[Trigger warning: This essay discusses one woman's journey with miscarriage.]
I'll never forget Mother's Day weekend in 2017 when I found out I was pregnant for a second time. For four additional weeks, I silently celebrated the good news (along with my husband, close family and a few friends). I felt amazing. My son, who had just turned 2 years old, was going to be a big brother.
Although it was early on in the pregnancy, I found and bought the perfect big brother shirt for him. I was excited for all of the pregnancy reveals, ultrasounds, shopping and nursery planning that would join me for the next nine months. For those few weeks, I was on cloud nine.
But, then everything changed.
It was like any other Monday— I was working and taking a quick break for lunch. Something about that day was different, however, I just didn't feel pregnant. Was I overreacting? Maybe. Even though I was not having the common miscarriage symptoms like the bleeding or the cramping, I still had a gut feeling that something was wrong. And I was right.
That was the day I found out I was miscarrying my baby at nine weeks. I'll never forget the ultrasound. There was no little flicker of a heartbeat and before the doctor said a word, I knew what was happening to me. The moments after that appointment are still a blur. There was crying and a lot of it. Then the actual miscarriage happened over the course of that week. It was the longest week of my life.
I cried for days, then weeks and did my best to pick myself up and move forward. No matter my emotional state, whenever I was with my son, I would put the tears aside to be his mom. It didn't get easier right away. I had many sleepless nights which turned into nightmares about getting pregnant again. I remember my husband even saying to me that if another pregnancy was too painful, it was okay.
I was never a fan of the expression "everything happens for reason" until September 21, 2017. Only a few short months after my miscarriage, I found out I was pregnant again. This time it was different. We didn't run and tell people right away. I was more cautious than ever before. Once the pregnancy symptoms came, I felt a huge relief. The nightmares didn't stop just after the first trimester, but with each passing day, the pregnancy was a little bit easier for me.
Fast forward to June 2, 2018, almost a year to the miscarriage date in the same hospital, I held Scarlett Paige in my arms at 10:37 am. This time holding a baby felt slightly different. Of course, I felt all of the similar happiness and joy like I did with my son, but this time I was holding my rainbow baby. All of the internal pain that I went through for the past year began to fade away.
Even though my miscarriage experience led to a happy ending, I can still always connect to the heartbreak that I felt those several months. I don't think about it as often, but whenever I hear or see the word miscarriage, it crosses my mind. Every experience is different. Even if you were only pregnant for a day before you found out you were having a miscarriage, that's one more day that you thought you were having a baby. Do not be afraid to grieve longer than other people who have had miscarriages. Every story is unique.
My "everything happens for a reason" is my daughter. A painful experience led me to her. Each time I hold her, I feel a special kind of love. A love that came at a time when I needed it the most. Every time I hold her, I am in awe of her beauty. I cherish the snuggles no matter how tired I feel that day. I stare at her big round eyes and imagine what she will be like as a toddler, a teenager and a grown woman. When I am holding her I feel comfort like no other.
If you are expecting your rainbow baby, cherish the first time your child is placed in your arms. All of those ups and downs led you to this moment. Your experience most likely will feel different than mine, but no matter the differences I can promise you it will be just as magical.