For anyone who hasn’t heard the term… A “Rainbow Baby” is a child born after a miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death or infant loss.
My son; Connor, is my Rainbow Baby. I would suggest many who know me are not aware of this. While I don’t shy away from the conversation surrounding miscarriage, I also don’t talk about my experience in any depth.
I consider my miscarriage a defining moment in my life. Not only because of the emotional trauma it caused but it also led to the demise of my first marriage. That loss also went as far as clouding the first two trimesters of my pregnancy with Connor. I simply refused to allow myself to get attached to the idea of this baby for fear he/she may never exist. It wasn’t until I was more than seven months pregnant that I allowed myself to believe and connect to my unborn child.
I remember clearly the ultrasound that literally changed my life and who I would become. I was laying on the table in eager anticipation to see the blinking blob of my “would be baby”. I remember the moment the technician’s face went from happiness to frantic panic while she searched for something that was not there. She questioned me repeatedly about my dates and inevitably left the room to find a doctor. The rest was a blur… I heard things like “missed and incomplete miscarriage”, “blood test confirmation”, “D and C”, “referral to pregnancy loss”… It felt like the room was spinning, I didn’t understand how this was happening. This was the first time in my life I had a confirmed pregnancy and I was not prepared for anything other than what I hoped was a normal ultrasound. I had no knowledge of how often miscarriages happened or what that looked like (truth be told it is not necessarily signified by cramping and bleeding). Everything I had imagined that moment to be, disappeared into a cloud of smoke in an instant.
The next two weeks were filled with blood tests and multiple ultrasounds to confirm something I knew in my heart was over before it began. During my appointment with the Pregnancy Loss nurse regarding my options, I sat there numb, just wanting it to be over. I wanted the easiest and fastest way for it all to just go away. My husband at the time was adamant the option with which he wanted me to take. The non-surgical option, which included having Misoprostol administered vaginally and then wait for the miscarriage to complete. For those who are unaware… you are sent home (after the administration of the drug) with a kit (including plastic gloves, a plastic container, and a toilet insert) and instructions on what to do. The process includes waiting 2-6 hours (sometimes longer) for bleeding and cramping to begin, and then another 3-5 hours of substantial pain until the fetus is passed. At which time you will begin the extremely emotional task of putting the passed matter into the container for delivery to the hospital.
I remember sitting on the toilet, almost not believing what was happening. The process of gathering everything up was beyond devastating and something I was not capable of comprehending at the time. Literally on autopilot, my entire body shook from shock and I could barely see through the tears. My heart was broken, and it was in that moment that I didn’t think I ever wanted to be pregnant again. I never wanted to risk EVER feeling that pain and loss again. I felt broken and irreparable. I was convinced there was something wrong with me and that I had somehow failed as a temporary mother. After that event, my marriage slowly began to deteriorate. I fell into depression and my husband likely began resenting me for my inability to deal with the loss. I was broken and fragile and there was nothing he could do to fix me. I was so unbelievably lost and sad. Everything I thought I wanted was gone, and I was learning quickly that perhaps my life was not what it seemed.
It’s interesting really… in hindsight that “would be” baby, changed everything. It showed my marriage in a way I had refused to see before and for the first time in my life made me feel what it meant to be truly and utterly alone. After my husband and I separated (a mere 4 months after my miscarriage), I began to rebuild. Rebuild me and move forward in my life.
One year later, I was blessed with the surprise that I was expecting again. Connor was born in early June, and once again changed every fabric of who I thought I was, and what I thought I was capable of. It wasn’t until I held Connor in my arms for the first time that I was (for lack of better words) grateful for my miscarriage. I would never wish that on anyone, it was without a doubt the darkest moment in my life. But where there is dark, there is light. My Rainbow Baby is the light that brought me back and made me who I am today.