I have a large family, by current standards. I am the proud mother to five beautiful children. I conceived all of them easily, had uneventful pregnancies and easy vaginal deliveries. Sounds like a dream come true. Not exactly.
My husband and I always planned to have six children. We were happily pregnant, with our caboose baby, when all my good pregnancy mojo disappeared. We lost our sixth baby at 12 weeks gestation. I was devastated. After a few months I became pregnant with my Rainbow Baby. I was a few weeks pregnant with baby number 7 when my former due date arrived. I mourned the loss of my last baby again as that date passed, but I was comforted and reassured by the new baby growing inside me. My seventh pregnancy only made it to 7 weeks. A new storm overtook me. I almost lost myself. It seemed strange to many people that I was so sad. It is hard to explain how it feels. I felt selfish for being so sad, especially when I have friends that struggled to have even one child. I know that my children are a blessing and I am grateful. It was impossible to talk my heart into understanding that I should feel grateful and not miserable.
After two losses, we decided to not try for any more rainbows.
I have secondary infertility due to hormone imbalances. Although it is possible for me to become pregnant, it is difficult to sustain the pregnancy. When I learned my body was the reason my babies died it felt like my heart had been sucked from my chest. I hated myself for ignoring every physical symptom that seemed so glaringly obvious in hindsight. My mind replayed, on a loop, every possible time I could have been diagnosed prior to becoming pregnant. “If only” became my nemesis. I mourned my lost babies. I also mourned my shattered body image. I had trusted my body. I owned a strange pride in my ability to conceive and birth perfect babies. I rocked at baby making. I gave birth like a boss. I was a wizard at lactation. That sounds bizarre perhaps, but I enjoyed my fertility and all the happiness that it brought to me and my husband.
I still have days when the “if onlys” sneak into my mind. I sometimes think about what those babies would be doing now, if they had lived. Those times are getting less frequent and I am grateful. More of my minutes are spent in awe of my amazing five. More kisses, more hugs, more cuddles are given to the ones that stayed.
I did not get a rainbow after the storm.
My rainbow started with my first son and ended with my sweet baby girl.
This rainbow was made bigger and brighter with each of my five children.
It is not what I imagined it would be, but it is the most beautiful thing in my life.
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