I want to share a story with you, one of great sadness, struggle, deep loss and the rainbow baby at the end of it all - a tiny cherub to ease some of the suffering and bring happiness where so many have left a space in their hearts.
Jessica & Braiden
Two lovers that adore each other, it's so clear to see, it was such a pleasure to bask in their light and love during their very special Maternity Session. When Jessica's sister contacted me a few months ago with this incredible story I cried - knowing the feeling that comes with the loss of a baby before you had the chance to hold your tiny, fragile newborn baby - at any stage, it is soul destroying.
If you have stood where so many of us have you will know... You will know this feeling, the depth of the heartache and the long days & nights following.
You see... we share this, we have this in common, we understand each other through this. But still, this subject is taboo. Perhaps we as a community don't know what to say, perhaps it's our own struggles that hold us back from communicating our pain. Perhaps we want to hold it in, hold it back - keep it somewhere sacred, just for us. To hold on to something, anything that will preserve their memory.
We all know that we should break this silence, to let our community know that it is okay to speak our babies names. For though they do not walk this life with us, they are still very much part of our everyday thoughts, lives and hearts.
How do we break the silence? For me, to honour my babies and my love for each of you that has suffered great loss - I create photographs that celebrate the mothers, fathers and babies that come like a rainbow after the darkest storm.
Jessica ~ One of the strongest, bravest and incredible women I have met through this rainbow baby journey. Here is a little of her long and complicated story...
"I got my Rainbow Baby ~ After 7 years of torture"
Endometriosis - Not only taking over, my careers, life choices it took away my fertility.
7 years ago I had my very last period. In 1 sense I was over the moon, being young and how inconvenient periods can be, let's be honest. Until 2 years on still no period and my partner and I were made to talk about “children” I felt like I was too young, I wanted a house & marriage first.
But time was ticking and my endometriosis stages escalated.
So after a few surgeries, and hormone injections we ended up pregnant with our first - 1 week later, I was in agony rushed to hospital & it was an ectopic pregnancy. Partner and I waited a little while before starting the next steps. We couldn’t fall pregnant, started fertility treatments & started seeing specialist. The journey finally progressed and we felt pregnant a large number of times but all sadly ending in miscarriages. I ended up with tissue scaring, endometriosis got worse and started attaching to other organs, ovarian cysts followed. We were so incredibly stressed.
I told my partner I needed a full break - no more treatments, doctors or test. Another 12 months passed, still no period - a few more surgeries and a lot of unanswered real questions.
The 15th of March 2018 changed our lives forever, we fell pregnant naturally. It was so unexpected as I was marrying my gorgeous best friend of the 23rd of April.
I then started to take out foods from my diet, did what was recommended and really tried to help protect our baby. The 6th April broke our hearts - Our baby grew some wings & joined the angels above. I then didn’t want to get married, tried cancelling it but it was going to cost almost the full wedding cost to have it canceled. So we went ahead with it. I lost my job the same week and my partners company closed the doors owing him a months wage. Stress only escalated.
I told my partner no more babies, no more trying. No more suffering and no more hurt. I managed to get a job starting 4 day’s after the wedding. So no honeymoon or wedding celebration for us. 3 weeks and 5 days later - I fainted at work, thankfully I worked in a medical centre. They took blood tests to investigate, I personally put it down to exhaustion doing 12/15 hour days for 3 weeks straight.
“Jessica you are pregnant” - everything went quiet. I was freaking out, more so because I couldn’t bear another blow to our hearts, I wasn’t ready. I hadn’t dealt with the last one. It was all so fast. Week 6 pregnant I was rushed to hospital - extreme vomiting, dehydration, most excruciating abdominal pain & a burning in the chest/throat. I was given a few IV bags, a zofran injection to help with the vomiting & 25mls is gavison to help with the “reflux” which was the chest/throat burn. We were sent home, and 3 days later back at my GPs with low blood pressure, escalating heart rate, more dehydration & belly was very bloated and round. My body was struggling!
We were sent to hospital again, and then again and again. I was finally was given a scan to check on the abdominal pain. And there on the screen were 2 very strong healthy heartbeats. Yep - that’s correct Twins!!!! But I had a blood clot in with them, plus a pearl of cysts growing.
I assumed everything was going okay to begin with, but that anxiety after loss never truly goes away when you are carrying your rainbows - the vomiting increased, the dehydration got worse, and I got my first bladder infection.
We were 15 weeks pregnant when we lost our baby girl, but by some miracle our beautiful little boy was fighting strong.
I was then told I had Hyperemesis, my iron dropped to 6%, I was in complete pain constantly. We had so many hospital visits for fluids. Given iron tablets, and prescribed ondansetron 8mg - little round tablet that was meant to take away everything I was feeling. This medication is so strong that it is prescribed for cancer patients to cope with the side effects of radiation and chemo treatments.
I then started to get extreme constipation, more dehydration and the vomiting was getting way worse. I couldn’t even get the medication on the tongue to control any of it.
More doctors, more specialist, I then got serve sciatica nerve pain, carpal tunnel and I was fighting to get water in my body to even just keep it from shutting down. I was left with black bruises for 6/8 weeks, given more tablets and injections. Passed around to more doctors. Each week became unbearable. My husband became my carer, I wasn’t able to go to the toilet on my own, shower, walk and go longer then 40 minutes without vomiting. Spew bags had to be in the hand at all times, and buckets close by.
The reflux increased, vomiting got worse, dehydration took over, constipation was unbearable & my boobs started to get extremely painful.
Days pass and everything was managed, I figured out what I could eat and how. I knew what time to take tablets and how to do things - it was all starting to become a routine. Until the glucose test. What a HORRIBLE thing to put someone through. With the severity of my vomiting the glucose tests were unsuccessful, and I finally decided to refuse to try it again. I was told I wasn’t allowed my medication, had to fast. Couldn’t vomit other wise I needed to redo the test the next day and so on, it was unbearable. I spoke with my GP he suggest the 1 hour test and if it didn’t work then we leave it at that. So I did it. Manage to half do it and got some bloods done.
I have been passed around the hospital from midwife to midwife, judged because of what i'm not doing, or what I should be doing - or just basically any of their opinions not working for me and my body. I have been told that I need to eat more regardless of the excessive vomiting, because I need to provide more nutrition for our baby. Yet I can barely sip water. I was made to feel it’s my fault for everything happening because i'm not doing enough, as if mothers don't already feel guilt over every tiny detail. I eat what I can and I try everything at least once.
I cannot put my body through constant distress and discomfort any more. With having HG you get a lot of "you have to do this", but these are the side effects. Have this but then suffer this and it goes around and around. I have had a collapsed lung, and I need physio for my left hand and my sciatica nerve but where does this energy come from? I cannot go to the toilet without the husband carrying me.
We make it to 28 weeks and all I’m complaining about is reflux and bile reflux - it's an unbearable thing to handle, I have ranitidine 300mgs daily and gavison liquid and chew tablets in all departments of the house, bags, car and pockets. With GP appointments every 3 days, scans weekly, B12 injections and the constant pain, exhaustion at an understatement.
I then get a very nasty chest infection & head cold. Draining the life from me. I hold on to all hope to push through because I’m so close to meeting my miracle.
On a slight mend from the sickness - controlling the pregnancy as best as I can, doing only what the body tells me to do I am managing to get a little sleep, some foods in & my medication is on schedules.
Currently at 32 weeks, blessed to be carrying a very strong baby boy, honoured to be doing this with my husband & but completely ready for the toll it is taking on my body to be finished.
In comes Laara - my sister saw a beautiful angel wing photograph that she had created for her best friend who sadly suffered the loss of her and her husbands son. My beautiful sister knew that I would love to have a precious memory like that, to cherish our rainbow baby but also to celebrate those who passed before him. We had so much fun, I have never laughed so much in 30 minutes - especially while being so sick. I love how she included Braiden and made him feel included and special, I realised afterward how special that was to me and sent her a message thanking her for how much that meant to the both of us.
So here I am sitting in hospital yet again, with a collapsed lung, thinking how incredible this miracle baby is and how long and heart breaking our journey has been to get here.
Thank you, to everyone in our lives - for their love and support. We don't have the words to explain just how we feel, but please know how special you all are to us.