My Rainbow Baby: The Love After the Storm

When I got pregnant, three months after losing a baby to miscarriage, I had never heard the term “rainbow baby.” And when it came time to come up with something to call that little spark growing inside of me, which of course we have always done, something new happened. I got inspiration from a song.

My first pregnancy, we called our tiny person “Wild Thing.” This was because at our first ultrasound, Baby was so active they had to wait until she calmed down to get a measurement on her. {Wild Thing’s gender was a surprise}.

The second time around, the first ultrasound showed what looked exactly like a little Gummy Bear, which is where he got his in-utero name.

My sweet little Chickpea never got any bigger than her name, but she was dubbed Coco by her big sister, which I talked about in another blog post.

And before I ever heard the term “Rainbow Baby,” I heard Katy Perry’s song “Firework.” I had heard it before and liked it, but this time something jumped at me, and I almost had to pull the car over, it affected me so much.

“After a hurricane comes a rainbow.”

Wow. Yes. It’s so true. And Katy Perry probably didn’t mean to sound all Biblical, but a rainbow is also the symbol of God’s promise to Noah to never flood the earth again. A rainbow as a promise of life.

That sounded just about right to me.

But since “Firework” didn’t really trip off the tongue, I changed it to “Firecracker.” And that’s what we called our little miracle before we knew her as Emmaline.

My Rainbow Baby: The Love After the Storm

Rainbow Baby :: Photo by From Labor to Love Photography

The One That Got Away

Losing an unborn baby, whether it’s early in the pregnancy or late, is devastating. Moms who have had a loss form a sort of reluctant sisterhood; the kind that is fiercely loyal but doesn’t ever want new members. But once you’re in the sisterhood, we all speak the same language. We all have hearts that will never quite be whole again.

I think there is a similar sisterhood of moms who have had a rainbow baby. We routinely comment on each others’ baby pictures on Facebook and pretty much can’t resist adding a rainbow emoji after the customary, “Awww! He’s getting so big!”

The Love Story After the Storm

Some people never get to have a rainbow baby. But for those who do, we know that our sweet, beautiful, miraculous rainbow baby will never “take the place” of the one that we lost. There is no “replacing” a lost baby.

But it does ease the pain, a little bit.

And when you’re chasing that crazy toddler all over creation and making sure she doesn’t stick her finger in any unguarded electrical socket and fishing Barbie purses out of her mouth, you don’t have quite as much time to be heartsick about the baby that got away.

That absolutely isn’t to say that every time “Firework” comes on the radio, a tear {or seventy-two} doesn’t roll down your cheek. Okay, maybe you have to pull over now, to sob on the side of the road.

But then you get to gather that squirmy little rainbow into your arms and squeeze. Which is rather beautifully cathartic.

My Rainbow Baby: The Love After the Storm

A Love Story All Its Own

A rather unforeseen issue with having a rainbow baby made itself apparent when we went to choose our sweet Emmaline’s baptism verse. My heart was immediately drawn to verses like “Before you were born, I chose you,” and “For this child, we have prayed.”

But I realized that these verses were more about Coco than they were about Emmaline.

Did I really want Emmaline’s whole life to be about Coco?

And that’s when it occurred to me that Emmaline is a beautiful blessing, whether she is a rainbow baby or not. She is incomparable in every way, and her life should be about her. Not about who did or did not come before.

I still find myself calling her my rainbow, my silver lining, making her life about Coco. And I try to catch myself and stop. I don’t want to give her a complex or make her think that her worth is tied entirely to Coco’s loss. Nothing could be truer. My Emmaline is a miracle all on her own.

It’s true that every rascally smile, every twinkle in her eye, every milestone that Emmaline meets wouldn’t be possible without the sacrifice of our sweet Coco. And while that is never a choice that I would make, in some way it’s tragically beautiful the way things have turned out. I mourn for Coco every day. But I wouldn’t trade my miraculous Emmaline for the world.

So until she is big enough to understand, I will try to wean myself from making Emmaline’s life all about Coco. I will hold her tight as long as she will let me. And in my heart, she will always be my Rainbow.

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