putting my mental health at risk by having miscarriage after miscarriage.
Thankfully the baby was fine. And at 21:05 on Sunday 10th July 2016, Little Mister H entered our lives. And completed our family.
Photo credit: author's own image.
I remember lifting him out of the water and looking at him. Tears stung my eyes. He was beautiful. He was worth all the heartache and pain. I held him to me and never wanted to let him go.
At that point, a weight lifted from my shoulders and I felt peace. The anxiety disappeared. All the fear and uncertainty of the recurrent miscarriages was no more. That time was behind us.
Then a few days later, my husband brought our little girl into hospital to meet her brother for the first time and my heart almost burst. I never realised I could love two little people so much.
Photo credit: author's own image.
And with our family complete I thought that the miscarriages were in my past.
But I was wrong.
I know society expects me to be completely over the miscarriages now. I have my longed for family and I should just move on with my life.
And in many ways that's true. I am overwhelmingly blessed to have a beautiful family that I adore. It was a fight to get here. But it was worth it.
But still I can't forget the pain and heartbreak that we went through to have our daughter and our son. And I feel scared to say that out loud. Scared and guilty.
I feel guilty that I have my rainbow babies and I know many people who aren't so lucky. And my heart breaks every time I hear of someone who has lost a baby. Because I know their pain. I understand their sorrow. And it is cruel.
I had a psychiatric assessment five days after our son was born. The anxiety of the pregnancy and the stress of the miscarriages had left my mental health in a vulnerable state.
During that assessment, I had to speak at length about some of the worse times in my life. Times that I choose to forget.
Putting those experiences into words was painful. Yet I only began to cry when I started to talk about the miscarriages. And then the flood gates opened.
At the end of that session, the psychiatrist told me that I was stronger than I knew. That I didn't give myself enough credit. She asked me to go home and enjoy my family. But she also suggested that I see a grief counsellor.
Because the fear and uncertainty are gone and they've left sadness and grief. But it is a grief that I'm not supposed to talk about. And I've even held off from mentioning it on my blog.
Yet I am sure that there are other women who have their rainbows but are also scarred by baby loss. And I don't want those women to feel alone in their grief.
Baby loss changes you.
I will remember the physical experiences of each of those miscarriages. All completely different. But I can tell you how each one started and each one finished. I can still remember the feeling of actually losing a baby. The drop from within. That feeling will stay with me forever.
I can still hear the midwives telling me
"I'm sorry but it doesn't look good."
And then talking through my options on the two occasions when I'd suffered missed miscarriages. Wait it out. Have an operation. Or have a suppository which will induce the miscarriage.
How could I make such a decision?
Instead, I wanted to scream:
"I'm pregnant. I'm having a baby. This is not what I want. This is not how this should end."
I wanted to hear my baby's heartbeat and see a scan of them squirming and wriggling in my belly. I yearned to know what it was like to feel their kicks from inside. God, I even wished I could experience morning sickness. Because all of those things would mean I was still pregnant. And our baby would still be growing healthy and strong in my belly.
Anything, other than the tragic truth.
And the truth is that when I walked into the hospital I was pregnant. But a mere five minutes later I exited that hospital knowing that our baby was no more.
That stays with you. How could it not?
Losing four babies also messes with my head. I know that if any of those pregnancies had been successful then I wouldn't have our daughter or our son. And how could that be? How could there be any world without those two precious ones?
And I wonder how that should make me feel? Should I be glad?
"Everything happens for a reason."
Because I now have two amazing children. A little girl. And a baby boy that we thought we could never have.
But I can't forget the babies that weren't to be. Our four precious beans that never got a chance at life.
Despite all the joy that their sister and brother bring, there is a sadness. A sadness and a sorrow that are hidden deep inside of me.
Most of the time I'm fine and I don't think about the miscarriages. But sometimes I look at my little girl or little boy and I wonder. I wonder about our other children. That's when the tears threaten to fall.
I will not get over my miscarriages. I don't think that is possible. And I wouldn't want to.
If I forgot then I would be denying my four beans existed. And I could never forget them. My husband and I made them.
And I am and will always be their mummy.
This post originally featured on Lucy's blog: Mrs H's favourite things.
Lucy is a former fundraiser, wife and mum to two rainbow babies. She writes honestly about recurrent miscarriage, mental health and finding happiness in the little things in life. She does this to show mums who are struggling that there is always hope and that a rainbow can appear after the darkest storm.