Today our precious little rainbow is eight weeks old. Where has the time gone? Between Colbie’s birth, managing two kids under two, packing and moving across country, time just flew by. I will admit that it still doesn’t feel real that Colbie is finally here.

Life after going through a pregnancy after loss is very different. There are a lot of times where I find myself wanting to sit in awe because life feels so full and complete. Looking at my husband, son, and daughter makes my heart explode with happiness. Every blissful emotion inside says “we are finally a family,” although it’s not. No matter how perfect of a picture it may look on the outside for our family, one will always be missing, and that feeling kicks in as soon as I think about how different life could have been if we never lost our daughter, Amelia.

Before Colbie was born, my life felt cluttered with so many “what ifs.” My pregnancy should have been filled with joy and excitement, but the majority of it was filled with constant anxiety and worry. Each week that passed felt like such a huge milestone, but each day closer to Colbie’s due date was a reminder that not everyone leaves the hospital with their hearts full and a baby in their arms.

Now that Colbie is here, I feel that I can finally breathe again and enjoy every moment with my daughter safe in my arms. All those days filled with anxiety and worry feel like a distant memory now. I’m not sure if it’s due to how busy life has been or realizing that I cannot change that past, but since having our rainbow I feel like a different person.

Eight weeks ago, on September 18, my husband and I walked through those dreaded hospital doors again. The same doors we walked through nearly two years prior when I was induced with our angel, Amelia. Walking though those doors this time was completely different.  While we were beyond excited, we were full of anxiety over all the possible uncertainties that could happen again.

Since I had Vasa Previa that went undiagnosed with my angel’s pregnancy, we decided that a repeat C-section would be the best way to deliver our rainbow. Even though C-sections have a higher risk of complications, it was a small way we felt like we had some control of this pregnancy.

At 5:30 am, we arrived at labor and delivery. I handed over all my paperwork to the receptionist, and we were taken to the pre-op room to prepare for surgery. From the moment we entered the pre-op room until surgery began felt like a blur. My husband and I joked around while the nurses prepped, started my IV, and we waited for the anesthesiologist. While we waited, my OB came in and gave us a quick pep talk. (He was the OB on call that did my emergency C-section two years prior with our angel, so he knew we were very nervous, but he was confident that everything would be okay this time.)

Then, it was finally time.

The hardest part of the scheduled C-section was that my husband had to stay back while they took me to the OR to administer the spinal.  The nurses reassured me that he will be in the room right before surgery starts, but the moment I sat on the table, I started to cry. (With our angel, I was rushed to the OR the moment my water broke and began bleeding. Since it was an emergency, my husband was not allowed to come to the OR then.) Even though the situation was very different last time, going to the OR alone, the bright lights and smells brought back all the anxiety I had with my emergency C-section before they had to put me to sleep. I was shaking, and the flashbacks I was having made me want to just run away and hide.  Thankfully, the nurses and anesthesiologist there were all amazing and kept reassuring that everything will be okay.

Suddenly, I could feel my body becoming numb and then my husband was beside me holding my hand. Everything after that happened so fast and felt like a blur. I remember my OB reassuring us throughout the surgery that everything was going well and that I would feel a bit of pressure soon. (Honestly, I felt absolutely nothing the entire time!)

Then at 8:32 AM, we heard the most beautiful sound ever. Our beautiful little rainbow was born, and she was perfect! It was at that moment when the nurse placed her in my husband’s arms, and I got to look at her for the first time, time stood still. Tears rolled down my eyes and my heart felt so full. Nine months filled of worry, anxiety, and fearing the worst, and here before my eyes was this perfect little baby.

“Happy birthday Colbie Jane” I whispered to her.

It didn’t feel real to finally hold her in my arms, and to be honest, it still doesn’t feel real. Almost two years prior, I held Amelia as she took her final breaths before we had to say goodbye to her. Two years later, I’m holding Colbie in my arms as she takes her first breaths.

Before we knew it, we were finally discharged from the hospital and since then the days feel like they pass by in the blink of an eye. Parenting two amazing kids under two has been exhausting, but the greatest blessing I am thankful for every day.

I may never understand why we had to lose our angel just eight short days after she was born, but I like to think that maybe life has a strange way to craft us into the humans we are. If we never had lost our daughter, I wonder if we would have adopted our son or if Colbie would exist. I like to think that because of my loss, I became a better, more caring, patient person, and truly would not appreciate life or my kids as much as I do today because of my loss. My goals in life shifted, and a bigger picture in life became clear. I still hate that my husband and I had to go through the absolute worst nightmare that no parent should ever endure, though. But, I like to think that maybe Amelia is looking down on us and proud of who her parents are.

This whole experience, from Amelia’s death to Colbie’s birth has taught me a lot:

I learned that the journey of child loss has no end. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of my little Amelia, but I have learned that is possible and okay to feel happiness again.  I learned that pregnancy after loss can have two paths: the path of fear or the path of courage. Those paths are not separate, but intertwine. There will be moments you feel scared and moments you feel brave, and that is okay! The hardest part is to remain hopeful throughout the storm and to remember that no storm lasts forever. Keep that in mind and before your know it, the sun will shine and a beautiful rainbow will be before your eyes.

My pregnancy after loss journey is over now, but it is only the beginning of what the future will bring. It has been a long journey filled of fear, anxiety, worry, hope, love, struggles, brave moments, courage, and growth. I am still in awe that God has blessed us with a little sunshine during our storm with our amazing son, James, who provided us so much light throughout the darkest of days we had to endure, and blessed us again with our little rainbow, Colbie, who has been bringing us so much joy and hope for the future since she was born.

To everyone that has followed my bump day blog and is reading this post, never give up hope, because no matter how long the rain lasts, there will be a rainbow in the end. No matter how sad you may be, believe that happiness is waiting.”

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