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.

Bud & Sister Hollie

rainbow-spring-fullWe started trying for a baby in 2011. We were quite realistic in how long it might take, but within two months I had fallen pregnant. I think we were both in shock at how quickly it happened and I constantly worried as I had no symptoms whatsoever. When we had our 12 week scan I was certain there wouldn’t be anything there, but there was and it was so amazing seeing our baby for the first time, and I was certain I was having a boy, call it gut instinct.
We told all our friends and family at this point and started thinking about how we would decorate the nursery and all the gadgets we would have to buy, although I had decided not buy any clothes until our next scan as I wanted to know what we were having.
On the day of our 20 week scan, I was really nervous, I hadn’t felt our baby as much for the last few days, but just put it down to him being so small and to the fact that I’d never felt him loads, just little bubbling sensations every now and then. I knew something was wrong though when the sonographer stayed really quiet. I really wish she hadn’t, it made everything feel so much worse. There I was asking stupid questions like ‘how big was he now?’, ‘what was his heart rate?’, while I was being told to be quiet for a moment and then those awful words… “ I’m so sorry..” I don’t actually remember what else she said; it still hurts too much to even think of that moment. We were then taken to another room, given cups of tea, told what would happen next, where to go etc, it was all a bit of a blur.
On Monday 5th we went to the SPRING suite where we met Gena and I was induced. It was the worst day of my life. I was very ill throughout my labour, constantly being sick, shivering, and a bit loopy towards the end; apparently I had a conversation about flapjacks! And the pain was unbearable, I asked for an epidural in the end, but it wasn’t needed. Minutes after I asked, my waters broke and 10 minutes later I gave birth to my little boy at 01.45am on 6th September.
He was perfect, but so small with perfectly formed tiny ears and long fingers and cute button toes. We called him Bud as that had been his nickname whilst I was pregnant and to be honest that’s what he looked like, he was my little Bud. I will never forget the time I spent with him, it was never going to be enough, but I am thankful for the memories that the lovely midwives helped me create.
We had a post mortem done on Bud and it told us what we already knew, that he was perfect, there had been nothing wrong with him or me, it was just one of those awful things. A few months after losing Bud we fell pregnant again by accident, and sadly lost that baby too at 8 weeks. It was at this point I began to doubt whether we should be actually having children as I felt like such a failure, but we continued trying.
In April I found out I was pregnant again, and we were thrilled, but I still felt awful about everything and very guilty for falling pregnant, like I was betraying my lost boy. We told only our mums and a few close friends, I was determined not to tell anyone till our 20 week scan this time round. At our 12 week scan I lay there crying the whole time, I barely even saw the screens, I was just so relieved that things were fine. And at our 20 week scan I sat silent, I didn’t know how to react so I just waited, and there on the screen was our little girl absolutely perfect.
We continued to have scans every four weeks which were a great reassurance and at our 36 week scan it was decided I would be having a c-section for a low lying placenta.
On the 6th December 2012, Baby Hollie Brienne Wigham was born weighing 6lb 13, she is everything I could have ever wished for, and when she is old enough we’ll tell her all about her angel brother.

Baby Athena

Every morning I wake up and can’t wait to give my rainbow baby lots of cuddles and kisses, but my life has not always been so full of joy.

During February 2011 my partner Daryl and I found out we were going to have our second child. We were looking forward to finding out the sex because we already had a girl and were excited to think it might be a boy.

Before I knew where I was, my 20 week scan had arrived and Daryl and I were so happy to find out we were expecting a baby boy. We were so happy. Daryl had a huge smile on his face as he really wanted a son. I was over the moon also. We were going to have a girl and a boy. My daughter was five years old and very excited at the prospect of being a big sister.

My pregnancy was going well. I was told he was a big baby and towards the end of the pregnancy had extra growth scans. He was getting bigger but I didn’t have gestational diabetes.

My due date arrived and nothing happened. More days passed and still no baby. My midwife talked of induction but on 16th November my contractions started.

I had two birthing partners, Daryl and his mum Jane. My labour did not go well and I had to have my waters broke to help the contractions. Eventually I was told to push and it was then everything started to go really wrong. When I was pushing, my son’s head had trouble coming down the birth canal. Eventually his head was out, but his shoulders got very stuck. I was taken into theatre and put to sleep so they could get him out.

At 6.25am on 17th November, my beautiful boy Bradley Daryl Elliott was born weighing 10lb 11oz. He was taken to NICU and put on a life support machine. He was badly brain damaged and couldn’t breathe for himself. The doctors tried to find some brain activity, but were unsuccessful. My baby boy had already been taken from me.

I then received the worst news I will ever hear. There was nothing they could do. Bradley fell asleep and flew away. Before he went we had lots of cuddles in the SPRING suite.

After Bradley’s funeral I was offered support from SPRING and received help and understanding from Gena Evans, Bereavement Support Co-ordinator. I spoke to Gena about the possibility of having another baby but I was very anxious and not sure I could handle it. After weeks of thinking it over Daryl and I agreed that if it happened it was meant to be.

In April 2012 I discovered I was pregnant with our third child. Emotions were a mixture of happiness, fear, anxiety and joy. I was incredibly scared of what might happen. I had been having counselling with SPRING, so I was able to talk about my feelings and worries with Fiona.

At 20 weeks we found out we were expecting a little girl. My daughter was so happy that she was going to have a little sister. Although Daryl had again hoped for a boy, he was very much looking forward to meeting our ‘rainbow baby’.

During my pregnancy I had lots of scans to monitor her growth and for my own peace of mind. When I was 28 weeks I had a scan and they discovered my water levels had dropped so much they had to give me steroid injections and keep me in overnight to monitor the baby.

It was really stressful and I worried so much that something bad was going to happen. I was then told I had Group B Strep. It felt like everything was going wrong again.

Towards the end of my pregnancy I got very anxious and was so worried about giving birth. In this pregnancy I had the same midwife all the way through. She was great and gave me lots of reassurance. The support I received from Gena, Fiona and my midwife, Faye was amazing and they all looked forward to meeting my little rainbow too. Due to the complications I had with Bradley, I was booked in for a c-section and my consultant, Dr Pann, was going to be delivering my baby girl.

The date for my c-section arrived and I was both excited and nervous. We arrived at the doors to the delivery suite where Gena and Faye were waiting for us. We were so lucky to have Gena and Faye with us for support.

At 9.21am on the 21st December 2012 I gave birth to our rainbow baby Athena Felicity Elliott. She weighed 8lb 5oz. I was 38 weeks and 3 days. She looked so much like Bradley.

We are so happy to have our rainbow baby here safe and sound, but it was a long and difficult pregnancy. Even though we have our beautiful rainbow there will always be a big hole in our lives and nothing will ever fill it. Bradley is always with us and will never be forgotten.

Thank you very much to Gena, Fiona, Faye and Dr Pann for their amazing support during my pregnancy. Now we have a star in the sky and a rainbow in our arms.

Baby Milly

rainbow-spring-fullIn the aftermath of losing my son I needed to fall pregnant as soon as possible. I wanted to show Finlay that I would have been a good Mum, that he would have been safe with me. Against advice, we started trying straight away and luckily for us, two months later, I have a positive pregnancy test.

The next eight months were far from an easy ride. The hospital were all brilliant and to the staff in ante-natal – my eternal thanks. I had fortnightly checks and was able to pop in to ante-natal to ease any concerns I had.

Because of my anxiety, when they saw my fluid was low I had the steroids to prepare the baby for birth at 28 weeks and CTG’s every other day. This was, in part, to stop me panicking, but it failed abysmally! Nothing much helped. In the end the low fluid seemed to be an anomaly and apart from my fears the pregnancy was easy and everything went perfectly. I was told to chill and enjoy the remainder of my pregnancy – easier said than done! Grief, hormones and anxiety are a horrendous combination and fail to create rational thinking.

I wouldn’t get anything ready or prepared and got angry when people would talk about my impending life change with the arrogance all would be ok. They’d talk about the sleepless nights, as if to hear my baby would cry wouldn’t be the sweetest sound I ever heard.

I was induced at 38 weeks and thankfully gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Milly Hope. Paul and I were overjoyed. Life is now amazing. I still have ups and downs; nothing will make us forget Finlay.

Parenthood exceeds my expectations and I can now say I am so grateful to Finlay for the lessons having and knowing him has taught me. I think it has made me a far better mum than I otherwise could have hoped to be. I still miss him every day, but Paul and I consider him to be the cement in our little family. We have learnt who our friends are (good and bad) and know we are incredibly lucky to have our support network.

Pregnancy after stillbirth is so hard, but so worth it. It’s awful losing a baby, really awful, but life is a roller coaster and losing a baby may make the lows lower, but definitely makes the highs higher – the further you fall the higher you bounce!

Baby Amber-Willow

rainbow-spring-fullMy daughter Amber-Willow is a rainbow baby. She is five months old and has just started to wean having this week tried pear, apple, butternut squash, sweet potato, toast, beans, soup and this morning some of my pain au chocolat. Like her dad and brothers she would rather give broccoli a miss!

Amber-Willow aka Spider Pickle (as named by her youngest brother, Alfred) has a gorgeous smile which she happily shares and a delightful laugh that just brightens up my day. Alfred is very loving to his sister, often wanting to hold her and often first to hug her if she starts to cry!

During my wife’s pregnancy it was difficult for us both. Having lost our baby at a late stage there was no point at which we were able to relax. We are so grateful for the support we had from our consultant, the midwives and from SPRING. We had regular appointments with our consultant who was very straight forward and kept us informed along the way. The midwives at the Royal Bournemouth were happy for us to come in whenever we were worried about the baby and reassured us it was not a problem even if we came in every day – we didn’t, but we did make a few trips for checks on her heart beat.

The SPRING counsellors helped us to deal with our fears and Gena gave us a tour of Poole Maternity Hospital so we didn’t need to join a group of expectant mums and dads who would be blissfully unaware of any potential loss.

My wife still finds it hard to put Amber-Willow in the cot at night and has been known to wake her, checking to make sure she is alright. Her elder brothers who are 18 and 15 are always happy to cuddle her and take interest in her.

I often think of my other daughter, Saffron-Rose, and wonder what she would be like and I thank her for the growth she gives me, for showing me how important my children are and for helping me to make the most of every moment.

Baby Harry

rainbow-spring-fullMarch 5 2010 changed my life – the day I was told to decide whether to continue my pregnancy or not. Undoubtedly the hardest decision I will ever make (I hope!). Knowing that if my baby survived birth, she would die within a few hours, was all I needed to know to decide that I couldn’t bear to see her in pain just so I could hold her.

I was 24 weeks pregnant when I gave birth to Lucy May, my sleeping angel, on 31 March 2010. Nothing can prepare you for the heartache as I looked at her perfectly formed little face and know that she was never meant for this world.

I was introduced to SPRING and although I didn’t use all their services initially, I always felt reassured just knowing there were people who would listen to me and understand what I was feeling. I often spoke to Gena for advice and reassurance. I used the website to read how other parents had dealt with their loss and this helped me to know I wasn’t alone and wasn’t the only person who felt how I did. In fact I still look at the website even now when I have moments of self-doubt about the decision I made. In time I looked at the photos that had been taken of Lucy by Gina when she was born. I am so very grateful for those few keepsakes.

This year I gave birth to Harry James, my Rainbow Baby! The pregnancy was a difficult time as they couldn’t reassure me that everything would be okay until he was born. Thankfully he is perfect! For months after his birth I would find myself crying with guilt that I was happy, when I thought I should still be mourning Lucy. Since having Harry I have become more actively involved with SPRING and have attended more of the events, either as a helper or just a cake baker! This involvement has helped me balance my feelings of joy at having Harry, but still missing Lucy. This year I intend to go to the Christmas service and spend a few minutes remembering my beautiful baby girl. I like knowing that I can go to these special occasions and spend precious moments remembering my baby girl with other parents who are also remembering their angels.

SPRING helped me at my lowest point with their advice, support, shoulder to cry on and the events they organise but they also supported me to go on and have Harry, and for that I will always be grateful. I have met some of the most wonderful people and despite the awfulness of the situation I will cherish these new bonds. This is why I have decided to become more involved with SPRING to know that I am doing something positive to help other people who suffer a similar experience.

Baby Jacob

rainbow-spring-fullAt the beginning of December 2010, I discovered that I was pregnant again. We were already blessed to have a daughter; Megan aged five, and our angel Baby Katie was born in April 2010. Over the next few weeks, we told no one. Too scared that something could go wrong we kept putting off telling people. Hit with feeling sick all day, I managed to put on an act, although a few close friends had already guessed that I was pregnant. Ironically, one of the first people I told was my secretary as she became concerned at how “peaky” I was looking!

Throughout this time, we continued to see our SPRING counsellor, Cindy which helped to keep us sane. Having a counsellor who is experienced in baby loss is so important as they truly understand what you are going through. In particular, we found scans very stressful. Katie had a fatal abnormality which was picked up at 16 weeks. Sitting in the waiting room with other expectant mums was hard. All around us were people excited about their pregnancies, in their own little world, naive that sometimes things do go wrong. When we eventually told Megan, she was excited but also concerned that this baby would die too. One day, Megan came home from school with a picture on which she had written “I hope this baby is born alive.” Our midwife spent lots of time listening to the heartbeat so that Megan was reassured.

During my pregnancy, we continued to attend SPRING meetings. I was worried how other people would react when they knew I was pregnant, but then I discovered that many of the other members were pregnant again too, which helped as we could talk about how we were feeling. People that attend SPRING understand in a way that others can’t.

Baby Jacob Elijah Knight was born on 13 August 2011. Some days I look at him and can’t quite believe that he is ours. Megan is a fantastic big sister and very helpful. We realise that we are very lucky to have two beautiful children, but will never forget our angel baby Katie. Our experiences have led to us becoming members of the SPRING Core Group in the hope that we can support this much valued charity and help others who find themselves in similar sad situations.

Baby Connor

rainbow-spring-fullIn October 2008 we were delighted to discover that we were expecting our first baby. My pregnancy was what you would consider “text book”, only feeling slightly nauseous at the beginning.

Five days after my due date I went into labour. We called Bournemouth Hospital, as I saw signs of bleeding to which a midwife visited our home. She did a thorough examination, but said she was finding it difficult to find our babies heartbeat and advised us to make our way to hospital. We arrived at Bournemouth Hospital with my contractions becoming more intense. Another midwife by the name of Lorna greeted us and ushered us into a delivery suite. Again I was examined and told I was eight centimetres dilated, to our delight. However, this was short lived as she too couldn’t find a heartbeat. I vividly remember her saying to Dale that she wasn’t going to lie but that she was very concerned. I was blue lighted to Poole in an ambulance on my own, Dale following in his car. Those minutes proved to be the longest minutes of my life. I remember looking up into the roof window at the sky praying to my late Granddad, tears rolling down my face, asking him to make sure our baby is ok.

To my relief Dale was there waiting as the doors of the ambulance opened and I was immediately taken into one of the delivery suites. A gentleman by the name of Mr Sawdy was waiting with an ultrasound machine. From that moment our lives changed forever when he confirmed that our precious baby had no heartbeat and had died. Reece David Sturgess, our sleeping angel was born 25 July 2009.

The support that we received from Gena Evans in the initial stages was nothing but fantastic. Those hours after giving birth was a complete blur and for someone to take control of the situation by building memories is something that is definitely needed from a parent’s perspective. We spent our last hours with Reece in the SPRING suite which allowed us and our families’ precious time with our son.

The following months I was fortunate to receive individual counselling from our SPRING counsellor Cindy Weller, who helped me through the darkest of days. Having someone who is experienced in baby loss is massively important as they can truly understand what you are going through. I also attended the monthly SPRING Open Support Meetings, which helped in the grieving process as you could talk freely with others in similar situations. Without this support I can honestly say I don’t think I would be the person I am today.

We have since been blessed with a beautiful “Rainbow Baby” Connor Thomas Richard Sturgess who was born 05 December 2011. He brings us so much joy every day and keeps us very busy too. He is at the stage of crawling and pulling himself up on furniture and we are sure his first word is ‘car’.

We believe Reece is looking down on us and hope he is very proud of his mummy, daddy and little brother.

Babies Ella, Abby & Robbie

rainbow-spring-fullAs I sit cuddling my beautiful Rainbow Baby I am amazed at how quickly time passes when you have a baby compared to how endless a 9 month pregnancy seems, especially a rainbow one.

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.