It’s been a strange year for everybody. Times have been incredibly challenging for parents up and down the country. When lockdown began, many people felt as if the country stopped and stood still. However, babies kept on arriving and our vital work continued.
We’d like to celebrate the rainbow babies who have made their way into the world this year due to the wonderful work of our researchers and clinicians up and down the country.
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.
Baby Dominic was born via C-section on Valentine’s Day this year.
“Dominic is such a happy, cheeky little 6-month-old and brings us so much joy every day. We are so grateful to have him in our lives.”
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.”
Celebrating the birthday of a Tommy’s rainbow baby who is a now a rainbow toddler!
Obiélé from London had 2 late miscarriages before referring herself to the Tommy’s Preterm Birth Clinic at St Thomas’ Hospital. In 2018, she celebrated the arrival of her precious little rainbow Tetteh-Kwei.
Last month, Tetteh-Kwei turned 2 years old. He’s now officially a rainbow toddler. We’re delighted to share a quick update from Obiélé about how he’s getting on.
“Tetteh-Kwei is doing very well and seems to be aspiring to become a stunt man! He climbs absolutely everything and will jump from any height! He absolutely adores the outdoors and begins nursery in September at a pre-school dedicated to forest play. I doubt I will be able to get him home after his first day!
My advice to new parents? People will not understand why you are so protective, nor will they understand why you literally never let them out of your sight. But you do what you need to keep them safe. We all understand how hard it was to get them here. But as they grow don’t be scared to let them explore their surroundings freely. They won’t break and they will learn so much through daily play."
"They are called rainbow babies for a reason so enjoy them and let them fill your life with colour and love.”
What is a 'Rainbow Baby'?
The iconic symbol of the rainbow has certainly been prominent this year. 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 been used by members of the baby loss community for many years now. A rainbow baby is a baby born after miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death. For parents, rainbows symbolise hope and light after a dark time.
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 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.
How you can help
We believe that too many babies die each year in the UK. Many of these deaths can be prevented. We fund pioneering research to find answers and save babies’ lives. We rely on your generous donations to continue our life changing work.
Premature birth is the biggest killer of newborn babies in the UK and much of Tommy's research is devoted to predicting and preventing this. One discovery has made a huge difference to our ability to treat women in time.
In more than half of stillbirths parents are not given a reason for their babies' death. Doctors simply do not know why it happens. This animation looks at how Tommy's researchers are finding out the causes of stillbirth and how this leads to treatments and saved lives.
Too many miscarriages are unexplained. Our research is entirely dedicated to finding out why miscarriages happen and how to prevent it in the future.
Natalie and Sean from Warwickshire were delighted when the found out that they were expecting twins. At 25 weeks pregnant, Natalie went into premature labour. Their daughters, Daisy and Georgie, passed away soon after birth. Natalie went on to have 2 heart-breaking miscarriages before getting support from Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research. Their rainbow baby Livvie was born in 2019.
Claire, from Leamington Spa experienced recurrent miscarriage before her daughter Mollie was born. In 2017, Claire had another miscarriage and decided to take part in the SIMPLANT trial at Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research. Mollie’s little brother, Dexter, was born in July 2018.
Leanne and Kieran experienced a heart-breaking missed miscarriage before the arrival of their first daughter, Rosa. Sadly, they went on to experience another miscarriage before getting referred to Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research at Birmingham Women’s Hospital. During Leanne’s next pregnancy, she was supported by the team at our recurrent miscarriage clinic. Their second healthy baby, Pearl, was born in October 2019.
Beth and Sean from Lancaster have experienced 9 losses in total. After her first living baby was born in 2017, Beth was diagnosed with Chronic Histiocytic Intervillositis (CHI), a rare condition that causes placental failure. With support from Professor Alex Heazell at Tommy’s Rainbow Clinic, Beth’s second living baby was born prematurely at 35 weeks in March 2020, during the height of the pandemic.