Category Archives: RAINBOW BABIES

The idea is that the new baby is like a rainbow after a storm. The beauty of the rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm. When a rainbow appears, it does not mean the storm never happened – or that the family is not still dealing with its aftermath. What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds. Storm clouds may still hover, but the rainbow provides a counter balance of colour, energy and hope.

Rainbow Triplets

rainbow-spring-fullOur story was never meant to happen. I was just about to get married and getting pregnant again was not on my to-do list. My son had just turned two and I was getting married in four weeks when I had a check- up for my coil. My doctor couldn’t find it and so I was sent for a scan. No coil was found, but a tiny bean was in its place.

My pregnancy was straight forward and went without a hitch, our baby boy was growing perfectly and I was booked for a home birth.

My waters broke on a Thursday evening at 38 weeks whilst I was in a supermarket, much to my extreme embarrassment, but I was also excited – it wouldn’t be long until I met my baby!

Everything was going well on the Friday; I had a few contractions through the night, but had managed to get some sleep and in the morning I waved my husband, Ben, off to work, took my son to nursery and settled in for a bit of nesting. My first labour had been 33 hours so I was well prepared for a slow and tedious labour.

By lunch time Ben had returned home and my contractions had got crazy strong very quickly, so we called my midwife to come and check me. She listened to William’s heart beat and all seemed well at 3cm dilated, so off for a nap with some paracetamol I went. Two hours later I woke up with the most excruciating contractions. I couldn’t stand up; I wanted to bear down so we called my midwife again. That was the moment that day becomes very grey in my head. I remember her telling me she couldn’t find a heartbeat and to lie on my left hand side. I remember another midwife arriving and then an ambulance team. I remember my husband running around trying to get my hospital bag ready thinking everything would still end well. But I knew. I tried to make him move, pushing my belly around crying silent tears as I realised he was gone.

In the ambulance, all the way to the hospital, the midwife held my hand with a sympathetic but knowing look in her eye. A scan confirmed that William had passed away in my tummy. My labour was drug filled and fast. I got to hold my gorgeous boy in my arms; he had his daddy’s nose and my eyes. It felt so strange to hold him, but I didn’t want to let go.

We requested a full post mortem and organised his funeral. I couldn’t bear to move anything in the house, the nappy changer or his nursery. I didn’t want to the world to forget about my baby boy. I couldn’t stop thinking about all the memories I didn’t have, all the ‘firsts’ William wouldn’t have. It was heart-breaking and I slipped into a very dark place. Nothing mattered anymore. What hadIdonethatwassobadthatIhadto suffer the loss of my baby boy? Could I have done something differently? Was it my fault? We received care from our bereavement support midwife who supported us through our grief and helped us to understand the different stages and gave advice as to how we could help each other. It was so valuable to have a ‘safe zone’ where we could talk without fear of offending or upsetting anyone. That honest time made all the difference to our grieving process, but it was still very hard.

My friends organised to take us on a holiday. It was the middle of summer and all I could do was lie in bed and cry. A holiday was just what I needed. It reminded me that although life for William had ended, the world was still turning and my son still needed his mummy.

It was on that holiday, three weeks after losing William that one glass of wine led to a few bottles and we fell pregnant. My doctor scalded us, understandably, we hadn’t yet had the results from the post mortem, my body hadn’t recovered and I was still grieving. Nevertheless we were overjoyed at the prospect of a new baby to fill the gaping hole in our hearts, but terrified – how would we survive if we lost another baby?

Four weeks later we went for our scan… another day that is very grey in my head. The sonographer scanned my belly, sweeping this way and that, silent and her mouth set in a grim line. Panic set in, my mouth went dry and tears pricked the backs of my eyes when she excused herself to go and get a senior member of staff. The consultant scanned me too, then paused and looked at us both, and an announced that we were expecting triplets! Our rainbow baby was three miracle rainbow babies! The relief was overwhelming, but the fear had just tripled. The consultant asked us about selective reduction. Such an alien question – I had just lost a baby and now he was asking me if I want to choose a baby to abort? No. No matter what the risks, that was out of the question.

We had the post mortem results back and we had lost our baby boy due to a Group B Streptococcus infection. Something totally unavoidable and even if we had been at hospital the odds are we still would have lost him.

My pregnancy was very straight forward, I got incredibly big and was monitored and tested every week and at 34 weeks, via c-section, I delivered three perfect baby girls all screaming in protest at being removed so early. Bethany was 4lb 8oz, Amelia was 4lb 2oz, and Rosanna was 4lb 9oz. The consultant who delivered them said they were very good weights for their gestation. It has been suggested by a few medical staff that the reason the girls grew so well was because my womb had already been stretched by William and was ready for them. I take comfort in that. I like the thought that the girls’ big brother led the way for them. They are now almost two years old and life is pretty crazy, but we talk about William all the time. I am a very proud mother of five children who I love dearly – one just happens to be in the stars looking after us all.



Baby Katherine

rainbow-spring-fullAfter beginning to think we were going to need help to conceive, finally after 12 months I fell pregnant naturally. My husband and I couldn’t have felt more delighted! Our 12 week scan was fine and we announced the news to all our family and friends.

When the date for our 20 week scan arrived, I was so excited about seeing our baby on the screen again, I’d never felt so happy. Little did I know we would be faced with the devastating news that a vital part of our baby’s brain was severely underdeveloped. At the time I really didn’t understand what was going on – it was too much to take in – surely everything would really be ok?

We were taken to a side room. I remember the box of tissues on the table. A nurse entered the room and said she was so sorry that we were there, and that she understood how devastated we must be. It wasn’t until that moment that I realised something really serious was wrong.

The cerebellum part of our baby’s brain (a part of the brain that basically tells your body to do everything), had not formed properly, which meant our little girl would be significantly disabled, mentally handicapped and would have no quality of life. We were left with the dreadful decision of continuing with our pregnancy and giving our baby this life, or ending the pregnancy.

After much discussion, we didn’t feel we could bear to watch our child live a life of suffering and also had to consider the effect it would have on the family and any possible future children, so sadly we made the difficult decision not to continue with our pregnancy. At this stage of pregnancy the safest way would be to deliver the baby by a normal induced labour. I gave birth to our stillborn daughter, Amy, in the SPRING suite at St. Mary’s Maternity Unit, Poole. The suite offered us a private room with living area which made this experience as comfortable and private as possible.

The support from all the staff was so much more than I could have imagined. Their gentle, understanding approach helped us get through this horrific experience  – we could not thank them enough.

We miss our little angel so much, but are so delighted to say that 13 months later we welcomed a perfect little baby girl, Katherine, into the world, who has brought us so much happiness and helped us to move forward.

After the birth of our second daughter, I decided to set myself a challenge to do a sponsored charity run to help raise funds for SPRING and so I took part in the Bournemouth Marathon Festival 2014. I had never run like this before and I am happy to say I achieved 5k in 29 minutes and still go out running now.



Baby Leighton

rainbow-spring-fullIt was New Year’s Day 2013. We had everything to live for and look forward to. We were expecting twins – a boy and a girl! Our family would be complete.

Later that day, after a lazy day watching films, my waters broke. I was 17 weeks pregnant to the day.

After calling the hospital to explain what had happened, my husband Kevin and I headed to St Mary’s Maternity Hospital, Poole. When we arrived we were taken to a side room where we waited for a short while. I was then examined and we were told there and then that my cervix was opening and that it was likely we were losing our babies. All sorts of thoughts were going through our minds. Kev was there for me throughout. He was my rock and did not leave my side, yet there was nothing he could do for me. Of course, like me, he was heartbroken.

The staff at the hospital advised us we would have to wait and see what happens. We stayed in the SPRING suite which was lovely. It had a lounge area, bedroom and bathroom and was nice and private so our families could come in and see us.

We called our families to let them know what was happening. My mum, sister, and Kev’s mum came straight away. Kev and his mum went out for some fresh air and my mum and sister stayed with me, reassuring me that everything would be okay and that miracles can happen, but deep down we all knew.

I was hoping and praying everything would be ok. That entire night we didn’t get any sleep, just rest when we could, but mainly we watched television trying to think of anything else other than what was happening to us.

The next day Kev went home to get us a bag of things we would need during our time in hospital. Meanwhile, I had tea and toast in bed, followed by the urge to go to the toilet, and as I did I could feel something moving so I called for a nurse.

The nurse arrived and there she was – our beautiful little baby girl, so small she fitted in the size of my hand perfectly. She was so completely formed – all of her fingers, toes and features. She was so perfect and so pink.

On 2nd January 2013 at 10.25am Kayleigh Rose was born sleeping. The nurse wrapped her up and placed her in a moses basket. I sat quietly, just starring at her. She was just so perfect.

I called Kev and he was just on his way back to the hospital. He walked in and there we both were, his beautiful first child and I. I will always remember his face as he came in and sat down with us.

Our families came down shortly afterwards to be with us. Later that day we had a scan to check on our little boy. Everything was fine. His heartbeat and movement all seemed ok. As the day continued I became very unwell. I can vaguely remember  nurses, doctors and consultants coming in to the room, talking to me about what was happening, but it was all too much to take in. Luckily I had Kev and my mum there to explain everything. I was really quite out of it.

We were moved to the High Dependency Unit where we had a discussion with the consultants. We were advised that as I was so poorly, it would not have been safe for me to continue with the pregnancy.

So there it began. For hours I was in labour and then at 03.08am on 3rd January 2013, Dylan Kevin was born sleeping. He was also tiny and pink and perfectly formed.

The midwife took Dylan away and soon returned with photographs and hand and foot prints of our little angels and constructed a wonderful little book for us to keep. She then brought in our perfect and precious little angels for us to spend some time with them.

A bit later we were taken back up to the SPRING suite so we could continue to spend time with our babies. There were wrapped in beautiful knitted pink and blue cocoons donated to the unit.

Over the next few days we stayed in the SPRING suite so I could be looked after medically. We had people coming in to give us support and advice and also had lovely family photographs taken for us to have as a keepsake. The hospital Chaplain also came to bless our babies.

Leaving the hospital without our babies was without question the worst experience of our lives, but we had each other and our families and friends that gave us great support going forward.

Kayleigh and Dylan were sent off for a post-mortem. Then, at the end of January, we had a funeral for our little angels. Our lives at this point were so empty. Our feelings were of loss and anger, and all the questioning – What if? Why had this happened to us?

Later that year we had appointments with consultants to go through all the reports and test results. They showed that I was ok and that there was nothing wrong with our babies. This was nice to know – it was just not their time to be on earth with us, but we will always have our babies looking over us and they will always be in our hearts and our thoughts. Kayleigh and Dylan will never be forgotten.

A year on and we bought them balloons for their birthdays which we released in their memories, with our families and puppy, Lucian. We will do this every year in remembrance.

A few days after their birthdays.on 6th January 2014, I did a pregnancy test and to my delight a positive result appeared! I ran down the stairs before Kev went off to work and presented him with it. We were buzzing with joy!

We told our family and friends and everyone was so happy and excited for us.

Throughout the pregnancy the consultants kept a close eye on us. We had regular scans and thankfully every time everything was fine –our baby was fine. We refrained from finding out the sex as we wanted to wait this time. It was obviously a worrying time, especially as the pregnancy progressed and we reached the 17th week, but that soon passed and everything was good.

At 41 weeks, on 19th September 2014 our perfect little man was born at 6.24pm weighing in at 7lbs 12oz. He was just so perfect and so incredibly precious. We had waited a long time for Leighton Dylan – our beautiful rainbow baby.

Seeing Kev hold our baby for the first time was the loveliest sight ever. Leaving the hospital was and coming home with him was the most fantastic feeling. We were on top of the world.

And so all the fun and games were to start, and we cherish very single moment with Leighton – even the crying in the small hours, and now we are looking forward to expanding our families with more babies.

Leighton really is a lucky boy. He has the best family and they adore and dote on him. Our friends love him too. Over the months he has been spoilt rotten with presents for his arrival, first Christmas and little gifts ‘just because’.

Leighton really is the best present that we could have ever wished for and he is all ours. As I write this he has just woken up and and given me the loveliest smile. He is now 5 months old and is a right little cracker with a great personality coming through. Our hearts, lives and house are now full of joy.

There is always hope.

Kayleigh, Dylan and all angel babies – always remembered, never forgotten xxx


Baby Sofia


At 27 weeks my partner Milan and I had everything we needed for our baby girl. Her wardrobe was full, her cot was built and now it was time to relax and enjoy the rest of my pregnancy. That week during my aqua-natal class I rubbed my bump and smiled, it suddenly felt so real. I would never be lonely again. My best friend was just waiting to meet me and I couldn’t be happier.

Over the next few days I noticed a reduction in movements. Luckily I had an independent midwife who I called and expressed my concerns to. She came over and listened in with the doppler and I was relieved to hear that familiar drum sound, like galloping horses, it was so fast.

However, my movements continued to decrease and a few days later I had felt none at all. Again I called my midwife and she promptly arrived with the doppler in hand. But this time… nothing. I looked over at my partner, desperately looking for some reassurance, but he looked just as nervous as I did. My midwife told us we would need to go to St. Mary’s Maternity Hospital, Poole for a scan and we left straight away. The whole journey there I tried to remain positive. I clung to the hope that a scan would reveal that she was in fact alive and that we would see our little monkey kicking about like we had previously. As I lay on the bed being scanned I remember saying hopefully, ‘I think I just felt a kick’ and looked around the room at my midwife and doctors, but no one made eye contact with me.

They all knew my baby girl had passed away. I caught a glimpse of her still silhouette on the monitor as the doctor explained to me that what I was actually feeling was my baby’s body shifting weight from side to side in what little fluid was left around her. They left us alone in the room and I sobbed. I howled in fact. ‘Why? Why? Why?’ was all I could say. I was given a tablet to soften my cervix and sent home. I was to return in 24 hours to begin the induction process. My family immediately arrived from the Midlands early the next day to show their support. My bump had already softened and I felt sick. That morning whilst picking my clothes, I grabbed the biggest sweatshirt I owned despite it being a swelteringly hot summer’s day. I’d loved showing off my growing stomach before, it was something I was so proud of, but not that day. That day I felt sadly ashamed of my body, of the lifeless bundle inside me. I went to the shop to get out of the house and bought some magazines and snacks to take with me to the hospital the next day. The lady behind the counter looked at my not very well hidden bump and smiled. ‘Make the most of reading these in peace while you still can’, she laughed. I smiled back, but inside I was screaming.

The next morning I got up, showered and dressed as normal and put my make-up on. I tried to act normal and brave. I sat at the kitchen table and forced some cereal down. Every spoonful stuck in my throat, tears rolled down my face and into the bowl. I was about to face the hardest day of my life. It was a nightmare I couldn’t wake up from. On the way to the hospital my partner made a detour and stopped at Mothercare. I sat in the car whilst he went in and bought the tiniest outfit he could find and a Sophie La Giraffe. To others this may seem ridiculous, but to me it touched my heart. A sentiment I will never forget.

We were lucky enough to be able to use the SPRING suite. It was comfortable, had a separate lounge area for my family to sit in and most importantly, it was away from the other mothers – the normal mothers with living, crying, breathing babies.

My midwife gave me my induction suppositories and I ate some lunch. The contractions started thick and fast and I promptly vomited up my lunch, partly due to the medication and partly due to fear. Luckily, I was given a drip which administered a small dose of morphine every five minutes. I let the morphine wash over me and felt relief. No more pain, no more fear, I even managed to laugh and joke with my mum and my sisters. But soon, the morphine started to wear off and I regained clarity. I knew it wasn’t going to be long until my baby arrived and I made it clear that I wanted privacy, quiet and calm. My family went back in to the adjoining room and I held my partner’s hand tight. My eyes didn’t leave his gaze until she was placed in my arms. ‘Can we call her Havanna?’ I asked whilst marvelling at how perfect she was. Somehow on July 12th 2013, I experienced the worst and the most beautiful day of my life, all in one.

Unfortunately my body wouldn’t birth the placenta and I was taken down to theatre and put under anaesthetic whilst the doctors removed it. I was grateful for the escape that the deep sleep provided me with. When I woke up Havanna was placed once again in my arms. She had been wrapped up and a pink knitted hat had been placed on her head. In a dreamy haze I leant forward and kissed her forehead. It was cold and so soft. I’ll always remember that touch on my lips. Both my partner and I were able to stay in the SPRING suite that night. I was so grateful that I didn’t have to be alone. The next day we were given a memory card with tiny hand and footprints in and we had to sign a form to say that we were happy for Havanna to undergo a post-mortem. We left the hospital childless parents.

The days that followed were hard. We immersed ourselves in arranging Havanna’s funeral. I cancelled my antenatal classes, and tried to go on as normal. Everyone around me appeared to be having healthy babies. Pictures of the new royal baby were everywhere I looked. I was angry. So angry! Why me? Some days I felt as though I would drive my self crazy questioning why. At night I replayed Havanna’s birth over and over until the sleeping tablets finally kicked in and I could rest, only to wake up and realise it was all still real.

Three months later we needed a change of scenery and decided to book a holiday to Japan. We wanted to be as far away from reality and normality as possible and Japan seemed like the perfect destination! The day before we left we scattered Havanna’s ashes over Hengistbury Head, Bournemouth. It was a beautiful sunset and the sea was calm. We placed pink roses next to her ashes and I prayed for another chance – a chance to be happy and to love another child. What I didn’t realise was that our chance would come a lot sooner than expected and whilst enjoying our adventures in Japan, we conceived again.

Frightened, but excited, I started the journey of pregnancy for the second time. It was bittersweet. I still grieved the baby that I’d lost but felt renewed hope for the baby that was growing inside of me. We had the same midwife again, which was hugely comforting. I was offered extra scans and tests for peace of mind. Havanna’s post-mortem results had confirmed that there was nothing wrong with me or with her and that it had just been ‘one of those things’ that nature can cruelly throw at you. At our twelve week scan we were given the due date of our second baby, July 11th, the day before Havanna’s birthday. I saw this as a good luck omen, things had to be better this time and strangely I felt calm.

On July 2nd at 6.30pm my waters broke. I called my partner, my mum and my midwife and then took a long hot shower. My contractions had already started, but I went in to my bedroom and took out Havanna’s memory chest. I sat and quietly looked through everything in there – every photo, card, poem and keepsake. For that short while, I wanted to think only about Havanna, for this was my second chance and I owed it all to her.

At 10.08pm that evening, at St. Mary’s Maternity Hospital, Poole, baby Sofia was born. The labour was intense but perfect. Everything went to plan and I stared down lovingly at our second child. She looked like her sister. And thanks to Havanna I like to think that I’m just that little more grateful for Sofia, that I hold her that little bit tighter and love her that little bit harder.

Baby Nora


Thinking about trying again was a very hard decision.

Part of me wanted to have twins again – my husband and I sadly lost our twin girls Ivy and Ava to TTTS (Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome) on 7th July 2013 at 22 weeks. I felt so cheated that the girls were taken away from us, but a twin pregnancy would cause enormous stress. We knew we were more likely to have a singleton and we knew that it would not present the same issues and complications that we faced with Ivy and Ava. But there was still that chance of having twins again…

In November 2013, four months after losing the twins we found out we were pregnant. Both of us had mixed emotions, excitement shadowed by anxiety. We went for an early scan at eight weeks to check everything was ok and to check if it was twins again. We nervously waited to be called, looked at the scan and there was just one little baby there. I asked the sonographer to check several times – there was definitely only one baby!

Our date of conception turned out to be 8th November which was the twins due date! That made us feel the girls were with us and playing a part in their new little brother or sister’s safe entry to the world. At the scan the baby looked like a snowman, so we named the baby ‘Frosty’. We had a few extra scans and saw the consultant a couple of times to check that everything was ok. We knew the TTTS was never going to happen in a singleton pregnancy, but keeping calm and knowing everything would be ok was not easy after all we’d been through previously.

Everyone who knew we were expecting was hugely supportive, but we didn’t tell too many people, not because we wanted to hide it, but it was just easier for us to get through the pregnancy without people asking us how we were all the time. Every day was a step closer to the due date and was a day closer to hoping everything would be ok, and that our healthy baby would come into the world. People kept telling us everything would be ok, but until this precious one was safe in our arms we couldn’t believe it.

We were both convinced ‘Frosty’ was a boy. We chose not to find out during a scan, and everyone around us also thought we were having a boy. Maybe we thought this way to ease the stress, as knowing we were expecting a girl would have been more worrying having already lost Ivy and Ava. No logic to our thoughts!

The SPRING counselling sessions throughout my pregnancy really helped to keep me sane and our friends and family were amazing.

At 34 weeks I didn’t feel the baby move for 12 hours and I panicked. We went to ANDA who saw us straight away, knowing our history. They kept us in for a few hours to monitor us and carry out some tests. I started having a few contractions, but they passed after a few hours as I calmed down and we eventually went home. At least we could say we’d had a test run to the hospital.

The due date came and went. Three days later we had just gone to bed when my waters broke at 10:45pm. By 11:15pm I started to have contractions pretty close together and they were really quite intense. After 30 minutes, my husband Dan rang St. Mary’s Maternity Unit, Poole and explained our history. We then went to the hospital to be examined, but were told to expect to be sent home again. I was 3cm dilated.

30 minutes later I was 6cm dilated, pretty quick going! However, alongside this, my blood pressure went up too high. They decided to transfer me to the delivery suite to monitor myself and ‘Frosty’ a little closer. I had to have a monitor strapped round my middle, a blood pressure cuff around my arm and some tablets for my blood pressure. This little one was on their way and they wanted out quick!

At 2:16am the following morning our beautiful baby was born weighing 7lb 8oz. When she was held up to us, Dan and I were both so shocked to see a gorgeous little girl in front of our eyes. We were so overwhelmed with love and relief that she was safe and well. The three hour labour was frighteningly fast, but it was also a relief that she came so quick having laboured with the twins, knowing it wasn’t going to be a good outcome. Our beautiful baby girl…we just couldn’t get enough cuddles!

We often lie awake at night watching her sleep, seeing her breathe and staring at her precious tiny fingers and toes. We are so very grateful for our beautiful rainbow baby, Nora Murray, born 18th August 2014 – a beautiful little sister to our much loved and missed Ivy and Ava.

Four months down the line and Christmas was an exciting time with little Nora around. She was well and truly spoilt by everyone – not that she knew anything about it! Anytime is hard without the twins, but Christmas seems harder as we think of Ivy and Ava who can’t be with us. We lit our lanterns and hung their baubles on the tree so they were a part of it all.

We will never forget our beautiful girls and they will never be replaced. When Nora grows up we will tell her all about her big sisters. We are thankful, through all the sorrow, to have our beautiful, precious rainbow baby in our lives.


Trent and Ruben

rainbow-spring-fullA night shift on ITU was busy, like any other. I didn’t feel right all night. I popped to casualty as I had pains below and they asked me to do a pregnancy test. I laughed. Pregnant? Me? Don’t be silly! I was 36 when I met my partner Steve on a blind date organised by work the May before. Nine months into our relationship what would our families say?

Steve picked me up outside A&E and I gave him the news. I was four weeks. He was over the moon! It was bitter sweet for him as six months into our relationship his mum passed away suddenly at only 60 years old.

We lived in a small house in Corfe Mullen so house hunting was definitely on the agenda. I wanted to get excited but Steve always held me back he wanted to know the scans were ok. I became big very quickly and at 4ft 11” I looked like a beach ball! We finally found a three bedroom house in Stourpaine, near Blandford which would complete on 06.06.06. We thought at the time that was a bad omen.

The day of the first scan arrived. On this occasion my mum also came along and I got dressed up. I lay on the sonographers couch and the scan commenced. I was not aware anything was wrong, but was told to go for a walk. We popped over to the garage. I was oblivious to the fact that Steve and Mum had concerns. I was only told the baby was not in the right position to scan.

I remember going back into the room to find it full of people. I was given the horrifying news the baby had Spina Bifida, a neural tube defect malformation in which children are often paralysed from the waist down and Ancephaley, a birth defect in which part of the brain and skull is absent. I looked at Steve. As he cried “No!” my dad entered the room just in time to catch him. That face I will never forget.

Mum and Dad went home and Steve took me for lunch. We had an appointment to go back and see our consultant at 2.30pm. It felt like forever. We walked into the clinic room and we were given the devastating news that we would have to terminate. We were informed of the process. It was Wednesday and by Friday I would have given birth.

We went back to my parents’ house. We were moving house on Friday. It was also Steve’s birthday. The process began straight away. I admitted myself to the SPRING suite a day early as I didn’t know what to expect and was very frightened. On Friday I gave birth to a little boy called Riagan. He was born asleep at 11.50pm on 7th June 2006.

I returned to the SPRING suite from delivery in the middle of the night. Somehow we slept, but I woke up very confused. I just wanted to go home. We had visits from lots of members of staff who I have now become extremely close to.

A new chapter began; a mum without her baby. It felt very strange. The grief was overwhelming for us both. We felt alone, confused, devastated. I did not see Riagan and it was a year down the line before I could look at photographs and accept what had happened. I regret this deeply now as I feel like I abandoned him.

I went back to work within a couple of weeks. I loved my job and my work colleagues supported me one hundred per cent. Work felt normal, home didn’t. Our relationship suffered, friends avoided us, finances were low – we struggled a lot.

We then went on to suffer two miscarriages. My work moved me to another department for me to allow myself to have a rest. I was devastated as the only thing that felt normal was my job. I began to receive counselling and saw the Director of Nursing on a regular basis – both of which helped us to get our lives back together.

I fell pregnant again for the fourth time. I carried a little girl who suffered the same problem as Riagan despite being told it wouldn’t happen again. We couldn’t believe it. I gave birth to Bonnie Glynis on the 21st November 2009. The pregnancy was hard. It was a huge blur as I hadn’t allowed myself to grieve properly for Riagan.

As if we hadn’t enough to contend with, Steve’s dad then passed away in intensive care under tragic circumstances. Our lives had completely fallen apart.

Soon after I agreed to become part of a research project into Spina Bifida called the PONTI study (Prevention of Neural Tube Defects by Inositol). I started a drug called Inositol – a vitamin-like substance widely available in health food stores which I took religiously for 3 months and then 16 weeks into each pregnancy. Amazingly it worked! Our son Trent was born 10th February 2010 weighing 5lb 6oz, followed by Ruben born 12th September 2012 weighing 6lb!

I still needed help post births, but our lives have changed for the better. Steve now works with austistic children and I have a dream job in the Neo Natal Intensive Care Unit at St. Mary’s Maternity Hospital, Poole.

We made it over that rainbow. This story does not reflect the true emotion and heart-break we endured – there aren’t the words to describe the pain of losing our babies – but we are so glad we didn’t give up.

We feel we closed the book on Sunday 13th July 2014 when we had both our boys christened, surrounded by all the family and friends we love, and, as a ‘thank you’, we received donations for SPRING in lieu of presents.

We made it!

Rainbow Twins

rainbow-spring-fullHaving read previous rainbow baby stories in the SPRING newsletter and taking comfort from other people’s success with conceiving following a loss, I was keen to share my story in the hope that other women can take comfort from it and also realise that there is support out there and, if you need to, you can seek help from a trained SPRING counsellor.


August 2010, my husband and I got married and were surprised to conceive on our honeymoon. Unfortunately I miscarried at 6-7 weeks but we tried to remain positive. As we had conceived so quickly we expected it to happen again with no problems. Little did we know we would go through three years of pain and suffering before we were to be blessed with our twin girls.


Following the miscarriage in October 2010, we tried unsuccessfully for 4-5 months when I found out I had developed a very large ovarian cyst. The doctor at the time said it would go away on its own, which it did, but I am sure to this day it affected my fertility and led to more problems later down the line. We spent the next 12-18 months trying all kinds of things that might help with conception including acupuncture, homeopathy, herbal remedies and more conventional medicines such as clomid, but nothing seemed to work. I even paid to go to a specialist in London to get tested for immune problems and I took a very strange concoction of herbs in the hope it would be the answer we were looking for. Every month that went by I would get so distressed when my period came and I got obsessed with wanting to get pregnant. We found it so hard to understand how we could get pregnant so easily first time and then struggle for so long afterwards. Looking back now I realise my stress and anxiety about getting pregnant definitely contributed to the problem of conceiving.


Following several blood tests and testing for my husband there was no clear answer as to why we weren’t conceiving so I was sent for an HSG dye test in August 2012. This test showed my right fallopian tube to be blocked (same side I had the ovarian cyst) and therefore was compromising our opportunities to conceive. We were given the option for me to have a laparoscopy or go straight to IVF. I was quite frightened at the thought of having IVF and certainly wasn’t ready for it so we opted for a laparoscopy to determine the cause of my sub fertility. Again this showed the right fallopian tube to be blocked so we decided to continue to try naturally for a further few months before going down the route of fertility treatment.


It was at this time that I was at my lowest point and a friend of mine put me in touch with SPRING. I attended counselling sessions on a weekly basis to start with and found them so beneficial. It was nice to talk to someone outside of my family who could help me understand the myriad of feelings I was experiencing and give me practical steps to deal with the difficulties.


After six further months we decided to have a couple of IUI’s (Intrauterine Insemination). Neither of these treatments worked for us – given the fact it was likely a blocked tube that was causing the problems it was unlikely to be successful. I found it really hard when neither of these treatments worked as you do invest so much time and energy and it can be an even bigger disappointment when they don’t work. I realised as time went on that the only way we were going to be parents was to undergo IVF treatment. I think after going through everything else I got to a point that I was accepting of this option and actually started to feel excited at the thought of going through the treatment.


It was August 2013 and I had started the injections ready to have the IVF in September. It was my mums 60th birthday that summer and as a family we decided that first week in September to take her to Lourdes as a surprise. We knew she had always wanted to go there and being brought up catholic we knew it was a special place that would be lovely for all of us to visit. Eight of us stayed in a farmhouse for a week and spent a couple of days in Lourdes. Whilst I don’t go to church I have always had a belief in god and it was in Lourdes I had a wonderful spiritual healing that I believe enabled me to find peace with the struggles of the past three years.


The medical advancements of IVF, together with my spiritual experience in Lourdes is what I believe has given my husband and I our most wonderful blessings. Our twins are nearly a month old and whilst it is hard work with the sleepless nights, I thank god every day for blessing me with them and also for everything I did go through as it has made me appreciate life so much more now. I am also really thankful that I had access to SPRING for the emotional support and reassurance they provided during such a difficult time.

Baby Marnie

rainbow-spring-fullIn 2012 we found out we were pregnant and we were over the moon. Our baby was due on 28th March 2013 and we couldn’t wait to meet her.  The weeks passed and on the 23rd December 2012, our wedding anniversary, my husband Rodson and I sat down to breakfast at work and a little while later my waters broke. I rushed to St. Mary’s Maternity Unit, Poole, thinking how amazing it was that we were going to meet our baby soon; but she was only 22 weeks 3 days.  Still thinking everything would be ok I was admitted to the SPRING suite. On 24th December 2012 we met out little girl Angel, but only to have  our hearts  shatter into a million pieces as she only had thirty precious moments with us. All we could do was hold her while she took her last breath and went to sleep forever. Never in a million years did we imagine this would or could happen. Leaving the hospital without her was heart-breaking – we felt such emptiness. The days, weeks and months that followed were the hardest times of our lives and all we wanted was to have our beautiful Angel.

As time went by we decided that we wanted Angel to have a brother or sister and became pregnant again in May 2013. Missing Angel so very much and being pregnant with our rainbow baby was very hard, but we had been blessed and given another chance. We were so excited. We lost Angel due to an incompetent cervix, so we knew that this pregnancy wasn’t going to be a walk in the park, but thanks to the doctors, midwives and nurses at St. Mary’s Maternity Unit, who did everything possible, our baby arrived safely. When I was 14 weeks pregnant I knew something wasn’t quite right so I went to the hospital only to find out my cervix had shortened. I was then given an emergency cervical stitch and from that point on I had fortnightly appointments until the 4th January 2014 when our beautiful little girl Marnie was born. She was 5 weeks early and weighed 5lb 1oz. After spending 2 days in NICU she was allowed to stay on the ward with me and we were able to go home ten days later.

Please don’t give up hope if you are waiting for your little rainbow. Miracles do happen. We now have two beautiful daughters; one who we can watch grow up and one flying high in the sky. Sleep tight our beautiful little Angel xx

Baby Scarlett

rainbow-spring-fullOur story does begin as a sad one, but I want to share how we got through such an awful time and went on to have our beautiful rainbow baby Scarlett.

In January 2012, at 6am, before work…one magic stick showed positive! We were delighted and I skipped off to work beaming inside, but aware that it was extremely early days and we would need to keep it quiet for a while yet! As a nurse however, by 6 weeks I felt the need to let my employers know, purely as a safety precaution. Immediate family had been made aware by then too! Our 12 week scan date arrived and all looked very well. Our baby was developing nicely, no problems noted. Delighted and very excited, we shared the good news with the rest of the world. Everyone was so very happy for us and from then on all I could think about and talk about was our baby.  In fact I even naughtily bought a couple of baby things…I couldn’t contain myself.

The next couple of months went by merrily as I luckily felt well during the pregnancy. I remember the first flutter of movement which quickly turned into acrobats. I loved every movement. The weeks passed and before we knew it we were having our 20 week scan. My partner and I were really looking forward to seeing our baby again, we hadn’t thought about the fact that this scan had a medical purpose to look for anomalies and check growth. Unfortunately, all was not well; we came back for a thorough scan with a consultant two days later. Her findings were extremely rare and she had not seen it before herself.

To investigate further, we had to visit the specialists at the Princess Anne Hospital, Southampton.  Another very long, detailed scan confirmed the findings were extremely rare and complex. We had an amniocentesis to rule out any genetic cause for our baby’s condition – this was a long and very uncomfortable procedure. We left the hospital exhausted, emotionally drained and our brains completely frazzled. We had to wait a week for the results and there were to be further meetings with various specialists. In the meantime we tried to keep busy and carry on as normal. We still went to a Christening and a wedding, during which I chatted away about my baby and future plans as if all was well. I was in complete denial that something was very wrong.

Our unborn baby was diagnosed with an exceptionally rare condition called Lymphangioma (malformations of the lymphatic system). With so few cases known, there was very little they could do to help her. We came to the conclusion that we didn’t want our little angel to suffer anymore and she did not deserve a life potentially full of surgery and illness. We said goodbye to our baby Sarah in Mayat 23 weeks and gave birth to her 2 days later in the SPRING suite. The privacy and comfort of the room was invaluable.  It gave us our own personal space to deal with such a devastating situation in peace and in our own time. We went on to have counselling through SPRING which helped both of us hugely to talk about our baby and the sad journey we had made.  We arranged a private funeral for her so we could both say goodbye properly. It was extremely emotional but it was a lovely way to set her free from our pain, up to a place where we knew she would be happy and looked after by other lost loved ones.

I never have and never will stop thinking about Sarah and how much I miss her, but my partner and I knew we still wanted to try again for another baby.  What would have been Sarah’s due date arrived and we marked it by lighting a candle and thinking of her together at home. Not long after that, I fell pregnant again. Another magic stick showed positive the following November. We were delighted of course, but our excitement was held back by the memories of the pain we went through last time. We were very cautious this time about telling people. It was difficult to shake the fear of something awful happening again, even though Sarah’s condition was so rare. However, we were under consultant care, had regular scans to check babies development closely and much to our relief all was well this time. The 20 week scan showing no problems was a huge relief and from then on I tried to relax a bit. I was lucky to have a very enjoyable pregnancy with very little discomfort. We found out we were having another girl and knew this was our second chance – a chance to give our little miracle all the love we had ready to give Sarah. We were unbelievably excited and felt truly blessed to have a successful pregnancy the second time around. I embraced every amazing movement she made, feeling her growing inside me, knowing that she was developing well. We couldn’t wait to meet her and she knew it…Scarlett was born four days early (on the same day as Prince George) and in a hurry to get out too! As I sat gazing at our beautiful daughter I realised that although, at the time, those dark days seemed like they would never end, there IS light at the end of the tunnel. When your turn comes, you feel like the luckiest person alive and it makes us grateful every single day that we have our amazing rainbow baby Scarlett.

Baby Ned

rainbow-spring-fullNed William Geoffrey Johnston – our gorgeous rainbow baby boy – safely entered the world on Monday 8 October 2012. Although this is his story, it’s impossible to tell without also talking about his older sister, Daisy, who was stillborn at 41 weeks in February 2011. Our children are intertwined – you can’t have one without the other. So here’s their story.

My husband, Nick, and I had been trying for a baby for over four years when I fell pregnant (naturally) with Daisy. My pregnancy was described as ‘text-book’. Everything was so low-risk, we opted for a home-birth so we could have a water-birth in a relaxing and serene environment. I went into labour on a Sunday evening. At 10.30pm, we had a midwife at our house, and I was already 3cm dilated. Everything was going so well – I was coping really well with the contractions and we were excited that we would soon be meeting our baby. But just a few hours later our world fell apart.

A different midwife was with us now. I was in the birthing pool and, although comfortable, the labour was definitely more intense. When the midwife checked me, she seemed surprised that I was fully dilated – brilliant we thought! ‘We’ll just check for baby’s heartbeat,’ she said. And that was when our lives changed forever. The midwife couldn’t find a heartbeat and it was obvious from her face that something was seriously wrong. An ambulance was called to take us to Poole Maternity Hospital where I gave birth to our beautiful baby girl. Her still, lifeless body was placed on me before she was rushed off by doctors who confirmed she had died. Even now, I still can’t believe this happened – it still doesn’t seem possible. The post-mortem revealed that although Daisy was healthy in every way, at 6lb, 6oz, she was small for her age – evidence of the placenta not functioning properly, which had not sustained her during the labour.

The initial hours, days, weeks and months were hard as we came to terms with our shattered hopes and dreams, and the terrible sadness that poor Daisy would never get her chance at life. And we cherished (still do) the precious time we got to spend with Daisy in the SPRING suite. It helped to cement Daisy’s place in the hearts of our family.

We always knew we wanted to Daisy to be a big sister, so when nothing had happened naturally by the end of 2011, we decided to try IVF. We found out our first attempt had been successful at the beginning of February 2012. Although our happiness of being pregnant again didn’t take away the pain of losing Daisy – it certainly made life less dark. It also gave us some optimism when we marked what would have been Daisy’s first birthday later that month.

Being pregnant again was very different. All naivety was gone, but I still wanted the baby growing inside me to experience the same happy vibes I hoped Daisy had felt for nine months, so we did some things the same – like not finding out the sex of the baby until the delivery and going to ante-natal yoga classes. At the same time, although we didn’t want to be completely neurotic and scared, we weren’t taking any chances – we had additional scans to check the placenta was functioning properly and to check the baby’s growth, especially towards the end of the pregnancy. I also regularly went along to ANDA to listen in to the baby’s heartbeat. We also said we wanted to have the baby by caesarean section (I couldn’t face the uncertainty of going through labour again – and we couldn’t put our family through it either), which we agreed with our consultant would be at 38.5 weeks.

We got fantastic support from my community midwife who had been with me through my pregnancy with Daisy. It was obvious she wanted us to have a happy, healthy baby this time – she couldn’t do enough for us. When my waters broke in the early hours of the morning I was due to go into hospital to give birth, I called my community midwife who, amazingly, got out of bed to meet us at the hospital so she could be with us throughout the delivery, as planned.

And so at 5.15am (a few hours earlier than originally planned), our rainbow baby was born by caesarean. I can’t describe how overwhelming the feelings of happiness and relief were. It was just so incredibly special. Looking at our baby boy, we couldn’t believe how much he looked like Daisy – so obviously brother and sister. I’m so pleased about that.

Ned is a really sweet natured boy and brings so much joy – not only to us, his parents, but everyone that has been with us on this emotional journey. We’ve always spoken openly about Daisy, and it’s important to us that Ned knows he has a big sister – that way she’ll never be forgotten. I talk to Ned about her often, like when I’m watering the tree we planted for her in our garden, or when we do things that Daisy never got a chance to do, like going to the beach or dancing to our favourite music.

Daisy will always be part of Ned’s story. Even his name includes a connection, as a friend pointed out – he asked if we’d picked the name, Ned, because of the initials: N (Nick), E (Emma), D (Daisy). We hadn’t, of course, but what a beautiful coincidence – further evidence of how our rainbow baby will always be connected to our first-born.