To Love a Rainbow

To Love a Rainbow

My rainbow baby is almost one.

She’s happy and she’s calm. She’s obsessed with her big brother and blowing raspberries and with the patterns on our couch. She’s a beautiful, integral, magical part of our little family.

She’s been with us for almost a year and yet, somehow it still hasn’t completely settled within me that she’s here. That it’s okay. That we made it.

That she’s safe. That she’s here to stay.

This isn’t about guarantees. I know that there are none.

This is about trauma. And anxiety.

Every little rash and I’m on edge. And Little A’s got sensitive skin. Literally a few splotches of red and my heart starts thumping and I’m on my way to a full blown panic attack. Waiting for routine blood test results feel like waiting for her to come out of open heart surgery. And don’t even get me started on digestive issues.

I’m not like this with GG. I’m calm and confident in his existence. I trust him to stay.

But with my rainbow baby I’m different, the relationship is different.

Is this what it’s always like with rainbows? Does the trauma of loss ever go away?

Because I really want it to. I don’t want my relationship with her to be tainted like this. I don’t want her to have to wear my pain forever.

I can rationalize it all away, of course. The combination of two pregnancy losses between GG and Little A, holding my breath through half of the pregnancy, some stress around the birth and a rough time with food sensitivities are simply taking their toll. Not to mention natural parenting neuroses coupled with sleep deprivation and a healthy dose of Jewish guilt.

I know it’s okay, that it makes sense to feel this way.

What I don’t know is whether or not it will pass. But I guess everything does, right? And if it doesn’t pass completely, at least it will change.

Or maybe I’m overthinking it, as I am wont to do. Perhaps our relationships with our kids are just different. They push different buttons within us, bring out different parts of us. Maybe the narrative I’ve strung together isn’t necessarily the story.

For now, I guess my only option is acceptance. To love her with all of my heart and surrender to the fear and anxiety that’s mashed up within that love. And to hope that as time goes by, as we wrap up her first year and move into her second, that I’ll feel more secure in her existence. In her solidity.

That in time the story of what came before will just be a blip at the beginning of the epic tale of my beautiful Little A.

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The Limbo Before Labor

The Limbo Before Labor

The last few weeks of pregnancy are such a weird time for me.

My hospital bag was packed weeks ago. Baby clothes are washed and folded. Supplies purchased and tucked away. We’ve met with our doula, planned a route to the hospital. My husband’s mother is on 24/7 alert to take care of GG when I go into labor. The house is clean and the pantry is stocked.

I’ve researched pushing techniques to prevent my pelvic prolapses getting worse, teas to strengthen my blood in case I lose a lot again. I take my prenatal vitamins every day like clockwork. I go to yoga classes and I feel relatively healthy. I’m resting as much as possible.

There’s literally nothing left to do but wait.

Now it’s all up to our little rainbow; whenever she’s ready.

The mindful mama in me knows exactly what to do now. It’s time to surrender. To ground myself, meditate, keep coming back to this moment. To practice patience and trust, reassured in the knowledge that every day snuggled up inside me is doing her good.

But I am not all mindful mama, not quite yet. I’m also a doer, a planner. A control freak. I like to research and organize. To know what’s going to happen when. And this limbo before labor is very tough for that side of me.

Every little twinge – whether it’s a Braxton Hicks contraction, a hunger pang or just that I need to pee – sparks off a spiral of “oo, maybe this is it!” thoughts in my mind. Who do I need to call? Should I start timing contractions? What’s traffic like on the freeway right now?

I’m so excited I can hardly sit still, and yet wrapped up in that excitement is also a whole stack of nerves that I’m only just starting to meet and name. The fear of feeling like crap like I did after GG was born. Of giving birth in  the car on the way to the hospital. Of something going wrong. It’s all wrapped in joy and anticipation, but it’s fucking intense and fucking exhausting at the same time. As if schlepping around this massive baby wedged under my rib cage wasn’t enough to tire me out right now.

But still, there’s nothing to do. Nothing but coming back to the present moment, over and over again. Acknowledging the fears as they come up and the excitement as it bubbles around in there, too. To rest and enjoy our last few moments as a family of three.

To breathe as much as my poor squished up lungs will let me.

In and out, all the way to the delivery room.

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Waiting for our rainbow baby