I have known Jennifer for a long time. I actually worked with her mother and then with her for a few years at the day job. I was thrilled to photograph her during her first pregnancy and photograph her first child, Logan, throughout his first year, and I was, again, thrilled when she told me she was pregnant with baby number two. After a short time, she told me more about her journey in between, and explained that this new little one was a rainbow baby. She has granted me permission to republish what she shared today, in her own words, about her journey.
Jennifer is starting the induction process today so let's all send her much love, support, and buttery baby thoughts as she welcomes Autumn earthside.
I have never truly opened up about this but seeing as Autumn's arrival is now hours away it feels like it's time. When we lost our baby last October I felt like there was a gaping whole left in my heart. At first, I put on a strong front, I tried to be strong and I tried to only let others see that I would be ok, but I wasn't. I shut down, I didn't want to go out, I didn't want to talk to anyone, I just wanted to be left alone, I wanted to cry and I didn't want any reminders of what we lost. I am responsible for the life growing inside of me and I felt like I failed our baby. After a few months the tears dried and I began realizing what I needed to do to begin healing my heart. I took the time to reflect on what the GOOD things are in my life and how lucky I am for what I do have. In that mindset I was able to be happy again and to put a smile on my face, even though I thought about the baby daily. I found comfort in talking to the spirit of our baby and I cried when I felt like I needed to. In time my heart healed enough and I was able to face my friends, family and the world again.
When I found out we were expecting again, I was excited but mostly scared. I brought Patrick a box I had made him, on the outside it was painted black and grey with clouds and said "after every storm" and the inside was Sky blue and it said "there comes a rainbow" because Autumn is our rainbow baby and that is truly something special! I also knit my first baby hat! It is white with a rainbow on it and I placed it inside, I knew he was happy but I started crying, I was so scared to go through that again, I couldn't lose another baby, I couldn't feel that pain again.
As the time went by, the fear left. Naturally, every once in a while I was hit with a scare but something else hit me, something that made me feel completely joyful. We are getting ready to welcome our daughter, I wanted so badly to experience the close relationship I have with my mom. To know what it's like not only to watch my wonderful son grow, but my daughter too, to see that close relationship that a brother and sister share grow and warm my heart, something I never got to experience with my brother. I cherish the memories I have made with my mom, the talks about life, shopping, going to choose my wedding dress and her watching me become a mother and my own woman. I look forward to making those cherished memories with Autumn.
As I would lay and talk to the spirit of my angel each night, this overwhelming feeling came over me. I used to think that the day I died I would finally get to hold my angel BUT I don't believe that anymore, I know this is her, she came back to be with us. It's a feeling I can't explain but I know with every fiber of my being that it's true! So instead of waiting a lifetime, we will have to wait just a little longer to meet our angel. I know in my heart that her spirit never left me, she stayed with me, I felt her presence every day and I talked to her everyday, I know this is her.
Losing the pregnancy was the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with, losing a life that had yet to really live is the worst pain a mother could experience. But it also gave me the opportunity to reflect on myself and my life, on what I have that makes me happy and who I have that makes me happy. Then my angel came back to me and I'm going to hold on so tight. Without this awful experience I wouldn't be the me that I am today, every bit of what has happened to me, good or bad makes me who I am, and I have learned to be happy with that and to not dwell on the negative. Everyday I'm thankful for the gifts I've been given, my mistakes are lessons that I can teach my children, in hopes that they don't make the same ones.
Having unconditional love and support not only from my wonderful husband and son but from our closest friends and family have helped me exit the storm that our loss created and enter the bright light of the rainbow that is our daughter. I can't wait to meet you, my little angel baby, my Autumn Rain
P.S. The next time I see my Pookie he will be a big brother!
photo collage from Jennifer