“A rainbow baby is a baby that is born following a miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death or infant loss. In the real world, a beautiful and bright rainbow follows a storm and gives hope of things getting better. The rainbow is more appreciated having just experienced the storm in comparison.” Quotation taken from the Kicks Count website.
Four years ago, I had never heard of the term rainbow baby.
Now in October 2016, we have two beautiful rainbow babies. And they brighten our world.
My rainbow baby
It was only when Little Miss H was 6 months old and I wrote a blog post in support of Mumsnet Miscarriage Care Campaign that I realised that our daughter was a rainbow baby.
I thought the term was a beautiful way of describing the storm of miscarriage and the joy that a baby born after baby loss brings. But I didn’t really dwell on the fact that we had our very own rainbow.
In 2014 we started trying for another baby. I miscarried three times. The first miscarriage was in February 2014, the second was in October of the same year and the third was in May 2015.
During those years, I yearned for our second rainbow baby. But as time went on, I began to fear that becoming a family of four was a dream.
Then in November 2015 I discovered that I was pregnant for a sixth time.
At six weeks pregnant I was cleaning the kitchen up after baking with Little Miss. I became aware of a dampness in my knickers and I knew instantly that I was bleeding.
My consultant from the Recurrent Miscarriage Clinic told me that if I began to bleed then I needed to go to A&E. If I was going to miscarry then he wanted it to take place in hospital so that any remains could be examined for chromosomal issues.
I remember feeling calm. Sadly, from the moment I saw how much blood I was losing I assumed I was miscarrying. And I accepted it. Miscarriage seemed to be the inevitable outcome to my pregnancies.
There was little that A&E could do. I was sent home once the bleeding had settled and told to return for an early pregnancy scan.
The scan was booked for late the following afternoon. Those hours leading up to the scan were tough. I wanted to sleep and cry. Instead I focused on looking after our little girl.
That morning the weather was terrible. The pouring rain and dark skies echoed my mood. I felt miserable, sick with worry and terrified of having another early pregnancy scan.
After a few hours the clouds began to clear and the sun began to shine. And the most beautiful double rainbow I have ever seen appeared in the sky.
I looked at the rainbow and cried. It seems silly to write it now but I felt that the rainbow was shining just for me.
I wondered if it was a sign.
Would the baby in my belly be okay? Would I get to whisper the words I love you into their ear as I covered their faces in kisses?
I yearned for this to be true. Yet, at the same time I chastised myself for hoping for the best when I knew that I was likely to end up heartbroken once again.
Amazingly, the scan showed that our baby had a heartbeat and the heavy bleeding was a mystery.
If you are a regular reader then you will know that the pregnancy was a success. We were blessed with a beautiful baby boy and Little Mister H is now three months old.
During the pregnancy with our son, there were many times when I saw a rainbow shining in the sky.
The day after Little Mister was born a terrible storm thundered over Tunbridge Wells. Once the storm passed a double rainbow shone brightly over the town. Shining especially for my two beautiful children.
Rainbows are now an important symbol in my life. And in a few months I will pluck up the courage to have a rainbow tattooed onto my left wrist.
It will be a gift to my two precious children. The tattoo will also act as a reminder of the four babies that we never got to meet and who still have a place in my heart.
Introducing My Rainbow Baby, the blog series
When I started writing about our recurrent miscarriages it was mainly for myself. I needed an output for all the emotions bubbling up inside of me. And my blog became a form of therapy.
Since sharing these posts I have been contacted many times by men and women who have experienced the heartbreak of miscarriage and baby loss. Some of them are now pregnant again and our filled with anxiety about losing another baby.
My aim for this blog has always been to be open and honest about my life. To share the good and the bad. By writing about my miscarriages and our precious rainbow babies my wish is to fill others with hope.
Photo courtesy of MAMA Academy.
I am not the only blogger who has experienced baby loss and gone on to have more children. There are many of us. And there are many stories to share. Beautiful and poignant tales of precious rainbow babies.
That is why I have created the blogging series My rainbow baby.
I am inviting my fellow bloggers to tell these stories. To talk about these precious children in their own words. And I will collate them on my blog so that there is a shared space where these stories of hope are held.
This post will go live on Wednesday 2nd November. and will be followed by future posts on the first Wednesday of every month. Please pop back to the blog to have a read and give this series your support.
If you would like to contribute to My rainbow baby then please leave a message in the comments or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you.
If you have experienced baby loss or are pregnant after a loss then you do not need to feel alone. There are people that you can reach out to. The following charities are a fantastic source of comfort, support and can provide you with resources to help you through this difficult time.
Tommy’s funds research into stillbirths, premature births and miscarriages. They also offer advice to parents-to-be. The website’s pregnancy information pages have been written by midwives and are full of practical advice. Tommy’s has a Facebook page run by midwives. Or if you would prefer to speak to a human being then you can call their midwife run PregnancyLine on 0800 0147 800.
The Miscarriage Association
The Miscarriage Association is devoted to supporting those who have experienced miscarriage. The website is a fantastic resource. They have produced a very helpful leaflet called Thinking about another pregnancy. This has lots of hints and tips on how to look after yourself and reduce your risk of having another miscarriage. They also have a helpline on 01924 200 799, which is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm.
MAMA Academy is a charity which supports mums and midwives to help babies arrive safely. The Royal College of Midwives have approved all the content of their website. MAMA Academy also produce Wellbeing Wallets which are full of easy to understand information that will guide and help you in your pregnancy.