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  • Writer's pictureCarmela Rea, Founder

Elisabeth is a Rainbow Baby

Updated: Aug 17, 2021

"A rainbow baby is a baby born to a mother who has previously lost a child due to miscarriage, stillbirth, or neonatal death. It stems from the idea that a rainbow, symbolizing hope and comfort, follows the storm of grief caused by a baby loss.”

My Story

When I thought about what to post for National Rainbow Baby Day, I knew I didn’t have to look too far. My own story, the story of EggFund, would be very different if I had not experienced three miscarriages before the birth of my daughter Elisabeth. I’ve spoken about my struggle to conceive: it caused me to start EggFund to help others realize their dream of a family.

But one thing I’ve never, ever discussed, even with close friends, is the mixed emotions my pregnancy brought.

The Many Feelings of Infertility

I felt the fear, anxiety, and guilt, along with the excitement, joy, anticipation, and love. It was hard to enjoy being pregnant with Elisabeth; I was always expecting something to go wrong at any minute. And one icy January morning early in my pregnancy, we thought it had. I slipped on an icy street in lower Manhattan. I quickly got up and felt physically fine but was immediately worried. Would this end yet again in disappointment?

I tried to go about my morning, but within about an hour, the bleeding started. I thought to myself, “Here we go again.” My husband, worried and trying not to look it, brought me water while I laid on my couch, feet up.

Ultimately, Elisabeth was fine. The technician behind the sonogram machine remarked at how strong her heartbeat was. But still, I couldn’t shake the feeling of foreboding. Even as my belly grew bigger and I was filled with so much joy at my surprise “miracle baby,” I still was on edge. So I tried not to get too excited. You know in case I “failed” again.

The Arrival of My Rainbow Baby

Elisabeth came early. Her Birth was touch and go—long story short, as I say, I was in the hospital for about nine days with preeclampsia, and at age 46, the medical staff was super vigilant. But, uncharacteristically, I was not worried. Instead, I felt a burst of anticipation and creative energy, wrote several songs for Elisabeth, and colored in pictures of her—my favorite is this butterfly, which continued to be a motif. It was like I mentally couldn’t go there to consider this not working out.

Elisabeth was born during a 100-degree heatwave, after 36 hours and the entire medical attendees trying to induce me. The C-Section was so quick and easy, and her cry was the best sound I’ve ever heard. I felt immense relief, but my anxiety was, unfortunately, not going to be given a chance to rest. As she was born at 36 weeks, Elisabeth ended up spending two nights in the Nic-U. I was beside myself with worry, but my husband and I would visit her and sing the songs I had written to Elisabeth while we tried to get her to latch.

Her favorite and one I still sing to her is “They call me Baby Elisabeth” it goes like this:

They call me Baby Elisabeth,

Watch out, world, I’m coming!

They call me baby Elisabeth, yeah

Watch out, world, I’m coming!

“Cause when I’m walking down the street,

You’ll never know who you’ll meet,

You won’t see me coming, but I can tell you right now,

they call me Baby Elisabeth

Watch out, world, I’m coming!

They call me Baby Elisabeth, yeah,

Watch out, world, I’m coming!

Now a vivacious, healthy three-year-old, Elisabeth knows the words and sings along to the song she inspired. Elisabeth amazes me regularly. I feel that her strong spirit is due to the fact that she has the reinforcement from the soul of three siblings that were almost before her. They’re rooting for her. She’s a survivor, and so am I.

Watch out, world; we’re here!

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