If you are in the middle of a rainbow pregnancy and feel scared and anxious, then know that I’ve been there. And I want you to know that having a beautiful rainbow baby—as I did—is worth all the fear, anxiety, pain, tears, rollercoaster emotions you are currently going through.
After losing three babies, my anxiety was off the charts from the moment that pink plus appeared on my pregnancy test! I was convinced I wouldn’t get to carry him to term. I had multiple visits with a Reproductive Endocrinologist prior to conception, but we still didn’t know why I had lost the three previous pregnancies. After each loss, we added a new medication to our pregnancy plan. So, when our rainbow pregnancy started I was on three medications to protect against possible causes of miscarriage. First, an 81-mg aspirin to aid implantation and reduce clotting. Second, vaginal progesterone to stabilize my uterine lining and help baby grow. Third, daily Lovenox injections, a blood thinner to prevent dangerous clots. Additionally, I cut out caffeine, exercise, and anything else that could possibly put this rainbow baby at risk.
In my first trimester—because it would be months before I could reliably feel him move—I took a pregnancy test every week (sometimes daily) praying the pink positive symbol would brightly appear to reassure myself. My anxiety was palpable, and I was terrified to bond with my rainbow baby. To make matters worse, going to the bathroom was terrifying. Every stomach ache, constipation, and indigestion made my heart race. I feared I would see blood; the first sign my world would shatter again.
What many don’t know is I held this fear so tightly that I didn’t tell anyone, even my husband Aaron, that I was pregnant. On May 15, 2018, we went for what Aaron believed to be just another test. Instead, it was the day we heard Noah’s strong and steady heartbeat— announcing to the world that he is there and healthy. My rainbow baby was alive and growing!
At 12 weeks, I bought a Doppler and switched from weekly pregnancy tests to checking his heartbeat daily. That sweet rhythm calmed my nerves in the most beautiful way.
After weeks of wondering, I felt the first undeniably miraculous flutters of life in my womb at 16 weeks. With tears in my eyes I wrapped my hands around my center; cradling the tiny life I held within me.
In addition to anxiety, my triple rainbow pregnancy was drenched in physical discomfort. Suffering from hyper emesis gravidarum, I was weak, dizzy, and exhausted. I frequented the emergency room. Additionally, my ligaments were stretched to the point of severe sciatic pain. Walking, sitting, laying and dancing all caused lightning bolts of pain down my legs. Despite my desperate desire to have this baby there were days when it was almost too much. I was miserable. Yet I kept silent about my struggle because I feared people would think I was ungrateful. My intense nausea persisted until 24 weeks when the fog slowly lifted.
Thankfully at around 32 weeks I started seeing a chiropractor and my sciatica pain was quickly reduced and I started embracing those sweet baby movements—like stretches and rolls! I love that period when you can feel everything so clearly.
Despite feeling better physically my anxiety persisted. Every morning I held my breath—paralyzed in fear that the unthinkable had happened while I slept–until he started moving and I knew he was safe. Many times a day I checked his heart rate and counted his kicks. With each roll and stretch my heart longed to feel his warmth as the sweet newborn smell filled the air.
The evening of my due date I started having prodromal labor. The contractions were persistent and painful but irregular. I had never experienced spontaneous labor before so I was unsure what to expect. Unfortunately, at 5am the contractions disappeared. Thankfully, the next evening labor came on swiftly and quickly became regular. By 3am I was waking up my husband and toddler son to head to the hospital!
I will post Noah’s birth story soon. But know that it’s ok to not be ok during your rainbow pregnancy. It can feel turbulent and confusing—but as I can attest to—holding that beautiful baby after delivery makes the experience SO worth it all.
Thanks for stopping by!
Dr. Patricia Bast was born and raised in Southern California. After earning her bachelors degree at UC Irvine, she went on to graduate medical school from Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Northern California. She then returned home to Southern California and became a resident in Pediatrics at Loma Linda Children’s Hospital. Dr. Bast is now raising her children and loves working part-time at a pediatric clinic, watching her patients grow and thrive.