As I’m sitting here in complete awe, wonder, and insanely deep gratitude for the new life growing inside of me, I often reflect on the events that brought me here with my growing rainbow baby. After losing our son Michael last year, I experienced a whirlwind of emotions – many of which were so ugly and scary my heart literally aches when I think about it or imagine another mother in the same situation. Nevertheless, even with all the ugly, so much beauty and growth came from that time in my life. My perspective on a lot of things in life dramatically shifted – my thoughts, my actions, my time, were all executed with intent and a renewed zeal for life and the people I love. Do I wish things could be different? Absolutely. I’d give anything to see my son playing with his big sister right now. The way I parent, the way I view children – even those that are not mine, the way I “do” pregnancy (especially all the crappy parts), the way I live out my marriage, friendships and community have all changed – for the better.
A fellow angel mama who recently found out she was pregnant with her rainbow baby said it best, I didn’t even have to write it down, her words just stuck with me… “What a privilege, what an honor, what a blessing and the greatest miracle to be able to hold you! Whether it’s weeks, days, months, years. My goodness, what an honor.”
So far, pregnancy after losing Michael has been a bit challenging for me, not physically, but emotionally. Pregnancy after a loss is just, different. I’ll be a little frank, but losing our baby at 27 weeks was such an odd and unexpected thing. As mom’s we naturally think (or at least I did) after 12 weeks, and surely well into your second trimester (and for some sweet mothers – well into their third trimesters) you are totally in the clear. I remember laying in the hotel room, in downtown Chicago (the doctor told me to lay down and eat something sweet to “wake him up”) though I knew even before we called the doc that he was gone, but, as any mom in my situation would do – I’d try anything. I remember laying there, feeling his lifeless body in my tummy, I’d push on him, but not get any kicks back like normal. MY body failed, I was not good enough. Something I did made him die. I struggled a lot with thoughts like this after losing him, and still do, even though I know in my heart and with the consolation of the doctors and loved ones that is NOT the case. As a mom your job is to love and protect your children, when you “fail” it haunts you. As silly as I know it is in my heart, those evil, haunting thoughts creep back in.
For months after we lost our baby, I was left feeling inadequate. Incomplete. Lost. Confused. Unworthy. Broken. I wanted nothing more than to give my sweet G a sibling. Would I ever be able to get pregnant again? Would I ever be able to carry a full term baby again? The questions seemed never ending.
Fast forward a little – an answered prayer!! I knew if we were given the blessing of meeting this sweet little one, this was going to be the longest 9 months of my life. Each day, I’d subconsciously think, what does that ache mean? Should I be this tired? Is this headache normal?! Did I just feel a twinge?! For heavens sake, PUT DOWN DOCTOR GOOGLE.
My heart was pounding so heavily at one of my first appointments, that my doctor put the doppler down, looked me all wide-eyed and said, girl, I promise you, everything is going to be fine, take a deep breath and relax… ALL I CAN HEAR IS YOUR PULSE! He made me chuckle, he, while great at what he does, has the most awkward and pretty much nonexistent bedside manner, but really, my pulse was SO loud from how nervous I was.
Pregnancy after a loss has been different for me in the fact that there are a lot more emotions and I have to make more of an effort NOT to be anxious and NOT overanalyze, but rather, spend my time thanking God for how much time we’ve been given already (of course and plea for a full term healthy baby – hello I am human). So while I may not fully be able to relax and breathe until after the baby is here, as the weeks pass and the baby’s kicks get stronger, the anxiety seems to subside a little. I find myself laying awake (after going pee for the 28th time in the middle of the night) with a smile on my face, soaking up those sweet little taps on my tummy.
I guess the one thing I’ve learned is you are not in this alone. It’s a club that NO ONE really wants to be a part of, but the silver lining being the beautiful community of mothers who have walked this path before. So by the guidance of other angel mamas and keeping close to Christ – I am navigating this pregnancy with a grateful and hopeful heart.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7
Oh little one, you are so loved, so wanted, and so appreciated already!