I met sweet Atticus’ family several years ago when I did a milestone session for his beautiful big sister, Aria. I photographed them several more times before I got thae news that baby #2 was on the way! I was beyond excited to hear the this! They had quickly become one of my favorite families to photograph (if you know them, you know how truly incredible and fun they are!) and I was so excited to see their family grow. Mom informed me that this baby was a rainbow baby and that they had experienced a loss before being blessed with this miracle baby. We, of course, wanted to do something to signify this and thus the rainbow heart you see in the photo below.
I am in a profession where I work with mothers who have been blessed with these perfect little humans. I am also so aware of how much of a blessing this is, because I, too, have lost a baby. The first time I ever became pregnant I was overjoyed. It had taken several months to conceive and I was on cloud nine that we were going to finally be starting our family. At the time it didn’t even occur to me that I could possibly lose that baby. That is something that rarely happened, right? And certainly not something that happened to people like me, right? So I told my family and friends after about eight weeks and started purchasing little tiny clothes … because that’s what you do when you find out you’re expecting your first baby. I remember at nearly 10 weeks driving down the road (I remember the exact place I was at on the road) when I had the thought, “I’m nearly 1/4 of the way through this pregnancy. How terrible would it be to lose this baby.”
But at 10.5 weeks everything changed. I can vividly remember sitting on my couch at home, my husband was at work and I had just received a text from my college roommate, Katie, asking how I was feeling. I responded that I felt great and was so excited. A few minutes later I realized I was bleeding. My husband rushed home and we went directly to the ER where they did an ultrasound. The on-call OB came in shortly after and sat down. I knew right away, by the look on her face, that I had lost my baby. She explained that I had miscarried and what to expect next. She assured me that it was nothing I had done, that these things sometimes happen.
I went home that day and curled up into a ball on the couch and cried. I cried for hours. I sat there, staring out our back window, wondering what I had done wrong. Was I exercising too much? Did I eat the wrong thing? Was I simply not made to be a mother? I questioned it all. I was in a trance for days. Completely devastated. I remember spending the next day cleaning the entire house. I scrubbed and washed and vacuumed and then I did it all over again. I needed to do something to make everything better. I wanted my baby back. I wanted my baby back so badly. I felt so broken and alone – like no one understood what I was going through. No one I knew had had a miscarriage – or so I thought – because no one talked about it. It was taboo to talk about. I felt like I was the only one.
I passed the days the best I could, going through the movements. Overtime I began to accept that there was nothing I could, but that I would have a chance again some day. Many women reached out to me to tell me that they, too, had experienced miscarriage and that I wasn’t alone and that I would one day have my baby. Days passed and then months and eventually I was pregnant again. This time I was much more cautious. MUCH more cautious. I walked on eggshells until 12 weeks, at which point I was told the pregnancy was much more viable. Even still, I spent the majority of my pregnancy scared that I would loose that baby, too. This time was different, though. This time I carried to term and gave birth to a healthy baby boy. My Charlie. He will never fully understand how grateful for him I am. How much he means to me. He made me a mommy. After Charlie I had three more perfect little babies in a matter of five years. I am so very blessed and beyond thankful, but I still think about my angel baby. I’ll never forget my angel baby.
I know that for many women it’s even more difficult. They try for years and years and suffer miscarriage after miscarriage. My heart breaks for them. I cannot even begin to imagine what they are going through. I only experienced it once and it nearly crushed me. So, all you mommies out there with angel babies, know that you’re not alone. I see you. I know you. I know your pain and I know you feel alone. But you’re NOT! I know you feel broken. You are NOT! I know that you feel like you’ve done something wrong. But you HAVE NOT! You are amazing and you are worthy and you are not alone. I pray that all you struggling mommies out there are blessed with your rainbow baby someday. In the meantime, know that you’re not alone.