Tag Archives | pregnancy and infant loss awareness day

Remembering Our Babies: Rainbows

My third baby would be five years old next month. I shared the details of my loss in my post for Remembering Our Babies last year. You can read that here. Losing a baby marks you. It changes you. As I shared in that post, when I got pregnant again after my loss, it was right around the due date for my loss baby. I spent the entire first trimester of my next pregnancy praying that God would let me keep this baby. That everything would be okay. When my son was born, I was keenly aware of how precious a  miracle he was. He was my “rainbow baby” – I never wanted to take him for granted.

 

My rainbow baby last year with my Remembrance candle.

Urban Dictionary has this to say about the term “rainbow baby.”

A “rainbow baby” is a baby that is born following a miscarriage or still birth.

In the real world, a beautiful and bright rainbow follows a storm and gives hope of things getting better. The rainbow is more appreciated having just experienced the storm in comparison.

The storm (pregnancy loss) has already happened and nothing can change that experience. Storm-clouds might still be overhead as the family continue to cope with the loss, but something colourful and bright has emerged from the darkness and misery.

That is what my rainbow baby meant to me. I’ve been pregnant again since giving birth to Isaiah, and while I still had some fears and cherished the pregnancy, it just wasn’t the same. Isaiah’s birth had healed a part of me that was wounded after losing Ahava.

I love all of my children equally, but I’ve come to realize in the last several months that I do interact with Isaiah differently. He breastfed longer than any of my other children have up to this point (Nehemiah is still nursing). At four years old, he still comes into our bed at night, something I had put a stop to by the time Makaylah was two and by the time Sophia was three. In many ways, I’ve allowed him to stay a baby. There are probably elements of that which I need to work on, and now that I’ve recognized it, maybe I will be able to do that.

So today as I remember the baby I lost, I reflect on how my life has been changed. The way my life is still different because Ahava is not here. I’m a different person. And I always will be.

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Remembering Our Babies: Breast Milk After a Loss

Thank you for joining us as we Remember Our Babies this week, October 9-15th. We hope you will read our other posts for this week, and take a look at our care package giveaway. If you’ve experienced a loss, we invite you to link up your story here or share it in the comments. You don’t have to remember alone.

There are so many painful parts of losing a baby, and so many painful reminders of what won’t be. One particularly painful reminder that can catch women off-guard is breast milk production. Even without a baby nursing and stimulating production, for some women pregnancy and early birth can trigger their bodies to start producing milk.

I’ve lost a baby to miscarriage, and I’ve breastfeed four children. For some reason though, the thought of dealing with engorgement and leaking, with no baby to feed, had never occurred to me until a friend of mine went through it. I’ll be honest and say at the time I went to Twitter and typed through my tears begging for suggestions on how to help. My heart was so broken for her I had a hard time doing any research on my own.

So today as we remember our babies, I want to share a few resources I’ve found since then. If you find yourself in this situation, or if you are supporting and walking beside someone who is, I hope they will be helpful to you. If nothing else, I hope that we can bring some awareness to this aspect of pregnancy and infant loss.

If you’ve ever needed to dry up your breast milk, what was the most effective method for you? Any tips or suggestions you can share for women going through this difficult experience?

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Remembering Our Babies: Melissa’s Story

We are observing Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day this week on the blog, in honor of our lost babies. To read more about our heart for this week, read Jeniffer’s post here. We would be honored if you would consider sharing your own story here or in the comments. You don’t have to remember alone.

Next month my baby would be four years old.

I let that truth sit in my heart, and I feel the ache again. Again I wonder what that face would look like. Boy? Girl? Curly hair or straight? What color are the eyes that smile at me? And as I let myself feel the pain of the child that will never be, there is also the taste of guilt. The guilt that I have to pause to feel the pain. The guilt that time has turned the stabbing heartbreak into a dull ache.

I still remember when I found out we were expecting – our third! I had a three year old and a one year old, but I was instantly excited. Things were tight, but God has always provided for our needs, so I knew we’d be okay. I cut back to one soda a day right away. I started reading about cloth diapers, for the first time! Thinking about names. We were getting ready to tell our friends. I was feeling great, no morning sickness like my other pregnancies, and I was so thankful!

But then one morning, when I was eight weeks along, it all changed.

I woke up cramping and discovered I was bleeding.

Then came the E.R. visit.

The terrifying ultrasound, screen turned where I couldn’t see – why wouldn’t they let me see? The ultrasound technician, asking if it was my first. “No, my third – I have a one year old and three year old.” The disproving, “Ooohh – then you already have your hands full.” The feeling that I had no right to grieve if I lost this baby.

Discovering I was losing even more blood, and I knew before the doctor said the words.

The grief, worse than I could have ever imagined.

The anger. At the hurtful, foolish things people said in an attempt at being comforting. At God. Why let me get excited about a baby who I wasn’t going to get to hold? Why not heal my baby if something was wrong?

I wanted answers. I wanted to demand an audience with God, like Job, and demand He explain to me why I had to hurt like this.

Then one day I heard the song Held, by Natalie Grant. It was so raw, so honest. Two months is to little… Two months was all my baby had in my womb.  We’re asking why this happens… To us who have died to live… It’s unfair. But the song goes on, and it didn’t give me an answer, but God used it to reassure me that He was holding me through the pain. That He hadn’t left me, or my child. That I wasn’t forsaken or abandoned.

I still struggled with how to grieve, how to mourn, how to say goodbye. One day I was home by myself, while my husband had taken my girls to church. I spent the morning listening to Held, pouring over the Psalms, crying out to God, and finally went and pulled out the baby name book I had shoved away after that awful E.R. visit.

Through tears, I named my baby. Ahava Adriel – “Beloved member of God’s flock.” It was a first step towards healing.

I still cried every month when I got my cycle. The fresh reminder that I wasn’t still carrying my baby was more than I could take some months. Something deep inside me desperately wanted to be pregnant again, but that felt like a betrayal too. As if I just wanted to “replace” the baby I lost, and how was that right? November came, and with it my due date, and no baby to bring home. About a month later, I found out I was expecting my now three year old. I must have conceived right around my due date. Because of the dates, its almost impossible that if Ahava had survived that my Isaiah would be here today.

That fact alone caused me a lot of doubting and conflict in the early months of my pregnancy with Isaiah. I was also almost crippled with fear at times of losing him. I was thankful for every day that I felt like puking, since it reassured me that my hormones were doing what that they should be, unlike last time. I recorded in my prayer journal more than once, “God, thank you that today I am still pregnant.” I purchased a book, Pregnancy After a Loss, that really helped me process through all my fears and conflicting emotions, and I was finally able to stop being afraid.

I still struggle today. I don’t want to forget, but I’m not always sure how to remember. “How many children do you have?” It almost feels wrong to answer four, but I don’t know how to answer five either. My girls were both so young at the time of my loss that we didn’t tell them anything about it when it happened. I haven’t figured out how to tell them now, but I want them to know too. I am contemplating bringing it up this Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day, as I prepare to light my candle.

I am thankful for the expectation and hope that one day I will get to meet my Ahava Adriel. Until that day I will pause and I will remember.

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