Melinda gave birth to a baby girl in San Jose, Calif., on Thursday, bringing a happy ending to a painful chapter in the couple’s lives.
The child is a second chance for the Karlssons, whose firstborn arrived as a stillbirth while Erik was with the Ottawa Senators in March 2018.
“To my beautiful wife for doing everything in her power to bring our beautiful little baby girl into this world, never have I met a more determined or stronger person than you,” Erik wrote in an Instagram post on Thursday. “It hasn’t been easy but after the rain finally our little rainbow arrived. Love you both more than I could ever imagine.”
The term “rainbow baby” is often used for a child born in the wake of a miscarriage or a stillbirth.
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The Karlssons’ personal tragedy cast a dark cloud over their final year in Ottawa, where Erik took some time away from the team to deal with his loss.
“We feel very lucky to be Axel’s parents. Even though he was stillborn, we know we will hold him again one day under different circumstances and the joy he gave us will be with us forever,” the Karlssons said in a statement on March 19, 2018.
“At this extremely difficult time it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel but we know one day we’ll get there,” Karlsson added on Twitter on March 21.
The Senators traded Karlsson to the San Jose Sharks a few months later.
Twitter users flooded Karlsson with over 1,000 congratulatory messages.
“Congrats to you and Melinda!” the Sharks organization tweeted.
“Congratulations on this wonderful news!” Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson wrote.
The 29-year-old from Sweden missed the Sharks’ first game of the NHL season, but new seasons come and go. New babies are much more precious.