Why My Baby Isn’t A Rainbow

August 23, 2016

Rainbow baby.
I have one.
He’s perfect.
He’s beautiful.
He’s got so much personality, already, at 6 months, makes me wonder what I’ve gotten myself into with this one. He’s stubborn, he’s sweet; he’s charming and he’s more than I ever expected I’d have.
He’s my rainbow baby.

Which to many, means he came after loss.

Four years ago, this week, I was at the end of my IVF journey. My husband, ( now my ex; side affect of loss #24) had his portion of the surgery fun, I had my retrieval and we waited for them to do their thing so that we could have the transfer. We put in two embryos and we got fortunate, lucky, #blessed, (insert whatever platitude here), and I was pregnant with twins.

The answer to so many tears, hopes, dreams, prayers, shots, pain, meds, more trips on an emotional roller coaster than I like to recount, but we finally had what we had wanted and worked so hard for.

I was pregnant with our boys.

The pregnancy was hard. It was really freaking hard. I had hyperemesis, maybe. Maybe it was from the hyper stimulation and all the pressure of the added fluid that made me throw up 20 times a day. Regardless, it was miserable. But it was okay because I WAS PREGNANT!

And then, to make a long, sad story very short, my boys died.  I can write for days about the circumstances surrounding it, the unanswered questions, the why, the how, but the fact remains that after so much, I lost them. Tucker at 18.5 weeks, Fletcher at 20.

It was a mix of the best and worst times of my life.
After years wondering what my baby would look like, I finally knew.
They were perfect.
My heart had never been so full and so broken at the same time. And if you don’t understand how that can be, count yourself fortunate. For those who have the blisters from walking in my shoes, I know you understand.

Fast forward four years and, well, I have a 6-month-old.

He’s perfect.
I sit and watch him and my heart just aches.
Out of such abundant love for my baby, out of wonder that he’s mine–that he’s here and he’s real.
After so much loss, I have my baby.

Related: Not everyone gets a rainbow

I never had a problem with “Rainbow Baby” until I was about to deliver him.  I always thought it was sweet and endearing. A promise of hope, something beautiful after a storm.

And he is.

This little bundle of drool and a headful of hair that looks up at me and smiles his gummy smile?  I love him more than anything.

Which fills me with such unbelievable guilt because I love his brothers more than anything. But they aren’t here.
He is.
And my love for them is different.
I don’t want it to be different. It shouldn’t be different. You don’t love one of your children more than the other.

I didn’t get to see them crawl, I didn’t get to rock them to sleep, I didn’t get to come home from a long day at work and have them see me and smile and reach for me, their Mama.

Related: The Incomprehensibility of Rainbow Motherhood

This is such an unfair burden that I wasn’t expecting to have to deal with. I knew that I’d always miss them. I knew that. During my pregnancy I couldn’t help but compare. But at 18 weeks, when my water broke with my boys, that’s when the comparisons ended. And when I left the hospital after losing them, I left with memory boxes.

This time I left with my very much alive baby boy.
And how I can reconcile loving them all so much and so differently and trying to figure out how all of this can be, it’s hard.

I have my baby.


I have to believe that he has so much personality because he’s got double, some from both of his brothers, shoved into his pudgy little body. He’s already so expressive, he’s got such a sweet spirit.

I’m bragging, I’m sorry.
I’m just amazed.
I have my baby.
But, he’s not my Rainbow.

Because my boys were not a storm. They aren’t something I had to suffer through or that I’ll get over.  They are part of me, part of their brother and forever part of our story.

I have my miracle that I hold in my arms and I have my two that I hold in my heart.

And for that, I truly am #blessed. #boymom to 3 of the most beautiful beings I ever did see!


  • Melissa Neu

    I am a wife to a very handsome man, a stepmom to 3 great kids, and a mom to twin boys in heaven who I work every day to honor in some way. I tend to go err on the side of obnoxious and my blog, "Just a Girl, With A lot To Say" is how I have chosen to document this grief journey I've found myself on.


    • JennyBZ

      August 23, 2016 at 5:00 pm

      Beautifully put. I totally cried. This hurts and warms my heart simultaneously. All your boys are lucky to have you as their mama. Hugs, friend! xx

    • mindy hohfeld

      October 5, 2016 at 9:55 am

      I loved your post. I have the same outlook on the term rainbow baby. We call our son our Hope Baby, because our hope is in Jesus that one day we will see him again and we will know him in his fullness of how God created him. I also do not refer to our loss as a storm in any way. It was/is hard and ugly. It still hurts and always will, but losing our Titus has made some incredible things happen in our life, and it has molded us into people we never could have been without him. Thank you for sharing your heart.

    • Danielle

      September 28, 2017 at 7:48 pm

      As a mother to a child who had special needs, I was shocked when I first learned that not everyone loved the essay “Welcome to Holland” as a description of special needs parenting. To me, I felt it spoke to my heart and soul and mirrored my journey going from a traditional pregnancy to a different experience raising a child with disabilities.

      I grew to understand how personal that journey, like the journey of parental grief, truly is. I know and love many people who don’t feel the same. Their views of their journey are so meaningful and I am blessed to be able to share in them.

      I’ve always thought of the youngest that we spent six years hoping and praying for after having a daughter who needed life supporting equipment at home was our rainbow baby, even though we hadn’t lost her older sister. I know many who don’t think babies following surviving children “qualify”, but to me, we’d endured much and survived as a family. The imagery spoke to my heart about my journey and my joy. None of this changed after we lost our middle daughter just 8 short months after our baby was born; to me, she’s still my rainbow baby.

      I am grateful to share in your experience not using this term or vision to apply to your child. And I am so sorry for the losses we both know.

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