Disclosure: This article includes affiliate links, meaning I may receive compensation for purchases made through them, but the opinions are my own.
There are two sides to having a rainbow baby.
The first is pure bliss and healing. Rosie’s sweet spirit is such a comfort to our home. It feels natural to have a baby here again. Dallas and I have been reinstated as “parents” and that means everything to us. We love to wave our arms and mimic her newborn movements. We find such joy at each of her little sounds. When I hear Dallas telling her from the other room, “You are so beautiful, just like your mommy” I fall more in love with him. Discovering each little thing about her, like that she always rolls onto her left side and she cries if you turn off the lights is a treasure. Holding her on my chest and feeling her breathe is calming to my soul. Being able to nurse again is my favorite. Seeing similarities between Rosie and Alice is like a little message from Heaven.
Unfortunately, that’s not all there is to it. I wish I was just completely in heaven, and I didn’t worry at all for her safety, but that’s not my reality anymore. Once you’ve lost a child, you can’t go back. You will worry in a new way, every day, for the rest of your life.
So, the second thing you may experience is intense emotional distress.
What I have been experiencing can only be described as anxiety. Maybe it’s because I already had a healthy baby. I had no reason to believe Alice would die. Even after her death the medical examiner said she had been completely healthy. So, although Rosie is healthy, I worry about her constantly. The first night in the hospital I didn’t sleep at all. I just stared at my daughter and searched for the rise and fall of her chest that told me she was ok.
I would never get any sleep if it weren’t for my Owlet monitor. If you haven’t heard of Owlet before, I definitely recommend it. It is a little sock you put of your baby’s foot while they sleep that measures their heart rate and oxygen levels. If they go above or below normal range a notification sounds. You can also connect through an app to check on your baby’s levels at any point.
We have loved having our Owlet. It has provided immense comfort and I know without it we would not be able to sleep. Even in the hospital I would suddenly wake in a panic worrying about my baby, but now at home with the Owlet monitor we are able to relax. I honestly cannot imagine trying to cope with the anxiety of having a new baby without it. Owlet monitors are not cheap, but they are so worth it. Plus, Owlet is committed to making it accessible to everyone. They have payment plans available, and they are also approved to be purchased with HSA and FSA accounts.
If you are looking for a less expensive option that can provide peace of mind, the Angelcare Monitor is a great option. I have not personally used this one, but I know many parents who have previously lost a baby to SIDS who use and LOVE this product. It is a mat you place under your baby and it detects even the smallest motions, like breathing. If no motion is detected for 20 seconds, an alarm will sound. This version, which is only $68.57 also comes with a sound monitor. These monitors are also available with video capabilities.
I cannot recommend products like this enough, especially if you have previously experienced a loss. The peace of mind they can provide is priceless.
I continue to meet with a grief therapist to manage my anxiety. When I get messages from people who have recently experienced or are having trouble coping with a loss, the number one thing I suggest to them is to find a grief therapist. You don’t have to try and deal with all of your thoughts and feelings alone. There are people who are trained to help. There are strategies that can help you feel like yourself again. This whole “losing a child” experience is way more than any one person should have to deal with, so add people to your team. Get help.
You will never go back to being who you were or feeling how you felt before your loss, but you will find a new normal that works for you, and is fulfilling in its own way. You can enjoy life again, but it takes time. Do yourself a favor give yourself all the help you can get.