I have had mixed feelings about the term "Rainbow Baby" since I first heard it following the loss of my twins. A Rainbow Baby is a child that is that is conceived following the loss of a pregnancy or infant, the rainbow after the storm. It is a term that is often thrown around in the Baby Loss Community and now that I was part of that world I was seeing it a lot. The time I first heard this term I was fresh in my grief from the death of my twins. I was in the eye of the storm and I honestly couldn't even imagine life ever being happy and beautiful again. I had given birth to two beautiful babies and watched them slowly fade away before my eyes. I was surviving, but barely.
Technically Penelope and James were my rainbow babies. I had suffered a miscarriage about four months before finding out I was pregnant with twins. Although I struggled greatly with my pregnancy loss I had great hope for this new pregnancy. Once I found out I was carrying twins it was like everything was right with the world. I bought into the whole "everything happens for a reason" and figured that this was all just part of some great plan. I had lost one baby, but now I was carrying two. I was able to reason with myself that surely something was wrong with the baby that I lost and these two were healthy and meant to be part of my family. These were my rainbows, although I wasn't familiar with that terminology yet. I was optimistic and ready to bring home our twins.
Following the loss of James and Penelope my optimism was gone. I could no longer believe in those ideas that got me through my first loss. How could everything happen for a reason? I could think of no reason great enough to take my two babies away from me. If this was all part of some great plan it was a plan that I wanted nothing to do with. It was around this time that I started hearing talk of rainbow babies and feeling unsettled about it. It felt to me like a rainbow baby was a cure all for the grieving parent and the faster you "caught your rainbow" the better. It was like a sick race that I didn't want to be a part of. I wanted my son and daughter and I didn't even want to think about being pregnant again. Of course, I did understand the strong desire of some parents to get pregnant again quickly. After losing a baby the ache of empty arms can sometimes be unbearable. Another thing that didn't settle right with me was the question of what about the parents that never get their rainbow. What about those that either choose not to try again or are unable to conceive? What about those parents like me that lose their rainbow? Are we doomed to live forever in the storm?
As time went by I became more comfortable with the idea of a rainbow baby. I realized that while many baby loss families strive for a rainbow baby it is not a goal or reality for everyone. This does not mean that those parents are doomed to be stuck in the storm. I learned by working through my own grief that many things help heal the pain of pregnancy and infant loss. Crying, talking, yelling, hugging, remembering, more crying and just allowing your heart to heal. I knew it wasn't my path to race to a rainbow baby. I needed time to grieve and heal. I am so glad I took that time because it was through that process that I was able to realize that I would be okay, even if we never brought home a rainbow baby. I learned that while there would always be a part of my heart that was broken I could be okay, I could be better than okay.
Now that Victoria is here I have fully embraced her as our rainbow baby. I know that it was not her birth that healed me, or brought me out of the storm. I was able to do that hard work on my own. She is just her own wonderful person. She is a part of our crazy little family and she doesn't have to carry the weight on her shoulders of fixing anything, she just is. She is a baby that was wanted. Not because we needed her to get out of the storm, but because we wanted another child. She is my fourth child and she is amazing.