Viability. Before loss, reaching viability was never something I thought much about. Now it brings with it the comfort that if a problem were to arise, we might have options to get my baby here safely. I’ve worried myself over my water breaking or premature labor even though neither of those things caused my loss. Now I have the tiniest sliver of comfort knowing that it wouldn’t necessarily be a hopeless situation if something like that were to happen.

It also means that I’m just a month away from the third trimester. Doctor appointments are about to increase in frequency which brings with it both comfort and anxieties. I don’t particularly like going to the doctor in general, but going to the doctor during this pregnancy has been a different kind of difficult. I’ve had some amazing, compassionate providers that have helped carry me through this pregnancy so far. I’ll forever be thankful for them.

Hannah at her Rainbow Baby Shower

Author’s Personal Collection/Hannah Kirk

This week, I had my baby shower.

It’s a little earlier than most, but this is the last time I plan to travel home until after the baby is born, so we decided to go ahead with it. My one request was a rainbow theme. (Well, that and a king cake because this Louisiana native had a craving!) The shower was so beautiful. I’m incredibly grateful for the family and friends who made it happen. They were sensitive to my feelings surrounding all of this and made sure it was exactly what I needed.

I was worried that I would be really emotional at the shower, but I wasn’t. I was genuinely happy and excited. The only difficult thing to note is the intrusive thoughts that I had. I would be enjoying the party and the company of the people around me then an unpleasant thought would pop into my head. “I wonder if the baby’s still alive…” “Have I felt him move since I got here?” “What if I lose this baby too, and all of this is for nothing?” Just to name a few… For the most part, the happiness outweighed the anxiety, but this was definitely my first pregnancy to have such worrisome thoughts during a happy event. It was a strange feeling to jump between adoration over the tiny outfit in my hands to wondering if my baby will get to wear it.

A rainbow Hannah made for her rainbow baby

Author’s Personal Collection/Hannah Kirk

There was a macrame rainbow displayed on one of the tables at the shower. It wasn’t overly impressive especially compared to all of the other beautiful decorations, but it meant a lot to me. I taught myself to make macrame rainbows after my loss. My heart was aching for my son who died, and I desperately wanted to try for another baby. I felt like I needed to be doing something – anything – to prepare for my rainbow baby. I gifted a few rainbows to some friends. I made this one with the hopes of one day using it for my own baby. Having it at my baby shower was so special to me.

After the shower, when I was looking through everything, I pulled out the baby clothes that I had bought during my previous pregnancy.

As I combined them with the clothes I had just been gifted, my heart ached a little bit. Clothes passed down from one sibling to another were never supposed to be unworn. It was a hard yet necessary step. There’s satisfaction in the hope that this baby will get to wear them. It also carries with it the grief that my first baby boy never had a need for them. I’ve been sorting through my daughter’s gender-neutral baby clothes and will soon be adding those to the box for this baby also. It’s comforting to pass down items to my little one from both of his older siblings. It makes me feel like they’re all connected in a small way – like a sliver of normalcy in the midst of a situation that’s anything but.

This little one is so loved, cared for, and prayed over. I’m thankful for the love that our hometown community has shown to my family and me this week. I’ve had trouble finding the words to express my gratitude because it stretches beyond baby showers and gifts. I’m thankful for the heartfelt messages from so many directly after my loss that I couldn’t bring myself to respond to at the time. I’m thankful for the meals dropped off and prayers prayed in those early days of grief when I could barely get out of bed. I’m thankful for those who asked me how I was feeling and listened when I told my story. I’m thankful for the gentle congratulations and excitement whenever I announced that I was pregnant again. I’m thankful for the people who have been by our sides and for those who have carried us in their hearts during this season of life. That was hard to put into words when I stumbled through my thank you speech at the baby shower. But when I said “thank you,” this is what I meant.

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