Today is the National Day of remembrance for those who have experienced pregnancy and infant loss. Today is day to remember all those babies who didn’t make it earth side but are still loved by all of us here on earth. Today is a day to honor the 1 in 4 women/families who go through this tragedy of not getting to know or raise the little one/s that they lost. This whole month is set aside to recognize these women and families but today is the specific day when we need to honor those who have lost no matter when or where or why.
1.5 years ago, I started this project to tell the stories of the 1 in 4 women who suffer infant/pregnancy loss for various reasons. I am 1 in 4. I lost my son Jonathan at 20 weeks along. Jonathan was my 5th pregnancy and after having 4 easy, uncomplicated, healthy pregnancies, I never imagined it would happen to me, but at our 20 week ultrasound we were told that there was no heartbeat and 2 days later I was induced and gave birth to our 5th child and 3rd son and then had to watch them take him away. I don’t wish that experience on anyone and it is part of the reason I am trying to raise awareness on this subject. These 7 women and many more also lost 1 or more babies during their journey to motherhood. You can read the 1st part of their stories here: https://reflectionsbyluna.com/2019/06/a-rainbow-of-hope-at-after-every-storm/
The first part of this documentary was done during their pregnancies with what is know as the “rainbow baby.” The rainbow baby is any baby born after a loss whether it be in pregnancy or infancy. It is known as the Hope after the storm. These women each went through different trials leading up to their rainbow and even during their pregnancies.
The 2nd part of the documentary was done when the rainbow babies where approximately 1-2 months old. You can read that part here: https://reflectionsbyluna.com/2019/10/rainbowdocumentarypart2birthstories/
It was nice to see these women again and see how they had grown as mothers and as friends as they turned to each other for support both during and after the babies were born. Their stories are so important to help raise awareness of those who suffer pregnancy/infant loss.
The 3rd part I did when the babies were between 12 and 14 months old. They have grown so much, and the following is a continuation of their story. I did a photoshoot with the Mom’s from the group who are still local and were available and I re interviewed each mom about the past year and how they are doing with their rainbow.
1 Year later they continue to tell their story of their loss and their rainbow of hope after the storm. Here is how the first year has gone for these ladies and their rainbow babies/families.
Jasmin said that the last year has been amazing yet flown by. “I don’t think any other year in my life has gone by so fast. To see Lorenzo, grow from nothing to this beautiful little boy has been the best feeling in the world.” Some of her favorite memories from the year were her family meeting Lorenzo, baptizing him, all the teeth he has gotten in and watching him walk on his 1st birthday. When asked how her rainbow has helped her with her previous losses, she said, “honestly every time I look at him, I get so emotional to finally have received my rainbow in one piece. Healthy and strong. There’s days I look at him and think of my Angel baby, but I know he carries their spirit with him and that there, makes me feel a lot better. There’s always a light at the end of the darkness and let me tell you Lorenzo is such a bright light in my life.”
She talks about Lorenzo with such joy as she has watched him grow. Currently he is just over a year old and he “walks, runs, always flirting with the ladies, climbs everything, and LOVES eating all types of food. He’s beginning with talking still mainly babbles though.” Lorenzo’s favorite things are dogs and animals. The thing she is looking forward too the most is watching his voice and personality grow over the next year. When asked what advice she would give regarding the first year with her rainbow she said, “I’ve learned as a mother, giving advice is hard because every kid is so different and unique in their own way but, if I had to give advice for one thing it would be just pour all your love and sadness from your loss into your rainbow. They make our lives worth living and it really teaches you who you are too. You and your rainbow grow so much together and it’s the most beautiful feeling in the world.”
This is what Breanna had to say about the first year with her rainbow. “The first year with my rainbow has been amazing, stressful, and all you can think of in between. But it’s been the best year of my life. My favorite memories are her first words, first steps & all her little crazy babble talk. She has helped me so much with coping with the loss of my first. She just brightens my darkest days.
She is perfect, so happy & SOOOO funny. She has learned how to go up & down stairs, how to climb up on the couch/chair, use a spoon & fork to feed herself & a lot of words. She loves to play outside in the mud & LOVES water. She’d play in the bath ALL day long if you’d let her lol. This next year, i can’t wait for her to speak clearly so we can understand what she is saying ha-ha.
Emotionally, I’m damaged, but healing. It still hurts knowing what my baby could’ve been, but never had the chance to become … and that haunts me every day, but it’s getting better. Me and my husband now have our own place & I now have a job. A little piece of advice is, DONT BLINK, enjoy every moment, the good, the bad & the ugly , because in reality , they’re the most precious . The second you blink; a year has already gone by.”
Megan and Little Noah have grown a lot too, Noah has 2 older sisters who he absolutely adores and will soon have a younger brother to play with. Megan says he has been a great baby and loves to give hugs and kisses. Her favorite memory from the past year has been staying home and watching him grow along with his sisters.
She says Noah’s favorite things are his sisters and breastfeeding. She is looking forward to watching his personality flourish over the next year. She said. “This is always my favorite age, since they just grow so much in this next year.” Megan is currently pregnant with her “pot of gold.” A pot of gold is a pregnancy without any miscarriages before hand after a history of miscarriages. This is the first time any of her pregnancies have made it this long without a loss first and they are all super excited. “I’m doing ok, some days are worse than others especially since I’m pregnant with a pot of gold baby. It is a different feeling not having loss between pregnancies. My family is doing well. We are all taking each day one at a time. When asked what advice she would give regarding the first year with her rainbow, she said, “It’s wild and crazy. Enjoy each milestone. Always feel the emotions that come along with loss and having an earth side baby.”
Betsy and Colton were so adorable at the photoshoot. Colton has grown so much in the past year, but he has the same expressions in his 1 month and 1-year pictures. It’s super cute. She has been able to stay home with him the past year and loved watching him grow. Her favorite memories including reading with him 3x a day and watching him learn car noises and play with different things with wheels around the house and the sounds he makes to go along with them.
When asked how her rainbow has helped her cope with her past loss, she says “I actually had another loss this year (ectopic pregnancy) and he really helped me pull through. Just seeing him or hearing a laugh across the room gave the gentle reminder that there really is a rainbow after the storm. “Colton is now just over a year old and recently learned how to climb so “the world is a jungle gym” in his eyes. He loves books, anything Disney and Music and she hopes to have many memories of Disney celebrations and sing along.
“We really realized that children are like a gift. They are given to you when you need them most and make your heart fuller. “Betsy
One of the things she said really struck home “We really realized that children are like a gift. They are given to you when you need them most and make your heart fuller. “Her advice to other is to “watch them as much as you can. Seeing the wonder in their eyes as they learn and discover new things is magical. “
Allana and little Gracelynn have been through a lot together in the past year. “The first year with my rainbow baby has been amazing. I have watched her grow along with her beautiful personality. Though it has had its hard times like the sleepless nights as she’s teething or coping with divorce of her father and me. I would not change it for anything. “
Her favorite memories where hearing Gracelynn’s first word “mama” and watching her take her first steps. When asked how her rainbow has helped her cope with previous losses she said “My rainbow baby has without a doubt helped me with coping the loss of my Quadruplets. She has brought me tons of happiness. I always see yellow butterflies that remind me of the babies I lost, I use to cry. Now I smile. She has showed me what happiness is and although it hurts to think about the loss, I look at my beautiful rainbow baby and thank God for her.”
Gracelynn is already stringing together sentences and having conversations with her mom and others. She is one smart little girl!! And strong just like her mama. Gracelynn’s favorite things are eating and hanging out at the pool. When asked how she was doing emotionally after her losses (quadruplets) and her rainbow, she said “Since the loss of my babies, I have been alright. The thought of them slips my mind every day. I still get sad every once and awhile, but I know they are doing amazing and will forever be watching down on Gracelyn and our family. “
Her advice to others is to “stay positive. Be happy. Take every day as it comes and cherish every little moment because it goes by fast. Let the small things go and take step forward and remember God has your back. “
Amber and Sawyer had quite the first year together. “This first year has flown by! I do not feel like it went as fast with my first. It has been so much fun watching Sawyer grow & develop a personality. He is so funny and is definitely a mama’s boy! The first 6 months went by super-fast with lots of appointments. Sawyer wore a cranial helmet from 4.5 months old- 7.5months old. We were also going to physical therapy for a few months to help him get a better range of motion for his neck. It was not long after he graduated from the Doc Band & finished PT that we all went into quarantine & I felt like I got a second maternity leave although I was still teaching online classes. I’m so grateful for all the time I got to spend with Sawyer during his first year!”
Her favorite memories were being his favorite place to snuggle when he decided to and watching him and his older sister play together. He loves playing with cars, animals and throwing a ball around. When asked how her rainbow has helped her cope with her previous loss, she said “I’m not sure I would say that Sawyer has helped me deal with my loss but I will say that I don’t take a single day with him for granted. I miss my angel baby all the time. Sometimes more than others. I can’t wait to meet him or her one day & I know they’re smiling down on us waiting for the day that we can all be together.” Sawyer was a little slow to crawl but quickly caught up to walking running and climbing and keeps his mom busy. He has also started talking including mama, uh oh and no. His favorite thing is to be outside.
When asked how she is doing emotionally and how her and her family are doing after their loss prior to sawyer she said, “We are all doing well. Like I mentioned before, I think of my angel all the time. Sometimes I get a little emotional thinking about him/her, but I take comfort in knowing that my Savior is holding, loving & caring for my precious baby until I get there.” Her advice to other moms is too “Enjoy every single second! The days are long, but the years are short. You’ll miss the little things when they grow up… like skin to skin time, sleepy snuggles, etc.”
7 women, 7 stories. They are just one of many voices waiting to be heard. One voice ready to express comfort, empathy and support for those who have gone through similar experiences. Voices that are important. They are moms, teachers, military, hair stylists. They are one of us. They are amongst us. You never know what someone has been through. There are more of us then you think. Please help by sharing their stories and help raise awareness to pregnancy and infant loss so that these women don’t have to feel ashamed and guilty of what happened.
*****CREDIT TO MAYBERRY ACRES FOR THE BACKGROUNDS FOR THE IMAGES. THEY DONATED THEIR FARMHOUSE AND GREENHOUSE AND TIME FOR THIS PHOTOSHOOT*****