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I delivered a stillborn sleeping baby boy five years before my rainbow baby. I carried this sweet baby boy for seven whole months with no indication that he wouldn’t live. Listening to his heartbeat at each prenatal visit until one day there was no heartbeat to hear.

It crushed me. ”I’m sorry but your baby is dead,” are words I’ll never be able to unhear. And because of these words, I had no words. For what felt like weeks, I spoke only in tears as they streamed down my cheeks. But I know it couldn’t have been that long. Because for me, it was back to work and all the things.

Then five years later, a positive pregnancy test. Flooded with emotion, I thought, “How can you feel both elated and terrified at the same time?” I was learning that we can carry complex emotions all at once. I didn’t even know at the time that this baby would be my rainbow baby. You see, pregnancy after loss can have you feeling a little bit cautious. Like it can make you not want to get your hopes up.

I tiptoed through every step of this pregnancy. Letting the fear of what could happen because of what did happen before take hold of me. Every day, I felt unsure and uneasy. And with every right to be . . . I found myself at the emergency room every week due to cramping and spotting, sending me into panic after panic.

The ER staff knew my name and my face. They too knew I was obsessed with hearing her heartbeat. They knew my history. The staff had even given me my own pair of heart monitor belly straps so I wouldn’t keep getting charged for them. They helped me feel not so crazy and a little less alone.

This pregnancy was deemed high-risk, and at six months pregnant, I was placed on bed rest. I didn’t care, whatever it takes. Lord knows I wanted to meet this baby wide awake . . . to see her, hold her, to hear her cries.

I obsessed over her heartbeat, so I bought my own personal baby heart monitor that I could use at anytime because I had to hear her heartbeat. You know that all too familiar underwater low hum of a drum sound that you couldn’t wait to hear when the ultrasound tech splattered the cold jelly on your tummy and placed the monitor on your belly . . . thum thum thum thum thum thum. I had to hear her heartbeat. I obsessed over it.

Because she was my rainbow baby, a sweet fulfilled promise from God. She will always be my rainbow baby. And I guess I will always obsess over her heartbeat . . . because she is a part of mine.

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Natasha Smith

Natasha Smith is a grief advocate, wife, engineer turned homeschooler and NC native. She is an author, speaker, and podcaster, sharing stories on faith, family, and grief. Her work has appeared in Influence Magazine, Guideposts, Propel Women, Her Bible, Her View From Home, TODAY Parents, and other publications. Her new book Can You Just Sit with Me? Healthy Grieving for the Losses of Life is available now wherever books are sold. You can connect with her across social media @imnatashasmith and at imnatashasmith.com.

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