Photo Credit: Danielle Heinson Photography
Shepard, I don’t know how to say this. Ever since you've come into my life, I've seen the world through different eyes - a mother's eyes. You are my firstborn and the boy who made me a mama, but you aren't my first. There’s a picture frame in your room covered in rainbows. It holds one of the very first pictures of us together. Your head is tucked under my chin and our eyes are closed, soaking in the first minutes of our new lives as mother and son. It's hard to imagine my world without that exact moment. But I wish I could live a life without that rainbow picture frame. I wish you weren't my Rainbow Baby.
I was a different person before you became you. Your father and I knew we wanted to raise a family together. Years before we even started dating, I told my friends he'd be a great husband and father to some lucky woman someday. A few months before I learned you were on your way, I surprised your dad with a positive pregnancy test. Turns out, it wasn't his driving that had made me feel nauseous but typical pregnancy wooziness. We bought that first pregnancy test almost jokingly as a way to reassure me my period would show up at any moment.
RELATED: Today Is National Rainbow Baby Day
That test was so immediately and definitively positive. It surprised me - no, it shocked me into hysterical laughter and tears. For the first time in my life, I was pregnant. I wanted to be pregnant. I wanted to meet that baby. But I never would.
A few weeks after that test popped up positive I started a new job. I also started spotting. During a business lunch with my coworker, I started to bleed in earnest. Without a sign, without a hint anything was wrong, I excused myself to the restroom. Somehow I knew it was over, this was a miscarriage, and I numbly shoved a wad of toilet paper into my underwear. I wouldn't let myself cry until I got home and collapsed in your father's arms. We spent the next day holding one another in bed. I bled for almost as long as I had been pregnant, a daily reminder of my body's failure to hold on as tightly as my heart.
But our sadness faded over time and your impending arrival played a huge part in the transformation of our shared sorrow to joy.
When I noticed those second pregnancy symptoms, I took another test. This time, I couldn't bring myself to watch it develop. Three long minutes passed and I could feel my heart thumping in my chest. Every beat left a hollow space under my ribs I filled with anxiety. The alarm on my phone dinged and I tried to move gracefully, casually, but my cheeks burned as they braced rigid and unwavering.
That's how I told your father you were already on your way. He assured me he was happy and I could be happy too; all I could feel was frozen. Maybe if I didn't move too quickly, or sing too forcefully, or love too fiercely...maybe I could hold on to this baby. I silently sucked breath into my lungs and held it next to my heart for six weeks.
And you stuck around. You made me wrong and proved me braver than I thought I could be. Shepard, you are the constant reminder that hope is worth every twinge of pain. You are my Rainbow Baby, the promise of joy after life's storms. But I wish you weren't. Oh how I wish you weren't.