October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. The 15th is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness day. I dread it every year. It hurts.
I find reminders everywhere I turn that I am missing my baby girl. And that others are missing their babies as well. I can't escape it. It hurts to be missing a baby. Somedays my heart is broken. With nearly 6 years behind us, there are way more good days than bad. But there are still hard days.
In the world of pregnancy and infant loss there is a term used for a healthy baby born after a loss; Rainbow Baby. I didn't know about this term when my own Rainbow was born. I was a mess of hurt and confusion then. If I could go back to any point in my life and change the way I lived, the first few months of his life would be what I would change. It was a really hard time for me. Looking back I realize now I should have sought help. I'm certain I had some postpartum depression and being barely a year out from my loss that I felt everyone expected me to just forget didn't help. I wish I had known about Rainbow Babies then. I wish I had been able to feel excitement of a new baby instead of just wishing for my missing baby.
There were days I would sit home with my new baby wondering why it was so quiet. Sometimes I felt like I should be searching for a toddler who was quiet because they were getting into something. It was the strangest feeling to me. And every time I bring a new baby home I have felt that same feeling that someone was missing.
When my next baby was born something changed for me. A lot of the hurting and aching were gone. There were, of course, hard days. But they were fewer and father in between. Shortly after his birth I heard the term Rainbow Baby for the first time. And it felt like he was my Rainbow. I didn't ache so much for my missing baby then. I guess I had come to terms with the fact that now was not my time to have with her.
This summer I got to bring yet another baby boy home. I was worried. I was so sick while I was pregnant I didn't care about much of anything. I felt so disconnected to the baby, my family, and everything else. We didn't find out the gender because I didn't want to hear people say they were sorry if we were having another boy. I was so sick that feeling sorry for myself was already easy. I didn't need more reasons to feel sad. I especially didn't want to hear that we needed to try again for a girl. I can't always explain that we already do have a girl, we just can't see her right now. I already avoid the pink sections of the stores as much as possible. I try not to look at all the little girl things I wish my daughter needed. I didn't even buy anything pink to possibly bring a baby home in.
Once baby was finally here all my worries slipped quickly away. How could I not be in love with this perfect little boy with the most gorgeous hair I had ever seen? He was perfect and wonderful and I was almost immediately done being sick. It was like he was my Rainbow Baby. I've decided that the term shouldn't just apply to the baby born right after a loss. It should really apply to every baby born after a loss. Because each one brings healing and beauty.
It's true, I have felt Lily missing a lot more the first few weeks after my boys have been born. This summer I even had a moment where I counted the kids and wondered who was missing. It only lasted a second or maybe two before I realized who was missing. I like to think she brings her brothers down to our family and stays to make sure they settle in. I like to think she is watching over us. Sometimes I feel her especially close. And I always miss her come October and Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. I miss her on December 8th, the day we lost her. I miss her in early July when the lilies bloom in my yard. She should have been born in early July. If she had been, she would have likely had lilies for her birthday every year.
Tonight there should be a wave of light as candles are lit for angels. At 7pm in each time zone for an hour there will be candles lit for angels all over the world. I've never done the candle lighting before. But I want to this year. I may have to light a few candles. I have met 16 angels since I joined Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep as a photographer in May of 2013. I have met countless people who have an angel of their own. These angels leave a mark on my heart. Sometimes they leave grieving marks and sometimes they leave healing marks. Sometimes they leave both. The little one I photographed last week was one that left both kinds of marks. It was my first session since my last baby was born. The first time I have ever had a little baby to snuggle when I got home. I held him close and stroked his face and thanked God for my new Rainbow Baby. I also cried for a Mommy who just had to say goodbye to her baby. I am really glad to be back with NILMDTS. It truly is a great blessing in my life to be able to serve families in a way few people can serve.
So here it is, October 15th in just a few minutes. I've been thinking about/dreading writing this all up for weeks. But now it is done. My thoughts and feelings in a jumble of words that maybe don't really make sense to anyone who hasn't experienced this. But I feel better. And sometimes, that's all that I really need from blogging.