In 2014, my oldest son was born in a free-standing birth center in North Carolina in what was the most beautiful birth I could have asked for. My husband and I prepared for that birth like we were studying for a test, took Bradley birth classes and everything went according to my thoroughly researched and thought out birth plan. But this isn’t that story…
In 2017, we were so excited to get pregnant again and add to our family. We shared the news with our families and were looking forward to celebrating with our extended family on Thanksgiving. On the day after Thanksgiving as we were getting ready to put up our Christmas tree, I started having some bleeding and cramping. Within a few hours, my OBGYN got us into an imaging center where it was confirmed that we had lost our baby. We were emotionally devastated, but little did we know that it was only the beginning of a months-long journey that three months later resulted in an emergency D&C when the doctor discovered my body had retained some fetal tissue from the miscarriage.
When I got pregnant again in March 2018, I knew that I couldn’t continue with the OBGYN practice that saw me through the miscarriage and I needed a different care team that would be closer to the birth experience we had with my oldest son. (This is the point in the story where I found Bonnie at Coastal Doulas who then introduced me to an amazing midwife. I give thanks every day that God led me to Bonnie and our midwife – I know my birth story would not have been the same without them.)
During this pregnancy, I was super anxious about every little thing. I was so grateful for the support of our doula and midwife as they held my hand physically and emotionally through my pregnancy. A few days before Christmas, I was induced with our sweet baby boy. As much as possible, I wanted an intervention-free birth like I had with my oldest son. The induction started off smoothly and I was managing contractions with the support of my husband and doula. About 12 hours later, things weren’t progressing as we expected. (Second babies are supposed to come quickly, right?!) I wasn’t dilating and I could barely tolerate the midwife checking my progress. Even though it was midnight, our skilled midwife connected some dots and realized that I had scar tissue from that emergency D&C that was effectively blocking our little guy’s exit. She thought she could manually break it up but STRONGLY encouraged me to get an epidural at that point, knowing that it would hurt like crazy for her to break up the scar tissue. Even though I was set against the epidural, with the support and encouragement of my husband and doula, I realized that it was the best option to achieve the birth I wanted and avoid a C-section. Within 20 minutes, the anesthesiologist arrived and administered the epidural. The midwife got to work on the scar tissue, and I quickly got to the point where I needed to push.
At 3 am on December 21, our precious baby Samuel Lee entered the world 36 hours after I arrived at the hospital. I know that his birth story would have been so much different if I didn’t have the support of such an incredible team and an amazing husband as my partner.
A baby born after a miscarriage or other infant loss is called a ‘rainbow baby’, representing beauty and joy after a storm. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about the baby we lost. We hold tight to our belief that one day we’ll hold that precious baby in heaven and look forward to the day when thoughts of that baby won’t bring tears to our eyes.
Our baby Sam is a rainbow baby in every sense of the word – he is light and joy and goodness and beauty and completes our family in every way. Our rainbow baby doesn’t erase or negate the loss that preceded it, but rather reminds us every day that some things are all the more beautiful for having once been so dark.
Pictures by @Nicolegoodephotography