This is the face of someone who was riding the rollercoaster of “pregnancy after loss” emotions: excited and anxious, nervous and confused, joy-filled and overwhelmed.

The day I found out about this baby, I was at the hospital. It was nothing scary, just my GP being cautious and a fun, human puzzle for the doctors to unravel.

But as I waited on bloodwork and tests, the nurse gave me a little, “Congratulations.” Because those very faint positive pregnancy hormones showed up in my bloodstream and it was official. We were expecting again.

For someone who’s lost five babies, this wasn’t the way to start a calm pregnancy.

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I’m always skeptical of women who say their pregnancy “just flew by.

For me, each trimester is a slow plod forward. The passage of time stutters and hesitates, marked by weekly checks to see “what size of vegetable the baby is today.” I wait for the bump to grow noticeable, for the flutters to erupt into kicks. I fight down the fears: the wait for the bleeding to begin, the wait for the instant everything goes wrong. I mark the milestones as impatience abounds. 

I remind myself to soak in the slow. Waiting is a gift too.

But this time around, things have been different. Life is busy. The days pass in a blur of school drop-offs and lunches made, of nap times and groceries, of walks to the library and full schedules. With two other little ones to keep up with, pregnancy happens quick.

And so, I’m almost startled to find myself past the halfway point.

Now, I have to actively remind myself to search for the slow.  To pause. Stop and cherish. Because now, I am the mother who says it’s “flying by.”

At the ultrasound appointment, a few weeks back, the technician looked over and asked if we’d like to know the baby’s gender. For us, this is an extra gift to bond. A chance to call our child by name. To love them, no matter what, as they are — an incredible gift. Placing my hands on a rounding belly, I thank God for life.

Another miracle.

A story that feels a little more complete.

And so, it is with great delight, that we announce… Read more

A rainbow baby is a term used to describe a child born after miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss.

These babies are stunning bits of promise after a storm, a collision of both sun and rain alike. Resounding with hope and promise, they appear after a monsoon of grief. As life breaks forth within, these little ones bring with them shimmering swaths of delight. They live up to their name, these beautiful, rainbow children of ours.

But they weren’t the first ones to light up the sky.

Because if the babies born after loss are rainbows, then the ones we lost must be lightning.

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For decades, women have been told to wait until the end of the first trimester before announcing their pregnancies. After thirteen weeks, the chances of miscarriage decrease dramatically and you can avoid the awkwardness comes with having to inform everyone that you are “no longer pregnant” if you lose the baby.

This is one of the main rationals behind this advice.

And I hate it.

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“Mommy, what if baby doesn’t come out in October?”

We were in the car, on our way to a routine pregnancy check-up when I heard the little voice pipe up from the backseat. At nearly 35 weeks pregnant, we’d been talking a lot about the baby that was due to arrive in a month’s time. My son had accompanied me to each prenatal appointment, listening to the heartbeat and watching my belly grow. With his head pressed up tightly against my stomach, he’d talk and whisper to his little sister, kiss her good-night, and eagerly count down the time until her arrival. There was no doubt that our entire family was eagerly awaiting the birth of this little one.

From the driver’s seat of the car, I smiled. We’d had a conversation about birthdays earlier and I assumed that this was where his question was coming from. I snuck a glance at him through the rear-view mirror, noting the thoughtful expression on his face. “Baby will definitely come by October,” I replied cheerfully. “The doctors won’t let her stay in longer than that.”

“Unless she goes to be with Jesus first.”

My heart skipped a beat.

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The porcelain bowl glistens clean and white, the scent of anti-bacterial wipes wafting from its open lid. This has been my on-and-off view for the past few weeks; the bathroom mat a frequent companion for this newly-pregnant mama.

Retreating back to my spot on the couch, cuddled up under a brown blanket, my nose twitches at the scent of whatever it is my husband is cooking in the kitchen. I gag and growl in frustration at my endlessly-rolling tummy. No one could ever say that this is a “fun” part of pregnancy, but nonetheless, I take a deep breath and direct a quick word of thanks upwards.

Despite the discomfort, I try to remember that I am enjoying this.

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The end of March brings with it the end of our first trimester with this little bean. This milestone makes my breath catch and my heart swim. When I saw those pink lines on the pregnancy test, I was so focused on just getting through the first eight weeks, I could scarcely dream of the end of the first trimester. But here we are with a healthy, growing baby and hearts overflowing with excitement and joy.

At the same time, this month carries memories of another child I once carried in my womb. Memories of a little girl we named Avonlea. A child whom we knew for a mere seven days, a daughter whom I knew from the start we wouldn’t get to keep.

March 25 would have been her due date.

This is part of pregnancy after loss: remembering the ones who aren’t in your womb, the ones who never made it this far, and whose hearts you never saw beat. Just because a new baby grows within, doesn’t mean that the ones we lost are any less loved, cherished, or missed.

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If you’ve been following along on my blog and social media, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been a bit quiet lately. While you may have already seen the news on my Instagram earlier this week, I wanted to take a moment to update all of you faithful blog followers, and let you know that we are expecting again! Baby #7 is due in October and we are beyond excited to be given another precious gift.

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Dear Pregnant Mama, take the belly picture.

You just peed on a little white stick and watched two solid, pink lines appear from the nothingness. You’re barely five weeks along but there’s a child growing within your womb, a little bit of your DNA mashed into an ever-growing and dividing clump of cells.

You place your hand tenderly against your stomach and feel nothing but skin and a little bloat. There’s no evidence that this little one is here. Your stomach muscles have yet to stretch and give way to the life within. Everything is seemingly the same, and only you know it’s all begun to change.

And so, you feel silly asking your partner to take a belly picture. It seems strange to stand sideways against the wall and take a picture of “nothing.” You tell yourself that you have time.

But sadly, not all of us do.

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Cautiously prodding a crumpled tissue out of the way, I carefully reached my hand down into the garbage can and fished out the used pregnancy test. I’d tossed it in moments earlier but now I was second-guessing myself.

I held the test up close against my face and squinted, hoping against hope that somehow that would change the answer. Maybe I hadn’t waited long enough? Maybe there was a very faint line and I’d just missed it?

One lonely pink line stared back at me and my heart sank. The pregnancy test was definitely negative.

Again.

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My husband and I had been married for a little over half-a-year when we discovered that I was pregnant with identical twin boys. I loved being pregnant: I floated through those first few months on a carefree cloud of pregnant woman glow. I watched my belly grow larger and rounder; stretched by little elbows and knees that wriggled and squirmed just out of sight. It was miraculous and beautiful and most of all, worry-free.

Because I was carrying multiples, the hospital slapped a “high risk” label on my medical chart and treated us to extra ultrasounds and doctors appointments, but this all seemed a mere formality. Never once, did I worry about losing my babies. As far as I knew, words like “stillbirth” or “miscarriage” belonged in history books or museums — I didn’t know that they were still a very real part of 21st century life.

Fast forward a few months, and I was being rushed in for an emergency c-section: one twin born still, the other literally described as “limp and floppy” and fighting for his life. Our firstborn, Landon, was buried in a tiny plot of damp, green earth, and our survivor, Alistair, came home from the hospital seven weeks later. My life had changed irrevocably and I was embarking on the long and painful journey of life after loss.

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**I started writing this while pregnant with our little Avonlea. It is nothing more than the scribblings of a newly-expectant mother, the beat of my heart written out upon a page. My womb emptied before I had the chance to finish putting words to the experience; and so, this post remains short and sweet and complete all on its own – much like our daughter’s life. I share it with you today, in memory of each of our babes gone too soon.**

Each week with you is a miracle.

A small poppy seed lies in my belly, growing and blossoming with each day; a peppercorn, a blueberry, who knows how big you’ll become. No one sees you yet, this tiny knot of cells that have buried their way into my womb and clear through to my heart, but you’re there.

I don’t know how long we have together. I don’t know whether you’re the one whose forehead I will kiss as I rock to sleep, or whose toes I will tickle just to hear the sound of your laugh. I don’t know if we will name you in the first trimester as we say good-bye, or if we will proudly announce your height and weight on birth announcements for the world to see. I don’t know if a lifetime of memories with you means weeks, or months, or decades. All I know is right now.

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