The problem with carrying a rainbow baby is that you never are ready to accept it. Or at least in my case anyways. If you don’t know what a rainbow baby is, I can only hope you never find out from personal experience. A rainbow baby is a baby born after a loss. The rainbow being the beauty that comes after the storm. I am carrying a rainbow baby.
The first trimester was by far the worst. I found out I was pregnant much like my last pregnancy, it was the night before a Christmas party and I took a test just be on the safe side. I didn’t think for a moment it would be positive, in fact the night before I had some minor spotting much like I would get before a regular period. Much to my surprise it was positive. I was terrified it would happen again. I didn’t want to tell anyone, I didn’t want to have to have that conversation all over again.
So we kept it a secret, at least at first. Blayne told his dad, I don’t remember telling anyone until Christmas Eve. My brother and his girlfriend were the first to arrive for our annual Christmas Dinner and they were quickly on to me due to my refusal to drink. That night is when most of our family found out. I had my first doctors appointment the next week, usually you don’t see the doctor until after you hit 12 weeks, but he was going on holidays and wanted to see me before he left. Blood work and reassurances were given. So far so good.
In fact everything was fine, the first 12 weeks I had no problems, other than some nausea and exhaustion there was nothing to be concerned about. Except my worry never eased. Even after I past the point in which I lost the last baby the terror never went away. 12 weeks came and I saw my doctor again. He couldn’t find the heartbeat, but he insisted that it was still to early to find it reliably and I shouldn’t worry. So I tried to listen to him. A week later the spotting started. That was it, I knew it. I called Blayne and broke down. I couldn’t go through this again. I went to the ER, they ran some tests and gave me an emergency ultrasound. I remember the moment the doctor turned the screen towards me, there it was a little tiny heartbeat flickering on the screen. Everything was fine, at least for now.
13 weeks turned into 16 and still baby was fine, but something inside of me still couldn’t relax. Finally I felt the baby move. Surely that would make a difference, and I would relax. Not the case, baby was still to small for me to track movements and if I couldn’t feel anything for what I felt was “to long” I began to worry even more. But my 16 week prenatal the doctor found a strong heartbeat of 140 BPM. Time to carry about my business.
20 week ultrasound and still baby was okay. With each passing day and kick I felt my panic ease.But it never went away. At my 24 week appointment I found out I had severe anemia again, but baby was healthy. 28 weeks was hard appointment. His heart-rate had consistently been 140-150 BPM, this time it was 120. I racked my brain, and while I was pretty sure he had been moving that morning I couldn’t be positive. Doctor wasn’t worried, said he was sleeping and that it was still a healthy heart-rate. So I went home and waited for what seemed like an eternity for him to move again. He did, of course he did, everything was fine, I’m worrying for nothing.
At 30 weeks I realized something. Other than the minimum, I had done nothing to prepare for this baby. Anything purchased had been done second-hand, or with the guarantee that I could return it if the worst happens. I still didn’t do anything.
Now I’m nearing 36 weeks and a different kind of panic has set in. This one I am familiar with, this one I can handle. Baby is coming, and I need to clean and organize. For the first time in the last 36 weeks I have been able to push my exhaustion and panic and I have begun nesting. I am worried about different things now. It feels good. I still am not able to fully let go of this fear I have been carrying since I got those two pink lines. Maybe it will go away with his first cry. Maybe it never will.
Losing a child, even one who has never taken a breath is not something I would wish upon my worst enemy. The fear of losing one is often the root of my anxiety attacks. Hunter is nearing 4 and Levi 6 and the fear is often crippling. But for now, I have two beautiful little boys and another who will make his presence known in the next few weeks and I have plenty of rooms to clean and organize before he does.