When I became pregnant with our baby boy, I decided that I would not allow myself to be fearful about my pregnancy or the possibility of loss. I told myself that I was going to be joyful and not hold back my excitement out of fear of another miscarriage.
In spite of this, I still had moments of anxiety and many fears crept in.
I first heard the term “Rainbow Baby,” when I joined a Facebook group for Catholic women who are pregnant after experiencing loss. I joined the group thinking it would help me in my efforts to defeat fear. I figured that being part of a group where people were posting about being pregnant after having had miscarriages would be a positive experience.
Instead, this group only sparked and fueled a great deal of anxiety. So much so that I hid the group from my newsfeed and never clicked on the items that frequently popped up in my “Notifications.” There were so many women in the group posting about their own fears and past experiences of losing babies at all different stages of pregnancy, and I just couldn’t hear those things. I felt kind of guilty about it, but I just couldn’t.
Unfortunately, this group and my own experiences with loss had increased my knowledge and awareness of all the potential things that could go wrong during 40 long weeks of pregnancy.
Anxious thoughts came to my mind in spite of my efforts to avoid them.
I was fearful of losing my baby in the first trimester.
I was afraid we would see something terrible during the 20-week ultrasound.
I was worried that any brief period of time during which I didn’t feel him moving meant something had happened to my baby (fortunately this was rare for him).
I was fearful of stillbirth, cord accident, some sort of trauma during delivery, etc., etc.
I repeated to myself over and over and over again my favorite prayer, “Jesus, I trust in you.” Every time an anxious thought would come to mind, I would immediately pray this. And it always helped. Always.
And so did the idea of a “Rainbow Baby.” I just loved thinking of my son this way.
To me, a rainbow is a sign of God’s promise and of His immense, merciful love. It is a reminder to have faith and to know that He is with me in all things.
Almost two years ago, right after leaving the ultrasound appointment in which I had learned of my second miscarriage, a detour forced my route home past a Catholic church. I saw the sign and immediately pulled over to go inside and pray. I made it to a kneeler where I wasn’t able to do much more than look at the tabernacle and sob. I couldn’t get my words to form a coherent prayer, but my heart was reaching out and Jesus heard me in my brokenness and He answered. In that church, before Jesus in the tabernacle, I received an answer to my unformulated prayer. It was, “Don’t give up.” I heard these words spoken to my heart as clear as a bell.
That was in July of 2014, and I have never forgotten that moment. I reflected back on it during many of my fearful times during my pregnancy. It seemed to me like something of a promise.
I remembered this promise on the day I went for my second OB appointment. In spite of having seen the baby on ultrasound at my first appointment, those fears had crept in, and I was very nervous that something might have happened and there would be no heartbeat when I went to my second appointment (the month between appointments in the early weeks of pregnancy always seems so long!).
When I arrived at my appointment on that day, anxious and eager to hear my baby’s heartbeat again, I pulled into the parking lot at the hospital, and I saw this:
I instantly felt less afraid. I knew it was a reminder for me to have faith. I went into my appointment, and rather than just hearing his heartbeat, I got to see my little guy again on the hand-held ultrasound. Such relief.
Last Wednesday, our Rainbow Baby arrived, happy, healthy, and perfect.
The day after we brought him home from the hospital, this picture was taken from behind our house:
When she saw it, my five-year-old said, “Mom, that’s just like the rainbow God showed Noah!”
Our little Rainbow Baby is here. He is a miracle. A precious gift from God.
I literally sit and stare at him for long stretches of time and marvel at his very existence. I realize that, on that day almost two years ago, when I was experiencing such deep grief and despair, God knew that this little boy was to be our baby that we would get to hold on earth. I didn’t know it, but He did.
Our son is a reminder for me that God can do anything. That His plan is always for good.
That fear is no match for faith.