When I heard the cries of my rainbow baby as she entered this world, the overwhelming emotions of relief, joy, love and disbelief swept over me like a tonne of bricks. In 2005, after experiencing 4 years of grief and loss through losing 7 babies, I held a baby girl who was breathing, who was healthy, who was coming home with me.
As I headed to the hospital's elevator to leave, it literally felt like I was stealing her. It was incredibly surreal. I just couldn't believe she was actually mine. She was my 8th baby, but my very first to keep.
Isabella Ashlyn Tattis is my rock, my rainbow, my hope, my joy, my song in life. She pulled me out of the depths of despair 15 months after losing Jacinta & Madelin. She pulled me out of years of depression from multiple loss and gave me hope when I was grasping at any kind of light in my day. I needed her possibly more than she ever needed me, especially when I separated from her father 2 years after she was born.
Almost 8 years on, I still know how blessed I am to have her. What a true miracle she was and is. I feel it through every breath I take, through the moments of sadness for my babies in heaven, through her achievements at and outside of school, through supporting many grieving families through Bears Of Hope, through the daily cuddles I have with her and through her just being here for me to mother. How lucky I am to have such a bright, happy young girl who makes me so proud every single day to be her mother.
I can openly say she saved me from a path I no longer wanted to follow. I was on autopilot for years trying to live a life that seemed so foreign to me. I just couldn't find my place in it. I didnt feel as though there was a true connection to reality as so much of me had died too. I felt like a total failure to myself and to my husband. All I wanted to be was a mother to a baby here on earth who I could love, nurture and watch achieve all their milestones in life. Isabella gave me the strength and the desire to live again and for that I am forever grateful.
Raising a strong headed, smart, assertive young girl, especially as a single mother, has had it's challenges over the past few years but I wouldn't change it for the world. She's a child who challenges ideas, issues and boundaries in life, as to ascertain her place in it. A child who marks her place, certainly challenges mine but I love that!
Over the years, I have become conscious of the amount of protection and worry I have for her. Anxiety has surfaced with a strong fear of losing my only child. I do my best to raise an independent girl and not allow her to see my anxiety. It's hard to keep everything in perspective at times, it's very hard to control it. I still double check on her before I go to bed to make sure she is breathing and comfortable. A mother's love for her rainbow baby is indescribable.
I have always worried about the impact of her dad and I separating on her self esteem, her confidence and her ability to live between two homes with 2 sets of everything. It's not the family life I ever planned for her, or for that matter, even myself. I have strong family values, having been raised within a tight-knit family. Separating from her dad of 15 years went against everything I had dreamt about and knew of, even though we were strugggling (after years of loss) to find our way together again once Isabella arrived. In the end, the decision was made for me and I did what was best for my daughter and I.
Even though there are now different challenges in life due to these circumstances, I have witnessed a beautiful, young girl grow to be a confident performer, a joker, who loves going to school, thrives on her sports (especially cheerleading) and who has a lovely group of friends. Her kindness, zest for life and beautiful smile are so heartwarming to experience. Her drawings since preschool age have always bright and positive including drawings of her family and her sisters in heaven. As a mum, I can proudly say I have done alright considering. She's so beautiful in and out and I am just so lucky!
If someone had told me at the age of 25 before starting my family, that I would lose 7 bubs ( two of which would die in my arms) to finally get my rainbow baby, I possibly would have not gone through with it. I wouldn't believe I had the strength to face such traumatic circumstances over and over again for the constant fight for the relief of a grieving heart was almost too much to bear.
But, for some reason that was the plan for me. That was what I had to endure. Somehow I kept my dream alive and got back up each time I was crushed into a million pieces. Those pieces never quite fit back together again but has formed the person I am today I am so thankful that I did find a way to put one foot in front of the other and learn to live with the absolute agony and heartache of multiple loss, as I would never know the miracle of having a rainbow baby.
I received a little note by the side of my bed one morning and it read:
"I don't love you mum, I love you more than love".
I would do it all again, just for this.