Make me a rainbow, shine down on my Mother. She’ll know I’m safe with you when she stands under my colors.” (If I Die Young, The Band Perry)
This song has great meaning to me because I heard it when I was on my way to the first ultrasound with my now middle child (7 weeks pregnant). Husband was driving; I was anxious in the passenger seat. I watched out the window trying to distract myself with scenery and music. When I heard the line in the song above, I spotted a rainbow out the window. I knew it was a gift. A baby that is born after a pregnancy or infant loss is called a rainbow baby.
In January of 2011 we lost twins at 14 weeks gestation. 14 weeks we felt was safe enough for us to start to be excited, to tell the family and friends, and to start planning. When our dreams came crashing down I felt out of control of my own body and deep loss. I felt incapable, useless. Why didn’t I get to keep them? Am I not meant to be a mother? The day we went for the final ultrasound to confirm there was nothing left in my womb, I couldn’t stay strong. I walked out afterwards to my (at the time) one son was and his grandmas. They had all been hoping for a miracle, and when they saw my face they saw the truth. My precious two year old climbed on my lap and wiped away my tears. We had told him that he was going to be a big brother of two babies. As he wiped away my tears he just said “babies, babies…”
The months following the loss of the twins were some of the hardest of my life. I could not get out of bed or go to work. I did not want to face anyone, or have them see my face. I couldn’t take anymore pain. I didn’t want to answer the phone. I had no words. I didn’t want to eat, I didn’t feel hungry; just empty. I forced myself back to work. I couldn’t go alone; someone would drive me and pick me up. I would have panic attacks at work and some were so bad that the aid car was called. I was diagnosed with “bronchial spasms”. In other words, my grief was too much to bear and my body didn’t know what to do. I got sick, and coughed my broken heart out of rhythm.The night terrors and flashbacks started, along with the debilitating anxiety and depression. I had tried to move on from the abuse. I had ignored it and told myself that it wasn’t a big deal, but I could no longer hide from the memories. Mom was the greatest, and Husband felt helpless. I couldn’t tell him what I needed. Dad got frustrated because no one could fix it for me. I told him “I know, I’m broken and I don’t know what to do.” Family members rallied around me once they noticed that I was struggling. My cousin bought me meditation classes which I attended. My grandpa would ask me how I was doing. Then after I would leave he would tell Mom he was worried for me and she needs to take care of me; not to worry about his failing health. Spending time with family was a huge source of comfort, but they couldn’t always be there. I sought help. I found an amazing counselor that helped me through my grief and trauma. She suggested vitamins and told me what type of foods to eat. She told me to stop asking “why” because it was a deflection, and she helped me through the reality and acceptance.
I slowly started feeling stronger and we have now gone on to add two more boys to the family (the one from the beginning of the story and another “surprise” two years later). I don’t think about the babies as much as I used to. It is usually only in the times when I feel like a horrible mother and kick myself while I’m down and feeling like I don’t deserve them. It is these times that I pick myself up and tell myself to stop it. I know this is not how my children see me. I am their fierce warrior mother. I love them whether they are sitting on my lap or forever in my heart. I do not wonder about those babies anymore, I know they are safe, I stood under their colors. They led me to healing.
Our rainbow baby