The fabulous Emilee Frisbie, Harper Ellen (5), Scarlett Lane (pictured - 09/06/12 to 12/18/12) and Viola Ray (18 months).
"When you sign up for motherhood you can never anticipate what is coming your way. You just throw your hat into a very uncertain ring and your story unfolds whether you agree to it or not. Still, it's easily the biggest, greatest thing I've ever done."
Emilee had always been an athlete and participated in triathlons prior to her pregnancy with Harper. So, she went into pregnancy in great shape but found she gained so much weight, nearly 75 lbs. Her pregnancy went well but she had a hard delivery and she says Harper was as stubborn then as she is now. Emilee labored for about 33 hours after her water broke but knew she was strong, that she could do it. After pushing for three solid hours there came a point where they said if she hadn't got her out they would have to deliver via cesarean. She was exhausted when they reached this point and thought it was normal as team of people rushed in to her room. In hindsight she realized it was the respiratory team and specialist on head incase Harper was born struggling. The cord was so tight around Harper's neck she had been just rocking back and forth in the birth canal, so much so that a blister had worn on the back of her head. They were able to get Harper out with forceps assistance but she needed oxygen for a short while and had to spend an hour in the NICU. Still, Emilee says Harper was strong then and is stronger now than she could ever imagine.
Scarlet was easy. Emilee did yoga her whole pregnancy and only gained 25 lbs. She remembers people telling her that your second baby just shoots out and she laughed thinking "Nothing is going to shoot out of nothing. That is not happening!" and then she did. They told her to take a breath and she just shot her baby right out of there. Scarlet was a really healthy baby and meeting all of her milestones. At 12 weeks, Emilee went back to work and Scarlet went to the same in home daycare her sister went to. Emilee went to pick her up one day and as she was putting on Harper's shoes the daycare provider came out holding Scarlett saying "She's not breathing". Emilee grabbed her and immediately called 911. One of the other mothers was a nurse and started CPR while they waited for help. In the ambulance, she had a sense that her baby was already gone but the paramedics kept her engaged and distracted. They medical professionals worked really hard but weren't able to save Scarlett.
Emilee says that day you lose a child is this incredible day that you both love and hate. It's the last time you get to be with your child and it's the worst day you're ever going to have. It's this day that your life splits in half. The day before your child's death and after. You become a completely different human being and you don't have a choice in it, you don't get to evolve on your own terms, it just happens to you. Yet you don't think those things can happen to you, they happen to someone else.
Conception had always been really easy for Emilee and her husband so, doing what they thought was the responsible thing, her husband had a vasectomy when she was 35 weeks pregnant with Scarlett. In the wake of Scarlett's death they realized they couldn't have another baby and were grieving what would have been in so many ways. Once they got to the point where they were beyond the shock and blur and could think and have a conversation they knew wanted to figure out how to have another child. Her husband was able to have a successful reversal and they got pregnant with Viola just two months later.
Pregnancy with Viola was difficult. Carrying a child after you've lost a child makes you terrified. And when you've lost a child to SIDS it's such a blanket answer that you don't really know what to be scared of. She says that SIDS is just the boogyman that steals your child, a healthy child, while they sleep and she worried that she'd done something in her pregnancy to cause it to happen. Because she was so scared she didn't do anything during her pregnancy. She grieved and went to therapy and incubated. Focused on letting her baby grow and trying to stay as calm as possible. There were times the stress of losing Scarlett and being pregnant again was explosive for her marriage but they new they could do it. They knew they couldn't avoid having another child based upon fear.
They made it through and Viola's delivery was amazing. Her water broke on her due date and they went into the hospital. She says they aren't religious people but the sun was rising over a church into their hospital room and she just felt Scarlett everywhere. They had shared their story and brought pictures of Scarlet and everyone was amazingly supportive. Their admitting nurse had also lost a baby to SIDS and it felt like they were surrounded by the people who really got them. Viola came out very quickly and once she was in those last stages of labor Emilee's fear melted away.
Emilee says that parenting a rainbow baby is extraordinary because you're so lucky to be in that position but because their baby died during a nap they were on eggshells. Every time she laid down they didn't sleep. They were constantly up checking and touching her. She wore a movement monitor during naps and night time and they have created a platform of safe sleep to learn more themselves and educate others. Once Viola hit a year old, they took a deep breath only for Viola to be hospitalized for possible meningitis that ended up being just an ear infection gone horribly wrong but it sent them spiraling a bit once more.
Emilee did a lot of therapy surrounding Scarlett's death - talk therapy, cranial therapy and acupuncture, all of which took little steps to putting her in a better place. She ultimately tried EMDR therapy for trauma which she says was her saving grace, she had reprogrammed the way her brain responded to triggers and she was finally able to function again.
As a feminist and mother to daughters she felt like she needs to show them that you can be beautiful, powerful, intelligent and compassionate, you can be all of these things regardless of stretch-marks, how your thighs look, or the shape of your boobs. She doesn't want them to be worried about their weight or about their appearance, she wants them to know their worth is elsewhere.