Welcome back to the blog series My Rainbow Baby.
I created My Rainbow Baby in the wish that it will give hope to anyone who has experienced baby loss or is struggling to have a longed for baby. To show that even after the darkest storm a rainbow can appear.
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.
Today we are joined by the blog Family travel with Ellie.
Family travel with Ellie is a fantastic blog where you can read all about family holidays, short breaks and days out. All written from the perspective of parents who travel with their two children.
My Rainbow Baby – Princess D’s story
I have a Rainbow Baby. She belongs to a very precious group of children who’s sheer existence brings utter joy to parents who have experienced pain and loss.
Every baby is wonderful. My first child, born following a traumatic emergency caesarean, is now a handsome, opinionated young man, and is the apple of our eye. I had almost 5 years with him before a sibling arrived and so the bond we were able to build was solid and unbreakable.
Sadly, when Petrolhead A was 18 months old I suffered my first ectopic pregnancy. We had only just found out that we were expecting again when I developed a sudden discomfort in my lower abdomen.
On arrival at the local hospital I found myself being stretchered into an ambulance and blue-lighted to the nearest main hospital where I underwent life saving surgery. Prior to this, I had no understanding of what an ectopic pregnancy was. I didn’t know that the baby could not be saved and I remember the shock when the doctor confirmed the baby was gone and that the damaged fallopian tube had also been removed.
Two years later I fell pregnant again. I was so fearful that something would go wrong. My husband assured me I had been unlucky, as so many women are, and that this time all would be well.
I was 12 weeks gone when tragedy struck again. I remember that same pain, this time knowing what it meant. I awoke after surgery expecting to be told I had lost another baby and devastated that with the second tube gone I wouldn’t be able to conceive naturally again. However, when the doctor came to see me, she explained that although all factors had suggested a second ectopic, during the laparoscopy they had been unable to locate one and as the blood tests still confirmed I was pregnant that all was, in fact, well.
The next day as I was preparing to go home I had a massive bleed and collapsed. This time I had to undergo a laparotomy to locate the source of the problem.
Something extremely unusual had happened – something the doctor hadn’t seen before. The pregnancy had in fact managed to wedge itself inside the stump of the fallopian tube left behind from the previous surgery.
The recovery this time was really tough. Physically and mentally.
I did, at least still have a fallopian tube. However, at my first follow up appointment after leaving hospital the doctor told me that due to the extent of the surgery I’d had, and therefore the scar tissue that would develop, conceiving again would be extremely difficult and that if it did happen the pregnancy was unlikely to be successful.
We were so upset. We had dreamt of a big family. We were so blessed to have Petrolhead A, but we were so sad for him too, he would have loved a brother or sister. We were not offered any help or support and were very lucky we had each other to lean on. Others may not be so fortunate and so I hope that the support system for parents who lose babies has improved since my experiences.
In 2011, I fell pregnant for the fourth and final time. From the moment I found out I was expecting I felt a calm joy. I knew she was a girl. I knew she would be OK.
Our wonderful, healthy, beautiful miracle came squawking into the world on 2nd February 2011 via elective caesarean section.
Do you know, I am genuinely grateful for what I went through before I was blessed with Princess D. I know that sounds crazy, please stay with me here.
What is stronger than a mothers’ instinct to love and protect? These instincts kick in the moment you fall pregnant, and so losing a baby, in any circumstance and at any stage is heart breaking. What it taught me is to cherish and embrace every single moment with my children.
That’s easier said than done, isn’t it? Day to day life is hard. Being a parent is challenging and tiring. Trying to juggle a work and home life – housework, creating healthy meals, financial worries, family and social struggles, the list is endless. It’s so easy to let it pass us by in a fog of dirty nappies, exhaustion and perhaps even a little resentment. So, as I was dragging myself up at 3 am to do Princess D’s night feeds, I would remind myself that this stage wouldn’t last for long. Soon, she would no longer be so tiny, so dependent. These precious moments we shared in the depths of night would just be memory.
Night feeds with Princess D remain some of my fondest memories.
Losing the babies taught me to re-assess my priorities. It encouraged me to shamelessly photograph everything. To be generous with love, hugs and Mummy kisses. To make time. To make memories. We are even considering the bonkers notion of World Schooling in the future. What could be better than exploring the wonders of the world as a family.
Princess D has spread love and happiness from the day she was born. She is the kindest, most cheerful and positive person I know. She sees the good in everybody. As a baby, even on a mundane super market trip she would spread cheer, grinning and chattering to anyone and everyone. She wakes up singing, puts 100 % effort into everything and has the biggest heart, bursting with love and a zest for life. She is exceptionally funny and has a colossal determination which I am in awe of. Every bit of the pain and suffering was worth it in the end.
Petrolhead A and Princess D argue like cat and dog, and, they utterly adore each other. I hope they are best friends always.
Since having Princess D, illness resulted in me having a hysterectomy. I’m so glad that the challenges I went through to have her, ensure that I cherish every valuable second with her.
Don’t give up hope, miracles really do happen. My Rainbow Baby is evidence of that.
Thank you so much for featuring on My Rainbow Baby and sharing the story of Princess D.
My next My Rainbow Baby post will feature Learning Early. This post will go live on Wednesday 17th May. 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.
- The charity Pregnancy Sickness Support is a charity that was set up to provide support and improve the care and treatment of all women who suffer from nausea and vomiting and Hyperemesis Gravidarum in pregnancy. Their Pregnancy Sickness Support information line, 024 7638 2020, is open from Monday to Friday, 09:00 – 16:30
- 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.