For those who don’t know what a “Rainbow baby” is, it is a child born after the parents/family has suffered a loss either in pregnancy or infancy. This new child is special and is considered the rainbow after the storm or “Trail” of losing a little one. It is never easy on a parent or even siblings to lose a child and this rainbow brings hope and renewal and a small blessing to warm their hearts.
My name is Sariah Luna, I am the owner of Reflections by Luna Photography, Mother of 5 and one angel baby and I am a rainbow mama here to tell my story as well as those of other who have gone through pregnancy/infant loss and bring more awareness to it. My son was born at 20 weeks pregnant as a stillborn in September of 2016. We found out the day of our gender ultrasound that he had passed a few weeks before. As someone who had heard of early miscarriages, I had never in my wildest dreams thought that I would lose a baby later on in pregnancy. It broke me. I had 4 other little ones at home that were excited to meet their little brother, we had a gender reveal photoshoot planned but in that instant everything changed. My whole world changed. In the next week, I would go through the process of being induced, laboring and delivering my little boy who I would not be able to see grow up in this life. Thank goodness for photographers who are willing to come on short notice to capture those precious moments when we got to hold our tiny son in our hands for the first time. It was the hardest thing I have ever done saying goodbye to my little boy but I know I will see him again someday.
I got pregnant with my rainbow baby 2 months after my angel son’s birth, sometime in December. My husband left on military deployment for 7 months right after Christmas and I found out around Valentine’s Day that I was pregnant. I announced the pregnancy to him while he was in his first port after hearing the first heartbeat. The very first appointment I went to was incredibly hard. I had to have a friend with me because I was so scared they might not find a heartbeat. I had bad anxiety the entire pregnancy including around 12 weeks when I had some break through bleeding that scared the life out of me. By that time, I had told hubby that I was pregnant and few others but hadn’t announced it publicly yet. We announced it publicly over ST. Patrick’s Day as a rainbow themed announcement and our little good luck charm. I had pictures done at 20 weeks, and 28 weeks when hubby got home from deployment and special rainbow pictures done at 36 weeks as he was our rainbow baby. He was my hope after the storm and he is definitely a mama’s boy.
There are so many others who have gone through something similar, whether it be through early miscarriage at under 12 weeks pregnant, mid-term miscarriage/stillborn like mine or late term stillborn. There have also been others who have lost little ones in the first year of life whether from SIDs, or disease or other cause. These are all women who have been through the “storm” of losing a little one. But getting our rainbow helps give us hope for the future because that little blessing was handpicked for us by the little one we lost.
I put together this documentary to help raise awareness of the 1 in 4 women that suffer pregnancy/infant/child loss. There are more than we will ever know because it is not talked about nearly enough. My goal of this documentary is to help those who haven’t been through it to understand and emphasize with those who have and to help them know what to do and how and what to say to friends/family who may have suffered a loss. I hope to also provide supports to anyone who might be going through or has gone through pregnancy/infant loss by showing you that you are not alone. There are many of us out there and we need to learn to support and lean on another and not be afraid to stand up and stick up for what may have happened to us. It was not our fault and no one should judge us for what happened.
I want to begin by introducing 7 amazing women. They all have different stories and are all currently pregnant with their rainbow babies.
Jasmin and her S/O have been together since they were children. They grew up in Jackson Heights, Queens, NY. Their pregnancy was not planned but has been the biggest blessing and this will be their first child together.
Jasmin is due July 21st, 2019 and this is her story: “I never had expected to get pregnant when I was 18. When I found out, I didn’t believe it. I was sick for like a week straight and didn’t know why and decided to take a test. I ended up taking 3 pregnancy tests and they were all positive. I was so excited but nervous at the same time. Weeks kept going by and everything was all good. Then one day I had some spotting so I rushed to the emergency room and had an emergency ultrasound done. They said there was no fetus inside of me anymore, just an empty sac... that I was in the middle of a miscarriage. I was 15 and 5 days. I was so confused and extremely devastated. I went into a horrible depression for a long time... Come September of last year, my gynecologist had told me I have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and I might not be able to conceive kids and if I did I would be high risk and more than likely miscarry, like my first pregnancy. I started taking medicine for my PCOS and my cycle never came. I thought it was the medicine, so I stopped taking it... but my cycle still never came. I took 4 different types of pregnancy tests about a week later and they were ALL positive. I was happy but more so scared because I automatically thought back to my first pregnancy and how I was told I would miscarry. I called my gynecologist to see what was going on and made an appointment 2 days later and sure enough... I was definitely pregnant, 6 weeks exactly. My pregnancy was considered high risk until 5 months, but here I am now at 32 weeks with a perfectly healthy and growing baby boy!! God for sure blessed me with this. It feels good to beat the odds with PCOS and have my rainbow baby!”
She says this pregnancy has been amazing, that she has been enjoying every minute of it. Her favorite part of the pregnancy was hearing his heartbeat at appointments and feeling him move. She does admit that her first reaction to finding out was fear, especially after what her doctor had said. She said that the hardest part about her pregnancy is that he likes to nestle in her right ribcage. She also mentioned suffering anxiety and depression until 5 months when she was considered to be in the safe zone
When asked how she would prepare herself for this pregnancy or her loss if she had the chance to go back in time, she said “I would tell myself to be in a good space mentally and take it easy. Life has a strange way of working that we don’t understand.”
To help bring awareness and understanding for those who have no experienced a loss, she gives this advice, “It never gets easier, and it is always in the back of your mind. It’ll always be a fear for us but its okay feel like that because it’s a traumatic thing to go through.” She says not to bring it up or ask about it because it will bring up the memories and make them sad.
The next amazing rainbow mama in orange is Comfort Orabiyi. She met her S/O through a friend and they met in person in South Africa over her birthday in 2014 and have been together ever sense. This will be their first child on either side of the family.
Comfort is due July 21st and this is her story: “I had a miscarriage last year (2018) in March. I was supposed to be around 18 weeks and the doctors were still saying everything was normal. Until one night when everything just happened. I ended up in the ER and there I was told my baby didn’t grow passed 5 weeks. Like every loss you just don’t bounce back like everything is normal. You dwell in sorrow. But when I Came to find out I was pregnant again in October and I just praised God and closed my mouth.”
She says the pregnancy has been smooth so far and they have kept it mostly between the two of them to enjoy the peace of their little one. She said the hardest part of the pregnancy was the anxiety and overthinking what might happen but that she was prayerful and kept herself occupied to help pass the time during the pregnancy.
If she was able to travel back and give herself advice about how to prepare of the loss or the new pregnancy she said she would tell herself to take it easy and reduce her workload.
The wonderful rainbow mama in Yellow is Breanna. Breanna and her husband met when they were kids. Their grandparents lived a crossed from each other and they would play together in the front yard all the time. They secretly had a crush on one another as long as they can remember and then after high school they finally got brave and started talking and they became an official couple and were married 7 months later. They have been married for just over a year and this will be their second child together including their angel baby.
Breanna is due July 20th, 2019. Her story goes like this: “It all began at 1:32 a.m. on august 13th. I had gone to the bathroom thinking I had to just pee, well that was not the case... I got up out of bed, as soon as I did; I hit the floor with excruciating abdominal pain. I finally crawled to the bathroom screaming crying for the pain to stop, it just would not let loose. I screamed for my husband lying in the bed, asleep, he finally woke up after what felt like forever in just a matter of seconds... Him panicking saying “baby are you okay?!” I couldn’t talk the pain was so bad, so I shook my head no. he followed with “I didn’t think so, there’s a train of blood and your laying in a pool of blood!” He rushed to wake my grandmother up. She woke up, started the car, while he was cleaning me up and putting clean clothes on me. Finally, after what felt like forever, he picked me up and carried me to the car, we rode to the ER with our flashers on. A ride that usually takes us roughly around 7 minutes, took only 3... We arrived and I got taken straight back. All kinds of tests were ran, blood, urine, etc... Nobody could figure out why I was bleeding so much and so bad, until one doctor ordered an ultrasound... I waited in the room for what felt like years, just to have the dr. come in and say “I’m sorry, but you lost your baby, it was a tubal pregnancy and it looks like one of your tubes ruptured” so they thought. I followed up with my OBGYN the very next morning. They done an ultrasound, and they could see where the baby had attached to my Fallopian tube because there was still a sac, just no baby or no heartbeat.... they scheduled a DNC within an hour.. That was my storm story... The worst days of my life...”
She says she was scared when she first found out because she thought she might have an ectopic or tubal pregnancy again but after the first ultrasound when everything looked good and was “deemed normal” she was relieved and they were so excited.
If she could go back in time to prepare herself for this pregnancy or her loss she would tell her self “Everything happens for a reason, whether or not we know why things happen the way they do, God knows why and he has everything planned out.”
She wants those people to know and understand that it doesn’t just take a tole on a woman’s body to suffer a loss but also their mind. One of the hardest things that she went through after the loss was when people would ask how far along she was or how she was doing because she hadn’t publicly announced the loss due to not wanting to talk about it publicly.
The next glowing rainbow mama in green is Megan. Megan and her husband met at his brother’s bachelor/bachelorette party about 8 years ago. They have 2 daughters and a son on the way along with 6 angel babies.
Megan is due August 12, 2019 and this is her story: I’m a mom to two little girls and 6 angel babies. I’m currently pregnant with my first son. I’ve struggled with secondary infertility and endometriosis which prevents pregnancy anyways. My husband and I found out in December I was finally pregnant again and had to go through many hormone drugs to continue this pregnancy. All of her current children are rainbow babies due to when her miscarriages took place.
Her first thoughts about this pregnancy were that she was doomed to miscarry again and the best part was finding out that he was healthy and a boy and doing great. The hardest part of the pregnancy was waiting until they were in the “safe zone.” She struggled with both anxiety and depression this pregnancy. She says that although she never had a loss past 9 weeks she still has the fear of a late loss or stillborn.
When asked if there is something you wish people would know about someone who has gone through infertility, infant, child or pregnancy loss what is it she said that she "wished people would respect boundaries and if there’s nothing you can think of to say just be there for that person. The last thing after a loss you want is to lose a friend or family member because they haven’t been through what you have been through."
She says the one thing that hurt the most is when people said “Everything happens for a reason.” She felt like it lessened the importance of the life of her babies or anyone who has suffered a loss. She says “I don’t believe it happens for a reason. I obviously believe things do happen but there is always a reason or lesson behind whatever you may be going through with the exception of infant/baby loss."
Betsy Franklin is the lovely lady in blue. Betsy met her husband through mutual friends. They were both hesitant to meet but reluctantly agreed to a group dinner and have been inseparable ever since. They have been together for 8 years and married for 3 and this will be their first little one since their angel baby.
Betsy is due July 6th and this is her story “We had been trying for about a year when we finally got
pregnant, we were so excited. After months and months of ovulation test and pregnancy test and tracking we were going to be parents! Unfortunately we lost our little one at only five weeks. Part of me feels fortunate to know that we were able to conceive but the knowledge of the loss was heartbreaking. It’s sad to know that 'chemical pregnancies' happen to a lot of people and they are unaware because they are not testing so early. People say at least I wasn’t further along, but it’s devastating either way. You think of what you did or what you could have changed, but it is what it is. You can’t get that little one back. We ended up conceiving our little man the very next cycle the doctors were surprised and said I must have ovulated very early, but that’s why they tell you to wait so things can even out. It has been an easy pregnancy symptom wise but a scary one for sure, I have had break through bleeding multiple times the doctors don’t know why because they say everything perfect. It took a long time for me to be excited and bond with this little man but he has shown to be resilient through it all and we are almost at the finish line!"
When she found out she was pregnant so soon after the loose she was terrified and shocked. She just kept thinking “when are we going to lose this one?” But he stuck it out. She says “I think the greatest thing this pregnancy has given me is learning how to find peace and calm myself when you’re freaking out. She also loves feeling the kicks. She thinks of them as a reminder that he is there, waiting to see her.
The hardest part of the pregnancy has been the breakthrough bleeding which caused lots of panic. But then every time, things would look perfect and the doctors couldn’t figure out what caused it. Then they made it to 20 weeks and she was able to breathe and started to get more excited and really bond with her little guy.
Her advice to her past self in regards to her pregnancy would be “it’s okay to be excited again and it’s okay to accept others joy and excitement for the pregnancy.”
When asked if there was one thing she wished people would know about someone who has gone through infertility, infant, child or pregnancy loss, she said “A loss is a loss. It doesn’t matter how far along you are, you were a parent for that brief time and that was taken from you. It hurts, it sucks and it’s ok to be angry.
ALLANA FOX- INDIGO
The wonderful rainbow mama in indigo is Allana. Allana and her B/F have been together since high school. After high school, he joined the army and is currently stationed in Hawaii until September of next year. She is here with her family until the baby gets here. He will be able to come home for a visit when baby is due.
Allana is due July 4th and she has a very special experience and story to tell. “My story started April of 2018. This is when I found out I was pregnant with not just 1 but 4 sweet babies. Multiple tests were run and my Obgyn quickly found out that my body produces a higher amount of hormones which in fact increase fertility, causing me to conceive quadruplets. I carried my sweet little ones till the gestational age of 14 weeks but unfortunately life took a turn when I found out I miscarried all four. July 30th of 2018, I found myself walking into an outpatient surgical service center to have an emergency D&C. I was heartbroken and blamed myself every day for the loss of my angels. I told myself I would never be able to get pregnant again until, September of 2018, I found I was expecting again. I was scared and happy all at the same time. Without hope, I was only expecting the worst outcome, losing this child or if I was pregnant with multiples, losing all of them. I can say with excitement and all happiness; I am currently 34 weeks pregnant with my rainbow BABY GIRL. and I cannot wait to meet my precious little one.”
Her first thoughts when finding out she was pregnant with her rainbow was that it wasn’t going to be a positive outcome. She was scared and didn’t want to have to go through the heartbreak of losing another baby. The best things about the pregnancy have been watching her daughter grow more and more each ultrasound and feeling her movements.
The hardest part about the pregnancy has been the depression and fear and worry of it turning into a loss especially with her boyfriend stationed overseas in Hawaii so she has been going through most the pregnancy herself.
If she could go back in time to give herself advice for her loss or her current pregnancy she would tell herself that “God has plans. It took losing my babies to realize that and I feel like if I would have told myself in the beginning, I would have had some type of closure.”
She wants other women who might suffer from infertility or infant/child/pregnancy loss to know that IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT! God simply has a plan for each and every one of us.
AMBER SMITH- PURPLE
And the last awesome rainbow mama in purple is Amber. Amber and her husband met in high school. They went to senior prom together and have been together ever since. They go married after they graduated from college and 2 years later decided to grow their family. They have a 4 year old daughter, an angel baby and a baby boy on the way.
Amber is due July 1st and this is her story: My husband and I have been married for almost 7 years. We have one 4 year old daughter, an angel, and now a rainbow on the way. We decided to start trying for baby number 2 summers 2018. We had no problem getting pregnant. In fact, I got pregnant the first time I ovulated after making the decision to start trying. We were elated to find out we were pregnant the morning of our anniversary. I immediately started thinking about ways to tell our daughter and our parents. I searched Pinterest for sibling and family pictures and read blogs about becoming a mom of 2. We were on cloud 9 for about 4 days before I started bleeding. While it made me nervous, I wasn’t completely convinced that I had lost the baby. My mom bled for months after becoming pregnant with me and I have had friends bleed for a while after finding out they were pregnant. I went ahead and called the doctor anyway to let them know what was going on and they set me up for an appointment the very next day. Unfortunately, as the day went on the bleeding kept getting worse and the consistency wasn’t normal. By the time I woke up the next day, I just knew I had lost the baby. After 2 rounds of bloodwork to check my levels, the doctor confirmed my worst fear….our baby was gone. Everything we had dreamed and planned had immediately evaporated. He said that there really isn’t a way to tell why we lost our baby. My anatomy looked great, I was healthy & at a good age, etc. He said that had I not been trying to get pregnant, I probably would have never known I was pregnant; I would have just thought I was a few days late. That’s how fast it happened. The hardest part was the fact that only my husband and I knew we were pregnant. So not only did I have to stay strong, put on a happy face and be mommy to my daughter, but I also had to tell my parents and siblings that I was pregnant but not anymore. It was by far one of the lowest moments in my life.
The doctor told me to give my body about a month to recover. So I did. When we started trying again, it was honestly hard to get my head in the right place. Fear of ‘what if it happens again’ kept creeping in. I knew what I needed to do to get pregnant and I did it, but my head/thoughts were in a thousand different places. It took about 2 months for me to just say a prayer and ask God to take my fears and anxiety. Once I placed it all in His hands, I felt a lot better about everything. I was able to get pregnant on the very next ovulation week.
She found out about this pregnancy while suffering from what she thought was the stomach bug. “I’m a teacher and I got hit with what I thought was the stomach bug that was going around the school. I was out for 2 days and then felt a lot better. However I kept having this nauseous feeling that would come and go throughout the day. I used the Ova app to help track my period, ovulation and when to test. It told me to wait a few more days before testing but something told me to go ahead and give it a try. It took me a minute to actually look at the test because I wasn’t sure if my heart could take it if it was negative. I took a deep breath and opened my eyes to read the word ‘PREGNANT!’ I was so excited! I cried for a good minute and thanked God for His everlasting goodness before I was able to walk out of the bathroom. I didn’t tell my husband immediately because we had friends and family over that day to help rebuild our back deck and they were already busy working on that. For the next 12-16 hours I was on an emotional rollercoaster. I was happy, excited, scared, worried, and then happy all over again. It was intense. 😊
She says the best part of the pregnancy has been the support of her family and how excited her daughter is to be a big sister.
The hardest part of the pregnancy has been the roller coaster of emotions and feelings. The first several weeks of the pregnancy were hard because the only thing I had to really confirm the pregnancy was a nonexistent period and a test. The other symptoms were too similar to menstrual symptoms. She continued to by tests and took them twice a week to reconfirm the pregnancy. Once she went to the doctor and heard the heartbeat for the first time, she couldn’t hold back tears. She also says this pregnancy is very different from her first pregnancy with her daughter. The aches and pains and discomfort from her 1st are different than this one and she is constantly on edge because of the miscarriage in-between. At her 18 week sonogram appointment they found out that their little one had 2 cysts on each side of his brain but that they would most likely dissolve by the 3rd trimester. They had to wait 6 more weeks to see if they had dissolved or not.
When asked what she would say to her past self to prepare for this pregnancy or her loss she said “I’m really not sure that there is anything you can do to prepare for the loss of a child. However, when we were trying again, I guess I could just tell myself to place it in God’s hands earlier and relax because everything is going to work out according to His will. “
She wants women who have suffered infertility, infant, child or pregnancy loss to know that it’s okay to talk about it. She said “In fact, recognizing the loss helps the healing process. It hurts so much when people who are closest to you pretend as though nothing ever happened. My mom got me a bracelet that says ‘Mommy of an angel’ and it was honestly one of the best things she could have done. I have other family members who to this day still haven’t even acknowledged that there was another baby… and that hurts.
Know that people (moms, dad, grandparents, siblings etc.) who are going through or have group infant or pregnancy loss grieve that baby all the time. WE never forget about them. You can help/acknowledge the loss by offering various services to the grieving families… just like you would if was an older loved one who passed away.”
Seven very special stories from seven very special women. Each has a story to tell and each one is looking forward to their rainbow of hope. These women are all part of the 1 in 4 women who have suffered 1 or multiple losses. They all have shared their story. We want those of you who have suffered a loss to know that you are not alone. There is love and support out there from all of us. We want those of you who have not suffered a loss to know that we care about you but we want you to understand what we are going through/went through. It may seem like a small thing but it really isn’t. They all seemed to come to the same conclusion during this pregnancy and after their loss. The loss wasn’t their fault nor is it anyone’s fault. God simply has a plan for them and their little angel babies and that gives them the hope and peace to continue on.
For those of you who have experienced loss or are going through it now, please remember these last 2 things. This was not your fault and don’t be afraid to talk about what happened. It is not something to be ashamed of. We are all mothers, regardless of when the loss may have happened, that was our baby and no one has the right to say otherwise.