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Why I Hate the Term Rainbow Baby

And why I won't be using it if/when I get pregnant again.

A child conceived after pregnancy loss is often referred to as a Rainbow Baby. I actually don't know where this term comes from, but I'd guess it alludes to seeing something bright and positive in the aftermath of a storm.

Here's why I hate it:

Calling a child a Rainbow Baby alludes to the fact that this new kid is at the same time more special, yet less desired than the first child conceived.

It puts a new emphasis on the new child, making her seem more important than her predecessor, while at the same time underlining the fact that there was a pregnancy before hers -- and that the previous pregnancy was the most desired one.

It instantly puts the new child in the shadow of a person they'll never get to meet, while deemphasizing the loss of that person by refocusing the attention on the miracle of newness. It makes the second chance seem magical, yet still unsatisfactory.

All children are worth loving. I never felt a deep connection with my first pregnancy -- probably because so much doubt was cast upon it from the beginning -- but that doesn't mean that the pregnancy wasn't wanted, important, and precious to me. If I'm lucky enough to get pregnant again, I feel no need to give special meaning to it simply because of a loss I experienced before it. This new pregnancy is just as desired, and just as special.

I hope that in the future, should I become pregnant again, you'll honor my choice and not refer to my child as Rainbow. As I've mentioned in previous blog posts, the concept that brings me the most comfort is imaging this new potential pregnancy as an extension of the first one. As in, "I was first pregnant with you in June, and now I'm pregnant with you in December." Perhaps this idea is just as illogical, definitely more far fetched, and completely not science-based, but it is what feels right to me now. Maybe when I do fall pregnant again, I find a new recognition of how truly different these pregnancies and babies are... but for now that's why I feel comfortable with and comforted by.

I love everything rainbow... except for this term.

How do you feel about the term Rainbow Baby? Does it bring you comfort? Have you used it? I'd love to open up a conversation about this, because, of course, this term appeals to many people, and I'd love to gain deeper understanding as to why.

Fall Flannel


In an effort to check off #7 on my Fall Bucket List, I've made this cozy flannel shirt/sweater/cape/wrap thing. I couple weeks ago, I was at Joann's getting some fabric cut for Married & Bright, and as I was leaving the cutting table, I was literally stopped in my tracks by this gorgeous teal, black, and white checked flannel. I had to make a second trip to the cutting table {which you know isn't fun} just to secure this fabric.


I'm not really a button down shirt kind of girl, and as much as I'd love to wear a festive fall flannel shirt in a pumpkin patch this autumn, I knew it wouldn't get much use from me. I wanted a piece that I could sip hot chocolate on the deck in, snuggle into on the couch watching Hocus Pocus, as well as wear in my basement studio space while I sew. This mash up design seemed to tick all the boxes. More than two yards of fuzzy fabric make the body of the garment, which means lots of extra cuddly versitility, but the sleeves are loose and long enough to keep me warm, and be rolled up when it's time to get to work.


Whenever guests come to town, we always put Leiper's Fork on the list of must-dos. When Alex's college friend, colleague, and groomsman, Tucker, swung into town for the shortest of work trips, we knew we had to take him out on a drive over the Natchez Trace Bridge out towards Franklin and into Leiper's Fork for a pulled pork sandwich at Puckett's, and a stroll into the antique shops, and simply to sniff the nostalgic scent of a campfire at David Ames gallery.


Flannel Sweater: Self-made
Shirt: Gap
Jeans: Target
Boots: Calvin Klein
Sunglasses: Kate Spade Saturday | Similar Here

Fall Bucket List

I feel like I did pretty well on my Summer Bucket List! While I didn't check off everything, I think it achieved it's goal of enhancing summer enjoyment. I need zero help to enjoy my favorite season of autumn, but having a list makes it feel just that extra tid bit more festive.


  1. Go to a pumpkin patch.
  2. Carve pumpkins. (Carving party October 15th?)
  3. Make pumpkin muffins with real steamed pumpkin.
  4. Give candy to trick or treaters.
  5. Make my own fall wreath.
  6. Make hot chocolate and drink it on the deck.
  7. Buy or make a flannel shirt.
  8. Roast a turkey.
  9. Make caramel apples.
  10. Rake the leaves and play in them.
  11. Subscribe to the paper.
  12. Get a new cozy sweater.
  13. Make Halloween cupcakes or cookies.
  14. Decorate the front yard. (Googly eyes in the bushes!)
  15. Make Thai chai tea.
  16. Watch Hocus Pocus.
  17. Stack pumpkins on the porch.
  18. Decorate the deck to be cozy.
  19. Make oxtail stew.
  20. Light a fire in the fireplace.
  21. Plan a family Halloween costume Alex will actually wear.
  22. Go leaf peeping.
  23. Play board games.
  24. Make fall scented play dough.
  25. Make a pinecone bird feeder.
  26. Go to a tea house.
  27. Go to Green Door Gourmet.
  28. East s'mores.
  29. Put flannel sheets on the beds.
  30. Try a farm to table restaurant.
  31. Be grateful.

In The End

Here's the conclusion to my miscarriage story. If you missed anything I wrote about this subject, you can read more, here, here, here, and here. This post verges on graphic, and I'm only writing in this frank fashion so that those experiencing a similar situation can come here to commiserate, learn what they might expect, and hopefully feel less alone and afraid.

The short answer is this: It was a failed pregnancy. I hadn't miscarried fully yet, but the pregnancy was not viable.

gorgeous blooms sent to me by a dozen of my nashville friends -- making me feel so loved

When we got back from our travels, I had another round of ultrasounds and blood tests. The ultrasound experience was a mess. It hurt worse than before {probably because the pregnancy had grown a little since the first time?}, but I was still bleeding a lot, so I'll let you imagine what that transvaginal ultrasound looked like. 

Since I went in for the tests in the morning, I got the results in the early afternoon. No one was able to give me an exact answer or reason as to why this happened, but it was either a blighted ovum, or a miscarriage due to chromosomal abnormalities -- either way, it was nature's way of addressing a problem before it comes one. This baby simply wasn't meant for us.

The nurse gave me the bad news over the phone but comforted me by saying that I would be okay and this wasn't the end of my story. She also gave me the choice -- get a D&C the following week, or take Cytotec, which is basically the abortion pill, to empty out my uterus. Her recommendation was the pill, which I was grateful to hear because being put under and undergoing surgery really intimidated me. 

She called in the pills to my local pharmacy and when I went to pick them up, I was given the slight third degree. I think it's was one of this Tennessee blue law moments. The pharm tech asked me if I was pregnant and I said yes, as I had been saying to all medical professionals up until that point. She pulled the pharmacist over and I had to explain that I was already miscarrying, at which point he gave me the drugs. I paid the four bucks and change, stocked up of fluids, goo goo clusters and giant menstrual pads and packed it home. 

Alex had a big work party that night and I considered not going. When I spoke to my mom about it, she recommended having a little fun before what was gearing up to be a miserable weekend. I decided to attend and even allowed myself one glass of wine, a little treat I hadn't been able to indulge in the last two-ish months.

When I got home that night, I took the pills, installed a giant pad, and hoped for the best. I went to bed at midnight anxious but ready to have it over with. From what I read, it takes 6-8 hours for it to kick in. By morning, I was starting to feel period-like cramps. They came in waves, about 10 minutes apart -- like contractions, I suppose. I found it easiest to just sit on the toilet and let it flow during the most painful parts. Weirdly, I was mostly concerned with staining my clothes and the bed. 

While it was probably the worst pain I have ever experienced it my life, it wasn't unbearable. I guess I'm lucky to not have had much pain in my life thus far. I took Motrin to cope with the cramps, and the nurse said to call back if the pain got too bad. 

The physical pain didn't bother me, but the mood swings did. I vacillated between being grateful to have closure, to feeling despair that I might never have a child, to anger at Alex for having "done" this to me. I recognized that many of my feelings were irrational, but it was hard to control them. 

Unfortunately, my miscarriage lined up with one of Alex's biggest work weeks ever. In retrospect, it's for the best, I didn't want someone sitting at my bedside during this process, even my husband. I preferred to go through the process privately. Instead, he ordered me sushi and kept me plied with chocolate and drinks. 


dinner in bed // Bucket being all the company I needed

By Monday, the bleeding had greatly subsided and I was feeling almost back to normal. My boobs got the memo that I wasn't pregnant anymore and went back to their normal size. Pickles became disgusting to me again. And amazingly, the urge to pee had subsided.

While having a miscarriage was never on my life's to-do list, I feel totally at peace with it now. I learned so much about myself, my marriage, my goals, my body, and felt such a huge sense of love and community throughout the whole thing.

One thing that was really highlighted for me, and I think for Alex too, was my actual desire to become a parent. Everyone says there's no perfect time to become a parent, so you should just jump in. That's what we did. And seeing a positive pregnancy test was frankly a bit shocking... It was like "I guess we're ready because this is happening!" Having lost my first pregnancy put a lot into perspective. There's no way I'm going to be a perfect or full prepared mom, but I know now that this is something I deeply desire. I always knew I wanted to be a parent, but now I know that now is the time.

I'm moving forward with a renewed sense of hope. I feel so lucky that I did get pregnant, and feel so excited about the prospect of that happening. I know it sounds crazy, but I'm grateful for this whole experience.

I'm now embarking on what I'm calling my "pregnancy vacation." I'm going to drink a margarita, ride some roller coasters, enjoy some sushi and raw oysters, and wear my tightest jeans.

When I get pregnant again, I imagine feeling like I'll be picking up from where I left off -- as though it's the same baby, just a second time around.

If you read whole thing, I want to thank you for being there for me and virtually holding space for me. I also want to extend me condolences to you if you're experiencing this as well. Please know that while your experience will be different than mine, you are not alone. 

XO,
Annika

Rollercoaster


Our last couple days in Maine were gorgeous, sunny, and mild. It was a nice escape from the heat and humidity of Nashville, and though I couldn't ride the seaside coasters on Old Orchard Beach, the emotional ups and downs were enough of a trip for me.


I found the area to be a little bit like what I imagine the jersey shore to be like -- it was busy and crowded, full of tchotchke shops and rowdy bars, and the water was cold, so we didn't stay long. I did enjoy walking through the amusement park before the rides and games were open, looking at all the old-timey and likely below code structures, and we stood a long time at the carousel enjoying the original 1920s one man band that still functioned almost perfectly.


When we'd had enough of skee ball {pretty sure I pulled a muscle}, we headed back towards Kennebunk to sit on a quieter beach and enjoy the waves. I'd was hard to turn my brain off as I watched the water roll gently in and out -- my yet unanswered questions seemed to endlessly repeat -- but stopping to think how lucky I am to be here, and trying to relinquish control of the situation set me up for calmer days ahead.


Plaid Shirt: Target -- sold out {Similar Here}
Red Shorts: Anthropologie
Bathing Suit: Amazon 


XO,
Annika

It's Not All Donuts and Rainbows

On our second day in Maine, we headed north to Portland to pay a very important visit to The Holy Donut, and catch the ferry out to Peaks Island. In the forefront of my mind was that July 5th would be test results day, but a potato donut {okay, two}, and some salty air were a welcome distraction. 


Tee Shirt: Daisy Natives
Skirt: Amazon
Shoes: Target Kids Section {Sold Out} Similar Here
Purse: Kate Spade {Sold Out} Similar Here
Sunglasses: Kate Spade

This pomegranate donut was crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside, delightfully tart, and super satisfying. I ate my salted chocolate one in bed later that day and it was an equally wonderful experience.


Peaks Island is about 20 minute via ferry off the coast of Portland, and if I didn't already love Maine enough, this quaint, quiet village was a retreat even deeper into the charm of New England. After disembarking, we quickly put our name in to reserve a golf cart -- the preferred mode of transport on the island -- and headed straight for lunch. We ate at the closest place, the Inn. The food was great, the view was even better. 


It takes about 15-20 minutes to completely circumnavigate the island, so we did it twice! The first time, just to take in the view, and the second time, we stopped off a the myriad of different beaches and wandered among the tide pools, guerilla stacked rock sculptures, and tree-lined shores. Zooming around that little island, and the ensuing tears from laughter on that gold cart, is one of the highlights of this trip. We soon became thoroughly sunburned and tired and decided to head back to the mainland.



When we came back into cell phone reception, I got two bits of news. My childhood best friend and her husband had decided to take the plunge and move to Nashville. This happy news buoyed me during what came next.

When the doctor called with my results, the news, for me, was worse than bad... it was inconclusive. Still being in the dark about what was going on with my pregnancy and health was a blow only my spare chocolate donut could save me from. Essentially, my HCG levels had again climbed, but not as much as was expected, and the ultrasound I had suffered through, seemed to yield no evidence either way. They could see the gestational sac, but they couldn't find a fetal pole. {I had to google that term, it's basically the earliest sign of a developing baby.} It can be seen via transvaginal ultrasound at 6 weeks, abdominal ultrasound at 8 weeks, but it's possible and normal to not have a visible one until 9 weeks. Given, I imagined that I was between 6 and 8 weeks and I had had both kinds of ultrasounds, I was really disheartened to hear that they couldn't see one at all. The good news was that I had a gestational sac, so I was pregnant with something. They told me to just keep going like I was indeed pregnant, even though I was spotting red every day, and to see my OBGYN when I got back.

I had been hoping beyond hope that I would get some conclusive news, and again, I was left feeling so frustrated and confused. I was lucky to not be in any physical pain, but I couldn't get my brain to stop questioning, or my hands to stop googling symptoms. I can't help thinking, in retrospect, that even though it was not the story I wanted to live, it might have helped me accept my fate if there had been any info on the internet about an experience like mine. So, that's why I'm writing this.

XO,
Annika


Independence

First of all, I want to say a huge thank you for the response to Monday's post. I received so many messages, comments, texts, etc from women thanking me for sharing my story. Thank YOU for receiving that post in the manner it was intended, not as an attention grab, or an over-share, but as a way of {perhaps selfishly} unburdening myself of this secret I felt bound to keep, and in hopes that I could make other women feel less alone and less ashamed of their bodies and health. XO


We flew into Boston on the 4th of July and meandered up the east coast towards Maine. Our first stop was Salem, a place I had only visited once in college, on Halloween night. My memories are understandably hazy, so this summer afternoon visit was like going for the first time. We wandered the streets, gawked at the House of Seven Gables, toured the Witch House, and ate lunch before hitting the road again and stopping in Newburyport for lunch.


When I vacation, one of the main things I care about is food. My family took a trip to Maine when my oldest sister was pregnant, and I was totally walking a mile in her shoes when I had to resist eating all the seafood in sight, drinking every tempting cocktail, and even having to ask if there was raw egg in the house-made ice cream. I wasn't sure if I was pregnant or wasn't, so I erred on the side of caution, and followed the pregnancy food guidelines... which are pretty boring. 



Luckily, this ice cream was egg-free, so we ate it every night from the window at Mabel's Lobster Claw. Our stay at the Breakwater Inn and Spa on the southeast end of Kennebunkport, was perfectly situated across from Mabel's, where we also ate dinner the first night. I had lobster risotto and clam chowder and I couldn't have been happier.




When the sun started to lower in the sky, we walked down to the beach and picked a spot to watch the fireworks. The whole day had been the absolute picture of a lovely start to any vacation, but any time we stopped to rest, my mind would start churning. It was like time wasn't quite frozen, but I was stuck walking through molasses -- I knew I couldn't have answers today, and though each minute passing by was perfectly sweet, I still wanted it to move faster. 


Outfit Details:
Dress: GoGo Vintage
Shoes: Target Kids Section {Sold Out} Similar Here
Purse: Kate Spade {Sold Out} Similar Here
Sunglasses: Kate Spade
Lipstick: Strawberry Shortcake Lipsense from Jen's Lip Service



XO,
Annika
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