Having a crying baby in your arms after delivery is an underrated miracle. At least for moms like me. You see, my journey into motherhood was not a smooth one by any stretch of the imagination. My first pregnancy went on without a hitch until my routine 28-week appointment when I was told, “Your baby no longer has a heartbeat.” At that very moment, I became a statistic. I was that 1 in 160 women who would go on to deliver my son, DJ, who was born stillborn. My introduction into pregnancy and motherhood was laced with tragedy, sorrow, grief, sadness, and confusion, sprinkled with fragments of gratitude and love.
After seven agonizing months of trying to sift through my ever-changing feelings of grief, I became pregnant, again, for the second time with my rainbow baby, Grayson.
Because my first experience with pregnancy ended in loss I was a nervous, anxious, mess. After you experience baby loss you don’t actually fully exhale until you have a living, breathing baby in your longing arms. I remember the first 28-weeks of my rainbow pregnancy being on pins and needles. Every day I was scared that the shoe would drop and I would lose my second son. I was afraid to bond with Grayson in the womb at first because I didn’t want to grow an attachment to my baby only to lose him down the line.
Unfortunately, these are the woes that pregnancy/baby loss bring about after getting pregnant again. But after hearing my sons strong heartbeat at his 28-week appointment (the milestone where I lost my firstborn son DJ) and reading the book The 4:8 Principle by Tommy Newberry, I had a total mindset adjustment. Instead of focusing on my negative, scared, worry-filled feelings, I decided to narrow my focus and reposition my mindset to the positive things occurring during my pregnancy. I used mediums like prayer, journaling, affirmations, reciting inspirational quotes, recording personal vlogs, and more to keep my mind aligned with the positivity I was desperately seeking. I wish I could tell you that once I made the mindset realignment that the rest of the pregnancy was smooth sailing. But that was not the case.
Grayson was born six weeks early at 34-weeks gestation.
Because he came before 36-weeks, his lungs weren’t fully developed, causing him to have some minor breathing issues, which landed him a week-long Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) stay. While he was in the NICU he had to overcome his breathing issues, being underweight, regulating his temperature, and conquering jaundice. As a former baby loss mom, seeing her rainbow baby in the NICU hooked up to an assortment of tubes, it caused me to break down, because my journey into motherhood was riddled with pitstops, downfalls, and setbacks. We were ultimately blessed to bring our rainbow baby home. He has been an absolute joy for the last three and a half years. I couldn’t imagine my life without him. In true rainbow baby form, he paints my life with color with his bright smile, infectious laugh, inquisitive mind, tenacity, drive, and self-determination.
With my pregnancy history beginning in loss, followed by an encore of a premature birth resulting in a NICU stint, I’m sure you could see why I would be nervous getting pregnant a third time.
My third pregnancy with my son Gavin (I’m officially a #boymom) was going quite well. I had a black female doctor (OBGYN) which I intentionally sought after, barring the current climate in the medical field with the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the country going to black women. Because of my history with preterm labor, she referred me to a perinatal high-risk doctor. In tandem, these amazing doctors eased my fears and worries and developed a tailor-made plan for me to follow to help me deliver a healthy baby at the end of my pregnancy journey.
I was placed on a suppository (progesterone), which in theory helps keep your cervix intact until you get to your intended due date. My duo of doctors worked hard to get me to full-term (at least 37-weeks). I convinced myself I would make it to the allusive magic number of 40-weeks, but my little guy had other plans. Not only did Gavin come five-weeks early, at 35-weeks, the day after my husband’s 35th birthday (talk about the ultimate birthday gift), he was born during the global pandemic of Coronavirus COVID-19. Gavin also came in the midst of us moving into a new house, on top of our family dealing with the stress of two immediate family members fighting for their lives as they battled and ultimately beat COVID-19. We had a lot on our plates.
When I was in the hospital, there was a lot of hand sanitizer, washing of hands, gloves, masks and other precautions to maintain the safety of ourselves and our baby boy.
While I was bummed I could not bring my doula into the delivery room with me (because of the strict one guest only per delivery policy), I felt extremely calm and at peace with my birthing experience despite the extreme pain I was in with each passing contraction. My husband was an incredible support and cheerleader for me. My golden baby (the baby born after your rainbow baby) was born healthy on April 11, 2020, a day we will never forget. I was overcome with emotion when his tiny 5.26lb frame was placed into my arms. As I stared into his beautiful brown eyes all the years of loss, pain, grief, anxiety, and more melted away. Although my journey has been unconventional, to carry the title mommy to two miracle babies and one angel, it is uniquely mine and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.