This time a year ago I was going to bed really nervous. I was terrified. I was getting up early in the morning to head to the hospital to wait to be called in for our planned cesearian. It was hard to sleep. I’d spent a ridiculous amount of time packing and repacking our bags. I had the most impeccably planned hospital bags.
When we arrived at the hospital we were in a waiting room with five or so other couples. Doctors came in and called us one by one into an assessment room and had us fill out paperwork. They examined the positioning of Bunny, and told us she was head down and fully engaged. That was a surprise. She’d been stubbornly breech all the way through. Whilst we were all nervously waiting and hoisting on thrombosis stockings, I was on my phone trying to occupy myself. Instagramming. Texting a few people; my mum and brother, who knew that Bunny was arriving that day and a couple of friends, including Bear’s godmother, who didn’t know. We’d kept everything as quiet as possible. We wanted time to adjust to being a family of four ourselves.
We were called in first. I remember being in a little side room getting changed and I didn’t feel like I was about to meet my baby. It felt so surreal. When we went into the surgery I was joking with the anaesthetists and everything but I was petrified. I was terrified something was going to go wrong. The surgical team were so reassuring. They knew about Bear and listened to me when I spoke about it all and explained why I was so nervous. The midwives especially were really gentle, and asked me about Bear, they genuinely cared. The anaesthetist did an amazing job of keeping me calm. I had such a positive birthing experience, everything considered. Both of my children’s births are just shrouded in an unflappable magic.
My little madam was born at 9:36 am. Screaming. She is still just as fiery, loud and proud as the day she was born. When they made the incision the surgeon, expecting a head, got a surprise, with a butt. I’d been right. She was still breech but really well engaged. So when she’s older I’ll tell her the midwife couldn’t tell her bum from her head.
Over the last year she’s changed hugely. She’s tripled in size, which seems utterly bananas and is walking and talking. She’s super tall, loves dogs, and as we discovered at her birthday party, is terrified of candles. Breastfeeding, dare I say it, is finally going smoothly. That was more of a farce than I could have ever imagined but now we show no signs of stopping just yet. I am so proud of the person she is. She has the most fantastic drive and curiosity about her surroundings and she is caring and kind.
Having a rainbow baby has been terrifying. From the moment I found out I was pregnant in December 2015, to present day as she lies here sleeping, Angelcare monitor clicking away. When I was first pregnant I was a bit like Schrodingers cat; as long as she was in there I didn’t know if she was alive or not. Then the movements started, and along with it, a taste of the paranoia to come. I was so absolutely petrified of her being stillborn. I don’t know if that’s because so many of Bear’s friends we’ve met along the way were. It opens your eyes, loss. Stillbirth seems so much more common now.
After she was born the ride continued. As a mother I’m a funny balance of cautious and protective. I want her to experience everything so happy popped her in a ball pit by ten weeks old, but at the same time there was this horrible bitter anger and discomfort anytime almost anyone else held her bar her Dad and I. I didn’t trust anyone to look after my baby; I still don’t feel comfortable with that. I was talking to a fellow rainbow mama the other day about how there’s always a guilt, for bringing them into a family who is broken and always will be in some way.
But then there’s that rainbow magic. Broken doesn’t mean not functional. Maybe, our version of broken means that our income will be a little lower from me staying at home, but we have a house full of love and kindness. We’ll look a bit scruffy around the edges, my hair isn’t washed every day, there’s always a gallery of food stains on us on the go, and the washing up isn’t always done the same day, but we’re having fun. We don’t put life on pause for the trivial day to day things. If broken means that every day we live for and remember a little girl who forever holds out hearts by being kind, helpful and friendly and inspiring others to do the same, then I guess we are broken. But as a family we are strong as we are perfect for each other.
To any rainbow mama to be out there you absolutely can get through this pregnancy. Because you love this baby, and that, as we know all too well, can survive anything life can throw at us. My love for Bear long outshines her death and it would be the same for Bunny if history had repeated itself. Amongst the fear that has given me confidence. That’s the little fiery fight in my me roaring to never let the hand we have been dealt to batter us down and take away from our experiences as a family of four.
Over the next year we have some big changes coming. Amongst the usual madness I hope we get to have a lot of fun. To explore and to learn, to give and make friends and try lots of new things. I can’t wait to share the adventures of our rainbow toddler!