This term, defined in loss-parenting circles, as the child you conceive and deliver after pregnancy loss, still birth, or child loss. The ‘rainbow babies’ are our glimmer of hope, the reward for our trauma, the reason to keep trying and keep hoping.
I was never going to have a rainbow baby. Soon after our son was born at 24 weeks, weighing one pound, and spending ten months in NICU, I developed cysts on my ovaries and fibroids in my uterus.
Though I would have tried again, sacrificed my body for pregnancy and done just about anything to grow my beautiful family, I – we – made the decision that no more biological children would come from my womb, and I had a hysterectomy.
It was a wise decision at the time, and one I am still confident was the right choice. But when we lost our son at three years, a small part of me had a huge burden of regret. I will never replace him. He is my first son, my angel in Heaven, and nothing I do will ever change that or ease the pain.
But still, at almost forty years old, if it were an option, and I thought my husband could handle the worry and concern over my being pregnant again, I would do it in a heartbeat. I would love to have my rainbow baby. Instead, my rainbow baby lives in my heart and in Heaven.
Today, I was driving home from the pharmacy after a big rain storm and a beautiful rainbow appeared to be coming out of the ground in front of me. And I know, always, every rainbow that I see, is a message from my angel.
When he was sick and we spent many consecutive nights in the hospital, I would sing to him. One of our favorites was ‘The Rainbow Connection.’ Even the music therapists who’d stop by while we were in isolation with threats of sepsis, learned the song and remembered each time they entered our room. One would get out her guitar and the two would harmonize over the silly song from The Muppet Movie.
But it was our song. And today, when he sent me that rainbow, I sang the song to him in my car on the way back home. Because I know he hears me. And even though I know he is a super hero in whatever version of Heaven he resides, I know he still needs a song from his Mommy.
So he, my angel in Heaven, is my rainbow baby. Because I know every time I see one across the sky, he is right there beside me.