Courtesy of Kelly Green

I Didn't Tell Anyone My Son Was My Rainbow Baby

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Two years ago, I gave birth to a baby boy. He was a whim more than he was a decision; a risk my partner and I were open to taking more than a must-have in our minds. I struggled with the idea of becoming a mother, but deep down inside I was open to it. Because not long before he happened, another baby did. One I hadn’t expected or even known of right up until he (or she) left me. It was the oddest thing. To come to know I was pregnant at the moment I was becoming un-pregnant. To find out of a gain right before it turned into a loss. And when I did give birth two years ago (a year and a half after my first pregnancy ended), I didn't tell anyone my son was my rainbow baby.

I had known my now-partner at that time for nine weeks. I’d been pregnant (the doctor said) for around five. We can all do the math. It’s likely I got pregnant the first time we slept together. At the time, I was living in a house with some friends and their two little boys. The toddler would waddle around the house and the backyard with his soft little feet and mutter small sounds. I was smitten. “This is how people get pregnant,” I said one day while we were all outside in the yard as I stared at him lovingly. “They hang around these magic little beings for too long and start to get ideas.”

Courtesy of Kelly Green

“You make me want to reproduce a little,” I told my new boyfriend, another day, via text, as I was in the park with my dog, watching a small child roll by in a wagon. Something about the tide had changed. My certainty that I should not be a mother was wavering. I felt confused. Suddenly, I felt myself warming to the idea of a child — all the while unknowing I was already carrying one.

The question — Am I pregnant? — came to me one morning. It was as if it dropped onto my head like a tiny hot air balloon. It just sort of settled into me, like any other cyclical question in life. Do we need bread? Did I call the vet? Is the library book due today? It just wedged its way into my cognizance. Am I pregnant?

There had been a baby. There had been a pregnancy. In my hesitancy to acknowledge it fully, I had nearly forgotten about it.

I drove to the store and grabbed a test, feeling finally old enough at 34 to be buying one without judgment. Then I headed back to the bathroom where the thought had first found me and set out to find the answer. There it was, in one small line: Yes. You’re pregnant.

But then, 48 hours later, I wasn’t. I'd been pregnant for about five weeks unknowingly... it was as if the knowing had ended it, somehow. I called my partner and let him know. Remember how everything changed a couple days ago? Well. It just changed back.

Courtesy of Kelly Green

Soon after, I decided to get an IUD. I made an appointment to get an IUD. I went to the appointment to receive the implantation of the IUD.

I left the appointment without the IUD. I freaked out when I was on the table. The thought of putting something inside my body scared me, and perhaps the thought that I wanted a baby was under the surface, also scaring me, but urging me not to.

When that first baby left me, it didn’t fully leave me. I was changed. I had felt the massive fear of carrying a life in me, but pulsing underneath that fear was a wave of curiosity. Could this be nice? Could this be OK? Could this be more than a mistake? Could this be… beautiful?

My baby has just turned 2 years old, and now I see things differently. There is a constellation of sorts that created our family. The first baby was a star that led me to the second one – without him (or her), I wouldn’t have ever had the light to find my way home.

A handful of people very close to me knew about the baby, but that was it. After it happened, I repressed it. I didn’t allow myself to focus on it, as it seemed fated, and frankly, I was relieved. I stayed quiet on the subject for the most part, and I'm not a quiet person. I live my life out loud, in the open — it's the way I'm most comfortable. But this felt like something I had to protect. My uncertainty over whether or not I might actually want a baby.

When I sat down to fill out the paperwork for my doctor appointment almost a year later, the necessity and specificity of the questions shocked me: Number of pregnancies? Number of live births? I watched my hand in awe as it wrote in “1," and then “0.” My doctor looked the paperwork over and addressed the issue flippantly. "So just one miscarriage prior to this?" Instead of answering "yes," I quietly shook my head.

There had been a baby. There had been a pregnancy. In my hesitancy to acknowledge it fully, I had nearly forgotten about it.

Courtesy of Kelly Green

I lived my full-term pregnancy as though it was my first, and of course, it was, in the sense that it was my first full-term pregnancy. But it wasn’t the first time I’d seen a positive line in the bathroom while I stood there alone, and it wasn’t the first time I'd felt that massive sense of overwhelm.

My baby has just turned 2 years old, and now I see things differently. There is a constellation of sorts that created our family. The first baby was a star that led me to the second one – without him (or her), I wouldn’t have ever had the light to find my way home. I didn’t have to tell the world about him. His one job was to lead me home. And that’s where I am now. Home, with my tiny, beautiful family.