I wasn’t aware of this until I saw a few posts about it on Facebook, but now that I know what today is, I wanted to write about it. A sweet friend messaged me earlier, telling me she was thinking of me today and it really meant a lot to me. If you didn’t already know, today is National Rainbow Baby Day.My husband Jeremy and I have been praying for our rainbow baby since our first loss back in January. We found out we were pregnant on Christmas Day last year, and we were overjoyed! We went to our first prenatal appointment, where we got to see our baby on ultrasound. The heartbeat was there, but just barely, I believe it was around 68. Our baby was slowly dying on the screen in front of us, and we lost him or her about a week later. I was devastated. I will never forget the pain I was left with after it was confirmed at our final appointment. The doctor kept telling me things like, “It wasn’t your fault.” “It was nothing you did.” “You can’t blame yourself.” and “You and your husband can try again once your body heals from everything.” Despite him saying these things to me, I still blamed myself.Jeremy and I were married on August 6, 2018 (we had an intimate ceremony at our church with just our parents and my sisters), but we celebrated our wedding with friends and family on December 20, 2018. We weren’t actually trying for a baby yet, as we were focused on planning our Christmas wedding. I kept thinking about how on that day, I had been lifting heavy crates of plates and glasses to place onto guest tables. I was in a rush and running around, trying to make sure everything was set up. Don’t get me wrong, I had an amazing team of help, but like most brides, I was still very stressed. Had I known I was pregnant, I would have been so much more cautious about this.Then, I kept thinking back to our honeymoon in Broken Bow, Oklahoma. Jeremy and I had rented a cute little cabin with a hot tub included. One evening around midnight I started having hunger pains, and I literally started raiding the fridge (we had eaten dinner only a few hours before). I made myself a hot dog loaded up with chili, onions, cheese, mustard and ketchup, and potato chips on the side. It wasn’t like me to be so hungry at midnight, but I really didn’t think anything of it. I just thought I hadn’t eaten enough at dinner, and that’s why I was hungry. That was my first sign that I was pregnant and I didn’t catch it. The second sign was that I was going to the bathroom to empty my bladder more often. Again, I thought nothing of it. “I just had too much coffee earlier.”, I kept thinking.
The cabin we stayed at in Broken Bow, OK.
Jeremy and I sat in the hot tub pretty much every night of our stay in Broken Bow. As you know, that is a big no-no for pregnant women. Some doctors also say that women shouldn’t eat hot dogs during pregnancy, due to the risk of Listeria. Of course, there are many mixed opinions about this. The same goes for having a lot of caffeine.
I kept thinking, I shouldn’t have been lifting all of those crates full of plates and glasses. I shouldn’t have gotten into the hot tub. I shouldn’t have eaten that hot dog. I shouldn’t have been drinking all of that coffee. There was no way I could have known, but I was still overwhelmed with so much guilt. Nothing anyone said to me could take that away.
About three months after our first miscarriage, we found out we were pregnant with our rainbow baby. I was full of mixed emotions. I was happy, but also extremely scared. I didn’t want to go through another miscarriage. It was the worst pain physically and emotionally, that I had ever experienced. Jeremy and I decided to announce to our family and friends immediately. We wanted them to pray for the health of the baby and pregnancy, and we wanted the support in case anything did go wrong. We made our announcement on Facebook on Easter Sunday, after telling all of our extended family.Everything was going well! We went to our first prenatal appointment and we saw a strong heart rate of 133. The baby was measuring right on track, and the doctor gave us a due date for Christmas Day. Wow, I thought, how special! Christmas is special for many reasons, the main one being that it’s the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Not only that, but my grandma was born on Christmas Day also. I wrote a poem about her last week titled, Catharine Rose. I was very close to her, and still miss her so much. I was looking forward to our son or daughter sharing a birthday with her, and even had the plan to name our baby Catharine Rose Stout had it been a girl. I was finally allowing myself to feel excited, Jeremy and I couldn’t wait!We made it to nine weeks. May 24th, after I had gotten home from work, my mom had just gotten off the phone with my dad. She explained to me, that my grandpa (my dad’s dad) wasn’t doing well. He was in the hospital and it had been decided that we were going to make the trip to Indiana to see him. My sisters were packing their bags and would be making their way over to the house so we could all leave. Both my mom and my husband were telling me that it was probably best for me to stay home and rest, as they weren’t sure that being in the car for fifteen hours was the wisest choice.
The decision to stay home was made for me, when blood started trickling down my leg. I knew right then what was happening. My husband held me as we called the emergency number for my obstetrician’s office. The nurse on the phone told me not to wait, to go straight to the ER. It was there, that the doctor told us we had lost our baby. We sat there in the hospital room with our hearts shattered on the floor. The only thing we were left with were papers about “Fetal Demise”. I was inconsolable that night.
Today is August 22nd. Had our first pregnancy been healthy, I would have been due ten days from now, on September 1st. Had our second pregnancy been healthy, I would have been 22 weeks pregnant. By now I would have known our baby’s sex, and I would be feeling his or her kicks. I’m not saying any of this to gain your sympathy, please don’t. I’m writing this to share my own personal experience with you. It is also my way of coping. Writing is great for that!
I am thankful to say that my husband and I are both at peace about this now, and I no longer blame myself. We know God has His reasons for everything, and we know in His timing, He will bless us with another rainbow baby. My prayer is that our story will be able to help other couples who are going through this as well.
Today is not only a celebration for rainbow babies, but it is also a day of remembrance; a day of reflection for those who have experienced pregnancy loss or stillbirth. If you are going through this, my heart goes out to you! I pray that God provides you peace and comfort. If you need someone to talk about it with who understands, I’m here. I want to conclude this post with a Bible verse:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
-2 Corinthians 1:3-4
© 2019 Angela J. Stout