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IMG_5914I can’t quite believe Reuben is 6 months old? He’s half a year old. How did this happen? Where has my tiny baby boy gone? He’s growing up so quick and developing so well and it is so incredible to see. Our little rainbow is shining bright, creating daily light in our lives that will always be tinted with darkness.

I never thought 18 months after we said goodbye to Poppy that we would be here with her little brother. I remember in the days after Poppy died laying in bed wishing to fast forward to a time where we had a baby at home. Little did I know that it wouldn’t be too long. We always said that we’d try again and Poppy would decide when we welcomed her siblings into the world. She didn’t want is to wait too long at all.

Now not a day goes by that I don’t think about and miss Poppy. I’m always going to miss her. What I do get everyday is the glow of a little rainbow brother brightening our lives. Reuben doesn’t know how much love and happiness he brings to Emily and me. The smiles mean so much more after you’ve lost a baby. It all means so much more.

Bringing Reuben Home

IMG_3104The first day we got to bring Reuben home was the most amazing, nerve racking and surreal day. He’d given us a few scares with weight loss and jaundice that had kept us in hospital a little longer than we liked. That moment of going home with him was so big after not being able to bring Poppy home. The moment came though and we escaped the hospital crazy early. It felt like a dream I was going to wake up from. I still can’t believe we got home. That walk out the door was such a bittersweet moment. Outrageous joy but a pinch of sadness that we didn’t get to do this with Poppy.

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I remember the second we got Roo in the car he cried and my heart was going crazy. I don’t know why but as soon as we set of he was sound asleep, I wish he still did that. It was the slowest drive I’ve ever done. I wanted a police escort home, I didn’t want anybody coming near the car. I wanted to get Roo home safely. It was a massive step, a massive moment getting him home safe. After all we’d been through, after losing Poppy, after the stress that is Pregnancy After Loss we’d got to this moment.

After losing Poppy having Reuben come home was amazing. It was a massive milestone to reach and that might sound such a small milestone but when you lose a baby it becomes perhaps the biggest moment you can have. That first day home with Roo was so incredible. It was strange at the same time but in a good way. I tried to do the sleep when he sleeps but I just couldn’t stop myself from looking at him. It was incredible. IMG_4211 2We went out with him the next day. We just couldn’t wait to take him out, it was only a small trip to the supermarket but having not be able to have done all this stuff with Poppy we jus wanted to do it all.

8 Weeks At Home

The first 8 weeks were amazing as I was hardly at work. I had my standard 2 weeks off and had saved holiday so that I only worked 2 days a week right up till after Christmas. It allowed us time together as a family, to bond and just be together. It was magical and I treasured every second. I count myself very lucky I got to do this. Having those extra few weeks to bond with Reuben during his early weeks was totally worth it. Working 2 days a week during that time also had its benefits. It allowed us to slowly get used to me being back at work. It wasn’t a sudden Daddy shaped hole to fill at home, we slowly got used to me being back at work. I wrote about it all in one of my first posts.The Return To Work: After Loss & After Paternity

The Night Feeds

I treasured the night feeds and that time with him. I happily took it all on so Emily could rest and so I could have some lovely moments with Reuben. At the start Emily was breast feeding so I’lll get up too and support her how I could. Be that getting food or drinkis. Once Reuben was just on the bottle I just took on the night feed duties. I still do to this day with him. In the early days he’d just chill on me or on a feeding pillow or laid between by legs after a feed. I think it was every 2 hours or so. Added bonus of him being born in November, IMG_4575the Ashes were on in Australia so I got to introduce my boy to cricket early on. Not that I’d have wanted his first experience of Test Cricket to be a 4-0 hammering by the Aussies.

Slowly he just started to go longer between his feeds. I’m looking back now and it all seems a blur. Reuben just started walking for 1 or 2 feeds in the night. It gradually happened, we haven’t really changed his routine at all. We just have let him lead us. Though I think having him in a sleeping bag did make a big difference. I used to have to give him a Daddy bounce to get him to sleep but now he falls asleep while Mummy feeds him. I know at 6 months he can move out of our room but no way are we ready for that. He’s staying with is a little longer, maybe until he sleeps through. We’ll just go with him and he’ll let us know when he’s ready to move out.

The Early Weeks

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Every morning I’d take him downstairs and tidy the kitchen, clean his bottles all while he was in my arms. I’d play various music to him, all my favourites of course. Rock out some Yellowcard, Something Corporate or Jimmy Eat World. IMG_4511 2He loved it, loves being sung too. It was amazing to be able to just hold him in my arms. It was perfect, always with the small feeling of sadness that we didn’t get to have these moments with Poppy though. Just looking at him though melted my heart. He made the sadness better, just by being here.

We’d go out everyday, even if it was just a trip to visit Poppy or to the supermarket. People seemed really impressed we’d got out so early with him. I just wanted to show him of and just being able to do things with him was incredible. I want to make the most and best out of all my moments with Reuben. I want him to have the best childhood he can have and have fond memories of Mummy and Daddy. We also had Christmas to go out and shop for, so we couldn’t really chill at home. These presents couldn’t sadly buy themselves.

Reuben’s first Christmas was always going to be a massive deal as it was the first big event we had to do without Poppy the year before. We knew he was never going to remember this year but we still wanted it to be as special as it could. We got special decorations done for him and Poppy. We raided the Mamas and Papas outlet to get what seemed a million and one Christmas outfits for him. I still don’t think he worn them all. Of course on the big day he slept through pretty much the whole day but just having him here was a massive deal.

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The First Dad Sweats

It was around Christmas that we had the first really awful moment with him. We’d gone to Nottingham the day before my birthday, we always go there for my birthday its sort of a tradition now. He’d loved every minute of it that he was awake for. From the tram rides to the curry for lunch. IMG_5246He was brilliant and then came the drive home. This kid did not want to sleep now. He honesty cried the entire way home. I was freaking out driving, wanting to stop him from crying but couldn’t. It was isolating not being able to comfort him. But even Emily trying everything wouldn’t work. We had to stop half way and the second I got him out he stops crying like a right cheeky monkey. Then he goes back in the car and starts again. He’d worked himself up so much that he ended up with a high temperature and we had to run to the out of hours Doctor to get him looked at. Unsurprisingly he was absolutely fine when the Doctor looked at him, typical isn’t it. You worry something is massively wrong but no the cheeky monkey is just testing you. But you have to go and get it checked out. Especially being a rainbow baby you want to extra sure thing are ok.

Amazing Moments

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These first 6 months have been filled with amazing moments. Seeing Reuben smile for the first time just melted my heart. I missed his actually first time because I was at work, the massive downside to working. While the thought of missing his firsts bothered me at first I started thinking that I still get to see it for the first time. Everyday you can see him develop and grow. It is a joy to watch. His first laugh melted my heart. He has got the cheekest laugh I’ve ever heard. Loves cracking it out when I lay up between my legs and rock out the Daddy swing.

After Poppy died a big thing we did was keep buying her books to read at her graveside. We’ve been able to pass those books on to Reuben and reading to him is fast becoming one of my favourite things. Either sat in my lap, laying on the floor next to him or while he’s in his bouncer I just love it. He’s now really starting to get into them and laughs if I try to make certain noises for parts of the story. One of his favourites has been my roar during his Toy Story book.IMG_6467 I love reading The Gruffalo’s Child to Roo. It was the book I read to Poppy on my birthday and has been so special to me since then. I love I get to share it with him, while also longing to have both my babies laid on the floor listening along. Well I’m sure Poppy would be, Roo might well be trying to eat the book.

Dog walking has been another amazing thing I’ve been able to share with Reuben. In the winter it was harder to do each morning but as the snow and winter has melted away Roo pretty much comes out every morning now. He absoutly adores it. He screams the roof off while you get him ready but the second he’s in the bapoose he giggles away and his face lights up. Then off we go, off round the estate. Chatting away to Roo, showing him all the sights and sounds. It’s also a pretty good work out by the end of it. The lad is getting quite weighty. I love this 15-20 minutes we get together. Father and son bonding time. It’s a joy and I get that little bit extra time with him before work. He also normally falls asleep again so winner for Daddy and a winner for Mummy.

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The Pull Your Hair Out Moments Added With Double The Worry

Now of course despite him being our longed for little brother for Poppy, our rainbiow, Roo is still a cheeky little bit. Ww still deal with the usual parenting dramas. We’ve had crying in the car, nightmare to get to sleep, being pissed on and the explosive nappies. We’ve pretty much has a Star Wars style trilogy of Poo stories. So much so I called them the following:

The Never-ending Poo

The Never-ending Poo Strikes Back

Return Of The Never-ending Poo ( He’s Still Working On The Script – RUBBISH)

Read the above at your own peril folks.

While having the usual parenting dramas you also have extra worry with a rainbow baby. No matter what anybody will say to you it won’t matter. You’ve had the worst thing happen before, you know how wrong life can get. We’ve had scares with Reuben. A rash we’ve over worried about but you have to be safe and get it checked. Listen to your Parenting Spidey Sense. The extra worrying is just part and parcel sadly of parenting after loss. You over think the little things but it is better to be safe. We’ve started baby led weaning and this has added a whole new worrying layer into the mix. Thankfully though we did a baby first aid course, blog post coming soon on that, so we know what to do iff something happens.

Now I know in the squares of Instagram it can seem life is perfect. There is a story behind each picture. I always try to write the full story in my square posts. Paint the full picture of what is going on with Reuben. We have the fights to get him down for a nap. The battle of wills against a baby is no easy challenge is it. We’ve had the crying for no reason and only the other parent can stop the tears. They’ve never seemed that bad though. Now I don’t know if this is because we lost Poppy and I’m just getting on with it all. Riding the bad moments because I feel so lucky to have Reuben. Or is Roo actually just quite a good little boy? I think it really is a mixture of both.

A Chilled Little Boy

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I can safely say that Reuben is a very chilled happy little chappy. Nothing fazes him at alll. He takes whatever we give him in his stride. Whatever we do or wherever we go he just goes along with it. Give the boy a smile and entertain him and he’s happy. Let him watch the world around him and he’s amazed by it. Happy to watch how it all works with amazment, wonder and perhaps a little bit of noseyness.

These last 6 months have flown by. It’s amazing to see how Reuben is now compared to the little sleeping bundle of joy we first bought home. He’s gone from fitting snugly in one arm to taking up all the room. He’s just a joy, always smiling and laughing. Even when he cries you can pretty much get him to laugh or smile. Now I don’t know if he’s really good or I’m just so happy to have been able to bring him home that I’m no bothered as much. Don’t get me wrong he can still make me pull what little hair I have left out. Now I do feel guilty about that because I feel so blessed to have had our little Reuben Rainbow. But all children can make even the best of us pull our hair out. It’s part if the job. The best job in the world.

I’ve loved the last 6 months, I can’t wait for the next 6. I can’t wait to see Reuben develop even more and see the man he is going to be. Happy 6 Month Birthday buddy. Daddy loves you kiddo.

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HEY My name is Pete and I live in West Yorkshire with my wife Emily, our second baby Reuben and our doggy Holly the cavapoo. This is my story as a Dad that has experienced baby loss and the joy of having a rainbow baby. I want this to hopefully help other Dad’s that are going through the same heartbreaking situation.

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