Life After Loss by Megan Spangler

The term “rainbow baby” comes from the idea that a rainbow comes after a storm, that something beautiful comes after something dark and scary. In my experience, it means that something incredible can come after such a dark period. My baby was the light at the end of a dark, dark tunnel. 

When I first found out I was pregnant, I couldn’t breathe. I was so full of excitement I didn’t know what to do. I remember taking a pregnancy test after I got home from work. I was home alone but my husband would be home soon. I went to the bathroom, took the test, and waited that dreaded three minutes. After what felt like an hour waiting, the test showed two pink lines. It took a little bit to register that this test was positive, and I finally grasped that for the first time, I was pregnant. After months and months of trying, we finally had the result we had been waiting for. I immediately called my best friend to think of a fun way to tell my husband. We came to the agreement that I should put the tests in our Christmas cookie jar and tell him that there was a surprise inside. When he came home, I told him about the ‘surprise’ in the cookie jar. He opened the jar, read the tests, and yelled “no way!” We embraced and had tears in our eyes. Finally, our dreams were coming true...our family was growing! We were in a state of absolute bliss, and we stayed that way until it all came crashing down. 

It was December 9th and it was snowing outside. I wanted to stay home because I hate driving in the snow, but we needed to get groceries for the week so we headed to the store. We were grabbing our last items, and I felt a wave of anxiety take over my body. I told my husband something didn’t feel right, I wasn’t feeling so well. “Why don’t you wait in the car while I check out?” he responded. I agreed. I turned to walk out of the store when I felt it. I felt the intense cramps that could only be described as contractions. I knew what was happening immediately, I knew I was miscarrying. I walked as fast as I could to the bathroom, and confirmed what I already knew. We left the store and went straight to the hospital. 

The snow was coming down harder, so we had to drive slowly. It was easily the longest drive of my entire life. I walked into the hospital with my pants soaked through, tears running down my face, unable to speak through the crying and heavy breathing. My husband told the front desk what happened to the best of his knowledge since he had a hard time figuring out what I was saying. I was told to take a seat and wait for my name to be called. 

We ended up staying at the hospital for six and a half hours. It was a traumatizing experience all around. You just can’t prepare for something like that to happen. I didn’t want to think it was a possibility, I didn’t want to “jinx” it. I didn’t want to think about losing my baby. I didn’t want to come to terms with my body failing me and failing my child. I didn’t want to think “What if this is the only time I could get pregnant?” The only way I could look at it was, “What did I do wrong? What could I have done differently? Did I jinx it by telling someone I was pregnant? Did this happen for a reason? Why me?” In complete honesty, I still question it. It’s all in God’s plan, but why did I deserve to go through this traumatic event? 

This happens to so many women, yet it’s still such a taboo subject. Women are suffering in silence because having a miscarriage is something you just don’t talk about. When I went through mine, I had never felt so alone in my entire life. I knew I could reach out to my family, my friends, and my husband. I had a great support system, but none of them would understand what I went through. My husband tried hard to relate, he really did. But he couldn’t possibly understand what I felt. “It’s not your fault”. I heard that a lot, and no matter how many times I heard it I didn’t believe it. I didn’t believe that sometimes these things just happen. Looking back, I wish I would have reached out to more people. I wish I would’ve been more open about how I was feeling. Being secluded with these feelings just made the experience harder than it had to be. It was difficult to have a positive outlook when I felt so hopeless. 

I wish I could say that my outlook on life changed when I found out I was pregnant again, but it didn’t. The entire first trimester was spent in a dark depression. It was like nothing I had felt before. Every time I felt a tiny bit of hope for this pregnancy, something in my head would tell me not to get too excited, that I would miscarry. It was getting so out of hand my husband had to make me eat and drink. That’s when he begged me to see my doctor to get help. I didn’t think anything would help me, but I made an appointment anyway. 

I went to the doctor two days later and I didn’t expect much from it. I went into the room, and sat down and waited. My doctor came in and happily asked, “So what’s going on? How are you?” And I absolutely lost it. I hadn’t cried that hard since I went to the hospital for my miscarriage. Telling her how I felt was the greatest feeling. She understood and just listened to me. She never said, “It wasn’t your fault,” or “There was nothing you could’ve done”. She told me how she also had a miscarriage before she had her rainbow baby. She described how she felt when it happened and I was relieved. I was relieved because she went through the same emotions and guilt that I went through. She told me it was normal to feel this way, and that this depression was normal. Finally, for the first time in a long time I felt hopeful. She prescribed something for my depression, and told me to reach out to her directly if I felt any worse. 

Having someone to communicate with and understand my feelings made all of the difference. I felt I could finally be excited for this pregnancy, and I was. Truthfully, I still had the fear every day that something was going to go wrong. Every time I felt something unusual, I assumed something was wrong. If I didn’t feel my little girl kick for a little bit, I would freak out. 

After going through all of these different emotions for almost ten months, I gave birth to a healthy baby girl. As soon as I saw her I knew this was all worth it. All of this trauma I went through was for this six pounds and twelve ounces of pure love. I have never felt so blessed in my entire life, and I am so thankful that God gave me my daughter. 

I talk about my miscarriage often, with anyone who asks. I remember feeling so alone and not able to talk about it, and I would hate for someone else to suffer in silence. Maybe by making it a more common conversation the experience would be a lot less traumatizing. Maybe talking about it and preparing for the storm would make it easier to see the light ahead. My experience changed me, it made me so much more empathetic toward other women and their experiences.

“There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel, even if you don’t see it yet. There’s always a rainbow after a storm.“ -Megan Spangler

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