“Every time the sun sets it leaves behind luminous colours. Those colours are the sun’s promise of a new day to come.” – Carly Marie
These are some of the words I wrote out a year ago and placed on my fridge, reading and rereading them over and over again as God and the many blessings he has given me; particularly my children, husband, family and friends, pieced my heart back together. It was the 11th of January 2014 when I collapsed, losing the life that was growing inside of me and putting my life at risk. That day was the beginning of a new understanding of God’s grace and love in my life, that I never would have believed would culminate in the birth of my daughter exactly a year later.
Finding out you are pregnant after a miscarriage is not the same experience as it is before the experience of a loss. Our miscarriage journey was not over, in April we lost another precious star early in the pregnancy so when a few weeks later I suspected that I was once again pregnant…the news was filled with a deep anxiety. The words that I had written,
“the promise of a new day to come”,
along with God’s word, “do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends understanding, will guard your heart and your mind.” (Phillipians 4:6-7) were my constant companions.
In all honesty, praying some days was hard. We also decided to buy our first house and with four kids at home, surviving the morning sickness with heartfelt pleas to God to let my baby be born into my arms so that I could watch him or her grow up was about all I could muster.
As my belly grew, my confidence that I would hold this baby did too. On January the 11th, exactly a year after I woke up to a nightmare, I woke up knowing that today was the day we were going to meet our rainbow baby.
My contractions began slowly, different to Caden’s birth which began and finished so quickly. We had decided to go to hospital for this birth. I LOVED my home birth with Caden and if we had a low risk pregnancy I would have had one again, but after haemorrhaging and our first trimester screening results coming back as high risk, we decided the best place to be was in the hospital.
After a relaxing morning, a walk, sending the kids off with Grandma and a quick bit of weeding,
we headed to the hospital at 1pm. Contractions were regular and had a little bit of a bite, enough to remind me what labour contractions really feel like compared to the practice ones! Rick and I, along with Sara (our doula) and Bek, a friend who is studying nursing and hoping to be a midwife were enjoying chatting to the midwife with the job of assessing my progress. Watching Rick try to sit on the exercise ball is always humorous and between the building contractions and knowing the hard work to meeting my precious baby was drawing closer, the atmosphere was relaxed and I felt at peace. During the pregnancy, the little baby growing within me had felt very calm. Never a particularly active baby, I had often gotten to the end of the day and wondered if I had felt the baby move. I would then skull a bottle of ice water and lie on the couch in a panic until I felt tiny hiccups or little elbows and knees rolling slowly around. I tried to let this calm fill me as we journeyed closing to meeting face to face.
With the birthing pool finally at the right temperature, and my blood pressure back to behaving, at 3pm I was able to get into the water. The warmth and lack of weight are such a wonderful feeling when you are in labour. I sat comfortable breathing through the contractions as they built in strength. Once again, as with Nevaeh and Caden’s labours, the contractions were relatively short, and as I rode each wave up, knowing I would soon be coming back down. My midwives watched, leaving me be. Rick, Sara and Bek brought me wet cloths and shared encouragement. Soon the contractions turned to pushing. This stage seemed to last forever but it really must have been not much more 20 or 30 minutes. With Beautiful Things by Gungor playing in the background, all in the same minute, at 4:10pm, the waters that had kept my baby safe for 9 months broke and with the soles of my feet burning (as they always do), my much longed for baby made her way into my hands, out of the water and onto my chest.
Every time I think of that moment, nearly four weeks later, it still brings tears to my eyes.
Seeing this perfect little face. Two wide eyes, the most perfect lips. A tiny body perfectly formed and hearing a lusty cry is the most exhilarating experience of my life.
I am overwhelmed when I look at my new daughter’s face, and see the reflection of her biggest brother when he was tiny. My heart melts when I see my little girl holding her baby sister and I wonder what secrets and joys they will share together for the rest of their lives. And I laugh when Caden talks about when ‘Liana gets bigger and she can talk’. I am blessed again with the birth of Liana Hope. God has heard my cries and answered my prayers for a healthy baby to hold in my arms. As I snuggle her under my chin and breathe in her sweet smell, I don’t wonder what life would be like without her. I don’t wonder what would have happened if my other much loved babies had grown to be in my arms. I love them no less and my precious Liana doesn’t replace them, they are a part of her in the same way Adley, Nevaeh and Caden are a part of her. And they are all a part of our family story.
Liana, which means ‘my God has answered me”, is nearly four weeks old already. Her little life has been spent sleeping and eating.
Liana hasn’t changed from the calm little baby I held in utero.
Her movements are steady and measured, she has eyes that look like she has seen everything before. She is loved intensely by each one of us and I am so proud to be her mummy.
In honour of all of seven of my children that I have held in my womb, we will once again be participating in the SIDS and Kids Sunshine Beach Run. Taking part in this event last year was truly healing for me both physically and spiritually.
We won’t be ‘running’ this year, rather as a family we will be joining in the 1km family walk. The work of SIDS is absolutely necessary for families that go through the absolute tragedy of losing a child during pregnancy, stillbirth or childhood. Last year I was amazed and so thankful for the pledges from beautiful family and friends from all around the world that totalled over $1000. This year, I don’t want to run for us. I want to run for the many amazing friends who have loved and lost a baby at any point. There are so many friends who have shared the journey of miscarriage and tragically some who have had part of their heart stolen with the death of their child. The grieving process for everyone is different and I know that there are some of the beautiful women I share life with that have never been able to share about the life that grew within them. If you would like to sponsor us in honour of your baby, or a friend’s baby, we will create a flag unique to them that we will proudly walk with down the beach.
If you have read all of this, thank you. I have written this more to keep our story recorded somewhere, sharing it with those who want to take the time to read it is just an added bonus.