Rainbow babies. Thanks to social media and some really beautiful photo shoots, the phrase “rainbow baby” is pretty widely known. But for those who don’t know, a rainbow baby is a baby born after a loss. The rainbow after the storm. Both of my babies were born after tremendous losses, and I’m so fortunate we came out the other side.
I got engaged to my college boyfriend my senior year of college. We planned to get married in a year but I started to feel a little funny a week after I walked across the stage. Surprise, surprise! I was pregnant! But the real surprise came after my first ultrasound, and there were two babies! Part of me was excited and the other part recognized I was unmarried (albeit engaged!) and still had 3 classes to take before I was a totally free woman. Not to mention a fiancé who lived in Texas while I was still in Tennessee. We had to act fast. Our wedding was pushed to September of that year, and we moved to Louisiana to be close to family the weekend we got married. I was exactly 20 weeks along the day we got married.
Three days after my dad walked me down the aisle with a shotgun, the unthinkable happened. I went to the bathroom and felt a gush so powerful the only thing I remember saying is “no, no this isn’t happening.” We were in a new city and I didn’t have a doctor yet. We got an ambulance and got to the hospital where they confirmed my water did indeed break.
The plan was for me to be in the hospital on bedrest until 24 weeks, but I didn’t get that far.
Landon James and Isabella Rose were born still on September 17 and September 20th, 2009, respectively. After they were born, I felt an emptiness and anger I’ve never known before. I remember when I finally left my hospital room for the first time in over two weeks, a woman was being discharged with her baby. The pink balloons were tied to her wheelchair and her husband was holding flowers. And I fell to my knees and sobbed. Going home I only took pictures, a teddy bear, and prints of my babies tiny hands and feet.
My anger somehow translated into obsession because I immediately needed to have a baby. My doctor (that I eventually got) advised me to wait six months but that just wasn’t happening. In November, I found out I was pregnant again and I had a seemingly normal pregnancy except with more checkups and progesterone hormone injections to prevent premature labor. That baby is thankfully now seven-years-old and just fine.
Fast forward to summer 2015. I’m remarried and my husband and I found out I was pregnant a month after our ceremony. We were totally shocked it happened so fast, but I was thrilled to experience this with him. My first ultrasound at around 6 weeks didn’t reveal a heartbeat but it was still pretty early. When I had some spotting, I just knew it wasn’t going to be good news when I got back. There wasn’t any growth and I was told it was a blighted ovum. I began to miscarry naturally but ended with a D&C. I couldn’t believe I was going through this again. Starting yet another marriage with tragedy.
Over the next 9 months, I experienced two more very early losses that were riddled with lots blood work for hormone levels and genetic disorders, tests and more ultrasounds, and antibiotics. We finally decided to take a complete break and talk about adding to our family the following year. As cliche as it sounds, we stopped trying and that’s when I became pregnant. I knew this was our baby. I went through the same process of many doctor’s visits, tons of blood work, countless ultrasounds and weekly progesterone injections my husband would give me. In August of this year, he was born without a hitch.
You wouldn’t know it by looking at them, but it took a whole lots of heartache and tears to get these boys here. I would love to say it was all worth it, but honestly the losses still hurt. Over time, I’ve been able to block out the “what if’s” and what I could have done differently. I am beyond blessed to have my rainbow babies, but I will never forget the storm.