Last week we welcomed the safe arrival of Conor’s baby brother who made an entrance into this world kicking and screaming.
Pregnancy after loss is one hell of a journey. The positive pregnancy test brings feelings of hope, joy along with an over riding fear. Losing one child is horrendous. We didn’t know if we could survive losing another. Each hospital appointment took us back to bad news day. We asked our midwife to hide the screen during scans until she’d found a strong heartbeat. We had very regular scheduled appointments and were also visitors to A&E to get reassurance if something felt off. I became so tuned into my body that the doctor reckons I was being treated for a urinary tract infection within hours of acquiring it.
At 17 weeks I started to feel movements. Each kick, roll and hiccup would tell me that this baby was alive inside me. On the flip side during the quiet periods between kicks I’d wonder if he had died. He would promptly be woken up with sips of cold fruit juice. Night times were the toughest. Conor stopped kicking suddenly over night. Night times became a time of constant surveillance. On the hour I would wake and not sleep again until I felt movement. The worry was exhausting.
Our hospital consultant worked with us. We were told we had a “happy baby” growing nicely. He ruled out a whole host of pregnancy complications. The pregnancy was medically text book and physically identical to being pregnant with Conor. My shape was the same; a neat bump out the front. However, no one could guarantee that lightning wouldn’t strike twice. We held our breaths for 36 weeks. A decision was made to deliver this baby early. In the words of our consultant “We’ve gone far enough” We requested a planned caesarean section. We needed to arrive at the hospital and deliver this baby in the calmest, safest and quickest way possible. It was love at first noise meeting Conor’s little brother. In hearing his cry I yelled out “he’s alive”. Tears followed and an immense feeling of relief took over. Our stay in hospital was emotional. I sobbed leaving hospital by the front door with a car seat (I’d only known the back door with a coffin).
People use the term “rainbow baby” for a baby born after loss. The rainbow represents colour and hope in a storm. It doesn’t take away the storm. The new baby doesn’t replace the baby who died. We took hope from seeing rainbows during this pregnancy. We will always miss Conor who should be here poking and kissing his brother. Our rainbow baby will know all about his big brother. He will kiss his photo good night and visit his grave. I hope he will grow up within a culture of openness. Family members who have died will be talked about and remembered. I want him to know that its ok not to be ok. In the meantime we will enjoy every second with our rainbow. His presence has made our house a home. Being a parent of a living child is far more straight forward than being a bereaved parent. The challenge now is how to be a good parent for both our special boys.
Cakes will resume as sleep increases.