My rainbow baby is 2 years old.
Updated: Jan 9
Talking about miscarriage now our rainbow baby is 2.
It's 1.45am on 1st January 2017 and I'm looking at blood in my knickers saying "no, no, no!" Only half an hour earlier I was toasting the New Year excited August 2017 would bring us another baby.
New Year's Day was spent on the phone to 111 and waiting in A&E. We had no idea who to tell or where to go when you lost a baby at 11.5 weeks. In the doctor's eyes it wasn't an emergency. In our eyes it was.
Eventually we were seen by a doctor who couldn't confirm there and then what was happening. We had to wait 5 days until our booked 12-week scan to understand. 5 days? I couldn't wait that long. I needed to know if there was something we could do to save our baby. We managed to get a scan the next day at a private clinic. I still had hope. Even though deep down, I knew our baby had died.
The scan confirmed the worst. Our baby's heart had stopped beating. "Why?" I asked. "It's just one of those things" we were told.
Roll on 2 and a half years and I'm running past this same clinic in the Reading Half Marathon. It took me by surprise. I sobbed. Not only for our baby we had lost but because - well - we were ok. If you told me 2 years earlier I'd feel "ok" about losing our baby and that we'd go on to meet another in 2017, I wouldn't have believed you.
Now Erin. She's our rainbow baby. She's the baby we got to meet in October 2017. Not our August baby who I'd named Freya (in my head anyway).
Erin was a huge surprise. A wonderful surprise.
Eight weeks after we'd lost our baby I started having pregnancy symptoms. I ignored them at first as I knew after a miscarriage your body takes time to adjust. When you've had a 'complete' miscarriage (that's when you completely pass the baby) you're told to do a pregnancy test 2 weeks later. This is to confirm all of your baby has been delivered. You want a negative result from your test (yes, you want a negative a pregnancy test!) Otherwise you have intervention to remove 'pregnancy tissue' from your uterus (a D&C - dilatation and curettage). Eight weeks on, I was getting a positive result when I took the tests.
So, eight weeks after losing our baby I was back in the Early Pregnancy Unit waiting for a scan to confirm I needed the D&C. I went alone. It was more time off work for my husband. I told him there was no point coming to hear the words "your baby is not alive" - again.
To my complete surprise the sonographer told me she could see a heartbeat. "What our baby is alive?" I asked. "No, it seems you're growing another baby. This one is five weeks old" she confirmed.
As you can imagine my head was spinning. I've written a post before about what it felt like to carry a rainbow baby. It's not the happiest of pregnancies. There are a lot of apprehensions, worries and fearing the worst. But, in October 2017 we went onto meet our newborn, Erin.
A few weeks ago we were singing happy 2nd birthday to our cheeky, blonde-haired, Frozen-obsessed rainbow baby (who is also Mr Tumble's biggest fan). The 2-year milestone made me reflect more than ever about our journey and about the baby we had lost. I don't often go there in my head. I tend to block those feelings out. But for some reason the 2 year mark made me think:
How did I feel? I still felt sad about the baby we didn't get to meet, but I felt happy we got to meet Erin.
What 'if' our other baby had survived? It's hard to imagine life with our August baby. I can't help thinking if they had survived, we wouldn't have got to meet Erin. Now that's harder to imagine.
As time has gone on - and perhaps because our other baby was meant to be born in August and Erin was born in October - part of me sometimes feel our August baby was always Erin. She just wasn't ready to arrive.
So, if you're a mummy carrying a rainbow baby I want to say - I know how you feel.
I understand your guarded happiness
I understand your worries
I understand the grief for the baby you lost
I understand you're waiting for your luck to run out
But, hang on in there. It's ok not to feel joyful about your pregnancy. It's ok not to feel like you're bonding (we do it to protect ourselves). Just keep looking after yourself. Keep putting you and your rainbow baby first. Keep everything crossed, and I'm sure your dreams will come true.
Here's to all of the angels we didn't get to meet. And here's to all of the rainbow babies we did!
Happy birthday beautiful Erin. You'll never know how precious you are.
Rainbow babies are babies born following the pregnancy you miscarried.
If you're carrying a rainbow baby and are looking for support, check out Pregnancy After Loss Support (PALS).
Please email me too if you want to chat hello@mummyandtheruggies