Pregnancy after loss: it’s terrifying. I was not prepared. Especially since I found out I was pregnant again just two months after losing my twin boys, Emmett and Wyatt. I felt like I didn’t have time to mourn them. I wasn’t mentally ready to be pregnant again, but of course, I was so happy. Every week was a celebration for me that my baby was still healthy and doing perfectly. It was not sinking in that it was real until I had him in my arms. My birth story is an ordinary one, and it went smoothly.

I was 39 weeks and 2 days when I gave birth, and I chose an elective induction. Since I gave preterm birth at 23 weeks and 4 days with my twin boys, I wasn’t really sure I wanted him to come any earlier than 40 weeks. However, after talking it over with my husband and my doctor, that’s what we decided.

On September 25, 2023, I checked in at 7:00 AM.

The nerves were settling, and I had butterflies, knowing that I would meet my rainbow baby soon! I had been 3 cm dilated since 37 weeks, so once we got started, it didn’t take long. I got the epidural as soon as I started feeling very painful contractions. I tried to hold out, but I could not. Props to women who can! Truly.

My epidural was not working correctly at first so they gave me more, and then I was too numb. I couldn’t lift my legs, move my toes, or push. They checked me and said he was right there, but I could not feel the pressure like I had last time! My doctor said, “We’re going to have to stop this epidural so you can push.” So we did and waited until it wore off some. Once I started pushing, it happened rather quickly.

I pushed for about 10 minutes, and my beautiful baby boy arrived at 3:28 PM.

Brooks as a newborn with angel wing necklace - a blissfully ordinary rainbow birth story

Author’s Personal Collection/Janet Espey

I got a rush from seeing him, wide-eyed and beautiful. When I heard that cry, his beautiful first cry, the tears came pouring for me, and for my husband. Who would have thought a baby cry was such an amazing thing to hear for the first time? It was such a rush of happiness just taking over my body. I could not believe we made it. My OB said to us, “You guys deserve this,” and he was right. We deserved a healthy baby here with us. It was such a magical emotional experience that I didn’t get to have the first time I gave birth to my twin boys, since I knew one of my boys had a 0% chance of surviving due to his water breaking very, very early, and my other boy had a very slim chance just because he was born too early.

Brooks in an infant bodysuit that says, "Heaven sent with kisses from my brothers." - a blissfully ordinary rainbow birth story

Author’s Personal Collection/Janet Espey

Brooks was 7 pounds, 10 ounces, and he was absolutely perfect. I looked at him, and I felt so much love it was overwhelming. And then, I felt sadness for my first babies and guilt for loving and being so happy for this one. I just knew I would be overprotective and full of anxiety so I didn’t lose him too. That is the truth of being pregnant after loss or parenting after loss. No matter how much you love your rainbow baby, your angel babies never leave you. The trauma of the loss and the loss itself never ever leave you.

You have pregnancy after loss and think once you have them, you’re safe, and it will be okay.

Janet and Brooks - a blissfully ordinary rainbow birth story

Author’s Personal Collection/Janet Espey

Parenting after loss is just a different step in the process. It is extremely hard but also very rewarding. Brooks was a missing piece. I needed to feel some kind of happiness again. Every day, he fills my heart with so much love. I have spent the first two months of his life just looking at him and crying because of the overwhelming love I feel for him and then the feeling of wishing I had all three of my boys home with me.

Janet and Brooks - a blissfully ordinary rainbow birth story

Author’s Personal Collection/Janet Espey

A lot of parents always say, “I wish time would slow down,” or “I wish my baby would stop growing.” I used to say that about my niece and nephew. After I’ve had my two losses, those statements are something I don’t ever want to say. I love watching him grow. I love that he is here with me and able to grow up. I really believe my boys sent us their brother to help us through the suffocating grief of losing them, and everyday they are watching over all of us.

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