After the storm: The blessing of a rainbow baby
A “rainbow baby” is a baby that is born following a miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death or infant loss.In the real world, a beautiful and bright rainbow follows a storm and gives hope of things getting better. The rainbow is more appreciated having just experienced the storm in comparison.
The phrase 'Rainbow Baby' is the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm. When a rainbow appears, it doesn't mean the storm never happened or that we are not still dealing with its aftermath. It means something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds. Storm clouds may still hover but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy and hope.
My 18 month old is a rainbow baby, he was pregnancy number 7 but baby number 6. When my oldest child was 4.5 and my youngest was 3 months old I realized I was pregnant for the 6th time. And due the same day as I had been with baby number 5. I got a "I'm a big brother" shirt for my baby and put it on him to share the news with my husband.
My husband was positive it was a girl (he's been correct with all our babies). I went to the Dr and got an official test done and scheduled my 1st trimester ultrasound. Two weeks later I didn't feel good, I was was nauseous and tired. Just normal early pregnancy symptoms right? But something felt wrong, I got a digital pregnancy test and was absolutely crushed when the words "not pregnant" popped up.
Not pregnant, but how can that be?
I called my Dr and was told if I didn't start bleeding over the weekend I needed to come in on Monday and they would do blood work and a ultrasound. That weekend was very busy, it was my husbands birthday and my 2nd child was having surgery to remove a cyst on her eyelid.
Saturday I started bleeding, I was woke up early Saturday morning due to strong painful cramps. I bled heavily all weekend. I went to the Dr the following week and my HCG was down under 5.
It took me several weeks to process what had happened, my baby was gone, my body had failed me and the baby carried, no baby sister coming in March.
I gave my body several months to heal, I focused on eating better and loosing weight.
Than right before my 5th child turned 1 we found out we were pregnant again. A ray of sunshine, a glimmer of hope. I was extremely nervous my 1st trimester, I hardly told anyone I was pregnant because I didn't want to deal with having to tell people I had lost the baby if I miscarried again.
But at 12 weeks we saw a beautiful sight. A heartbeat and a normal looking baby. I had a uneventful pregnancy and at 39 weeks delivered my rainbow baby.
He's 18 months old now and I still think about the baby I lost but know that God's plan was for this fun, happy, spunky, little boy to join our family. A Rainbow is a promise, a blessing, a miracle and we have been blessed with our rainbow baby. Bringing home a rainbow baby can be very emotional, joy, sadness, grief, hope, doubts, but God is good and will sustain you.
Sometimes I wonder if the emotions of having a rainbow baby contributed to the mild postpartum depression I was diagnosed with. A rainbow baby is not a replacement for the child you lost. Don’t worry. You will not forget your baby that passed. You will never forget. You will always have a place in your heart for your lost baby.
The storm (pregnancy loss) has already happened and nothing can change that experience. Storm-clouds might still be overhead as the family continue to cope with the loss, but something colorful and bright has emerged from the darkness and misery.
Parents of rainbow babies may deal with their grief in an extremely private way. Because discussing miscarriage and stillbirth is still somewhat taboo in our society, they may not have sufficient support from friends and family. In fact, their acquaintances may not even know about the loss that preceded the rainbow baby. This can make the parents of a rainbow baby feel even more alone in their loss.
But you are not alone. 1 in 4 women experience a miscarriage in their lifetime.
So why am I sharing my story? Its because when I was miscarrying, I felt so alone. I was sure that something was wrong with me and that no one could understand my pain.
I just want you know know that if you are miscarrying or have lost a child during pregnancy, you are not alone. You are part of a club that no one wants to join, but once you are a member, the support is overflowing. I also wanted to give you some hope. You are not alone, your baby mattered and was loved.
For this boy I prayed, and the LORD has given me my petition which I asked of Him.
1 Samuel 1:27
There is a rainbow of hope at the end of every storm.