Celebrating Rainbows

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What is a rainbow baby?

A rainbow baby is a baby that is born following a miscarriage or stillbirth. In the real world, a beautiful and bright rainbow follows a storm and gives hope of things getting better.

Celebrating Rainbows Campaign

From the 3rd – 14th July, we will be celebrating your rainbow pregnancies and babies on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Whether you are currently pregnant after suffering a loss or have had your MAMA Miracle, please email us your special story so we can share it here and on social media.

Let’s give hope to many other families that something bright and beautiful can follow a ravaging storm.

Rainbow Baby Grow

Now available from our online shop:

Beautiful baby grow designed in an exciting new collaboration with The Jam Tart perfect for your rainbow baby! All proceeds go to MAMA Academy to help more babies arrive safely.

R is for Rhino. A is for Alligator. I is for Iguana. N is for Newt. B is for Bee. O is for Owl. W is for Walrus. Whimsical animal letters that ooze colourful character and charm.

Size 0-3 months

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Rainbow T Shirt

Now available from our online shop:

Beautiful over sized t shirt (perfect for growing bumps!) designed in an exciting new collaboration with The Jam Tart.  All proceeds go to MAMA Academy to help more babies arrive safely.

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Support

If you are currently pregnant with your rainbow baby, our secret Facebook support group can help comfort you through your journey.

Rainbow Babies

Ellis

Our Rainbow baby, a beautiful boy, was born last November. Our journey to get there wasn’t plain sailing though. I’d had four miscarriages – three in one year. I had got to a point where I wasn’t sure how much more heartbreak I could take and while I tried to be rational and tell myself it was just cells I was losing and not a baby; it’s the hopes and dreams you’ve already created in that short time knowing you’re pregnant.

After having three miscarriages, we were referred to St Mary’s Recurrent Miscarriage clinic – the team there are fantastic and it’s reassuring to know that you’re doing something about your situation. The results I had from the tests there were clear so I knew there were no “environmental” issues that were stopping me from carrying a baby – I was physically capable.

I actually discovered the cause of my miscarriages through the testing of the tissue from my third miscarriage – it’s a chromosome abnormality on my side that makes it harder for us to develop a healthy embryo called a ‘balanced translocation’. So we’re also under the care of the genetics team at St Georges in Tooting too. We feel lucky that we live in Surrey and have access to some of the best facilities in the country.

I discovered I was pregnant again in February 2016 and what should have been an exciting time was one of sheer anxiety. I seemed to spot just before I was due any scans which meant that I put my partner through hell convincing him that things were always on the verge of going wrong. In my previous pregnancies, I’d gone to nearly twelve weeks each time and had pregnancy symptoms such as tiredness, nausea and sensitive boobs. This time though, things were different – I was actually sick (never in my life was I so thrilled to vomit!) and I felt hopeful each time we had a scan and I saw the blinking heartbeat. It was an amazing feeling, especially as we’d only known disappoint during previous ultrasound scans.

It also meant that by the time I’d had my twelve week scan, we’d had six scans at four different hospitals! Because of my chromosome abnormality, we were advised to have a CVS test, which in itself runs a risk of miscarriage but we needed to know that the baby was okay. We also had the added anxiety that should the results of the CVS test come back as an ‘imbalanced translocation’ we would need to make a decision about whether to terminate the pregnancy.

Once we had the results from the CVS test at thirteen weeks – all okay – I was considered a ‘normal’ pregnant lady and received standard antenatal care at St Peters Hospital in Chertsey. The rest of my pregnancy was trouble free and I was able to relax and enjoy it.

ellisEllis was born on 12th November, two weeks late and weighing a healthy 8lbs 5oz. I’m enjoying being a mum but I’m also very aware that not only is Ellis precious to me, but if we want any more children (and we do) then we may have to go through more heartache to get another baby. I still find it difficult when people talk about pregnancy dismissively as if it’s the easiest thing in the world. And for some couples, it is.

I urge anyone who has had multiple miscarriages to get referred to a Recurrent Miscarriage clinic as I found it reassuring that we weren’t the only people to be going through something like this. And while friends and family try and help and say the right thing, they often don’t and it can be quite hard sometimes to stay positive but trying to do something about it can help and will hopefully give you answers. That way, it can’t just be ‘bad luck’.

Joanne Davison

Jessica

You’ve heard my CMV story of my beautiful Oscar who was stillborn in 2015.

2 years on and I am very happy with my 6months old rainbow Jessica!

After Oscar was born we didn’t want to waste time. I was already 34. I knew I would never forget him and definitely not replace him, but all I was desperate for was a wonderful family.

We quickly became pregnant again 5 months later, sadly this was a blighted ovum, an empty sac.

We kept trying and just before Christmas we were pregnant again!

The pregnancy was very different, I had hyperemesis which was just awful. I finished work early at 30 weeks thanks to fantastic annual leave I receive in the NHS.

jessicaJessica was born smoothly in 6hours at Aylesbury birth centre on 30th August 2016.

No pain relief, standing in the bathroom and a wonderful midwife, Michelle, a fab friend, Julie, and my amazing husband beside me.

Jessica is 6.5 months old now and brings me joy, and hard work, everyday.

We had a lovely family afternoon last week where we sent balloons to Oscar on his birthday.

Jessica will always know about him.

Sharon Robinson

Lilly

4 years ago I found out I was pregnant. We were shocked as I was always told it would be extremely difficult for me to conceive and we never talked about children. When I told my partner he was ecstatic which made me ecstatic. I went to see the midwife and we waited for our 12 wk scan. We were so excited we talked about names and even bought a few things.

The date of our scan came and we just couldn’t wait to get there. We went into the scan with beaming smiles and I laid on the bed and proudly uncovered my little belly. During the scan I noticed the sonographers face change and my partner gripped my hand. It was then we were told that a our little baby had no heartbeat and had died 3 wks previous. We were heartbroken and I sobbed. The rest of the day was a blur of tears and medical jargon about a missed miscarriage and having to come in for a medical miscarriage.

1 week later I went back to hospital for a medical miscarriage. I was given the drugs at 7am and throughout the day I could feel the contractions starting. Finally at 1am the next day it was all over. I wasn’t pregnant anymore and we were both numb.

After some time we decided we wanted to try again so we started trying. 3 years later and we had no luck at all so we were sent for fertility tests. These found my partner was fine but I had a slight issue that could cause problems for us. They gave me a drug to take to increase my ovulation and we went home hopeful. After a year still nothing and we started to lose hope.

At our final fertility appointment they doubled the dose and said this was our last shot or we would have to pay for IVF. After taking them for 2 months I finally fell pregnant. We were so happy but at the same time terrified. At 8 weeks I had some spotting and my heart sank. I rang the midwife and as I was high risk they got me straight in for a scan. I was so scared I couldn’t even look towards the screen. Then suddenly she said everything is fine and would I like to see the heartbeat. I was so happy I cried, my baby was fine and growing.

The rest of my pregnancy was pretty straight forward until I reached 24 weeks. My midwife told me my blood pressure was too high so I was sent to the local MAU. After a couple of hours my BP came down and they sent me home but said a midwife would visit me 2 days later to check it again. At that visit I was sent back to MAU but this time it wasn’t coming down. They gave me some medication and it started to drop so I was sent home with a prescription of blood pressure tablets. Over the next 3 weeks my BP continued to rise and my medication was increased 3 times.

At 27 weeks they had me go for a growth scan and instantly I could tell something was wrong. They told me my baby was very small for the gestation and rushed me off to see a consultant. I was admitted that day due to my every rising BP and my baby’s tiny size. I was told she would be here any day. On the outside I was calm and on the inside I was a wreck. My partner was amazing and stayed by my side through everything.

For four days I was given daily scans to check my baby. On the fourth day they told me it was time I was going for an emergency c section, it was no longer safe for me or my baby. We met with many doctors in the flurry including the neonatal team who would be caring for my little rainbow baby. I was warned not to expect a cry as she was so small and it would be a very difficult operation.

bex-buist2At 19:56 that night my tiny little bundle was brought into the world and I heard an instant cry. My heart melted and I cried. Little Lilly June was born weighing 1lb 3oz, the size of 23 week old baby but fully developed to 27 weeks. At 1 am the next morning I was wheeled into the neonatal unit and I saw her for the first time. She was perfect but so tiny I was terrified for her. She was on a ventilator for 2 days and by the fourth day totally breathing on her own and doing well. She was a little miracle and she continued to thrive.

On week 3 she was moved from the intensive care area to the high dependency unit. After a few days she had to be put on a small amount of oxygen just to help her along a little. For the next 4 weeks she continued to thrive, putting on weight and growing perfect, but her oxygen kept creeping up. When she was just over 7 weeks we were told she had congenital cmv, a virus which can be detrimental to babies. I was crushed as she had got this from me and I felt wholly responsible. Not only could my body not carry her to term but now I had given her this virus which I knew nothing about. After some investigation we were told it was dormant so wouldn’t need any treatment. Then she had her 8 week immunizations. She was fine at first, just a slight temp, but then her oxygen need began to creep up dramatically.

When she was 9 weeks old I was phoned at 1am and they told me she had been returned to the ICU and put back onto cpap. I was crushed again. At 7am that morning we were called again but this time we were told to get straight to the hospital as she was having to be put back onto the ventilator and she was extremely poorly. By the time we got there (10 minutes later) she was being put on an oscillator as even with 100% oxygen on the ventilator her sats were continuing to drop. The oscillator would inflate the minds and the vibrate oxygen into the tissues. It was a horrible thing to watch. My little girl was 3 times her normal size due to severe odeama and her body was shaking because of the machine.

After investigations it was found the cmv virus had activated and attacked her lungs. She was in a serious critical state and needed to be started on some very strong anti viral medication immediately. She was paralyzed and sedated, she had so many drugs being pumped into her tiny little body (5lb 2oz). The next few days were touch and go, I could feel my little miracle being ripped away from me. After 5 days she was improving so was put back on conventional ventilation. For another 14 days she was improving very slowly but the doctors were struggling with the amount of secretions her lungs were creating. They took a huge leap and put her back onto cpap in the hope that the removal of her ventilation tube would decrease the secretions being produced. It was touch and go again but after 2 days she began to respond to the treatment and her swelling started to come down.

bex-buistOver the next 2 weeks she kept improving and was soon back on the low flow oxygen and back to her normal size of 6lb 2oz after gaining almost 2lbs of fluid. Now we are waiting to bring our little Lilly home as she is being discharged Monday 26th June. She is coming home on the minimum amount of oxygen at a healthy and happy 6lb 15ozs. I can’t thank the medical staff I encountered enough, from my midwife who noticed my onset of preeclampsia to the doctors and nurses who cared for my little girl. Thanks to them she is here today, not only my rainbow baby but a true miracle baby. She fought to stay in this world and we fought to keep her. We still have a long road ahead but we will walk it together as a family.

Rebecca Buist

Adam

My story began in May 2011 when I had my first miscarriage after 6Months of trying we conceived in Feb 2011. I miscarried on.the 3rd of May at 14weeks gestation. At first I didn’t know what was happening. I woke up around 9am spotting so I rang my GP. He said to call in and he’ll give me a letter for the early pregnancy unit in the hospital. I got ready to leave but at 9.30 I felt very heavy bleeding so I went to the toilet & I had a large what I thought was a clot ( clenched fist in size) on my underwear. I later was told I had miscarried and what I thought was a clot was my baby. I was devastated. Very foolishly we tried again Got pregnant again straight away but miscarried again at 9weeks. This hit hard. We stopped trying for 18months. I feIl pregnant again on my honeymoon in April 2013 to sadly loose again. This time at 16wks gestation. At this point we thought This was it for us.  I fell pregnant again Valentines day 2014. I was so excited but so worried. All we could do was count down the days until 20weeks gestation so we Would be 4weeks further than my last miscarriage. I was so excited at this Appointment We even found out the gender of our baby We were having a boy 😀 This was both exciting and worrying as one reason we were given for consecutive miscarriage was that Maybe I couldn’t carry boys as I had a daughter already & her pregnancy was a perfect pregnancy & she was now 5. But we crossed our fingers(and everything else) and hoped for the best. I had a fairly smooth pregnancy but on my due date Tragedy struck after 6hours of what I thought was normal labour my son was born sleeping. Totally devastated I said no more. Having to bury my son was the hardest thing I ever had to do. My daughter would be my one and only but the universe had other plans for me.

My husband and I were practically ready to call it a day on our marriage as the last 3 years had just been too much to get through, 4weeks after a friends wedding and a last drunken night together which if I’m honest I don’t remember much of, I found out I was PREGNANT. All sorts of emotions took me over, FEAR – I couldn’t loose another baby, SHOCK – how did this happen with my marriage practically over, HOPE – Could this be the universe saying give it one more try, JOY – that I had a baby growing inside me praying that this little one wouldn’t be taken from me. As you can expect every day was a worry. Just one more day. Before I had just wished for the 20 week mark, now it was like 40weeks can’t come fast enough.

At 20weeks I got this awful pain across my lower abdomen and feared the worst. Flew into the hospital expecting a scan to reveal the worst. But baby was checked and all was ok to my biggest relief. I cried uncontrollably. They couldn’t figure out why I was in so much pain but I didn’t care once my baby was ok. Eventually they came to the conclusion It was my Appendix 🙁 Fear stuck me down again. They told me the risks of an Op That I could miscarry but that I needed to have them removed or we could both die if they ruptured.
adamI had the op and a went well. Thank God. I ended up in the same room that I spent with my son AJ for the few days he was with us. I felt his presence and definitely feel he kept us safe.

At 38weeks I was induced and gave birth to my beautiful RAINBOW BABY BOY ADAM. He is now 10,months old and thriving.

I am grateful every day for him. I will forever miss my AJ & 3 angel babies but Adam was my happy ending 😀

That is my story of sadness but a piece of joy in my rainbow after all the loss and hardship.

Thank you for reading my story.

Edel Ennis-Cooney

Evie Grace

My eldest daughter was my first ‘rainbow baby’ after having miscarried at 9 weeks it took another 4 years of trying to conceive before she was born. A painful divorce sadly followed, but seven years later, I met and married my husband Chris.

After a beautiful honeymoon in Mauritius I was amazed when six weeks later I discovered I was pregnant!  we were really quite shocked – but also very excited!

At our 12 week scan we were initially told by we were expecting twins, as two little ones appeared on the screen! but one was much larger than the other and on closer inspection we were informed sadly there was only one heartbeat.. having always wanted twins I went from elation to heartbreak in nano seconds..  there was a small hope that one baby had been conceived after the other (I couldn’t understand that?!) and may still be viable- as one tiny baby had a strong strong heartbeat and was wriggling around we were was told to try and stay positive and return in two weeks for a follow up scan.

Two weeks later we returned, expecting to find the smaller baby gone – but we were devastated to learn our second baby had by then also died. At 14 weeks I had to endure a horrible ‘medical management’ – it was by far the worst experience of my life and will stay with me forever, I held my tiny baby in my hand and said goodbye – the emotional pain was beyond anything I had every experienced and I truly thought my heart would break. The following few weeks are a blur but my husband was amazing, patient and gentle – he had previously booked a weekend away in London – we decided to go as we needed a break. We went to a concert, walked, talked, and snuggled up close – and on the last night we made love.

The follow up scan after my medical management showed I had several large uterine fibroids, which may have been the contributing factor in my miscarriage. As we wanted a successful pregnancy we were invited to the reproductive medicine unit for a follow up consultation 8 weeks later – I had not lost the feeling of being ‘pregnant’ .. I felt bloated and sore and had not had a period since the miscarriage, I thought maybe I was now having a phantom pregnancy! The specialist internally scanned me and to our amazement there on screen was a tiny but new pregnancy sac! I was pregnant again! About 4 weeks gestation!

This pregnancy was very stressful, I began to bleed heavily at 8 weeks and thought it was all over again – after waking up one morning feeling an odd sensation I had begun to bleed heavily again – after a frantic dash to hospital I was scanned in the same room as before – but we were told the baby was a fighter and despite the bleed it was still holding on .. I continued to bleed constantly from the placenta for about 10 weeks and was regularly scanned.. but each time my baby (a girl) was still with us.

I continued to be closely monitored and never really relaxed or even began to hope for a positive outcome, I felt scared and emotionally detached – I just couldn’t ‘connect’ with my baby I was so scared I wouldn’t love her.. I consistently measured below my dates and she had too little fluid around her and was high risk and prepared to expect an early delivery… I waited and waited and nothing! Finally 10 days overdue I was  induced .. just to top off her dramatic start, our little princess made her shock appearance in the four bedded induction ward! Her spontaneous arrival was met by a round of applause from the other ladies in the ward!  She was completely perfect and healthy.. and I fell instantly in love with her before she was even in my arms!

evie-graceOur beautiful daughter Evie Grace is a pure blessing in our lives, loving, gentle and kind hearted – and she still has a very determined stubborn spirit. My ‘rainbow’ baby was followed two years later by her brother Daniel, also a complete joy and blessing – along with their big sister Meg, our children are light of our lives.

I still think of my little ones who didn’t make it – and it still hurts, but I like to think they are still living with us in our hearts and will continue to guard their sister’s and brother throughout their lives.

Wendy Woolstone

Primrose

My little girl and first born, Primrose was stillborn 4 days overdue a year ago. It’s her first birthday today (8th July 2017).

I had the dream pregnancy with her, we couldn’t have been more textbook. In hindsight I have to wonder if something was missed because of this, as midwife appointments were few and far between, always with a different midwife and very straight in and out as I had nothing to question.

I was in early labour at home a couple of days after due date. I had a bleed on the Thursday morning, very small but there nonetheless. I called the midwife who said if baby was still moving and the bleeding had stopped I would ‘probably be ok.

I had a routine appointment the following day and when I got there I commented that I hadn’t felt her move much that morning. I was hooked up to the CTG monitor but no heartbeat could be found. We then went to the hospital where all was confirmed with an ultrasound that Primrose had passed away. Later that day, after a wonderful labour she came into the world weighting 6lb 14oz and a whopping 55cm long.

After we lost her, we took our time in grieving. We knew we wanted to have more children but needed a little time to process. We had post-mortem results back suggesting there was nothing wrong with Prim, nothing wrong with us from our blood tests. As heartbreaking as it is to realise that she died with no cause, it was a relief to know it ‘shouldn’t’ happen again to our future children. This of course strengthened with the promise of extra growth scans and monitoring, and early induction in future pregnancies.

4 months later, we decided to try for another baby. I have come to know so many other families through social media that have gone through similar losses to our’s. I am so aware that many struggle to conceive after as well so I didn’t want to put trying off for long but also was aware it was soon after and if we didn’t conceive straight away, at least I had more time to process our new lives, and to help my body recover.

annieAnother 4 months later we conceived a little rainbow of hope, Primrose has a brother due in October. He is currently very cosy, kicking away at 23 weeks. This pregnancy is so different. Exciting but always with a pinch of worry and anxiety that anything could happen at anytime. I’m thrilled that some friends who I made through us all losing our girls last year are also at similar stages of pregnancy with me, all with boys too! Their support is priceless.

I now see the same midwife every time who has really tailored her care to me, and I proudly hold my wellbeing wallet I received through becoming a member of Mama Academy at every appointment.

I know a lot of Still-mum’s and loss mum’s can feel hurt and bitter towards other pregnant mum’s. I really consciously tried not to. I saw every baby as even more of a miracle since my daughter died so easily from seemingly nothing. My own experiences had also taught me that walking down the street, you don’t know who has been through loss, who’s babies actually are longed for rainbow babies, who else is carrying this burden of grief for their previous babies whilst anxiously carrying their hopes for the future. I felt I couldn’t judge or begrudge anyone else for having healthy babies if I didn’t know their path to get there.

I believe every baby, and certainly every rainbow baby definitely needs to be celebrated.

Annie Simpson

Florence

When my son, Patrick (a rainbow baby himself), was stillborn in April 2015, I was desperate to have a baby. I needed to fill the space that I had inside me; to right the wrong that had happened.

Due to negligence from my local hospital during Patrick’s last weekend alive, I had developed Rhesus Disease. We were told that any future pregnancy would be high risk. Knowing the difficulties of a Rhesus pregnancy did not stop my yearning for a baby. By July I was pregnant again.

Although this was my fourth pregnancy, it was unlike any other. Due to the Rhesus Disease, I had to make a 200-mile roundtrip every fortnight for specialist appointments which would last no more than ten minutes. The baby was checked for fluid build-up and anaemia and I was tested for antibody levels.

We found out the baby was a girl and I had mixed emotions about this. I was worried that I would not bond with the baby because she was not Patrick; but I was also relieved that I would never be able to look at her and see him. It was a worry I carried with me until the end.

I bought a pink babygro and put it on the wall at the foot of my bed. I put the scan photos up and I would imagine putting the wee baby into the babygro and holding her in my arms. I imagined bringing the baby home. Each night I would ask Patrick to look after his wee sister and make sure that she arrived alive, happy, and healthy.

At 35-weeks, in March 2016, I went to hospital with reduced movements. I pleaded with the hospital for three days to have a caesarean section. Every time I pleaded, they would tell me that they wanted to wait a while longer.

On March 4th, her heart rate dipped low. There were long decelerations and no accelerations. It was all rush then. When she was born she was taken to the neonatal unit. She had a haemoglobin level of 3.8 (anything under 7 is anaemic) and was very jaundiced. In her first twenty-four hours she had two exchange transfusions where they replaced her blood with donated blood.

suzanneMy instincts had been correct all along. The longer she had been inside me, the more anaemic she had become. Although doctors told me that she was doing well, I could not believe them. I would see my wee baby in an incubator and feel bereft all over again. It was extremely difficult.

However, after two weeks, we finally got to take her home.

We named her Florence after grandmothers on both sides and she is the gift I will forever be grateful for. Her brother, Shay, and her have great fun together. He gives her hugs and kisses all the time which warms my heart. They are the spitting image of each other and I often wonder what Patrick would look like now.

Florence is my rainbow and light after everything; she is my miracle.

Suzanne Maguire