I didn’t know I needed my rainbow until she was in my arms.
When people implied I was crazy for trying again after loss … they were wrong.
I needed to know what it felt like to have life in my womb one more time.
Feel the excruciating pain as my body did the job my will could not force, and bring her writhing body into my world.
Hear the oncoming nurse say with joy, “Just 2 hours old. God, I love my job.”
See her tiny hand grasp my husband’s finger.
Watch as my older children delight over her tiny squeaks and delicate toes.
Inhale her soft scent with my every breath, her body nestled peacefully on mine.
Feel her suckle again, and again, and again as my body worked so hard to nourish us both.
Delight in her first smile. Her precious giggle. Her gleeful laugh.
Protect her in every way that I could. And stress about every way that I couldn’t.
Hand her to doting grandparents and aunts and uncles, convinced that we did not just add to the love in our family … we exponentially multiplied it.
Relish in her satin skin and downy head.
Hold her, rock her, bathe her, feed her, carry her, nurse her, sing to her, cry over her, cry with her, comfort her, let her comfort me.
Admire the way her one ear has a notch on one side, and wonder that no one ever on earth before or since was made quite like her.
Count every day, every month, as her first birthday came flying toward us faster than I was ready for .. then sailed far too quickly behind.
Encourage each wobbly step until she learned to run.
Kiss every boo-boo, bandage every scrape, hold her when she cried, and whisper gently, “Mama’s got you.” Then pray I always will.
Hold that tiny hand, the one that use to search for my hair when we nursed so she could twirl the dusky strands through her fingers, and wonder when she’s going to start to let go.
Say good-bye to her first and second year, constantly reminding myself that I’m not losing a baby … I’m gaining a toddler. And that is a beautiful place to be.
Discover her favorite imaginary game is to play kitty. Simply uttering a “meow” will transform her into the most doting, attentive mama cat who relishes giving hugs to whichever one of us uttered the sound.
Push her on the swing set in our backyard, marveling that such a tiny thing is oh-so-very brave.
I needed this. All of it.
I didn’t know it, not in the particulars anyway, when my husband and I agreed it was time to try again. But every day since we’ve discovered her presence in our lives, I find new ways parenting her brings me deep joy.
Maybe if we had said no, one more loss is too much … or maybe if our doctors had said, “it can’t be done,” I would’ve found peace with the family we had. I would have had to. I would have been OK.
But now that she is here in my arms, I can honestly say I needed my rainbow baby.
So no, trying again and again and again until she came into our arms was not crazy. Or irresponsible, or foolish, or any other manner of things people like to say when they truly don’t understand.
For our family … it was the only thing that made any sense at all.
For those of you still trying, still holding on to hope, no matter your odds: You are not crazy. You are not asking for it. You are not being irresponsible. You’re simply holding out for a love you have to give … a love you need to give.
Your journey may end with a rainbow baby in your heart. Or with a rainbow baby in your arms. But no matter your individual journey, know we’re holding space for you … and all the love you have to give.