This post is about what happens after my rainbow baby is born (rainbow baby for those unfamiliar is a child born after a storm, in this case the storm which was Wyatt and Eli's birth and death) and what I have imagined would happen after my rainbow baby is born. Mostly it will relate to our first rainbow, our first daughter, born just one year and four days after her big brother Wyatt's birth and death.
I spent nine long months pregnant with her imagining what it would be like to again hold a child of mine in my arms. I imagined all of the late night snuggles that I had missed out on and the sweet coos that never graced my ears. In my mind it was smiles, hugs and kisses. It almost made the waiting unbearable. And for the first few days it was smiles, hugs and kisses. Then I took my baby girl home and reality set in, a reality which had not even cracked the outer edges of my imagination. My little girl was fussy, only slept when laying on me or my husband (which may sound really awesome but it awful when you need to eat, drink, go to the bathroom or goodness forbid - shower, and then you must listen to your baby's awful screams for every second of your absence), she projectile vomited and was not a natural by any stretch of the imagination at breastfeeding. There was a lot of physical and mental pain in those early days.
Pain which was only compounded by all those months of imagining what it would be like and then having it actually be nothing like that. Now, in all fairness our oldest daughter was a pretty high needs baby and from what I later discovered by having other children she was not a typical baby. Nonetheless, I know I am not alone with my imagination. How could it be helped? Many of our memories of our babies gone too soon are faces that are stilled, voices that are silenced. My little boys never screamed, nursed or even wet a diaper. My memories of them are gentle, much like falling asleep.
However, I've found that the reality of a rainbow baby is like being struck by a semi truck. Life changes, it actually becomes about life, not death, and how to sustain and nurture that life while trying to maintain one's own delicate balance. It's a celebration and a grieving simultaneously. Gratitude for what has been given and a greater appreciation for what has been taken away. No one said it would be easy but for some reason it's so easy to imagine...