A “Rainbow Baby” is a term that is used to describe a baby who is born into a family following a previous pregnancy which resulted in a miscarriage, premature birth, still birth, or infant death. The rainbow symbolises the hope that this new baby brings to the family without forgetting the impact of the storm of losing a child. Every month at Kidz Unlimited Photographic Studio we give away one FREE RAINBOW MINI SHOOT. Baby Loss by miscarriage is something which is very close to my heart having lost twins myself. It is something which happens to more people than you would imagine. It is also a subject that is rarely spoken about. This year, I made a commitment to photograph one Rainbow Baby every month for FREE!! My aim being to make this a subject that we speak about and share more….and to honour my own Rainbow Twins. So here is our next little Rainbows…… the twins, Saul William and Quade Anthony and their Mummy, Danielle’s story.
We are privileged to have two incredible teenage sons already but, with my husband turning 40 and me only a few years behind, we decided to see if we would be blessed one more time.
It all happened very quickly once we made that decision. I just knew. I was so excited but kept the news to myself for a week while I tried to figure out the most romantic way to tell my husband. In the end it wasn’t exactly romantic but it was special; a gift wrapped book for expectant fathers didn’t quite make him realise but the gift wrapped pregnancy test did the trick. We kept the best secret to ourselves for another week before telling our sons, our parents and my work. Everyone was so pleased for us, it really was such a happy time. The next job: wait patiently for the 12 week scan.
It seemed forever. From the time we knew, to that scan, I googled everything and downloaded pregnancy apps, I felt like I knew everything that was about to happen. But nothing prepared me for scan day.
I was asked repeatedly if I got my dates right, I said I wasn’t sure. I was asked if I’d experienced any pain or bleeding, I said no. Then they told me, the baby is only measuring 6-8 weeks, there’s no heartbeat, I’m really sorry….
I was sent to another ward to speak with a midwife about the next steps, I used the walk to google what was going on. It was fine, google said that you can’t always detect a heartbeat before 8 weeks, I must have got my dates wrong! The midwife said I had to come back in a week for another scan to check but explained I’d had a silent miscarriage and therefore I would have to have a d&c. She was wrong, I was sure of it, I still felt pregnant, still had all the symptoms; the next scan was going to show growth and a heartbeat.
That week was the longest of my life, but when I finally sat in front of that screen I could see the growth, my baby was bigger but there was still no heartbeat. We had to go back to the other ward and met the same midwife, she confirmed that I’d had a silent miscarriage. I told her she must be wrong because my baby was bigger, she explained not bigger enough, only 1mm, it should be about 7mm. I was booked in for the d&c the next day. As we drove home in silence it hit me, all these people we were going to have to “untell”. All these people that were now going to have to grieve with us, I didn’t want that, I wanted it to be my pain only. We were heartbroken and now we had to relive it to everyone that knew. The worst was having to tell my sons, we were met with just silence, how could they possibly know what to say or how to feel, it was a burden I regret placing on them.
We chose for our baby to be cremated with all the other babies, I couldn’t bear the thought they would go to heaven alone so this way it seemed they wouldn’t be. We agreed that we would give ourselves time before thinking about another baby.
Christmas came and went, along with what would have been our pregnancy milestones. The stress of it all meant that my stomach ulcer had returned but I decided to wait until my holiday in April to go to the doctors for antibiotics, I had hoped it might go away by itself with a healthy diet.
Then one night, at the start of April, I said to my husband “look at my stomach, I’m so bloated I could be 6 months pregnant!”. He suggested this wasn’t impossible and maybe I should do a pregnancy test. I told him not to be silly, it’s just the symptoms of my stomach ulcer, I just needed some antibiotics. But this simple conversation played on my mind. I knew when I went to the doctors it would be the first thing they asked. So, a few days later, I decided to put my mind at rest. I did the test. To my absolute shock it was positive. But this time I couldn’t be happy or excited because, instead, I was griped with fear and dread, what if the same thing happened? I couldn’t bear the pain again. I left the test on our bathroom sink for my husband to find, no romantic gesture this time. When he found it he ran to me smiling but I just cried, I was so worried. I had no idea how far along I would be so over the next few days my anxiety grew to such a level that my husband agreed to a private wellbeing scan.
After a few minutes the sonographer told his assistant to turn on the TVs, I held my breath. She said it takes a few minutes to come on, then all of a sudden he changed his mind, no don’t switch them on yet. I griped my husbands hand and began preparing myself for the worst. You can switch them on now. I glared at him, he told me it was fine, I continued to glare, he tried to reassure me again, before deciding to just show me. Here’s the head, back, heartbeat and legs. He showed me again, here’s the head, back, heartbeat and legs. Do you understand? I just smiled so relieved that everything was ok. He realised I didn’t understand, let’s try again, here’s the head, back, heartbeat and legs, twin 1, here’s the head, back, heartbeat and legs, twin 2!!!!
My husbands jaw dropped and he remained silent, a small expletive and a giggle popped out of my mouth. To add to the shock we were 15 weeks and 4 days along! Wow. My two little rainbow babies were already past the danger zone and safely in the second trimester.
The pregnancy went well (once I knew it wasn’t a stomach ulcer), we made it to 36 + 6 before giving birth naturally to Saul, meaning prayed for, and Quade, meaning born fourth. They are perfect and beautiful.
While I feel so very blessed to have my two rainbow babies, I still think about my little lost baby. I am so grateful to one of my best friends and to Tracey-Anne for organising this rainbow photoshoot for me, it was such a wonderful way to honour my little lost one while celebrating my twins. Tracey-Anne is fantastic, she made me feel so at ease and took such good care of my babies, we cannot thank her enough.