Butterflies, Hope and My Rainbow Baby

It has been nearly four years since I had my miscarriages. It was such a difficult point in my life and I can remember the feelings of enormous pain, loss, and guilt that it brought me. I recently found this photo and it explains exactly how I felt.

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I tried to stay optimistic about having another child and a sibling for my son. I put all my energy into parenting, taking care of myself, and hanging on for the roller coaster ride of grief.

Some people tried to comfort me by saying, “at least it happened in the first trimester” or “it would have been much harder if you were further along.”

I understood where they were coming from, but what they didn’t realize, was the magnitude of loss was still enormous for me. This was a pregnancy. I did have a little life growing inside of me, even for a short, 5, 6 1/2, and 8 weeks.

I grieved for each loss.

I remember looking around and trying to have some connection to my losses. The only tangible items I had were a baby book and a positive pregnancy stick.

When I would take my son out, I noticed many white butterflies always fluttering by. I began to tell him, “Those are mommy’s butterflies. They are always following me.”

I feel like those butterflies represented my losses. They always put a smile on my face when I saw them and they began to give me hope.

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After the third consecutive miscarriage, I became pregnant with my son, Blake. He was my rainbow baby.

He has brought so much love to our family. I feel that our family unit is complete now. I have my two adoring sons, loving husband, and protective french bulldog.

What more could I ask for?

Nothing. I am good. I don’t need a baby girl. I don’t need to try for number three. Actually, I already had numbers three and four and five.

There is a very special bond that Blake and I have. He is known as a “mama’s boy”. In fact, I joke that he is still attached to the invisible umbilical cord.

He is constantly following me around, holding my hand, sitting on my lap, hugging and kissing on me, while saying “Oh, mommy!” He is just special.

Maybe he knows that he is a rainbow baby. He has a special bond with each of us and has filled the void.

As I reflect on where we were four years ago and where we are today, it is just amazing. I feel so lucky to be part of this family.

I still see my butterflies, but now I have two little boys pointing them out.

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I knew from being a child life specialist, that support and healthy coping strategies would help my husband and I get through this. If you find yourself in a similar situation, reach out for help, it can make a huge difference.

The Solitary Feeling of a Miscarriage

Coping with Loss on Mother’s Day 

A Day to Celebrate

My little man is turning one today. Hard to believe a year has passed. It felt like an eternity to have you enter the world, with all the obstacles that we encountered. Three miscarriages, endless blood work, doctor appointments and the emotional roller coaster ride of grief and loss.

I had faith and I surrender the negative feelings of unfairness, envy and anger. Once I did, I knew that I would have another baby. I knew that my son would have a sibling to play and grow up with. I knew that my husband and I would fall so deeply in love with something so precious that we created.IMG_8247

I have soaked up every second of your first year. I have a mental picture of so many amazing moments that I experienced with you. The relationship that you have with your brother is so sweet. I love that you call him “DaDin” for “Gavin” and light up when saying it.IMG_1639

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Your dad couldn’t be more elated, knowing that you are such a daddy’s boy. The way you crawl at high speed to be carried around on his side to the way you stare and point at pictures of him and say “DaDa!” You are truly a wonderful little boy, who has completed our family.

Happy First Birthday Blake! We love you so much 🙂IMG_0786

Are they ready for a baby?

Aww, it’s that time of year, everyone I know or see on the street is pregnant. Maybe it’s the fact that their winter coats are slowly fading away and the bump is in full force.

When I see this mom I’m curious if they have prepared their firstborn with the new addition to the family?

Children need to feel secure in their family. It’s important to talk about how they will be taking on a new role as a big brother/sister. Sometimes kids are completely honest and say that they like the way their family is now and don’t want a new sibling. Validation of feelings is key here. Letting them know that it is ok to have those feelings, that you can understand how they might feel that way because right now everything is comfortable. Having a new sibling will be a change for them and their parents. Having a new sibling will also be exciting and bring in more love to everyone.

When I was pregnant with my second boy, I wanted to make sure that my son was involved from the get-go. My husband and I would talk about the baby growing in my belly and what our family will be like when they would make their debut. Some of the ways that we included my son into the pregnancy stage of his sibling were taking weekly photos of the baby bump.

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I am also a very goofy mom and like to have fun. I would have my son help me paint my belly for different holidays and we would dress up for the bump pictures. He always got a kick out of it and we would say that was Blake’s first holiday with us.

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I also read several big brother books to him. While I read the stories, I would change the names in the book to Gavin and Blake (my boys’ names). He loved this and it would open the door to conversations about what it might be like for us. He began to take the initiative and read books to Blake while smothering him with hugs, kisses and his favorite, raspberries.

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Going through photo albums of when your child was a baby can also help them have a better understanding of what to expect. Talking about when they were a baby, they loved to be swaddled, or rocked or sang too. Making it personal for them makes it so much more special. We did this for Gavin and talked about how he would spit out his pacifier and just cry. He would crack up when I would imitate him spitting out every single brand of pacifiers that were made. He was a tough infant!

Babies cry and they can cry a lot. Explaining that this is the way babies tell us that they need something is important. We packed a bag full of baby essentials (diaper, wipes, pacifier, toys) and we let Gavin have access to it. Sometimes when Blake was crying, Gavin would go running for his bag to see if there was something in there that would help soothe him.

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A friend of mine gave Gavin a personalized coloring and activity book from Custom Kidz. It is awesome. It has a story about being a new big brother with different activities.

The home environment will change with a new baby. There is baby gear everywhere, the IMG_7928older sibling may get a new bed and give their crib to the baby and the noise level may need to be altered (Shh, the baby’s sleeping.) I think that it’s important to explain this to the older sibling. Giving them the choice to help with the nursery and picking the new big bed can give them some control. Also providing a quiet space with activities can be helpful.

Regression is common after there is any change in a child’s life. Take a deep breath and you will all get through it. Validate their feelings and normalize this new experience.

Of course, you know the most important piece is to provide that one on one attention with your oldest when the baby is born. Even just 10 minutes to read a story, snuggle and play a game is so worth it.

Click on the post about Book Making, to help ease the transition. It’s a great way for the family to get involved and have a wonderful book filled with personal memories.