She was supposed to be our Rainbow Baby.
A year before I’d never heard the term. But since the second-trimester death of our daughter Naomi, I’d heard it a lot. A rainbow baby was the one that followed a loss. The one who was the promise of joy after the storm of loss and grief. The reminder that the ravages of that storm do not destroy hope and dreams.
So when I had a positive pregnancy test six months after we lost Naomi, I thought that’s what this baby was. Our little rainbow. The one who would not exist if Naomi had survived. I struggled with how to rejoice in her life when it came only because of the loss of her older sister, but at the same time my spirit soared to experience life in my womb again.
Then the complications started. At six weeks, I had some bleeding. No, God, not again. At seven, it got worse. I was diagnosed with a subchorionic hematoma, but our baby still had a heartbeat. We saw it on an ultrasound. Twice. The second time stronger than the first. Where there’s life, there’s hope, we told ourselves. She’s our little fighter. Our miracle baby. Our rainbow.
But by eight weeks, her heart had stopped. Another storm was brewing. Our rainbow was gone.
For the next three weeks, I waited to see if I would miscarry naturally. I carried our baby in my body, saying a long goodbye and trying to make sense of God’s will. Everyone had told me our first loss was a fluke, that there was no reason I couldn’t conceive again and carry a child to term. What had gone wrong?
I felt overwhelmed by sorrow, and scared of the future. My first lost had devastated me. How could I survive another storm?
And yet, what I experienced in those days was an overwhelming sense of God’s presence, the fulfillment of Isaiah 43:2, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.”
The promise of the rainbow in Genesis was that God would never again destroy the world with a flood. There would be rain again, but no matter how bad it got, we could remember that the waters would recede, the rain would stop. We would not be destroyed.
My second pregnancy loss taught me that loss and grief don’t have to destroy me either. God is with me in the midst of it, preserving my faith. The lessons that He taught me after our first loss about His love and power stayed with me through our second loss. He had not changed. And though at times I thought I would not survive the pain again, that knowledge gave me a glimpse of the rainbow behind the clouds.
We named our baby Kyria Hope. The hope she gave me was not of another baby to mark the end of our storm of loss and infertility. It was the reminder that God would not abandon me in the storm, that He is the keeper of all of His promises; that when my hope is in Him, I will not be swept away by the flood waters of sorrow and pain, but will rise to the top of them, dripping wet and gulping for air, but upheld by my Father’s strong hand.
Kristi and her husband are Yankees transplanted in South Carolina, where they met in seminary over ten years ago. Their ministry, Naomi's Circle, is an outreach to parents who have lost babies during pregnancy or shortly after birth. In her "free" time, she enjoys reading, handbells, and writing.
Author's Blog: This Side of Heaven