I kept going back and forth about writing and publishing this post. It’s deeply personal, but then again, this entire blog is. I don’t want to go days or weeks without posting and this is what has been consuming my thoughts. So, here I go, bleeding heart on sleeve.
One of the hardest and most personal decisions anyone can make after the death of a child is the decision to have any more children. In the world of child death, these precious lovies are called rainbow babies. It’s a term most often associated with babies born after a miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death, but in more recent years it has been adapted by those of us who have also experience the death of a child and then have a baby. In nature, a beautiful and bright rainbow follows a storm. It is appreciated as a sign of hope and beauty, having just experienced the storm.
We thought Caleb would be our last kiddo. We never got that resounding answer to prayer we’d heard about that our family was complete, more of a, “Have more if you want to…” kind of thing. So, I relished every baby moment with him, my last. My last trip through all the glorious baby stages was amazing and I loved every second.
Then, just before he turned two, I really started to feel like we should have one more baby. Just one. That feeling really threw me for a loop. I’d sold all of our baby equipment, save the crib and high chair. I’d even sold my maternity clothes. I like even numbers. Six kids. Equal numbers of boys and girls. Everything seemed right in my head, but my heart knew there was one more baby for our family. I shared these feelings with Brig and he agreed, but the timing wasn’t right. He was in the midst of making some big decisions with his career that could have us moving and possibly leaving the company he’d spent nearly a decade with. So, we shared our thoughts with very few people and waited for the timing to feel right. This was hard for me because our kiddos are so close in age. I really wanted to have a baby as soon as I felt it was right, but we’re a team and these are team decisions.
Then, Caleb died.
Our world was turned upside down and I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to come to terms with having another baby again. I worried people would think we were trying to replace Bub, as if that was even possible. I worried about trying to teach a child about the brother who came and died before them. Brig, on the other hand, felt a major shift in what life’s priorities should be. Career and all those things that made having a baby seem like bad timing before seemed so trivial all of the sudden. Our hearts were ripped out and everything was upside down. I became consumed with the foundation and honoring Caleb. I couldn’t see how a baby would fit into the work I was doing.
As time has moved on, we’ve begun to find balance in this new normal. That heavenly prompting to add to our family has once again become a deep desire in our souls and timing seems right.
So, we prayed and went forward in faith. It has been wonderful to have something so joyous to look forward to. I recognize the tremendous blessing we have been given in that we get pregnant fairly easily.
I found out I was pregnant a few weeks ago, while Brig was away. It was so fun to plan out how to tell him. He, obviously, was over the moon. We’ve been sitting on our little secret, hoping to be able to keep it until Christmas. We’ve developed code words through the years to be able to talk about me being pregnant without others knowing and it’s been fun to break those out again. Life is full of surprises.
This past Thursday, on a 2.5 hour drive home by myself, I started to feel horrible. Migraine, extra nauseous, and, just as I got home, dizzy. By 11:30 that night, Brig had me in the ER. I couldn’t eat or keep anything down and was severely dehydrated, among other things. By 3AM, what we knew in our hearts was confirmed.
This wouldn’t be our rainbow baby.
I wasn’t going to share this. It still hurts too much. But it’s part of our journey and I committed to being open and honest.
I’ve spent a couple of days really angry with God. I didn’t go there after Caleb died. I’ve stayed strong in my faith. I’ve leaned heavily on everything I know to be right and true about our purpose in this life and the eternal nature of families. I’ve used the atonement in my life and felt so much personal growth and understanding come from this past year. I suppose I’m now feeling things I wouldn’t allow myself to feel before. The pain is compounded. I believed this was our rainbow. Our promise of good to come as we get a grip on our Caleb storm. I never expected another tidal wave, another hurricane. The holidays seem cursed for us.
Last night, with the help of family and friends, I tempered my anger enough to cry to Him. I couldn’t understand why my prayers were not answered, again. Why could we not have our miracle this time? I still don’t know.
What I do know, and was reminded of, is we are never alone. In the depths of my anger I felt alone. Not because I was, but because I’d hardened my heart. It’s beginning to soften. This adds a whole new layer to our grief journey.
I know so many people know this kind of loss. Again, I don’t know why things happen the way they do in this life. I must simply hold to the knowledge that all will be made clear in time. For now, I’ll use that as my anchor as I turn to Him to continue to soften my heart.