Lila, now 31, was thrilled when—in December 2015—she took a pregnancy test and saw two pink lines. She and her husband, Tim, had been trying for a third baby and immediately began dreaming of who this new little person would be.
But two weeks after her positive pregnancy test, Lila started having severe pain in her shoulder blade. She called the on-call OB who told Lila to get to the hospital. An ultrasound confirmed what the doctor suspected: Lila had a tubal pregnancy, which meant that the fertilized egg had implanted in her fallopian tubes, rather than her uterus. The pain she had been feeling was because the tube had burst, and blood was filling her abdomen, which displaced her lung. Lila had emergency surgery to save her life, but there was no baby.
The loss was devastating to Lila and her husband, but they knew they wanted to grow their family, so once they had the go-ahead from Lila’s doctor, they got pregnant again. When she went into labor with her third daughter, Lila brought along Spokane, WA-based birth photographer Laura Fifield, who captured the overwhelming love and relief that overtook Lila when she met her rainbow baby.
Here, in her own words, is Lila’s account of that amazing day.
"This pregnancy completely changed my perspective on pregnancy in general. With my eldest children, I didn't have any complications. This was very, very different. I was full of fear. Faith is a huge thing for me, and I held onto my faith that we would be able to have a healthy baby again. I prayed and prayed."
"I'm the type of person who, the moment I see the positive pregnancy test, starts wondering who this person is going to be and what they're going to look like. That's why the [tubal] was so devastating. I was already attached."
"The whole experience has changed me. I hug my children more. I have a different appreciation for how fragile life is. I was a young, healthy person and I faced this life-threatening thing—I mean, from a medical standpoint, my abdomen was filling up with blood. I remember, [when my tube burst], they said, 'Don't worry, we're going to get you home for your girls.' And I couldn't believe it. I was kind of like, 'Well, of course.'"
"One of the hardest things for me was that we had to wait for a minimum of three months before we could start trying again [after the tubal pregnancy]. My husband was really scared. He almost lost his wife. In a way it was easier for me. I mean, I was bleeding out internally, so I lost consciousness. He had to sit there and wait for me in the waiting room while I was in surgery to save my life—I can't imagine what was going through his mind."
"It was such an incredible feeling, once she was close. All of that worry went away."
"I can't describe that moment when they told me she was here, and I reached down and helped deliver her. It felt so incredible to really be a part of the process. Instead of having the doctor hand her to me, like with my other babies, I pulled her to my chest myself. I remember that I kept saying, 'She's here! She's here!'"
"I felt like I could finally breathe. We made it through, and I couldn't stop looking at her eyes, her fingernails, her toenails, her eyelashes—all of those things we anticipated for so long."
"She’s our last baby, and I do feel a tremendous amount of closure. I hope that through sharing our story—which Laura captured so perfectly—we can help others. I do hope that it encourages even just one woman to know that even though it is very, very difficult to experience loss, it's OK to hold onto that faith."
Captions have been edited and condensed for clarity.