Rainbow baby: a baby that is born following a miscarriage or still birth. Just as a bright and beautiful rainbow follows the thunder and darkness of a storm and promises sunny skies ahead, a rainbow baby brings joy and hope to a family that has experienced loss.
We lost Baby Girl on April 2, 2014 at 10 weeks. Our daughter had Turner’s Syndrome, a fairly common but luckily rarely reoccurring genetic disease. After a few months of healing we were able to do a couple more rounds of fertility drugs and get pregnant again, and on April 2, 2015 our rainbow baby, Carrie Evelyn, was born. Carrie Evelyn was my great-grandmother’s name, but it also means dear, longed-for child, which is perfect.
My first pregnancy with my son was blissful, peaceful, and naïve – a very different pregnancy than Carrie’s. At first I was fearful, and guarded my heart as best I could while we waited to see that everything would be okay. And then, I desperately clung to every day with her, every feeling, every kick, every foot in the ribs, even as I was sick for the first couple of months and uncomfortable the last couple. I foolishly took few pictures of my belly, but my heart soaked up the memories instead. By the time she was born I had been waiting to hold a baby in my arms for 18 months (from when we first started fertility drugs) and I was so ready. And from the get go every moment with her was so savored. Somewhat because after your first child you realize that time REALLY does fly and instead of surviving the newborn/infant/crawler/walker/etc stage you can treasure each fleeting period, but more so because I knew firsthand that time and life are not guaranteed.
After the loss of my first daughter, my second daughter is almost magical. I have never seen a more beautiful girl, or a happier one. She has restored my faith in so many things, and her birth was a redemption for the despair I felt one year prior. She is 100% a momma’s girl but her obsession with me pales in comparison to how I feel about her. I love her in a different way than I loved my son at this age. Not more, different. It’s like a glass full of milk and a glass full of tequila. Both glasses are full but they feel quite different going down 😉 I loved baby Carter with the sweetness and innocence of first time motherhood, and Carrie with fierceness and fervor.
Of course, losing Baby Girl changed how I loved my son as well, and having to care for a toddler made a big difference in how I dealt with that grief. You can’t exactly hole up in bed for days on end when someone small needs you. His chubby cheeks and snuggles pulled me through many a dark day.
As we look to the future and baby #4, I am curious how the next pregnancy will look. I am anxious about how long it will take to get pregnant and that the baby will be healthy of course. But really I pray that I won’t be scared to fall in love with this baby as soon as I see that plus sign, and that once again I can enjoy pregnancy with a peaceful heart like my first and not an apprehensive one like my last. However, what I don’t want to change is the fierceness of my love for my children, and my appreciation for the gift I have been given. Also, my renewed faith in God’s plan for me and in the goodness of the future. That is the magic of my rainbow baby.