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What is a Rainbow Baby?

July 19, 2016

Special Rainbow Mommies and their Babies 

"Rainbow Babies" is the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm. When a rainbow appears, it doesn't 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 counterbalance of color, energy and hope."

Every expectant mom always has times throughout their pregnancy when they get nervous. Especially a first-time mom. She will be nervous over every cramp or twinge. A rainbow mom has different fears. Depending on the type of loss we previously had, there are milestones we need to pass. Some (like me) need only to pass our first trimester. Some need to get past their anatomy scan, past 26 weeks, and even get home from the hospital and beyond that. As much as we try to enjoy our rainbow pregnancy, try to hold on to every movement, and try to glow that glow - every twinge, pain, or cramp you feel sends your butt racing for the phone. Panicking like a maniac because you can't find the heartbeat with your fetal doppler. Knowing damn well that your little one barely slept in your womb because if they didn't move, you were pushing on them to do so. These memories of neurosis makes me smile thinking how stupid I was, but it happened. And I am SURE I'm not alone.

I had the extreme pleasure of working with 7 amazing women. Our children are all different ages but we all have something in common... We are Rainbow Mommas. All of our stories are so unique and similar at the same time. Some of these women I am related to, some I grew up with, some I met later in my life, and some I met thanks to my angel babies. I thought it would be a fun idea to celebrate our journeys as well as bring awareness to those who are not aware of how important our angels are to us and that it is not something that should be silenced. We also wanted to let fellow rainbow parents that you aren't alone. We celebrate our angels each and every day. Our rainbow babies would not be here if they did not exist. Is it a sad topic? Sure it is! Are some days worse than others? Absolutely. But that is ok. Just because it's sad does not mean it didn't happen and it does not mean that we don't want to talk about it. As a newborn photographer, I meet rainbow babies and their parents on a weekly basis. The most frequent question I ask is, "How's your heart?" I ask that because when I think of my losses, I think about my heart and how it was broken, healed, and filled again. I have never had to explain to a Rainbow Mommy what I mean by that question. We just know. 

Here are Our Stories:

Red: Josephine & Me - "I am Danielle Foster. Josephine was sent to me by my 3 angel babies who I lost early in their pregnancies all in 2009 (February, June, September). The last one was an ectopic pregnancy that resulted in me losing one of my Fallopian tubes (salpingectomy). Shortly after that surgery (still in 2009), I was blessed to successfully carry my Joey. I ovulated on the side that DIDN'T have a tube which is when I learned the term -ovular transmigration. Yeah, it's a thing. An unbelievable thing that you have no idea the female body is capable of when you've had a salpingectomy. The miracle of how a child is conceived and all the hurdles that has to be cleared in order to become a baby is astonishing in itself, but to find out what a female's body does to compensate even further when something is missing is unthinkable and so overwhelming to wrap your head around. I am forever grateful to the babies I never met for this beautiful and unconditional gift. This miracle did not just happen once. 14 months later, my son, Colin, is a product of ovular transmigration as well. By the way, with each loss I saw ladybugs. Ladybugs are a symbol for -Let go and let God-. Ever notice my logo? ~smiles~"

Orange: Dani & Theresa - "I was 35, and planning my wedding when my first baby angel was taken from me. We didn't care that we weren't married yet, we both wanted a baby badly. It broke my heart when my first angel baby was taken from me. I got married in September 1990 and found out I was pregnant in October.  Every precaution was taken and I delivered a healthy baby girl on June 9,1991. Because I was 36, we decided to try again pretty quickly.  I found out early in January 1992 that I was pregnant. I was so happy!!  Sadly, while I was out to dinner, celebrating my birthday, my second angel baby was taken from me. Again, heartbroken, I decided not to try any longer because of the overwhelming guilt and sadness. Then in March, 1993, I'M PREGNANT! Excited and scared, the doctor took all precautions and everything appeared to be fine. Then, the evening before Mother's Day, I knew something was wrong.  After hearing the symptoms, the doctor told me he would meet me at the hospital. I lost my third angel baby on Mother's Day. The doctor told me then that all the tests revealed that I would not be able to carry a baby full-term ever again. Devastating!  I went home to my little girl running at me with my Mothers a Day present!  I Thank God for her! I talk to my 3 Angel Babies and I often look up and imagine them playing ring-around-the-Rosie on the fluffiest cloud in the sky. "

Yellow: Brandon & Rachel - "I am Rachel Houseknecht, mother to my miracle rainbow, Brandon.  Brandon was a dream that finally came true following a long journey of fertility struggles, pain and many losses.  After 7 years of fertility treatments, an unsuccessful adoption, 6 rounds of in vitro fertilization (IVF), 3 early losses and the loss of his big sisters (our guardian angels) who were born at 23 weeks in April 2011, we held Brandon in our arms on October 24, 2013 after a successful high risk pregnancy.  He is the true meaning to the mantra that we live our life; “The moment when you are about to give up, IS THE MOMENT when the miracle happens.” January 1, 2012 we received a call from Heather (purple) of the FHAL Foundation, that we would become the recipients of a donated round of IVF with our fertility practice, Mainline Fertility. My mother-in-law had won the raffle ticket for the treatment and this blessing of a round followed the loss of a pregnancy the night before and our decision to possibly not continue. Brandon is the first FHAL baby!! DON'T EVER GIVE UP HOPE!"

Green: Sophia & Jennifer "My name is Jennifer Buonopane and in 2004 I got pregnant with my first baby. Everything was great! The baby was growing strong, I felt good everything was just perfect!  I went in for my 20 week anatomy scan when the doctor discovered I was funneling (dilating) and the baby was pushing on my cervix. They immediately put me on bed rest where I remained for 46 days.  I was able to hold on to my baby from 20 weeks to 26 weeks when I started to go into labor. Alessandra Sophia was born weighing 2 pounds 4 ounces, healthy, and breathing on her own. Complications then set in due to her prematurity. Alessandra became our heavenly angel at 30 weeks. Exactly one year after, I found out I was pregnant with my second baby, my rainbow baby, Sophia. I found out from my first pregnancy that I had a weak cervix and the doctor gave me a cerclage which allowed me to carry my babies to full term.  I was blessed two more times with two more girls Mia and Giovanna. We know we have our guardian angel watching over us at all times."

Teal:  Caroline & Daniella - "My name is Daniella and my husband and I suffered through two pregnancy losses while going through fertility treatments before getting pregnant with our daughter Caroline...she was the light of our world...and when she was only five months old we were again blessed with a surprise pregnancy and gave birth to another beautiful daughter whom we named Abrianna {Abby}...the girls were only 14 months apart and were my whole world...we knew we wanted to add to our family and when we decided to begin fertility again a couple years ago, it took us a lot longer than we had anticipated. We suffered another loss at 11 weeks last year and it hit me so hard. I don't think I was ready to suffer a miscarriage as a mom. I couldn't explain to my girls what was going on...when I came home from the procedure, I was in so much pain- emotionally and physically and my girls just hugged me while I was on the sofa and I sobbed. I wondered if we should just stop trying...if having them was enough...but I knew deep in my heart that I was meant to have more babies. It was difficult going through day to day life trying to keep it together for my daughters...watching friends get pregnant and photographing newborns when I wanted another baby so badly. I feared that we had waited too long, that maybe we were too old, but after lots of prayer {and fertility} we finally became pregnant again with a healthy baby last summer! I gave birth this past March 2016 to a gorgeous baby girl whom we named Marcella {Ella} Kathryn...she is the sweetest little joy and we couldn't love her more!"

Blue: Chase & Danielle - "Hi, My Name is Danielle Gouldey and I have 3 angel babies that I lost early in my pregnancies.  My first loss occurred in December 2007.  Six months later I got pregnant with Chase, a true blessing!  A year and a half after Chase was born I lost my second angel baby and then in April 2012 I lost my third. No one can ever prepare you for the heartache and sadness that follows with each loss. You never forget, you just keeping pushing on. I am beyond grateful to be a mom to Chase. He is truly my miracle, my heart, my rainbow!"

Purple: Jenna & Heather “Jenna is not an only child. She is a survivor. She is a survivor of six. Prior to Jenna's arrival into this world, my husband and I suffered multiple miscarriages ranging from six weeks to eleven weeks in term. Each one showing promise. Each one with a visible, fluttering heartbeat. Each one's loss more heartbreaking than the next. But even through heartbreak, we stayed strong. We kept our faith, had hope and hung on to that binding love. Knowing that our five little angels are looking down on us is what makes us smile. Jenna is not an only child. Jenna is our little survivor. She is and always will be our rainbow of hope. Hugs & Hearts” 

Violet/Red: Georgie & Andria - "That moment you're so excited to go to the doctors by yourself because you're past the "scary" stage and then reality kicks in..... There is always a scary stage in pregnancy. Rewind....    After 2 years 3 months and, oh, a few days, many fertility treatments, shots and being poked and pried, we finally got the news we had longed for we were expecting.... I had an amazing first pregnancy and after all we had been through, we deserved a great pregnancy, right?  I even fell down the steps and broke my tail bone.... I pushed through the fear, carried on, and delivered a healthy baby girl, Lola.  Doctors asked what we would like to do for birth control and we knew the answer immediately --NOTHING. After 10 glorious months of loving life with our new baby, I was pregnant again.... What?!  no drugs, no treatments... How exciting... I went to the doctor, heard/saw the heartbeat and still was in disbelief but yet so very happy!  Weeks carried on and plans were starting to form, name game being tossed around and the nerves finally settled.  I figured, "I've got this, I'm 13 weeks and going to see my baby by myself this time (Dom, my husband, never missed an appointment).  Life literally changed in the blink of an eye... When you see the blank stare on your doctor's face and your heart drops to the floor and you hear those God Awful words, "There is no longer a heartbeat".... How on earth could this happen to us and why???? As i cried my way back to my car after setting up my D&E, my life would never be the same. Months passed, appointments at the fertility doctor came and went and finally, finally we got our news again.... WE WERE EXPECTING OUR RAINBOW BABY!  To say we were scared the entire pregnancy is an understatement.... With each passing month and each appointment I, was more and more nervous till the day she was born.... God had a plan for us. It was just impossible to see through the hurt in our hearts. Georgie is my rainbow baby and she by all means is the little pot of golden locks at the end of our rainbow journey! God has some sense of humor though 9 weeks later he dropped the twin bombshell on our doorstep... What's another challenge.. We accepted and are in love."

Enjoy the images from our session:

Rainbow Babies

The most recent rainbow baby to join this group of rainbow babies: Marcella

How do I know these lovely souls? 
  • Theresa (orange) is my Aunt (and other mom) and (obviously) Dani is my cousin - we are very very close.
  • Rachel (yellow) and I met through Heather (purple) and the FHAL Foundation. She was my first Beach Maternity Session and first Rainbow Baby Session and one of my most special sessions of my career. Please see my BLOG post: Rainbow Babies: Positives from Negatives about how Rachel and I met.
  • Jennifer (green) and I grew up in the same neighborhood. Her husband lived on my street when I was older. 
  • Daniella (teal) is a wonderful and fellow newborn photographer based in West Chester. We met through a local photographers' group and have become friends. At the time I am writing this, she gave birth to her second rainbow baby (and third daughter), Marcella.
  • Danielle (blue) and I grew up together. I have known her since grade school. Her brother is also the marketing advisor for the FHAL Foundation.
  • Heather (purple) and I met when she reached out to me to photograph families to benefit the FHAL Foundation in which she is the founder. The FHAL Foundation helps families with infertility. Now we are quietly planning Jenna and Colin's Wedding.
  • Andria (violet/red) is my sister-in-law (my sister). Georgie is her second of 4 daughters. Georgie is my Goddaughter. I love this kid.

Thank you, Ladies, for sharing your stories, your hearts, and your rainbows. What a great day it was. What a rainbow 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 counterbalance of color, energy and hope. This isn't just about losing my babies. It also means in the midst of this loss and sadness, I have made new forever friends, I have bonded further with those I love, and have a special bond with old friends I have known before this time. This would never have happened if my little lovebugs didn't grace me with their presence - even if it was only for a whisper - And for that, I am so grateful.

Special Links:
Danielle Foster CreationsFHAL Foundation  & Daniella Bella Photography

 

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