You do a pregnancy test and feel that brief feeling of excitement followed closely by the feelings of fear, worry and nerves. Everything is so uncertain and the next 9 months seem endless!
In September 2007, my beautiful 4th child Amy was stillborn when I was 39 weeks pregnant. The days, weeks and months that followed seemed hopeless. I was told that there was no reason why I couldn’t try for another baby as soon as I was ready. Luckily 6 months later I fell pregnant. The hospital in London did not have a support service and there was no SPRING, so I found the next 9 months incredibly hard. I hadn’t really prepared myself for the feelings I would have when my 1st Rainbow Baby was born safely in December 2008. The hospital had treated me so badly that I was still in shock and I naively thought that once I had my daughter I would be ‘healed’ and everything would be ‘normal’ again. Having Ella brought happiness back into our family but the journey wasn’t over. We decided to move to Poole in March 2009 and it is then that I was referred by a Health Visitor to SPRING for counselling. I couldn’t believe how much relief I felt when I was able to talk about what had happened and how I was feeling. I started attending the SPRING Open Support Meetings and I met other parents who understood how I felt. I began to think that maybe now I was finally getting some bereavement support I could consider having a baby here in Poole. I wouldn’t say the worry or the fear was any less terrifying than my 1st Rainbow pregnancy, but having the support of Gena, my counsellor Fiona and SPRING really helped me, and in May 2010 Abby my 2nd rainbow baby arrived. The support I had from the hospital throughout my pregnancy and during labour was fantastic and it was at this point that I felt that I was ready to get more involved with SPRING.
I became chairperson in May 2011 and am honoured to be part of such an amazing charity. It saddens me that only certain areas provide families with bereavement support when they suffer the devastating news that their precious baby has died. I know only too well of the difference having support can make. When I left Mayday Hospital on 8th September 2007 without Amy, I left with nothing but a couple of leaflets and it felt like nobody cared. I made the decision to have a final pregnancy in 2011 after many hours talking with my wonderful SPRING counsellor Fiona. I was so nervous about being pregnant again as being involved with SPRING had unfortunately given me even more knowledge of things that can go wrong, but I decided that I needed to have ‘balance’, which for me meant having 3 children before Amy and 3 after, creating a special place in the middle for her. Sadly, I suffered a miscarriage and I had support from Shonagh at the Early Pregnancy Unit and from my SPRING counsellor. A couple of months later I found out I was pregnant again with my Rainbow Baby. I had many early scans as I couldn’t stop worrying that something would go wrong again. Every little pain or twinge terrified me and my diary became full of appointments. My Community Midwife was very supportive and said I could see her whenever I was worried or had any concerns. Once I got to 17 weeks, I went for a private scan to see the sex of the baby and was overjoyed to find out it was a boy as my eldest is also a boy. This would be perfect, but made me worry that maybe it was too perfect. This special little boy growing inside me gave me many sleepless nights as I frantically waited for each kick or movement he made. Once I was 28 weeks, I started attending the ANDA (Ante Natal Day Assessment) satellite clinic and had amazing support from Sam and Carolyn. I would go along if I was concerned about anything and I had CTG monitoring done regularly to reassure me. I started to buy a few blue things, but kept all the receipts and tried to keep busy as much as I could, and with 5 children being busy was quite easy! All my friends were really great and the countdown to when I was being induced began. I tried to stay positive, but the last few weeks seemed endless and I had daily monitoring at the hospital and extra scans as his growth had slowed a little. Although I was worried, I felt that everything that myself and the hospital could do to ensure my baby was safe was being done which was reassuring for me. I wanted this, my final pregnancy, to be a ‘healing’ pregnancy and although it seemed that my body was making it difficult for me or stress was becoming overwhelming, I do think that the support I had, particularly from Fiona my SPRING counsellor, helped me to achieve this. Finally the date I had circled in my diary came and so my husband and I went to the hospital and I was induced.
The following afternoon Gena informed us of a room available in the delivery suite and I could now go down and have my waters broken. I was delighted that I was in room 11 which was the same room I had my other Rainbow baby almost exactly 2 years before. My midwife Nikki was amazing. She was calming and supportive and I laughed and chatted with her and the lovely student, Sarah. I trusted her and felt she understood my anxieties and she did everything she could to reassure me. At 11.50pm on Sunday 27th May 2012 my beautiful baby boy was delivered onto my tummy and that sound I longed to hear for 9 months filled the room. He cried and cuddled into me. It was wonderful!
We named him Robbie Andrew and he weighed 6lb 3.5oz. He was perfect and beautiful and worth all the sleepless nights of worry; all the endless trips to the hospital and completed our family. As I left the hospital a week later I did feel sadness that I never got to take Amy home. I still think about her all the time. As it approaches 5 years since she died, I do feel that although having a Rainbow Baby will NEVER replace her or ‘heal’ me, it has brought so much happiness back into my life. Although the storm clouds will always hover, my Rainbow Babies have truly brought hope and light back into my life and I believe my angel Amy will always be looking after her brothers and sisters and will never ever be forgotten.