I've heard from time to time people have said "rainbow babies" are replacements. Now having my very own physical rainbow, I would like to clarify based on my own feelings. Davis is a replacement. He replaced the feeling of having motherhood stripped from my arms. He replaced an empty bassinet and an empty seat in the car. He replaced a void, yes. But at the same time, Davis is NOT a replacement. Rainbow babies do not and cannot replace the human being we as mothers will always long for.
I had children prior to my loss of Savannah. Though I always knew that I was grateful for each of them, I grew an understanding just how precious time can be. But it was different because they were the before. There was no after. The months of fantasizing about life with a new person never existed. I still had the before. Nothing had changed. Except the same life I was accustomed to had a gaping hole. Because all around my before were pictures reminding me of what we will always be missing.
Then the prospect of having a newborn fill that emptiness became reality. I became pregnant with Davis. I knew he would bring healing. Healing in the sense of replacing the emptiness. I would finally feel the drain of waking repeatedly throughout the night. I would finally have the extra person in tow where ever I had to go. I would finally have a weight in my arms.
What I didn't expect from these replacements, was the hurt it would also bring. Contradictory right? Healing and hurt.... But it is. Having a rainbow on the horizon does not guarantee life to be dandy and free from grief. Having a rainbow baby is all things wonderful first of all. But having a rainbow is also like tearing a scab. As mothers to deceased infants, we adapt to this lifestyle. We have no choice. We find delight in the friends we make as we travel the path of tiny caskets or palm sized urns, only wishing we didn't have to know any of them. We harden our hearts to the cruelty the world shows the best we can. Because we have to. We were given a lifestyle we had no hand in choosing. As we adapt to walking through life with a piece of our hearts missing, mustering smiles on the days when our hearts are crying, our skin toughens. Some of us, make the choice to try again. To have our "replacements" as some misunderstood people say... Let me share a few ways my Davis has replaced Savannah...
He makes her facial expressions. The way he crinkles the left side of his lip. I see her, and wish I could kiss her cheeks. His big toes have the same indent in the skin that she had. Every time I see them, I want to rub her toes across my face. He battled jaundice. People mentioned the yellow color of his skin. Still acknowledging that jaundice and be very serious if not treated appropriately, I would be thankful his skin wasn't purple, and remember the distinct color of a living person with lack of oxygen. I breastfeed and miss every moment not getting to cradle her against my skin. To feel her touch. His skin against my skin is so warm, and I remember what those same chubby cheeks felt like ice cold. I wake every morning in disbelief that he is still here. Alive. Because I live in the world where babies just die.
I am not trying to sound like a downer. Aside from all of these "Davis" things making Savannah real in a very distant way, I still cherish them as "Davis" things. I take in every moment I am given with this precious little boy. I dread the day when he does not smell of newborn baby anymore. I hate the thought of loosing that smell all over again, so I take in as much as I possibly can.
Davis is my after. And though it is so beautiful to see "the rainbow after the storm," it is not as easy as one might think. Now I have my before and after... but I will forever have only the memories of my memory.