When I look back at the old me, the me who laughed and smiled constantly and saw the world as an adventure to explore, the me before the storm hit, I remember thinking then that the world is a beautiful place and I'm lucky to be living in it so happy and carefree.
I call it a storm because that is exactly what hit us over an 11 month period. If I wrote my life story no one would ever believe it. Sadly, it is true.
In the world before the storm I always liked to think there were angels around us. I thought wouldn't it be beautiful to think we have people watching over us and protecting us. It was just a passing thought here and there.
Now I search everyday for a sign that Charlie and Neve are here somehow.
Are they that creaky sound in the middle of the night? When a butterfly flutters near, is it them?
When two rainbows appeared in our wedding photos, I so desperately wanted to believe it was them with us. I so needed to believe they just didn't stop breathing and that was all there was.
I ache constantly for a sign. It will be 10yrs since we last held Charlie in September and 9yrs in August since we held Neve.
I buy photos of butterflies drawn in the sand with their names, candles, birthday cards, Christmas decorations. I still feel I need to validate their lives.
When the storm hit, it hit fast and sudden. The carefree smiley me was gone, never to return. The person that replaced her was someone who pretends that she's ok, that I'm coping. I'm so emotional at everything.
I see the world as sad and unfair. I see an advert for huggies and my eyes tear up.
A friend says she pregnant and I'm a mess. I don't want anyone to feel the way I did and do.
Every pregnancy I had following Charlie was filled with dread and fear. Every cramp or twinge, I was convinced I was going in to labour.
Sadly Neve's pregnancy got to 41 weeks and in labour she stopped breathing. No, it could never happen again, everyone told me.
The world became a darker place, I became more obsessed with the need to believe they were still here in some way.
I spent many days in bed when my husband went back to work, crying and desperately searching for anything to say they were here.
Asking them or rather yelling at the ceiling, please just a sign. Something, anything.
As I gave birth to our second daughter, I remember asking my doctor as I gave birth: is she breathing, please is she?
He didn't need to answer, the sound of her tiny cry filled the room.
I thought she's alive, i should be so happy but I was filled with guilt for trying again and fear that she too would be taken. These feelings have never left. They have less impact now but the fear of losing her and our second son Zack is at times overwhelming.
My friends tell me now that they never got to hold Maya, that as a baby she was permanently in my arms. Looking back, she was. She had to be, I wasn't losing her.
When Maya was 9 months old she used to laugh and point at the stairs. Was she playing with her siblings?
No, babies just laugh right?
She would do this almost every day, just sit and laugh like someone was playing with her. At 18 months she told me a lady sits on her bed at night. She was a nice lady. Was that my mum?
At times over the years when I'm crying and missing them, I feel a warm tingle near my cheek or at night I feel like my hand is being held.
I don't know if it’s them or my need to believe, but for me it brings me comfort.
Has the world changed? Honestly, I think I have changed more. Although I don't laugh as much and I'm paranoid about my children and more than likely (compared to my friends) over protective of them.
The one positive change is that I love harder and stronger. I want my children to grow up knowing how much we fought for them and how much we love them. That to us, Charlie and Neve chose them and gave them to us.
My belief in angels is strong because to me they are the sunlight warming my face and they paint us the most beautiful rainbows after the storm.
I need to believe in something, anything, just for me to keep walking this journey through the storm, otherwise I know I would stop trying to put one foot in front of the other. My heart would stop as the thought is too painful not to believe.
If you require support after reading this blog please contact
Sands on 13 000 72637
Kristina is a children's nurse and a counsellor.
She has four beautiful children.
Charlie and Neve are her two angels who are the inspiration for raising more awareness about stillbirths and pregnancy loss.
Her two miracles Maya and Zack are the reason she keeps moving forward on this journey of grief.
Her husband Curt is also her inspiration to raise awareness for fathers and their grief.
There needs to be more awareness for us all.