A rainbow baby is a name coined for a healthy baby born after losing a baby due to miscarriage, infant loss, stillbirth, or neonatal death.
The American Pregnancy Association, estimates that 10 to 25 percent of pregnancies result in this type of spontaneous loss. But the exact number of rainbow babies born every year isn’t known, largely because miscarriages are often under or unreported.
March of 2017, I became apart of this daunting statistic. We experienced our first miscarriage at 12 weeks. To say that this was one of the hardest moments of my life would be an understatement. I knew exactly what was happening and what my body was physically doing, but mentally accepting it, that was the toughest part. I remember thinking, “This can’t be happening to ME…”
The night before we went in to get confirmation that I had indeed lost the baby, I remember taking a bath and holding my belly as I prayed and sobbed. “Please Lord, this can’t be happening to me, please Lord…”
But the next day, as we listened to silence, and saw no movement on the ultrasound, it was confirmed that we had lost the baby.
We were then given the choice of inducing a natural miscarriage with a medication called misoprostol or having a D & C at the hospital. We choose to take the medication and to naturally miscarry in the privacy of our home.
I don’t know what I was expecting, but I know that I was not emotionally or mentally prepared for what I took place that day. When contractions started and I felt the urge to push, I got out of bed and squatted over our toilet.
In hindsight, it totally makes sense that my body would expel the embryo, but seeing it there, in my toilet, lifeless….It’s an image I’ll never forget for as long as I live.
My husband and I had the remains cremated and casted inside of the most beautiful, porcelain blue bird. I look at this beautiful mama bird as I type this now. Knowing that the remains of my baby now rest inside her belly forever more. She is a reminder of the life that could have been. She is a reminder of the experience that DID happen to me, that DOES happen to so many of us: The loss of a child and the brunt of emotions that come from the betrayal of your womb as she rejects something you want to keep so badly.
I wish I could tell you that was the end of our miscarriage journey, but it wasn’t.
When I went for my follow up appointment, my doctor noticed that I still had quite a bit of tissue left in my uterus. The natural miscarriage was not successful and I was at high risk for infection or scar tissue forming in my uterus. What I thought was just going to be a check up appointment, quickly turned into an emergency D & C.
My best friend came with me to my appointment and was in the waiting room with my then 1 year old son. My husband was at work and offered to come, but I told him I’d be fine, it was just a little procedure. Right? Ha!
As I write, I reflect on my decision not to have him there with me. I’m still not sure if I would do it differently though. Apart of me is ok with my decision to go it alone, because till this day, my husband has never seen me in such pain before (both my deliveries were pain free and I smiled the whole way through lol). But another part of me wishes it was him holding my hand and not a complete stranger, who I feel I burdened with my pain and grief in those few moments that the procedure lasted.
I had the option of being put to sleep with a general anesthesia, or local anesthesia with numbing medicine. I was, and still am till this day, terrified of being put under, and have never experienced general anesthesia. And seeing as most of the tissue had already passed from the natural miscarriage, I elected to have the procedure done under a local anesthetic. Meaning, I was awake for the whole thing. The doctor did numb the area, but it wasn’t very effective. I felt and heard everything.
Till this day, it was one of the most painful experiences of my life. My doctor, God bless her, kept apologizing as she was scrapping and sucking the tissue from my uterus. “I have to get it all out sweetie, I’m so sorry…” she repeated. Tears streamed down my face as I held the hand of the nurse trying not to vomit from the pain. I remember thinking, “Why can’t this just be over already…? This is too much pain…”
Flash forward 6 weeks later. My husband and I decided we would try again. I had 3 chemical pregnancies. Back to back. I was devastated. And ready to give up. Or at least take a break from trying. It was too much for my heart. I felt like I was just losing my babies and it was best if we just stopped trying.
But, we decided to give it one more go, and then we’d take a break.
August 23rd, 2017. We had a positive pregnancy test.
I remember thinking, “This is a strong line! I think this one is gonna stick!”
And she did….
My rainbow baby, Miss Cassiopeia Rachel Dailida was born April 17, 2018.
I take this day to reflect on the storm, the pain, the dark days, the grief. I reflect as a testament that even after the fiercest storms, there is still beauty, there is a rainbow.
To any mamas who have experienced a miscarriage, know that you are not alone. It is ok to be sad, it is ok to grieve, it is ok to be angry. It’s ok to feel those feelings and to feel them hard.
But know this; the storm will pass. Let me say that again. THE STORM WILL PASS! And when that rainbow appears, it doesn’t mean that the storm never existed, or that you’re not still dealing with the damage and debris that storm incited. For the significance of rainbows are not to erase the storm, but to remind us, that even after the darkest of clouds, and fiercest winds, there is still beauty in this world.
“Every time I look into my daughters eyes, I’m reminded and humbled by the beauty of life, of hope. For she painted away my dark clouds with the colors of the rainbow…”– Jasmine Dailida