October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. A “rainbow baby” is the term used for a child that is born after the loss of a pregnancy/infant. Each of my children is a rainbow baby because we had a miscarriage before each successful birth.
The baby before Peanut… I didn’t even realize that I was pregnant until the miscarriage started. I was scared, didn’t know what to do and then was told by a female OB-GYN that I handled it all wrong. I was 7-8 weeks pregnant. It took us another six months before I was able to get pregnant.
The baby before Pickle…The home pregnancy tests said I was pregnant, but the tests at the doctor’s office said I wasn’t and this went on for a week. Finally the doctor’s office called me and said they’d gotten a positive result, but my miscarriage had already started. The doctor told me that it was no big deal and the pregnancy “didn’t really count”. I’d been training to run and had run my first 5k and while logically I know that had nothing to do with the miscarriage, I’ve never done another. We got pregnant with Pickle the next month and it was a very bittersweet time for us.
The baby before Cookie…our life was pretty intense at this point, but we knew that we wanted another baby. It was another very early loss so within about a week we found out that we were pregnant and lost the baby. You try to guard your heart, but as soon as you see those “positive” lines you are all in.
The baby before the twins. It was a surprise. This is the one that still makes me cry. There were ultrasounds done and there were warning signs as well, but we saw a heartbeat. They told us to relax and not to worry about it because of the heartbeat. I prayed and cried and prayed and prayed and prayed. And then one night at the hospital in a nook that was an emptied out hallway closet they told us that there wasn’t a heartbeat, that our baby was gone. 36 hours later I went on a business trip and I lost my baby away from home with a dear friend to hold my hand and cry with me. I cried for my husband and I cried for our baby.
Each loss was a sadness and hurt, but the last one when we heard the heartbeat was so much more grief and loss and death to me. For months I slept with a onesie that we had bought. It was almost a year before we got pregnant again and then found out that it was not just one, but two babies this time.
We’re done having babies, but ever life matters and sharing our stories matters because no one should feel alone, no one should have to listen to a doctor tell them it “doesn’t count” or family say “it was for the best” and make them feel that they weren’t carrying a child and a lifetime of possibilities inside them. The more women share their experiences the easier we can comfort and carry the load of the grieving, the more that the medical community will have to look for answers, and the more easily we can all think about what might have been, while still loving what we have before us.