My Rainbow Baby ~ A story of loss, love and gratitude.

Updated: Nov 14, 2018

"A Rainbow Baby is a child born after a miscarriage, still birth, neonatal death or infant loss. In the real world, a beautiful and bright rainbow follows a storm and gives hope of things getting better. This term has encouraged parents to share their stories of loss and the babies that followed. "

Our rainbow baby, Giada Grace Merendino, was born 8/16/16 at 8:08 am.  

In my heart I knew we would meet her one day and that our dream of having a family would come true; but during the darkness its always hard to see the light. 

Our storm started in April 2015 and it wasn't until August of 2016 that we finally saw our Rainbow.  

When I first found out I was pregnant, I just expected it to be easy.  I have so many women in my family who have given birth and handled pregnancy like goddesses.

Why would I be any different?

Once I knew I was pregnant, I immediately started sharing this news with my friends and family.  Not only because I was one of the last ones to actually be pregnant but because I felt strange not telling them.  

From day one I felt that there was no shame in a miscarriage and if anything did happen I wanted the love and support from those closest to me.  

Since I am a hippie dippie crunchy yogi goddess I started to put all my focus into how I could labor this baby at home.  

A dreamy labor - it would be of course in a birthing a tub, soft music playing in the background, candles, a salt lamp, essential oils and the strong tribe of ladies in my life to support me.  

Just one problem - my husband didn't feel comfortable with the idea of meeting his first born in the living room.  Luckily for meI had secured us a spot in a midwife practice that worked out of the hospital; seemed to be the best of both worlds.  Eleven weeks after my positive pregnancy test, a home birth is exactly what I experienced, however it was not as glamorous as my manifestations.

One Sunday afternoon while at my Aunt's house I started to feel a familiar cramping in my lady parts - it felt like I was getting my period, but it couldn't be, I was pregnant.

 Sure enough I was spotting.

Well this could be normal....I thought.....

All those pregnancy blogs mention girls bleeding on and off and some even their whole pregnancies (blogs are the end all be all right?) 

Trying not to think the worst at this point was just impossible.  Fear had fully kicked in and the only thing I could think was I am losing this baby. 

 A call to my midwife resulted in an order to rest, elevate feet, drink lots of water and get some veggies.  I was told it could be a few things at this point so we really just needed to wait and see how things progressed.  I followed all of these instructions and was even able to get some sleep. A few hours later I was woken up to intense cramping and more spotting.  This time the call to the doc lead us to the hospital to get checked out. 

  My hospital experience was awful; the midwives partnered with a learning hospital which means you are often visited by many practitioners asking the same questions. (not very fun when you are talking about possibly losing your baby) At this point, I still believed everything was ok and they were totally going to hear a heartbeat. 

 The sono machines at the hospital proved to be inclusive as they were not able to detect a heartbeat however I was told I still had to follow up with my doctors in the morning to be sure. The earliest they could get me in was noon (how considerate). At noon is when our biggest fear was confirmed.

No heartbeat.

The baby stopped growing at eight weeks.

I was given three options:

1. D&C Surgery

2. Medication to push things along

3. Naturally let my body progress

At this time I was not hearing anything other than natural.  Never having a surgery before in my life, this was not going to be the time. In my mind thats what went with my mindset of holistic wellness. And how bad could it be? I imagined it to be just a heavy period.  I knew emotionally it would be hard but I was not prepared for the physical part at all.  The doctors did not sway me in any direction, nor did they prepare me for what to expect with any of the options. 

Heads down and dreams crushed we headed home to wait. 

Around 11pm that night is when the contractions began.  Seven hours of them, and for most of that time they were about three mins apart and almost a full minute long.   WTF - how do people have babies?!?!  Screaming and hot water from the shower were the only things that brought me a little bit of relief during this time; I was falling apart.

  It was the scariest moment of my life but I knew in my heart it would serve a purpose.  

 Once I was able to take control of my fear and let my inner grace take over, I became strong and empowered.  I pulled out my essential oils (I mean I was already planning a home birth for Nov, so why not use the tools I had discovered) This is when I realized I was going to have a birth and it wasn't just going to be a heavy period. 

   I used clary sage to help intensify the contractions (even though I thought to myself - is that even possible?) I used lavender on my heart and wrists to try and bring some feelings of calm, and peppermint on the back of my neck to help with the hot flashes.  I wasn't successful at keeping any food down, so I knew I was getting dehydrated - water, ice pops nothing was working.  So I downed some Ningxia Red as a last attempt - 3/4 of bottle I tanked down and it did the trick.

I prayed to my grandma and angels and asked them to protect me and give me strength. 

The following 1/2 hour, while incredibly devastating, was truly remarkable as well.  A lot of blood, and large clots, led to a fetus in the tub with me. The miracle of life was before me and in that moment I realized just how much of miracle it would be to have a baby. The placenta came next, as tiny as it was, I was moved by its beauty.