On May 28th two years ago, we got the horrible news that the baby I was carrying had passed away at 12 weeks. Those were some dark days. I grieved the absence of my sweet lost one. Each morning I would wake up and have to relive the weight and truth of it all because it felt like a nightmare.
To make matters worse, the physical healing was nothing like I was prepared for. I had a D&C and the bleeding was ruthless. I felt disconnected from my husband’s grief because I feel like he had the luxury of forgetting, even for a few hours, but I had to face the truth every time I went to the bathroom. I was told the bleeding could last up to 14 days, but I bled heavily for 9 weeks. I competed in a sprint triathalon after a month and I remember feeling so accomplished at the end and then again meeting my reality in the restroom when I realized that I bled through. I could swim, bike, and run as far as I wanted, but I wouldn’t escape this nightmare. It was so real and raw and it felt like the agony would never stop.
So many mothers and even fathers reached out to me in that time. They shared the story of their losses and let me know I was not alone. They also shared the stories of their rainbow babies; the children they had after their loss.
Losing a baby is like a horrible ferocious storm. No baby can be replaced, ever, I know this first hand. I still ache for my sweet lost one. I think about how old she would be, I think about what she would look like. I miss her in my soul. However, sometimes there are rainbows after storms. They don’t take away the damage done, but they signify God’s promise and His great love for us.
Hearing these stories of pain and hope from others helped me to grieve and helped me feel understood. I was trying to be whole, trying to be positive, but my body kept bringing me back to the pain as if it had just happened that day.
One morning, I was opening at the coffee shop and I started hemorrhaging. It was dramatic and traumatizing. My boss let me leave and I had to go to the ER. Blood was running down my legs as I entered. I was vulnerable, embarrassed and scared. My thoughts were running, “Why won’t this just end? Why is this still happening? I want to move forward but how can I when I’m frozen in this sharp stinging grief and anguish?” I was desperate.
I was placed in a small room. They were busy and had forgotten I was there. Jordan went out and asked for help. They did and ultrasound and checked me and said they don’t know why I’m still bleeding but told me to take birth control for three months and it should stop.
Want to know what’s really hard to hear when you just lost a baby? That you should take birth control and push the hope of becoming pregnant again even further away.
I asked if there was another option. The Doctor was cross, rolled his eyes, and asked if it was a religious problem or something. I said, no, I am just uncomfortable with it and my body doesn’t respond well to the pill. He said that the only other option if the bleeding doesn’t stop is a hysterectomy. I snapped back and told hime that I don’t need to be threatened or bullied into making a choice, I just wanted to know my options.
I left hours later, still bleeding, still desperately sad, angry and scared of the prescription in my hand. We filled it and the next day, it was time to take it. I stood there in the kitchen for a long time. It was a beautiful day out and I remember a distinct moment. I was holding it in my hand, thinking about the weight of the choice and I just heard a voice in my head say, “just give it the weekend. Wait.” I threw it in the drawer and waited. I had friends in town that weekend. Their presence was a breath of fresh air in my heavy lungs. By the end of the weekend, the bleeding had slowed down and stopped soon after. Two weeks after that, I could have sworn I was ovulating. I even wrote it down on my calendar, because I wanted to make note of it. Four weeks later, I still hadn’t menstruated and I just had a feeling. I took a test and it was negative. Get real, Darla, would you?
The next day, I couldn’t shake the feeling. I was pregnant. I had to be. I took another test, just for kicks, and it was positive. My prayers flooded into my heart in that moment. Fear, and bartering, and praise, and joy, and anxiety, all at once.
My rainbow baby was born on April 17, 2014. He’s turning one this week. I love that baby. He is such a sweet gift to my soul. I can’t help but do the math. I couldn’t have both. I long for my Sweet Lost One to be in my arms. I want to kiss her head and tuck her in at night, just like my other babies. But, it never could have been. I wouldn’t have Daniel if I didn’t lose her. I don’t know what to do with that. I feel hurt and joy at the same exact time. My heart is both shattered and whole.
I do know one thing, that the voice in my head that told me not to not take the pill was God’s. Daniel is here by God’s sovereign plan and His hand in my life. Daniel is meant for amazing things and I am one lucky woman to be able to raise him into the man God has designed him to be. I don’t believe that my suffering was wasted. I believe that God is a redeemer and that’s exactly what He is doing when he casts a rainbow across the sky.