Rainbow Baby Day: Meet Eddie
National Rainbow Baby Day (Aug. 22), offers families a chance to celebrate the joy of a new baby while reflecting and sharing about the baby (or babies) they lost.
We’re excited to introduce you to Eddie, the newest arrival for Count the Kicks Texas Ambassador Shannon Pike. In honor of Rainbow Baby Day, we asked her to share more about her experience with pregnancy after loss, pregnancy during a pandemic, and what having a rainbow baby means to her.
Congrats on the safe arrival of your new baby! Can you tell us more about your family and your new baby?
After our first baby (Marie) was stillborn (in May 2018), and suffering the miscarriage of twins just a few months later, there was a time during my most acute grief where my world felt so painfully empty. Today, I look at my family and am overwhelmed with gratitude for the joy and chaos brought on by our two living kids, Freya and Eddie. Our house is light and fun and full of so much love.
All of our kids look so much alike and have an energy about them that feels otherworldly to me. It feels like we get to have a little glimpse into what Marie would’ve been (and is, in her own way). Freya brings the toddler energy and is a chatty, intuitive, hilarious little thing. She expresses her love for people so sweetly but has a spicy side! And our newest arrival, Eddie, fills a space we never knew needed filling. He is an incredibly calm and content baby that has made our family feel closer to complete, even though we will always be missing our oldest girl.
It’s been a healing experience to see siblings growing together and to lean into our new family dynamic.
How long have you been a Count the Kicks Ambassador and what does it mean to you?
I’ve been an Ambassador for about six months. It has been a really meaningful step forward for me, to just begin this journey and officially connect with the organization. Stillbirth awareness is a multifaceted initiative and I wish I could solve all of the challenges families face related to stillbirth, from preventing it to coping through the pain when it happens. But this often leaves me overwhelmed, and for a long time that tripped me up in taking my “next step” in becoming an advocate. Count the Kicks has given me direction and focus for making a difference. The Count the Kicks mission is simple, actionable, and accessible, and I’m so honored to be part of it.
Please tell us more about your experience being pregnant after losing a baby to stillbirth.
My third pregnancy, which led to the birth of my living daughter, was mentally and emotionally excruciating. I was gripped by anxiety and fear, and had to work extremely hard to keep my body and my heart calm. I poured myself into work, house projects, and self care to make the time go faster.
My fourth pregnancy, which brought us our son, was much more peaceful, and I had very little time to sit around and worry while chasing after a toddler. I certainly had fears and overwhelming feelings throughout it, but I had more trust in myself and my body this time. I didn’t believe that would ever be the case for me, so it was a really pleasant surprise.
Did the COVID-19 pandemic have an impact on your pregnancy experience?
One of the toughest things about being pregnant during the pandemic was attending appointments without my husband — and I had a lot of appointments. It’s terrifying to have to imagine getting the worst news when you’re all alone, and he has been my partner in our journey in every sense of the word.
One positive thing was not seeing many people, and therefore not being asked too many intrusive questions or fielding flippant comments about pregnancy. In our culture, pregnancy is often seen primarily as an exciting and promising time, and that can be difficult to face after you’ve gone through a traumatic loss.
I like to balance joy and hope with the reality of the risks and seriousness of pregnancy, and people don’t always understand that or feel comfortable engaging on that level. I try to practice acceptance and be understanding of that, but I do prefer living honestly and not shying away from the tough conversations and the truth about what my family looks like. Marie is very much a part of who we are.
Tell us more about your experience using the FREE Count the Kicks app during your rainbow baby pregnancy.
I used the app twice per day, every day in the third trimester. It brought me tremendous peace and a deeper trust in my intuition, and it helped me separate my anxiety from real concern. I did not experience any changes in my son’s movement patterns, and I am so glad I never had to sit and wonder about whether or not he was acting normal. I always knew, because I always counted.
What was your favorite feature of the Count the Kicks app?
Baby Save stories. It’s so incredible to read real-life stories of kick counting in action. Data and statistics are so very important for any cause, but human stories hold so much power to affect change. It’s incredibly motivating for me to stick with Count the Kicks and be part of the mission in even the smallest ways when I read those stories.
It’s Rainbow Baby Day! Do you use this term, and if so, what does it mean to you to have a rainbow baby?
I do use the term! I don’t connect particularly deeply with it, but I like having verbiage for my experience that is pretty much universally understood in and outside the pregnancy loss community.
Symbolically, the imagery of the rainbow always makes me think of sunshine and storms happening together, just as we can hold multiple emotions at once, and how that brings the full spectrum of color and emotion into view in a rainbow. Experiencing child loss and parenting living children is a blend of so many emotions. It’s dark, it’s beautiful, it’s painful, and it’s healing. And it’s OK to feel it all.
What do you want other moms to know about stillbirth, pregnancy after loss, and the Count the Kicks campaign?
I want parents to know that your mindset dictates how you experience kick counting. Some parents worry it will increase their anxiety; if that is you, reframe the way you see this tool.
It is an empowering practice that helps you parent your baby before they are earthside. It’s also a simple and special opportunity to put your day aside and bond with them.
Pregnancy after loss will likely be the hardest thing you do aside from the loss itself, but with the right tools and support system, you can get through it. Lean on the people who will validate your struggle and hold space for your feelings. It helps to find connections with other people going through the same thing. And find a healthcare provider you trust!
What do you hope to accomplish in your role as a Count the Kicks Ambassador in your state?
I’m particularly excited about the potential to connect with organizations that focus on reducing racial and socioeconomic disparities in maternal-fetal healthcare. And at my core, I want all parents to feel empowered through each pregnancy and to have tools that help them play an active role in caring and advocating for their baby.
About Our Ambassadors
Count the Kicks Ambassadors help us educate expectant parents and providers across the U.S. about the importance of kick counting in the third trimester of pregnancy. This incredible group of kick counting advocates are essential to our efforts to reach as many parents and providers as possible. Our Ambassador team currently includes 42 women representing 28 states, plus Washington, D.C., Canada and India. The team includes 33 who work in honor of lost babies, five that are baby save moms, and four who are birth workers.
Visit our website to learn more about our Ambassador program.
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