When we got pregnant for the second time, I wanted to write a follow up to my very first post on this blog, Two Little Lines. I was going to call it Two Little Lines…Take Two. But I was waiting until after the 12 week ultrasound and after we announced our happy news to more than just close friends and family. Then the world fell out from under us and we found out that I miscarried. I have tried writing about this experience, but I can’t do so without becoming a puddle of tears. I’m not quite ready to put our loss into words. And for a long time I wasn’t ready to write about the joy that followed either, because I was terrified of losing again. But something beautiful and bright came from that sad experience, and the time to write about our Rainbow Baby is long overdue.
A Rainbow Baby is a baby born after a miscarriage, stillbirth or infant/child loss. The rainbow after the storm. I love this, the promise of good things to come. I kept this idea close, it comforted me. Only weeks after miscarrying and well before we knew we were expecting again, I saw a rainbow. I was bringing Lily Rose home from daycare and as we got out of the car, we both looked up to the sky and there it was. Lily pointed and said “Purple”. No matter how common it may seem, I saw it as a sign: our rainbow was coming…I just didn’t know how soon.
When I was newly pregnant with Lily Rose but I didn’t know it yet, there were lots of early signs. This time around, I had them all again. But unlike with Lily Rose, I didn’t get two little lines to confirm it right away. My first pregnancy test (likely taken too early, but I am oh so impatient!) showed only one line. Still no period, I tested again a few days later and it showed a faint second line. I didn’t want to get too excited, too quickly, only to be disappointed. Everyone told me that after miscarriage, you are most fertile, but I couldn’t let myself believe that it would happen so quickly. I didn’t think it would happen on the first try, like with LR.
In my heart, there was nothing I wanted more. I waited longer than some moms to try for a second. I wanted to feel ready. I waited too long it seems because by the time I was ready, it was all I could think of. It took only two months of trying for a second (I am so very grateful that we got pregnant easily). But then we lost it, and that hurt like hell. But it also made us more sure of our desire to grow our little family. I wanted so badly to be pregnant again, to bring another child into this world with my beloved, to give our little girl a sibling.
So I went to my doctor for a test, hoping badly for a positive. I took the test and went to wait in the doctor’s office. The nurse brought in a paper with the results, face down. I sat there waiting for the doctor and tried so, so hard not to flip that friggin’ paper over and check for myself. I tried hard for exactly one second…then I peeked. Negative! I felt tears sting my eyes. I was about to call Jon, crushed. I knew he would be the voice of calm to my crazy emotional self, the voice of love, support and reason. He’d tell me it had only been a month. We would keep trying. It would be fun;)
Then the nurse came back in suddenly and grabbed the paper. She looked at me and smiled. The results had changed, she had checked it too early, she said. Congratulations, she said. My heart soared! The doctor was almost as happy as me to see the positive pregnancy test. This was a doctor who had called with her personal cell number following news of my miscarriage. She cared to. She said baby would be due around June 7th:)
Sat in my car in the parking lot, I called Jon and told him the whole results-changing-on-the-paper fiasco. What a way to stress a girl out, right!? But the results were positive, and he was over the moon:) Then I called my Mom. Like any good mother (now that I know a bit about it), she was cautiously happy. I understood her trepidation. It wasn’t easy for her to watch me go through a loss only a few months before. She didn’t want me to hurt like that again, she will forever be wanting to shield me from pain, only ever wanting to protect her baby girl. I told her to tell my Dad and my Aunts, but that we would wait until we were ready to share it with everyone we loved.
Last pregnancy, we had Lily Rose wear a Big Sister t-shirt to surprise our family and friends. I thought I wouldn’t do anything like that this time. I felt almost guilty celebrating this pregnancy; like it was an insult to the soul we lost to be so happy about a new baby. And I was worried it would end the same way as before.
But early on, things felt different. Different than the last pregnancy, but exactly the same as when I was pregnant with Lily Rose. The insanely sore boobs for weeks, the back pain, first the nausea then the daily puking. Every time I threw up I felt initially frustrated at having pregnancy sickness, then a wave of joy would wash over me. Last pregnancy I had felt too well, too full of energy. There was hardly any sickness or extreme fatigue that time. For me, being sick was giving me some reassurance that this pregnancy was so far, so good. So we shared our good news with all the people who had supported us through the hard stuff, because they would be there for us whatever happened.
I still felt fear at every new symptom. When I had growing pains and felt my uterus stretching I jumped to the conclusion that I was miscarrying. Every trip to the bathroom I prepped to see signs that something was wrong. It’s hard to enjoy pregnancy like that, constantly worrying. I thought my first pregnancy had been fraught with worry. But this was just silly at times. So until our 12 week ultrasound, I couldn’t completely relax. I knew the stats and just hoped that if we could get to that milestone, see our baby, hear its heartbeat, things would be OK.
At the ultrasound, I was a ball of nerves. I lay there, watching for Jon’s reaction because I couldn’t quite see the screen. I will never forget the moment his face changed: he smiled and looked at me. In that moment, my heart felt lighter, life looked brighter. My own heart opened to let this new little soul in.
I turned to get a better view and see what he was seeing. There was our baby, a strange alien blob, but a baby none the less. The tech told us its heart rate was good, but I barely heard anything she said after that. The magic of seeing your baby for the first time on an ultrasound never grows old; to see that life is growing inside you is one of the best sights in the world! But this time the relief was overwhelming. I started to cry. I felt silly but explained I was just so happy to know our baby was there, to see its heart was beating. I desperately needed this reassurance. We excitedly left with pics of our alien baby blob and a new due date: June 11th, my Mom’s birthday!
We basked in our Rainbow Baby joy after that. It doesn’t erase the pain, we will never forget the one we lost. But we appreciate and celebrate the brightness that came after the storm. There is room in our hearts for three babies. This new one will just be about colourful things to come: happiness, hope, and the promise of new life.