When you lose a baby, there is this shadow.
There is this darkness you inherit. Sometimes it fades into the background of your life, but sometimes, it does come back.
When I got a positive pregnancy test on June 7th, I bit my lip hard between my teeth and held it there while I stared into the bathroom mirror. I felt sick to my stomach, and there was that shadow, back again. Bennett, just 10 months old, looked up at me from the doorway.
That is my baby…I thought to myself as I looked into his bright blue eyes. Though he was my light, my rainbow, even he could not chase this darkness away.
I was pregnant again, and I was terrified. I wanted to be happy–this is what we wanted–but the fear overwhelmed any excitement. It was my third pregnancy, but Bennett was my only son on earth.
When you’ve lost a baby, your mindset about creating a family changes. You know what can happen. You know the pain of loss, but hopefully, like me, you do eventually know the joy of life after loss. When you’ve lost a baby, though, you wonder…
Will I lose another?
Will I ever bear a child again?
When we lost our first baby but later gave birth to our rainbow son, we knew we didn’t want to wait too long to try for another. We knew what could happen. We knew it could take forever. We knew it may never happen again for us. We knew how in love we were, with each other and with Bennett, so we didn’t want to take our chances with time. We wanted to fall in love all over again, if we were meant to be blessed with another child. The darkness, the fear of the unknown was an unfortunate driving force in our decision, but so was Bennett. We wanted him to have a sibling.
May was the first month we were open to the idea of having another baby, and weeks later, there I was, staring into the bathroom mirror, the shadow hanging over me.
Stuart soon came home from work, and I told him the news. He smiled, faintly, but I could not. He took me into his chest, and I sobbed, holding on to him for dear life. I was horrified.
Could I share my love with another child?
Would I get a chance to try?
Would I ever meet this one?
Stuart tried to keep me positive, as he always tries to do, but we still shared the same fear. We shared the same darkness, amidst our little light clinging to my leg.
We were pregnant, again, but we had been there before, twice. One had a happy ending. One did not.
We couldn’t shake the fear that followed us. The shadow that had since been hiding in the background of our life had once again reappeared.
I wished it was not welcome, but deep down, I knew…it would stay.
On Father’s Day, I started to bleed. I knew it was bad.
I had told no one we were expecting. It was as if, deep down, I knew the story would have a bad ending as soon as it started.
Each time I went to the bathroom, I saw red. And each time, I could physically feel my body trying to expel something. It just didn’t seem right, and I had been there before.
The first phone call I made was to my mother. I was hysterical. I managed to muster up the words: I think I’m having a miscarriage. She was very surprised and once again, so deeply sorry. I then talked to a close friend, one who I knew would understand. In talking with both of them, I had already accepted that it was the end. I had already accepted that the pregnancy was no longer viable. I had already accepted we had lost another baby.
And sure enough, the next day, an ultrasound confirmed the miscarriage. The physical process was nothing like that of my molar pregnancy, which I was thankful for: there was no surgery; there were no extreme symptoms; there was no painful physical recovery.
But the darkness was the same.
The doctors told me to wait, to let my “body heal,” to repair myself emotionally. After a week, my body was fine. My hormone levels had already returned to zero. I was no longer bleeding. I felt surprisingly normal.
Except my heart was still broken.
They told me to wait, but my desire to become a mother again was burning brighter than ever. I knew the only way to heal my broken heart was to try again.
It felt right. It felt like God was behind us. It felt like the best way to heal.
So we did not wait.
Four weeks after our miscarriage, Bennett handed Daddy a note. It said:
Mommy says I’m going to be a big brother!
Two weeks after our miscarriage, we conceived. Our prayers were answered. Our hearts would heal. Bennett would be a big brother. And like Bennett, this baby, too, will have his or her very own guardian angel.
And although I could have started this story here, at the happy part, it didn’t feel honest without acknowledging another little life we lost before we got here. I wanted to honor that life just as much as this one.
Although this story started with a shadow, it ends with a rainbow.