From early on in their relationship, Arnold Henry and his wife, Stephanie, knew they wanted to be parents. Even before their first son, Amarion, was born in November 2014, the couple planned to add more children to their family.
But, Henry said, he and his wife "had to overcome a storm" to see their dream of having more than one child realized. Now, the author of children's books is sharing his family's story after their rainbow baby, Ajay, was born in October 2019.
"I will never forget the most devastating day of our life," Henry told TODAY Parents. "It was early in April 2016 at a routine ultrasound check. The ultrasound technician said, 'There are no heartbeats,' with a shaky voice."
Henry and Stephanie had been expecting identical twins, but at 10 weeks pregnant, Stephanie was told she was miscarrying both babies. Because it was early in the pregnancy, the couple was not given a reason for their loss.
The Henrys returned home to their then-17-month-old son and began the grieving process.
"We had lost two of our children who we loved so much, and we never had a chance to meet or even say 'hi' or 'goodbye' to," said Henry. "Our young son would occasionally point at my wife's belly and say 'baby' until it faded out of his memory. That made us sad all the time, knowing we made a promise to him that we unintentionally broke."
During this time, Henry shared a poem about the loss on Facebook, and says he and his wife found support and hope in the comments.
"Little by little — other friends and even strangers — reached out, sharing words of encouragement and prayers," said Henry. "It was refreshing to know we weren't alone in this world. I remember one comment really helped us to find some healing — a friend mentioned suffering seven miscarriages which included a loss of identical twins, but then went on to having two healthy babies. We held on to that, and to everyone's stories as our hope for the future."
For the next several years, the Henrys, who live in Chestermere, a small city in Canada, struggled to conceive, despite doctors telling them they were both healthy.
"At times, my wife would cry at night, blaming herself," said Henry. "She would ask, 'What is wrong with me?' and say she couldn't make children anymore. It was so painful for me to see her sadness, and what was crazy about the situation was I would blame myself, too. I thought I was the problem, however I masked my feelings in efforts to make our journey less stressful. I would console her and remind her we were in it together."
In January 2019, after several years of grieving and hoping for a positive pregnancy test, Stephanie walked into Arnold's home office.
"She whispered, 'Babe. Babe,' and I turned around. She was standing there holding one of the many pregnancy tests," Henry recalled. "I thought it was probably another negative result."
But the test was positive.
"It had taken us three years to be able to conceive again," said Henry. "Although we will never fully heal from our losses, knowing we were expecting a rainbow baby brought some much needed hope into our home."
Stephanie's pregnancy was a happy event, but also brought some worry about the possibility of another miscarriage. So the couple focused on staying positive.
"My wife grew up here in Canada with a household of three children, and I was born and raised on the small Caribbean island of St. Lucia in a household of three children," Henry explained. "We knew the importance of having the love of other siblings in our childhood and wanted the same experiences for our son."
On October 1, 2019, Henry and his wife welcomed their second child, Ajay, and Amarion finally became a big brother.
"Ajay's first name means 'unconquered,' which is fitting for him," said Henry.
Ajay was born at the start of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.
"Having a son born on that day has brought nothing but joy and comfort to our family," said Henry. "We still remember the darkness and we will never forget the journey that brought us here. Ajay is our rainbow at the end of our storm. Our home is a happier place and our family feels complete."
Henry shared Ajay's birth in a touching post on Instagram, saying, "After losing our identical twins and trying to conceive, the storm is finally over. Our rainbow is shining bright. Hope lives on."
Henry, who is working on a children's book about loss titled "Patiently Waiting for Hope," wants to continue to spread his family's message about overcoming the heartbreak of loss and infertility.
"After the miscarriage of our twins, my wife and I felt so empty inside. Finding the courage to share our losses on social media, we quickly learned we weren't alone," said Henry. "So many people were able to resonate with our story ... they gave us hope. By sharing our story, I want to return the favor."