“Why are there so many songs about rainbows and what’s on the other side? Rainbows are visions and only illusions”….sang Kermit The Frog. I love this song. I sang this in high school for part of a show choir concert I was in. I don’t know why there are so many songs about rainbows, maybe because people are always looking somewhere over the rainbow. But I have to say they are not visions or illusions. I have my own rainbow. I hold her everyday. To me she is a physical reminder that God can turn beauty from ashes. After a storm comes a rainbow. If you are going through pregnancy after loss, are thinking about having another baby or know someone in a similar situation please keep reading. I hope my story helps you get through pregnancy after loss and have a rainbow baby.
Pregnancy After Loss
Rena was born June 18th 2015. Today is her 3rd birthday.
Adeleine was born June 17th 2016. Yesterday was her 2nd birthday.
Two sisters born 364 days apart. Rena was not the storm, the pregnancy and her loss were the storm. Adeleine is my rainbow baby.
Why did I want to have another baby despite experiencing a difficult pregnancy and loss? After Rena I still had an instinct to go on and have another child. Part of the grief process with losing an infant includes a longing for another baby. I took time to think and pray about wanting another newborn and I still kept coming back to wanting one. My husband and I always dreamed of having 3 children, I think my wish was part of that dream. I struggled emotionally in the beginning of my pregnancy with Rena. I was unsure about my ability of having another child. With everything we went through however, I felt ready to have 3 kids.
Some people ask how do you know you’re ready to go through pregnancy after loss? I once read when your desire to have a baby is stronger than the fear of losing a baby, that’s when you’re ready. The pregnancy will not feel the same, even if it’s healthy that’s for sure. If you’re ready to go through the emotional struggles on top of all the physical things that come with pregnancy then you’re ready.
So what was pregnancy after loss like for me?
Preparing for Pregnancy After Loss
I waited to try for another baby after I went through recommended testing to make sure I didn’t have anything physically wrong with me. All of my tests came back normal and I got the green light. I also made sure I had a good relationship with my doctor so I feel like I could get both good medical care and emotional support. I believe it’s important to see a doctor that is sensitive to infant loss and understands rainbow baby pregnancies. If you don’t have a relationship like that with your doctor it’s okay to find a new doctor that is sensitive and supportive.
Putting my faith and trust in God was the most important thing I did. Before I got pregnant I remember just laying out my desire to have a baby at Jesus’ feet but trusting Him with any outcome. I knew He would take care of things no matter what came our way.
A passage that really helped me get through this time was “You then, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus”--2 Timothy 2:1. I could be strong during the next 9 months knowing I had Jesus by my side.
Different Baby Different Outcome
And so I got a positive pregnancy test. The news elated me but then came the fear, worry, and sadness. That was the theme of this pregnancy, happiness met with some sort of negative thought or feeling. I got pregnant in the same month I was due with Rena. On one hand I was happy to expect another child. On the other hand I felt like I should have neared the end of a pregnancy but instead was starting over from square one.
At my 7 week ultra sound we discovered I had not only 1 but 2 blood clots. They were small, but I couldn’t believe I had to go through that all over again. I thought I’d get a pass from having to deal with extra issues. Instead I was back to feeling like I was walking on egg shells. My friend at church reminded me “different baby different outcome.” I found comfort in this knowing God had put a new baby inside of me and I would have a different outcome too. I also took extra care not lift anything heavy and stopped exercising. While it probably was not necessary I felt better taking extra precautions because I didn’t do that with Rena.
Milestones in this new pregnancy prompted troublesome triggers. As I approached certain weeks with my rainbow and recalled where I had been at with Rena, the memory of past difficulties hit me hard.
Going to the doctor and waiting in the room with other expectant mamas was stressful. Even though I was pregnant just like them I felt very different. I experienced the innocent joy that having a baby brings with my first two. I didn’t have that with this baby. I had periods of sunshine but they were met with dark clouds too.
I also had extra monitoring with ultrasounds since I had blood clots again. Going through the procedure and being in the same room reminded me of all of my past unfortunate exams.
You then, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus-2 Timothy 2:1.
These hard moments turned me back towards God. Time and time again He held me and helped me. He calmed my fears, and reassured me that things would be okay. He gave me moments with this new baby to enjoy, like first kicks, strong heartbeat, growing belly, and picking out a name. These happy times were very healing and redeeming.
Turning Point–Having A Rainbow Baby
At our 20 week ultrasound we discovered all blood clots were gone! I didn’t have any bleeding this time and they dissolved. We also learned we were having another girl. Deep down inside I had hoped for another girl. I felt like all of our prayers got answered, another redemption. All restrictions were lifted and I felt like I could breathe a bit more for the last 20 weeks.
Since I hadn’t exercised for the first half of my pregnancy with my rainbow and couldn’t do much physically with Rena I made it a point to workout in preparation for labor and delivery with this new baby. I wanted to get back into shape and feel strong. I went on a lot of speed walks, did yoga and leg strengthening exercises. It felt very empowering feel fit again. It reminded me of “You then, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus”--2 Timothy 2:1.
What’s In A Name
Picking out our new daughter’s name was very special too. We chose Adeleine Grace because Adeleine means strong and noble and Grace means an undeserved gift from God. Given the verse from 1 Timothy 2:1 had helped us so much during this pregnancy it only seemed fitting that would be her name.
Rainbow After The Storm
The last few weeks my pregnancy with Adeleine were difficult. Not only was I just the typical uncomfortable mom, I was also approaching the 1 year anniversary of Rena. On one hand knowing where I had been a year earlier, I felt very accomplished being nearly 40 weeks along now. Yet knowing anything is possible with having a baby I struggled with new fears of losing this one. My doctor agreed to schedule an induction so I could have a specific date and know when I would be able to meet my daughter.
My induction was scheduled for 2 days before Rena’s birthday. The hospital was full and didn’t have room to take me as an elected induction. Luckily my body went into labor on its own. Talk about answered prayer. As I was going into labor I was preparing for a long and arduous labor in the back of my mind. That’s another part of pregnancy after loss, preparing for the worst instead of hoping for the best. Luckily popping out Adeleine was quick and swift, praise the Lord!
Storm Clouds Lifted
As soon as the nurses put Adeleine on me I felt a huge wave of relief and joy sweep over me. For a year I felt like I had this dark cloud hanging over me, even though I wasn’t always feeling down. I finally had my rainbow in my arms and was filled with nothing but sunshine. I just wanted to skip and do cartwheels in a flowery meadow all day long!
There were so many redeeming moments in my time at the hospital with Adeleine. A year earlier we were in the same room and hallway getting the worst news of our lives and now we had a healthy baby. The same doctor who gave us the bad news was the same doctor who was on call to deliver our new baby.
Butterflies are a symbol of infant loss. Many times when I see one I think of Rena. On Rena’s 1st birthday I was in my room on the 6th floor holding Adeleine when a butterfly flew up to the window and fluttered back and forth for at least a half hour. This may sound silly but I like to think that was Rena coming to see me and meet her new sister.
Somewhere Over The Rainbow
Adeleine Grace has been a part of our family for 2 years now and she is a beautiful soul. She is full of smiles and brings light to many people. She loves to hug, kiss and snuggle and is very much a mama’s girl. Her older brother and sister love her to pieces. I marvel at how God brought this beautiful person into our lives. We love Rena, but would have never had Adeleine if we hadn’t lost Rena.
“Somewhere over the rainbow, blue birds fly, And the dreams that you dream of, dreams really do come true” Yes, Adeleine Grace truly is a dream come true. It is interesting to note that my rainbow’s personality and the things she does is a lot like how I had imagined Rena would be when I was pregnant with her. I had hoped for a happy-go-lucky, thumb-sucking little girl and that is Adeleine. But really these dreams coming true are due to “You then be strong in the grace that is found in Christ Jesus.” Finding Jesus and His gift of grace gave me the strength to go on and have another baby.
I acknowledge that having another baby after losing one isn’t always an option. Some people are not able to have another baby. Other’s don’t want to go through pregnancy again. Every body’s situation is different. If you or someone you know does go on to have a rainbow baby know that it is a unique experience. It is wonderful but it also is met with extra stress and anxiety. It’s just part of the process. Having a rainbow baby though makes all the struggles worth it.
Thank you for allowing me to share my journey with you. I hope this helps you or someone you know get through pregnancy after loss journey and enjoy having a rainbow baby.