‘He was so wiggly coming out he made it hard to catch him! We were so overwhelmed, he was so beautiful.’: Parents welcome ‘perfect rainbow baby boy’ after pregnancy loss

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“Michael and I started dating about two years ago. We had met in middle school but never really interacted. In 2016, we reconnected on a dating app. I actually asked him out and our date ended up lasting 10 hours! We went out for drinks, climbed garrison hill tower (where we shared our first kiss), and lastly went to the beach. We always joke that we became boyfriend and girlfriend that first night because we were already acting like it. From that day on he became such an important person in my children and I’s lives. My son Brayden (age 7) and daughter Ali (age 5) absolutely adore him. He’s taken on such an incredible role as their stepfather, which I couldn’t be more thankful for.

Family of four take a photo together in their Sunday best
Courtesy Nakita Sanders

A little while down the road we had a surprise pregnancy. Even with it being such a big surprise we were very excited. Unfortunately, that ended in a loss of our little one. Which hit us pretty hard. We choose to leave everything up to fate and not prevent another future pregnancy. And sure enough five months later we were expecting another little one! And again, it ended in a loss. The two losses definitely made us more nervous about the idea of another future pregnancy. So, we chose to hold off on the idea, turns out fate had other things in mind.

Two months later, I realized I might have been late for ‘my time of the month’ so jokingly I told Michael I was going to take a pregnancy test. To our surprise, without having any previous idea of it, we were expecting again!

The idea of being pregnant again was very nerve-wracking at the time. Would this pregnancy end in another loss? When to tell people was a huge question. Do we wait until the 12 week ‘rule’? Do we announce as we would’ve if we hadn’t experienced miscarriages? Then the wondering; what if our little one isn’t healthy? What if something goes wrong later in the pregnancy? What if, what if, what if? For some time, I was reddened with all this worry. It took until I was 22 weeks pregnant with our little rainbow baby, (which was the due date for my second miscarriage) Michael said something that morning that helped me out of my funk. He reminded me how lucky I am. He said our little one is ‘going to love me so much, I’ll think 3 hearts are beating in his chest.’ That he’s going to be the ‘perfect rainbow baby boy.’ The idea of that made most of my worries just disappear.

And our little one was due to be born July of 2018! When I was about 12 weeks pregnant we surprised our family with the news that we were expecting, and we also got a blood test done to find out the gender of our baby. We had a gender reveal party to announce the big news to the rest of the world.

There wasn’t a doubt in my mind that I wanted to do everything in my power to make this labor and birth extra special. Especially with it being my last time being able to experience it. With my older two I had unmedicated, natural births. However, I was timid to try to push in another position rather than laying down. So, with this being my last chance, I decided that’s exactly what I would do this time (we’ve decided to not have any additional children). I had heard of the many benefits of birthing standing up and definitely wanted to try it. So, Michael and I spent a good amount of time reading a book about the Bradley Method, which is ‘Husband coached natural childbirth’. It was important to us for Michael to be as involved as possible.

On July 9th, I was home with my two oldest children and around 1 p.m. I began to have moderate contractions. Which at the time I thought were Braxton Hicks contractions because I had false labor a couple times before. The contractions got closer and farther apart and stronger and weaker, which made it all very confusing as to whether we should make our way to labor and delivery. I decided to call my midwife who suggested I come in just to make sure.

With this labor already going so differently than my previous ones, I was convinced it was false labor, so we took our time packing up the hospital bags, dropping my oldest off at their aunt’s, and getting gas. It was to the point where my midwife called me to make sure I wasn’t giving birth on the side of the road!

When we arrived, my midwife checked my cervix. From my previous birth experiences, I expected to be maybe 2/3cm dilated. Because I hadn’t been laboring that long and the contractions were very tolerable. Turns out I was 6cm and in active labor! Everything was going much faster than my previous two births and was much more manageable. I spent the next hour walking around, hoping to use gravity to my advantage! (Which I definitely did). Michael spent this time massaging my back, getting me ice chips, and keeping me laughing with his witty banter. An hour later my cervix was checked again, and I was 8cm dilated. So, if I wanted to labor in the jacuzzi birthing tub, this was my chance. The jacuzzi helped for about 20 minutes before I felt my body getting into transition and the contractions became so much stronger.

Woman sits in birthing tub at home in a cheetah print bra while her husband sits on the tub beside her
Courtesy Nakita Sanders

We made our way back to the birth room where for the next hour I spent standing, holding Michael’s forearms bracing myself for each contraction. Up until this point my labor had been pretty easy, and now it was like the contractions were making up for lost time. Michael along with my L&D nurse did an amazing job coaching and supporting me through it all. He made sure I knew how great I was doing, and that I could power through it all.

Husband holds wife up while she stands during contractions
Courtesy Nakita Sanders
Husband holds his pregnant wife up while she experiences contractions during labor
Courtesy Nakita Sanders

Suddenly, I felt the urge to push. But he wasn’t quite where he needed to be in order for me to push. My water had not broken on its own, so I asked my midwife if she would break it. I climbed up on the bed onto all fours and she broke it for me. Originally, our plan was for me to push in a birthing stool. So, I would be in a squatting position and so Michael could ‘catch’ our little one. Neither one of these things was happening because I couldn’t bring myself to move away from Michael, I needed his support emotionally and physically.

Pregnant woman breathes through a contraction while on all fours in hospital bed
Courtesy Nakita Sanders

My midwife squatted down and got ready for me to start pushing. Three pushes later, Ashton Michael Shipman entered the world! He was so wiggly coming out that he made it hard to catch him! I then sat down in the birthing stool and he was put directly on my chest for some skin to skin. Michael and I were so overwhelmed with emotion, all I kept doing was thanking Ashton for coming out of me and saying how beautiful he was.

Woman cries while holding her newborn child while her husband holds her
Courtesy Nakita Sanders

I then moved to the bed to make it easier for me to breastfeed Ashton, and so after the umbilical cord stopped pulsating, Michael would be able to clamp and cut it. We spent the remainder of the night bonding with our little one and snuggling him.

Husband and wife share a kiss while wife holds newborn child in hospital bed

Dad holds newborn child while shirtless for skin to skin contact
Courtesy Nakita Sanders

Overall, it was an amazing labor and birth. Such an incredible experience! I’m so thankful for my midwife, L&D nurse, my mom for sitting back and taking photos, and most of all Michael for being so supportive (physically and emotionally ha!).

A rainbow always comes after the storm. Now Ashton is nearly a month old and thriving! He hasn’t had a single issue breastfeeding and at his two week appointment he was up one pound from his birth weight! I’m healing very well, no complications or complaints. Everyone has adjusted well to our new addition. We’re so blessed to have our little rainbow baby.”

Baby smiles at the camera while attempting to hold his head up
Courtesy Nakita Sanders

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Nakita Sanders, 27,  of Dover, New Hampshire. Submit your story here, and subscribe to our best love stories here.

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