Rainbow Baby Day 2021
The iconic symbol of the rainbow has certainly been prominent throughout 2020 and 2021. You may have spotted rainbows displayed in people’s windows soon after the pandemic began. In this context, the rainbow has been used to reflect hope during difficult times. It’s also been used to celebrate the wonderful work of NHS frontline staff during the Covid 19 pandemic.
The symbol of the rainbow has also been used by members of the baby loss community for many years now, often symbolising hope and light after a dark time. A rainbow baby is a baby born after a loss during or after pregnancy, and the term gained significant attention recently when Carrie Symonds announced that she is ‘hoping’ for a rainbow baby with husband Boris Johnson this Christmas, after sadly having a miscarriage this year.
As we approach Rainbow Baby Day 2021 – which falls on Sunday 22 August – we want to celebrate these stories of hope by introducing you to just a few of our rainbow babies.
Meet our rainbow babies
Meet some of the rainbow babies who have made their way into the world due to the wonderful work of our researchers and clinicians up and down the country.
This work is only made possible by the generosity of our amazing supporters. If you can, please consider helping us continue our vital research by supporting us with a donation this Rainbow Baby Day.
You might remember Obiélé from our BBC Lifeline Appeal earlier this year. She spoke about the care she received at our London Preterm Birth Surveillance Clinic after her first 2 babies were sadly born too soon to survive.
With the support of Tommy’s Prof Andy Shennan and his team, Obiélé gave birth to her son Tetteh-Kwei 3 years ago – and in March this year, she welcomed another precious rainbow baby, daughter Naa Ayélé-Tia.
“Having a baby during lockdown was a truly strange experience. Thankfully, Prof Shennan and his team were very reassuring, and a much-needed constant during this time. Knowing that I had the support of everyone at the Tommy’s Preterm Clinic helped to reduce any anxieties that may have tried to sneak up on me.”
Watch Obiélé in the video for our BBC Lifeline Appeal.
Dr Anita Raja also helped us with our BBC Lifeline Appeal. She sadly had a miscarriage before having her oldest son, Nirvan, and had another 2 heartbreaking losses whilst trying for their second baby. Anita was then referred to our miscarriage clinic in Birmingham. Under the care of midwife Oonagh and the team, she welcomed rainbow baby Rumi into the world during lockdown last year.
"To me, Tommy’s relates to miracles. Tommy’s makes miracles happen because they want answers as to why a miscarriage has happened and how it can be prevented. To me Tommy’s meant hope: hope that one day I will be holding my rainbow baby. My rainbow baby reminds me how Tommy’s has helped my dream become a reality."
Fran and Doug from London found out they were expecting their first baby in 2018. Their daughter Beth sustained severe brain damage during birth and died several days later. Throughout Fran’s next pregnancy, she was supported by Professor Alex Heazell at the Rainbow Clinic in Manchester.
Dominic was born via C-section on Valentine’s Day last year.
“We feel so lucky to have our rainbow baby Dominic in our lives. He has brought us so much joy and made us laugh again but there will always be a hole in our family and our hearts without his big sister Beth.”
Beth, Dominic's beautiful sister, is pictured below.
Maisie and her wife Becca lost their daughter, Willow, in 2018, when she was born too soon to survive. When they fell pregnant again, they were cared for by the team at our Rainbow Clinic in Manchester. Rainbow baby Riley arrived at 34 weeks, in the same room as his sister was born.
"Without the incredible support and care that I received at Tommy’s Rainbow Clinic in Manchester, I would never have been able to get through my second pregnancy. My Rainbow Riley came early and I feel so strongly that my body would have gone into labour even earlier with stress and anxiety if it weren’t for the love of Tommy’s.
Like so many people experiencing a pregnancy after loss I had severe anxiety as well as depression and moments of PTSD. The Rainbow Clinic helped because they gave me extra screenings and they would always be there when I needed to talk to them and when I had worries even when the worry seemed really small, because they knew that every single concern I had was something serious to me.
Not only did they give me personal support they were also so wonderful with my wife. Tommy’s clinic doctors and midwives were so incredibly respectful of our journey and made us both feel very welcome. I know this is not the case for all LGBTQ+ people within healthcare, and so I am incredibly grateful for it.
I wish we could thank all the people who looked after us to the level they deserve. The work you have all done, and continue to do, not only saves babies lives but also parents’ lives."
Claire experienced recurrent miscarriage before her first rainbow baby, daughter Mollie, was born in 2014. When she was ready to give Mollie a sibling, she sadly had another miscarriage. Under the care of Prof Quenby at our Coventry clinic, her second rainbow baby, Dexter, was born in 2018.
"I was so desperate to give my beautiful little girl a sibling but sadly miscarried again. It was then I entered into the SIMPLANT trial with the amazing Prof Quenby. thanks to her and the team at Tommy's, I now have my second rainbow baby and the family I had always dreamed of."
Georgia was born in March 2020 to proud parents Danielle and Ed from Peterborough.
Danielle had 5 heart-breaking miscarriages before becoming pregnant for the sixth time with baby Georgia.
The team at the clinic created a detailed care plan for Danielle and were able to prescribe specialist treatment to help sustain her pregnancy. Danielle also took up the opportunity to participate in research trials to help save more babies' lives in the future.
"Georgia was so worth waiting for. All of the heartache we had to go through, we would do it all again to have her here - she is such a beautiful, cheeky and incredibly happy girl and we feel so blessed to be her parents"
After losing their firstborn son, Altair, Shema and her husband Ian now have 2 rainbow babies thanks to specialist care from our team in Manchester. After her devastating loss, Shema was diagnosed with a rare placenta condition called Chronic Histiocytic Intervillositis (CHI). Before becoming pregnant again, Shema was told that the condition was not treatable.
“We’d been told by a few doctors that it wasn’t treatable and that we should consider surrogacy, but we were determined to find an answer. Luckily we were put in touch with the Tommy’s Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre in Manchester, where Professor Alex Heazell immediately gave us hope. His research had allowed him to develop a treatment that seemed to work for some women like me.”
Under his care and guidance at Tommy’s Rainbow Clinic, Shema and Ian welcomed their first rainbow baby, Faris, safe and sound in December 2018.
Their latest addition, Lyra Joy, was born at the beginning of April at the height of the pandemic.
“Lyra Joy, our second rainbow, was born on 1 April 2020 at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. She is perfect. All 3 of our babies are. We really are the luckiest family of 5 and we can never thank Tommy’s enough.”
Gaynor and Ben from Yorkshire were devastated when their daughter Kallipateira was stillborn in 2018. Sadly, their second pregnancy ended in miscarriage in 2019. Gaynor self-referred to our Rainbow Clinic in Manchester later that year and was supported by Professor Heazell through her third pregnancy.
Their healthy rainbow baby Apollon was born during lockdown in 2020.
“The Tommy’s team are incredible. Everyone we encountered treated us with such kindness and respect. I felt safe under Prof Heazell’s outstanding care. We truly believe our rainbow baby wouldn’t be here today if we hadn’t had access to Tommy’s. We absolutely adore Apollon and we’re so thankful everyday that our rainbow has arrived safe and sound.”
Louisa and Seb from Bristol sadly lost their first 2 babies in 2018. When they fell pregnant again in 2019, Louisa started to bleed at 6 weeks. Armed with the research from our PRISM trial, she took this to her doctors and welcomed rainbow baby Oliver to the world in March 2020.
“Without Tommy’s, we believe Oliver wouldn’t be here. If the bleeding was left to continue then we absolutely would have lost him. Not a day goes by where I don’t remember our first babies and think ‘what if’, but it makes me even more grateful for the happy and healthy baby we have now. The research that Tommy’s carried out means that we have our beautiful rainbow baby Oliver, and for that we will be forever grateful.”
Ian and Louise from Manchester experienced the heartbreak of stillbirth when their daughter Rosie was born sleeping in May 2019. When Louise became pregnant again, she was cared for at our Rainbow Clinic in Manchester.
Their rainbow baby, Lottie, made her safe arrival into the world at 38 weeks in July 2020.
“From the start to finish of a long 9 months of pregnancy, the Tommy’s team at the Rainbow Clinic were nothing except brilliant. The team understand completely and appreciate just how daunting and scary pregnancy after stillbirth can be and always made us feel safe. We’ve fallen head over heels in love with baby Lottie and we could not be more grateful and thankful to Tommy’s, the Rainbow Clinic, Professor Heazell and all of his team.”
Coping with pregnancy after loss
It’s important to note that, for many parents, the arrival of a rainbow baby doesn’t take away the pain and grief that often accompanies baby loss. The arrival of a rainbow is something to celebrate, but their siblings will never be forgotten. Our supporter, Beth, expresses her feelings about the term.
“I think it’s crucially important that we create a culture which allows women with rainbow babies to continue to express their grief and trauma, without feeling they are being ungrateful for what they have. We’re still bereaved parents, and the safe arrival of a rainbow baby doesn’t take that pain and trauma away.”
We also know that some parents might be reading this blog today without their rainbow baby. We’re here to support you, whatever stage you may be at in your journey. If you find any of this content triggering, please do not be afraid to reach out and get support.