Welcome to the second My Rainbow Baby post of 2017.
I have created this series in the wish that it will give hope to anyone who has experienced baby loss or is struggling to have a longed for baby.
Little Miss H and Little Mister H are not the only rainbow babies. There are many of them. And I want to share the beautiful and poignant tales of these special little rainbows.
I am inviting others 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.
I am grateful but also saddened that I have had a large response to this series. It seems that there are far too many angel babies. As many bloggers have asked to share the stories of their precious rainbows.
I want to share all of these stories so if you would like to talk about your rainbows then please do contact me. I also hope that February will be the month that I launch My Rainbow Baby the linky and hashtag community. So watch this space.
I am honoured to be joined by Gemma who blogs over at Somewhere after the Rainbow (the most perfect and poignant blog name). Gemma is mum to Izzie, Sophie (born sleeping), Ollie and Mason. And today she is sharing the story of her rainbow baby on her daughter Sophie’s birthday.
I love Gemma’s blog and don’t get to read it enough. She writes beautiful and honest posts. If you haven’t visited Somewhere after the Rainbow before then please go and have a look. I particularly loved the letter that Gemma wrote to her rainbow baby Ollie on his fourth birthday.
My Rainbow Baby – Ollie’s story
As I am writing this, it is coming up to the 1st February. The date may have passed by the time you read this, and for most people February 1st is just a normal day, but for our family it is the anniversary of the day that changed our lives, never to be the same again.
Just after midnight on February 1st 2012, I gave birth to my forever sleeping little girl, Sophie, at 24 weeks gestation after less than two hours of labour. Sophie was my second pregnancy, due the month after Izzie my eldest would turn two. I was so excited to have two little girls. I had decorated her nursery, her clothes were hanging in the wardrobe, but one day I didn’t feel her move. I wasn’t overly worried as I knew I had an anterior placenta, and her movements were sporadic. But the look on the midwives faces when they told us they couldn’t find her heartbeat will stay with me forever.
I had had a relatively ‘easy’ pregnancy with Izzie who was born in April 2010 – persistent sickness, suspected diabetes and pelvic pain. But she was born at a tiny 5lb 14oz on April 8th 2010, almost a week late.
I felt like I finally knew my purpose when Izzie was born. Being mummy was all I had ever wanted and so when we found out we were expecting again in September 2011 I was overjoyed.
When I was lying in the hospital after having Sophie all I kept thinking about was how long it would take before I was holding another baby – it was a physical ache. We didn’t see Sophie when she was born, the midwives suspected she had passed away days previously and we were advised that it may not be best to see her. For me, at the time, it was the best thing to do – and I wouldn’t change it now.
The midwife told us she had really long legs and big hands and feet, just like Izzie when she was born. But she weighed less than a pound as for some reason she had stopped growing.
We went home to Izzie, and were so grateful to have her. I cant imagine leaving the hospital and not having another child at home.
In March 2012, 6 weeks after we had lost Sophie we met with our consultant. There was no rhyme or reason to why Sophie died – a post mortem didn’t show anything, and there were no answers, except they suspected it could’ve been from me having the flu a few weeks before I lost her.
The need I had to be pregnant was overwhelming. So once genetic problems that would affect a future pregnancy were ruled out, I was desperate to try again.
I fell pregnant within a couple of weeks. My periods had returned to normal a month after having Sophie, and on the 27th April I got a positive test. I’d had a feeling I was pregnant as I had started feeling quite queasy in the mornings, as I had with my previous pregnancies.
I thought that I would be anxious at being pregnant again. After what had happened, that would be a natural reaction. But instead from the minute I got the positive test, I was full of positivity. Obviously I had my wobbles, but I knew I was going to bring this baby home. For me there was no other option.
Being pregnant again gave me something to focus one, and a way to channel my grief into something positive. I’ve had friends who have lost a baby and said they couldn’t imagine being pregnant again so soon afterwards, but for me I had to fill that empty pink room.
I think the fact that I was so sick during my pregnancy helped in a way. I reasoned with myself that feeling sick was a positive sign. I knew we would have extra appointments during any subsequent pregnancies and this was reassuring. Also, my consultant Dr Narayan at GWH Swindon was amazing. I will never forget that lovely lady as long as I live. She gave me so much reassurance and hope.
I had extra appointments with my community midwife, who knew I was nervous whenever the doppler was mentioned and so, to reassure me, she always got that bit out of the way first at my appointments. I also made sure I had my flu jab this time round, as it hadn’t been offered to me when I was pregnant with Sophie.
At our 20 week scan we found out we were having a little boy.
The 24 week mark hit me hard. But my little boy was moving around loads and I was very aware of his movements. A scan was booked in for when I was 24 weeks, and once this showed that he was growing normally I was reassured. Sophie had stopped growing but I knew that this baby was right on track.
I continued with four weekly scans, and was given an induction date of 19th December. I think my consultant could sense my nerves and so baby was scheduled to make an appearance at 37+5.
From 32 weeks I was showing signs of early labour. Random contractions and pains but it didn’t come to anything. By the time the day of my induction arrived, we were more than ready to meet this baby. We got to the hospital and after being monitored and checked, I was told I was already 2cm dilated and that they needed to break my waters. A delivery room became available at 5.30pm, and they broke my waters around 7.15pm.
After a very intense, fast labour, with gas and air Oliver George Brushneen flew into the world at just past 9pm on Wednesday 19th December 2012. He was beautiful with lots of hair and a tiny little nose. He weighed 6lb 8oz. Unfortunately the midwife had administered pethadine just before I started pushing, and this kicked in just after he was born. It made me feel really strange and I couldn’t feel my arms. So Daddy was in charge of holding him, dressing him and feeding him until I felt back to normal. I always wonder if this is why he is a Daddy’s boy! We took him home to meet his big sister the following day.
Fast forward four years, and Ollie is a funny, clever, stubborn little boy. He has a wicked sense of humour, and although he likes to test me daily, I couldn’t be more grateful for my rainbow baby. He brought light into a very dark place, and really was a rainbow after a storm. In September he will be starting school, and I can’t wait to watch him start a new phase of his life.
In May 2015, we were blessed again, after another straightforward pregnancy, with our second rainbow baby. Mason Thomas Brushneen was born (again after a very short labour) on Thursday 14th May at 11am. Our family was complete.
Although I wish we hadn’t had to go through losing Sophie, I wouldn’t be without my boys for one second. My children will grow up knowing all about their sister, and the very special rainbow gifts she gave to our family. This February 1st, we will celebrate how lucky we are to have three beautiful, happy, healthy children, and think of our angel in the sky and be so very grateful.
Gemma, thank you so much for sharing your story. Especially on such a poignant day I can’t bear to think of how you and your family must feel today. I hope that you are hibernating at home and looking after yourself.
The story of Sophie is heart breaking. But isn’t Mother Nature amazing! It gave Gemma the precious gift of her pregnancy with Ollie just when she needed it most.
I will be sharing the next My Rainbow Baby post in a matter of weeks. I will be joined by Lucy who blogs at Real Mum Reviews. This post will go live on Wednesday 15th February. 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 who you can reach out to. The following charities are a fantastic source of comfort and support. They can also provide 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. They also have a midwife run pregnancy line on 0800 0147 800.
- Kicks Count aim is to empower mums-to-be with knowledge and confidence. Their website contains a huge amount of information about pregnancy with a primary focus on monitoring your baby’s movements. The website also contains information about the role the partner should play in monitoring their baby’s movements.
- 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. Which 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 on 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.