I feel like most individuals in the pregnancy and infant loss community are familiar with the term "rainbow baby." A rainbow baby refers to a baby that is born after someone experience a loss or a series of losses- whether it was a pregnancy or infant loss.
This term has created this image in my head where there is a tsunami. That just comes in and destroys everything in sight, without care to anyone or anything that may be in the way. Just creating havoc. This storm lasts to what feels like years. Until it eventually stops. Then the sun peaks out and a rainbow pulls through the clouds and shines across the sky. The rainbow after a storm. But then it made me question... is the storm really ever over?
I will never forget the day I found out I was pregnant with Dominic's little sister. I remember starring at the 5 positive pregnancy tests and thinking "omg, I'm really pregnant." I remember feeling so much joy that day. That I was pregnant and would be having another baby to hold in my arms again. Then, guilt immediately set in.
What about Dominic?
I shouldn't be excited... my son just died
How am I supposed to continue grieving my son, but be happy for this pregnancy?
What have I done?
I remember being so happy one moment, then crying my eyes out and not wanting to leave the bed the entire first trimester. And once January rolled around, and Dominic's first birthday was creeping up, I knew I was in trouble. I began feeling as depressed as I did when he passed away. I would get so depressed that I would have thoughts about going to heaven sooner to see my son and just be with him. Then I would immediately feel guilty for thinking that way because I was being selfish. I was pregnant and carrying a life, how could I possibly think about leaving her?
How are we supposed to even balance this? Parents of loss. We have to balance this EVERY SINGLE DAY. We have to learn to live with the fact that every single day we will wake up and want to be in heaven with our child that we have lost, but then we would be leaving our children on earth. But if we stay on earth with our children or chid, we're leaving our child in heaven behind. HOW. How do I learn to live with this?
So I did what I thought was best and got myself into counseling. Now that I am entering the third trimester, I have began to struggle with a whole new thought: "Can I even handle being in the hospital again?" Unfortunately, this pregnancy has been as high risk as my first. The biggest concern now is my high blood pressure and the amount of protein they have been finding in my urine--considering I had to deliver Dominic early last time because of preeclampsia, I am 100% worried I will go into preterm labor with Elia.
The worst part here is, Elia will be 37 weeks at exactly June 20, 2021. The day her big brother passed away. 37 weeks is when it is safe to deliver her, if I develop full on preeclampsia again. I find myself becoming overwhelmed with anxiety just thinking about walking into a hospital again. Hearing the monitors beeping. Seeing the nurses and doctors come in and out of my room. Being wheeled back into the operation room for a c-section. Having all these memories flood back to the day where Dominic was born and the journey began.
I question, how can I possibly believe that everything will be okay? Will she be born pre-term? Will she be breathing when she is delivered? Will she make it home? Will my daughter die, too? I don't know. My life is filled with uncertainty. I don't know how to live with it.
When I pray, I always begin with "I am so sorry I am mad at you. I am so sorry that I am still not able to fully trust you." I use to feel guilty for saying this. But now, I know that we have a relationship where he doesn't even care that I'm mad. He knows my heart. He knows my pain. And I know he cries with me. I always end my prayers with "thank you for taking my son with you to heaven. Thank you for protecting my daughter during this pregnancy. And thank you for continuing to listen to me."
Faith is hard. Pregnancy after loss, is hard. Learning to live after losing your child... is hard. Never in my life did I think I would be that bereaved mother. This is who I am now. A mother to a beautiful boy with the perfect heart in heaven. And a mother to a blossoming daughter who will be joining us in 9 weeks, earth side. I am a mother of two.
One thing I do know for certain. The storm will never be over. The tsunami of grief will hit even after Elia is born. There will be times where the pain will feel unbearable and never-ending. But I will endure. For the sake of my children.