A rainbow baby is a baby born after a miscarriage, still birth, or neonatal loss. It is called a “rainbow” because it is something bright and beautiful following something dark and painful.
My miscarriage left me in a very dark place. One that I never thought I would be able to come back from. Thankfully, it wasn’t long before our family was blessed with our own little rainbow. I had a D&C procedure done on December 2, 2014, and found out we were expecting again on February 7, 2015. As exciting as it was to see those two pink lines pop up, it was also one of the scariest things.
What if I couldn’t carry this baby either?
When we found out about our twins that we miscarried, we announced as soon as we found out. Given the circumstances with that pregnancy, we decided to hold off on the big announcement until we had an ultrasound done to make sure everything was progressing as it should.
Light at the End of the Tunnel
Now, one week before we found out that we were expecting again, I got shot in the foot in a freak accident. (If you’d like to hear the story feel free to e-mail me! It is quite entertaining!) This put me out of work, when I had JUST started my first full-time job the week before. So physical injury, loss of income, and now a new pregnancy following a miscarriage. Talk about stressed.
I didn’t want to go through the trouble of getting pregnancy insurance started if the pregnancy was just going to end the same way it had before. It seemed like any type of planning would be creating false hope. Finally, I decided to schedule an appointment with a crisis pregnancy center in the area because I heard that they would do an ultrasound. My mind would not rest until I saw a beating heart…
The day finally came when I got to see my sweet, tiny baby up on the big screen. He was wiggling and squirming the entire time.
Tears. Of. Joy.
Lana was only 13 months at the time, but the excitement just spread into her giddy little self. She kept saying, “Baby, baby, baby” over and over.
Long Journey Ahead
For most people, seeing the heart beat, after the experience we had before, would be enough to ease their worries. However, that was not the case for me. I’m honestly not sure about my husband, but I know that my heart was not at peace just yet…
The pregnancy was progressing as it should, and a lot easier than my first had. Truly, I had no reason to worry. It was a long, crazy, never-ending mind game.
On May 17, 2015 we found a huge break in the tension when I found out that we were expecting a BOY!
I was seriously shocked. I had it in my head that I was carrying another little princess! Regardless, this was just the news we needed for a change of pace. With a little over 4 months left to go, and a baby boy we were able to feel moving, our house was just buzzing with uncontainable excitement.
Nothing entertaining happened over the next few months, so I’ll just jump forward to the part you’re all here for…
Monday, September 28, 2015. 37 weeks 1 day pregnant. Absolutely miserable. Working full-time in the 2-year-old class at a daycare. Taking care of my one and a half year old daughter. Hoping and praying that today will be the day I finally go into labor.
Each day the kids at the daycare napped from 12pm to 2:30 pm. This day, I felt an urge to walk, walk, and keep on walking. So I did! I power walked all the way through nap time; doing everything I could to jump start labor.
My boss walked in and saw me and joked that I was working so hard to walk my baby out that I would end up going past my due date. I told her, “I’m telling you, he’ll be here by Wednesday.”
Wednesday, September 30
Sure enough, at 3 am on Wednesday morning I was woken up by some pretty rough contractions. Not wanting to wake everyone up for no reason, I decided to do my best to relax.
Doctors always tell you to drink some water and lay on your left side to determine if your contractions are real or just practice.
After laying down and drinking all the water I could stomach for an hour and a half, my contractions continued to get closer together. So at 4:30 am I shook Derek awake and told him it was time! If you remember his reaction to me telling him I was in labor with our oldest (click HERE to read the full birth story), this time was not much different. There were definitely a few moments of disbelief before he even considered jumping into action, but that’s just the type of guy he is: nonchalant, calm, relaxed.
Once I finally convinced him that this was the real thing we called his mom so that she would be awake to get Lana and take her to daycare so that we could head to the hospital. We dropped Lana off around 5:30 am and realized we were almost out of gas – go figure! Stopping at the nearest gas station, we put in just enough to get us to the hospital which was 30 minutes away.
“This better be for real…”
Labor is often compared to a marathon. Anyone who has competed in any type of marathon, or even a simple race, knows that rest is key. With a 30+ minute drive from my mother-in-law’s house to the hospital I decided to take full advantage of this opportunity to rest.
I took a semi-nap – because who can really sleep through labor – most of the way there, and as we were nearing the hospital Derek turned to me and said, “This better be for real… I’m going to be mad if we just wasted all of this gas…”
I assured him it was the real thing and that I was just getting my mind and body prepared.
“Let’s have a baby!”
For the first time, it took me virtually no time at all to get into a delivery room. When the nurses conducted their triage exam, they determined that I was already at 3 cm dilated and my contractions were right on track!
My doctor informed me that I “needed” pitocin to speed up labor, and being ill-informed of the side effects and my rights, I obliged.
I lost track of time somewhere during this process, but received a call from my boss around 9 am that the company we financed our car with was calling looking for me.
[Full disclosure: we were in a huge financial black hole, and were behind on our car payments.]
My boss came to visit me while I was in labor, posing as my mom. Let me just say, her conversations with the nurses were HI-LAR-I-OUS. She kept me company as my husband left to go and deal with the car issues, and her presence was just what I needed!
To take the drugs or not…
My goal when I was in labor with my oldest was to go 100% drug-free. Unfortunately, that didn’t go as planned.
While pregnant with my son, I did a lot more research and spoke with moms who had natural, unmedicated births themselves. The biggest tip that I heard over and over was to prepare my mind. Having been through labor before, I had a better idea of what to expect. I was ready this time; I could do it!
My boss kept asking me why I would be in pain if I didn’t have to be, and what I was trying to prove…
Honestly, I just wanted to see if I could do it.. That might sound silly, but until that point I didn’t truly have a firm grasp of my limits.
Around 11am my nurse came and checked my cervix again to see that I had only progressed to a 5. Since I was starting to get tired I caved and told her I needed the epidural.
Race to the Finish
The next hour happened so extremely fast that my memory has it in my brain as a flash. Literally. When I requested my epidural my nurse informed me that I was number 7 in line for the anesthesiologist. I wasn’t in crazy pain, so I wasn’t freaking out.
Around 12 my nurse came in to ask how I was feeling and let me know that I was next to receive my epidural. My pain level was still the same (about a 4), and I didn’t really feel any different. She walks out and about 5 minutes later I felt this intense urge to push! My nurse walks back in, and I tell her I need to push; she checks me and I am sitting at an 8. The anesthesiologist walks in right after, and I tell him that he can just go back to wherever he came from; he was too late.
As the anesthesiologist was turning around to leave the room my husband darts in JUST IN TIME. On his heels (literally) come my OB and the baby team, ready for action!
Rainbow Baby after the Storm of Miscarriage
Thus far, my labor had been so different from my labor with Lana. It was peaceful, full of joy and anticipation, and relatively painless. As my son began to crown, I told my doctor that I couldn’t control my urge to push for a second more. She told me to do what felt comfortable, so I started pushing.
The experience was seriously like those out of body experiences that you hear about. It was as if I was looking down on myself. I felt stronger than I ever had before. Almost primal. I don’t remember hearing anything in those few minutes that I spent pushing, but my husband later informed me that I was growling – further extending my primal feelings.
Then, in the matter of seconds, my son left the birth canal and shot into the hands of my OB like a rocket!
If you have ever seen a rainbow form, the visual is about the same. And how fitting that my rainbow baby would be brought into this world in such a way.
The Perfect Addition to Our Imperfect Family
7 pounds and 20 inches and everything that we had prayed and longed for.
Although, his life does not replace the memories we wish we could have shared with our twins, his presence brought us unimaginable joy.
Since day one, he has always had the sweetest disposition. Always my chill baby. Never fussy or whiny. Just the full culmination of strength and peace that our family so desperately needed. When our sweet Ace took his first breath, it was the first time in 11 LONG months that I was able to breathe without feeling like there was a thousand pound weight on my chest.
Our life would certainly not be complete without him, so we have to trust that we lost our twins for a purpose. Even if the only purpose was so that we could receive this precious gift.
My favorite sugar bear <3