collected and photographed by
Lloydminster newborn photographer Jen Isackson,
as written by their loving parents
The name “rainbow baby” comes from the idea of a rainbow appearing in the sky after a storm, or after a dark and turbulent time. The term has gained popularity on blogs and social media in recent years, and has come to symbolize hope and healing.
For those who have experienced the loss of a baby, the birth of a rainbow baby is a time of immense joy, reflection, healing, and mixed emotions.
Rainbow babies are often described as ‘miracle’ babies due to the powerful impact they can have on helping parents heal after a loss. However, rainbow pregnancies can bring strong feelings of anxiety, guilt, and even fear.
Conflicting emotions of honouring a baby who has died while celebrating one that’s healthy — and grieving a loss while celebrating new life — often accompany a rainbow birth."(https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/rainbow-baby)
Kenneth & Sophia
I have been down a very long road to have my second child. I was told that I would no longer be able to have any more children after trying for 10 years, due to blockages in both my tubes and also my age. I had gone through many tests and surgery with no success. I never gave up hope. With patience and a hopeful heart, I was finally blessed with a beautiful baby boy.
I was overjoyed when I found out I was pregnant, and also quite scared that there might be complications with the pregnancy. But by the grace of God my son came out precious and perfect. We are truly blessed to have him in our lives
Keep the faith and stay positive. Patience is the key.
Sheldon & Crystal
With our first son there was no period of trying - we were just pregnant, and it was basically smooth sailing from there. This gave us a false sense of security when it came to trying for a second.
We “tried without trying” for three months with no luck. At this point I decided to start tracking my cycle closer. Two more months of no luck. On the third month we were successful! We were so excited! Our kids were going to be spaced a little further than we had wanted but that was ok. June or Max. Those were the names we had chosen.
We told friends and family. Our first pregnancy went without issue, so we were not being sent for an ultrasound until 12 weeks. I told my husband not to bother taking time off work, I was ok to go on my own. That day was the start of the hardest time of my life.
They couldn’t tell me what was wrong, just that things “weren’t as expected”. I have never felt so alone as I did in that moment. Just me and my toddler and an obviously concerned ultrasound technician. I was sent home and told to go see my doctor on Monday, this was Friday. We tried to be positive, but I couldn’t stop crying. Sometimes you just know.
The next day things took a turn, we ended up spending the day in emergency but again left without any real answers, but I knew. I felt empty. I felt broken. The next week things were confirmed. We had lost our baby, and I had lost a piece of myself in the process. We were told all of the usual things: “this is very common, you did nothing wrong”, “I’m sure you’ll get pregnant again real soon”, “at least you know you can get pregnant” - none of which were any comfort.
We cried, we grieved, and at one point I wasn’t sure I could emotionally handle trying again. Luckily, I have the most supportive family and friends. I was surrounded by loving people who allowed me to rant and cry and whatever else I needed to do to start and continue healing. I needed to speak about it, and I did. Through this I discovered so many women in my life that had also been through a loss. These conversations were a huge part of my healing.
That all happened in June. We didn’t actively pursue getting pregnant after that, back to “trying without trying”. December came and sure enough we were pregnant again! But this time it wasn’t the same excitement. I was terrified. I was guarded. I kept saying I’ll relax after I hear the heartbeat, or I’ll relax after the next ultrasound. But honestly. I’m not sure I ever did relax. Even more so once labour started, I was constantly concerned something was wrong. This time around I didn’t get to enjoy blissful ignorance that anything bad could happen. Every twinge, every ache brought on worry.
We’re very lucky that my worry was for nothing - exactly on his due date John made his appearance and we gained a second perfect, healthy little man!
Please know that you did nothing wrong. You are not alone. Grieve as you need and reach out, you have more support and understanding than you will ever realize.
Tyler & Maria
5 months into our pregnancy our first son Lukas was diagnosed with a giant omphalocele, and a few other birth defects. We definitely were not prepared for something like this. We had to move to the city, away from our families to be with Lukas and went back and forth each day to the hospital. Lukas fought for 4 strong months after being born. The doctors kept trying to prepare us for the worst but we never gave up hope for our baby boy. Each day I could see him getting weaker. The fight was too much for him and we had to say goodbye. Losing Lukas did not feel real, it was the hardest thing we could ever imagined going through, being first time parents. Knowing he isn’t suffering or in pain anymore helped us get through each day. He definitely changed our lives and we are so grateful to have been blessed by him. Now he is our angel.
We found out we were pregnant 5 months after losing Lukas. We were very scared at the thought of having a baby right after we lost one. We ended up having a healthy, beautiful baby boy. Our lives have been filled with joy since. We still think about Lukas every day. Sometimes we can see parts of Lukas in our son Julian and our heart feels pure joys when this happens. Our heart feels full again after having our rainbow baby.
Support each other now more than ever, only you two truly know what you’re going through. take as much time you need to grieve the loss of your beautiful baby. There will be happiness again in your life.
In loving memory of Lukas William
Trevor & Cindy
The journey to beginning our family started in September 2011 and lasted almost eight years until our family was finally complete this past May 2019.
We went through our first heartbreak of a miscarriage in November 2011. As devastating as it was, we decided to try again. Little did we know, that it was going to be the first of three losses. We also discovered it wasn’t as easy as we had hoped!
In August of 2013 we had our first appointment at a fertility clinic in Edmonton. Our doctor ended up diagnosing me with Diminished Ovarian Reserve. Because of my age, my egg supply and quality weren’t great. This led to numerous trips to Edmonton for countless ultrasounds, bloodwork and injections. We had tried two rounds of IUI’s (Intrauterine Insemination) with no luck! Then to our surprise we conceived naturally again, only to lose this one at 6 1/2 weeks. That’s when we decided to do IVF instead. We’re very fortunate this worked the first time and gave us our first rainbow baby, who is now our four year old son! We decided to try IVF again in 2017. And for the second time, the IVF worked!! But as we were all too familiar with loss, it happened for a third time. After speaking with our fertility doctor, he recommended either adoption or an egg donor. We automatically chose the egg donor route! This was important for us, as I would be able to carry this pregnancy myself and give birth to our child, also he or she would have Trevor’s DNA. We were so excited yet scared because it’s not guaranteed, and we didn’t know if we could handle yet another loss. So, after a four-month hiatus, we were back on track for this new journey. We chose what felt like the perfect donor after viewing many profiles.
We feel so blessed and thankful every day for our second rainbow baby, sweet Olivia! She couldn’t be more loved even if she did have my DNA! Our family is now complete! ❤️
Sometimes the journey to having a family takes you down a different path than you intended, but if you can keep your heart and mind open to other possibilities (“ IVF, adoption, egg/sperm donor) ultimately it may just bring you closer to the family you dream of.
Katie & Jeremy
My pregnancy started out the same as my first one. I had a lot of pregnancy symptoms right away. Our ultrasound at 8 weeks 5 days looked great, baby's heart rate was 165, and since it was so close to Christmas, we decided to tell our family and close friends. We didn't have any issues getting pregnant and, after seeing the heartbeat, we assumed everything would be fine. At 11 weeks 3 days, my husband was out of town and I started spotting. I didn't panic too much, but called a friend to watch my son and went into Emergency to make sure everything was okay. It was a weekend, so there wasn't much they could do, but they were not able to find a heartbeat nor the cause of my spotting and sent me home to return Monday for an ultrasound. Monday is when we received the devastating news that baby had no heartbeat and it had not grown much bigger since our ultrasound at 8 weeks 5 days. I left the hospital feeling numb, confused, and heartbroken. That night, I miscarried at home and it was very traumatic. It wasn't until my miscarriage that I truly understood the grief that comes with pregnancy and loss. Once family members, friends, and acquaintances knew what we went through, we heard so many stories like ours. You hear it quietly and quickly mentioned when it happens, but I did not truly realize how many families go through this and the impact it has.
I also didn't realize, until I was pregnant with our rainbow baby Madelyn, how much my miscarriage really affected me. My entire pregnancy with Madelyn was physically easy, especially compared to my pregnancy with my son, but emotionally it was very hard. I tried to push back my first ultrasound, so it would not be the same time frame as my first ultrasound with the baby that we lost, but somehow Madelyn's first ultrasound turned out be 8 weeks 5 days with the same heartbeat of 165. I was so scared it was a sign this pregnancy would result in heartbreak as well. My mother-in-law came to my 12-week ultrasound and I was a mess. I was shaking and cried when we finally were able to see baby and her moving!!!!! Even though this gave me so much relief, I was still worried something would go wrong. I couldn't picture bringing her home. I thought that once I got pregnant all the grief would go away, but it was still there and harder than before. I just wanted it to be over, so I could hold her and stop worrying I would lose her. At 36 weeks, I fell on my stomach, on my icy driveway. I panicked and raced to the hospital, straight to Labour and Delivery and couldn't even fully tell them what happened, I was so upset. They hooked me up to monitors and watched Madelyn for most of the day. Luckily, she was fine. I was black and blue and banged up, but just so grateful Madelyn was okay.
I regret not enjoying my pregnancy as much as I could have, since it was my last. Having Madelyn did not replace the baby we lost but she has helped to heal our broken hearts. Madelyn has made our family complete and I feel so blessed to be her mom. I will always carry three babies in my heart.
For anyone struggling to get pregnant or has gone through a miscarriage, stillbirth, or loss of a child, I would remind them it is not your fault. You cannot analyze every movement, scenario and what-if. I berated myself for a long time and caused myself so much more grief. You need to love yourself through this process and honour your loss in some way. I had a necklace created with the birth stones of my three children, so I always have them close to my heart.
Although your journey has caused you pain and heartbreak, you are not alone. Grief can be so lonely and isolating. When you hear pregnancy loss happens to 1 in 4 couples, it's hard to imagine, but I found so many people who have gone through this. I feel blessed to have been surrounded by amazing, strong women and families that helped us through such a difficult time and I would have been lost without them.
Our rainbow babies give hope and heal us in ways we would never expect. I hope that every family waiting to have their rainbow after the storm will have their day soon.
Trent & Carla
I always wanted to be a Mom! I have 3 amazing step kids and I love being their Mom, but I've always had a burning desire to see what a mixture of my Husband and I would look like. I wondered what it would feel like to carry and birth this life that formed inside of me. To see those little fingers and toes and big beautiful eyes. Then one day my dream came in the form of the best looking plus sign I have ever seen. I woke Trent and he shared the joy with a tear in his eye and a kiss from his heart. We had big beautiful dreams for this child. Then just like that the doctor said, "there is no heartbeat, do you want to wait for it to pass on its own or schedule a D&C?"
My world was shattered! Never had I been so crushed. Crushed in all realms, physically, mentally and spiritually. My body hurt, my hormones where wreaking havoc, I was incredibly depressed, and I questioned the goodness of God.
Two very broken people trying to help each other heal doesn’t always work well.
Trent had his way of grieving that to me looked like he wasn’t hurting at all. He would say things like, "don’t cry" in a soft gentle voice as he wiped my tears I couldn’t control. That made me start to ugly cry because what he intended as comfort made me feel like I couldn’t bare my heart to him. Like I had to lock it all up within. “No one wants to see those tears”, I thought. It was a very rough patch in our lives. It did eventually bring us closer together. I finally understood he was bleeding to and he was doing his best to try and help me in his pain whereas I just thought I was in this alone. I was able to finally tell him I didn’t need him to fix anything, it was impossible. I just wanted to be held with no words and allowed to let the tears fall for as long as I needed.
It took months of plastic smiles during the day and empty adventures with my step kids for me to just get by without bursting into tears.
We started to try again but with no luck. We saw a fertility specialist, tried all the fertility drugs and had an IUI and got pregnant with our second. Doctors say miscarriage is common it won’t likely happen again. But it did. And we grieved that baby.
More fertility treatments and pregnant with our third... and fourth children. Twins! But just like that, we dug a grave for them under the tree we were married under and soaked the land with our tears and our shredded hearts.
Then finally our fourth was a successful pregnancy.
As I learned about her existence, I was so hopeful but incredibly fearful. So fearful that I couldn’t sit back and fully relax and enjoy the pregnancy.
At 7 weeks old I saw that flickering heartbeat and instead of smiling and dancing I had to step out to use the washroom and I ugly cried. I cried because I was feeling that much more hope and also that much more fear. The common pattern in my life seems to be that I need to hold things at a safe distance: don’t jump all in, just be safe because that intimate kind of connection with another human being leads to hurt and that kind of hurt is unbearable!
So, the whole pregnancy I held her in a safe place. She’d kick and squirm and try to get my attention and build my hope but I needed to put it all in my subconscious in a safe place. I didn’t even realize this until after I had processed it.
As I was going through the pains of labour, I still couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that I would see her soon, face to face. My mind wouldn’t go there, I couldn’t see it. (Perhaps that’s why my labour was a long and difficult one.)
Even when I gave the last push and I saw that extremely cone-headed alien baby, I couldn’t believe that she was mine, and that she came from me!
As I reflected through the terrible cramps and holding this new life, I cried!
I cried because these cramps felt exactly like the ones where I was losing my 4 other babies. I couldn't contain myself, the tears flowed like a river. It felt like a reflection of loss again.
It took until we got word that we could go home that I lost it. I broke down and haven’t been really able to stop crying since.... in my mind I thought "I get to take her home?" I question it like I don’t get it. The process of saying that over and over allowed me to fully accept it. She’s mine! I get to take her home! I don’t have to lay her to rest with her siblings, she’s really coming home with me! I'm really holding her! I'm not laying these tiny little tissues of what were my hopes and dreams in the ground and saying goodbye. She’s right here. Every last inch of her, and we are going HOME together!"
Our little Nevaeh Alice-Joy. Her name means she’s joy straight from Heaven. Our rainbow after the storm, the beauty after the ashes! Though she brings us so much unbelievable joy we still miss the little ones that should be sitting with us at our dinner table. This pain though, gives us a greater ability to grieve deeper with those who are also hurting.
Don't be afraid to break down in a crowd of people, you're not alone there are some who are secretly broken and need someone to show them it's ok to not be ok. You are not weak! You are raw, real and courageous!
It is incredibly hard to go celebrate someone else's child but if you keep closing yourself off you will find yourself all alone and missing out on the beautiful lives around you. Yes, it hurts, I mean it really hurts, and every baby shower you go to, you will cry! Let it happen, let people in and let them hold your pain with you, so one day when you are holding your Rainbow baby at your own baby shower it's not just you crying anymore... it is literally EVERYONE because they feel your story with you.
If you are someone who doesn’t know how to help a hurting Momma remember, "When hurting is fresh, few words are best." Shared tears speak more than any word could.
Brittany & Aaron
The best view comes after the hardest climb.
In January of 2016 I had a hemorrhagic ovarian cyst that came close to needing to be surgically removed. The pain never fully subsided which lead to a surgery for investigation. It resulted in the diagnosis of endometriosis. We were handed some pretty grim news about our chances of conceiving. Our doctor told us we would most likely have a hard time conceiving and may need to seek fertility treatments. This felt devastating to us. I wondered if I’d be able to have children at all. Luckily for us we conceived our first child 6 months later. She was born in October of 2016. Unfortunately, in March of 2017 I suffered a miscarriage. We were away from home and it felt very devastating to know we would never know this sweet baby. He or she would have been born in October of 2017. I am a firm believer in everything happens for a reason. We were meant to lose that baby in order to have our fun-loving baby Jake.
November 2017 we conceived our rainbow baby. I was petrified we’d lose another baby. Living in a different city than my last pregnancy I had to wait nearly 3 months for my ultrasound. It was nerve racking I didn’t tell anyone until right before my ultrasound. Once we found out we had a normal pregnancy developing I felt relieved and that I could finally allow myself to be extremely happy.
Ian & Bethany
I am a mother of 3 children, 2 unplanned with my first husband and my rainbow baby my new husband and I tried desperately for. If we both hadn't assumed it would be effortless to conceive on purpose maybe it wouldn't have been such a painful experience for us. We conceived our first child pretty quickly and lost our angel at 11wks the day before our wedding. After that it seemed that that no matter what we did we couldn't conceive again. We changed our diet, got healthier, and continued trying. After almost a year of trying and not succeeding, we saw a specialist and he said I had to lose more weight before he would help. We conceived again shortly after, had an early miscarriage and this seemed to be the norm, every couple months. In total we had 4 losses before conceiving our rainbow. We spent hundreds on tests, tried vitamins, acupuncture, fertility massage even some spiritual healing. After our final loss we were ready to quit. It was too painful. We decided that we would try until January that year and if we hadn't succeeded, we would move on with our lives. 6 weeks after our miscarriage I took a pregnancy test because I wasn't feeling well, and I was pregnant again. I hadn't even gotten a cycle in between oh, and she was the one that stuck.
We were terrified throughout the whole pregnancy. I felt so much pressure, I wanted so badly to give my husband a biological child of his own. He had waited so long to meet the person he wanted to have a family with, and I was a bundle of emotions. I was high risk because of my gestational diabetes, multiple losses and my previous children were born premature. We were so grateful for this chance but so terrified at the same time even when we went into the hospital to have her, I was convinced that something would go wrong. It was too good to be true. Fortunately, she was born healthy and strong, and is a strong willed 4-month-old today. We are truly blessed to have all of our dreams come true and complete our little family.
Everything happens for a reason, and what's meant to be will be. All we can do in life is do our best and keep positive. You are not alone, always keep moving forward.
Tyson & Reshaun
We started trying to conceive on our honeymoon in Barbados. It was both of our dreams to get pregnant on our honeymoon and our dream came true! We were beyond excited to find out that we were expecting shortly after returning home. A couple weeks later our worst fear was looking us in the eye, a miscarriage.
Tyson was so supportive throughout everything. We decided to try to conceive again and once again fell pregnant! It was the greatest but most nerve-racking feeling. Throughout the pregnancy I was always blaming myself for the miscarriage, which made it very hard to enjoy the pregnancy. I figured our gift would be taken from us once again.
Once we had our little rainbow baby in our arms, I was finally able to enjoy everything about it.
Don’t beat yourself up after experiencing a loss, stay positive and take one day at a time. I promise you the rainbow is worth it in the end!
Jenna & Barry
We got married in August of 2015 and both knew we wanted to start a family right away. That wasn’t going to be the case for us as we tried for over a year and a half before being referred to a fertility specialist in May of 2017. I was diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) I had a minor surgery to remove a cyst from my ovary in August of that year and we found out early November that our dream came true, I was pregnant with the help of fertility drugs and injections. My hcg levels were being monitored frequently by my specialist in Saskatoon, and in early December, at only 6 weeks along we found out some very sad news, I was miscarrying. We were crushed.
It was one of the hardest things for me as I didn’t know anyone that this had happened to. My friends that had been pregnant all had their babies. I blamed myself, all the what if’s. Now more then ever I wanted to have a healthy full term baby so we tried again and discovered in early March of 2018 that I was pregnant again. Shortly after finding out, I knew something wasn’t right. After being closely monitored by my specialist, I was told some scary news. This pregnancy was not going to be viable either, it was ectopic. We were devastated. I couldn’t believe this was happening. Two pregnancies lost within 3 months of each other. I took a few weeks off work to heal, more so emotionally then anything, I then decided I needed to work on me for a while. I wasn’t sure if we would ever try again, the thought of a third loss was terrifying.
In mid April of 2018, I was just starting to feel like myself again when I discovered I was pregnant for a third time, only weeks after dealing with my ectopic pregnancy. Anxiety and fear set in. Immediately I told myself, don’t get attached as something will happen to this one too. We made it to the first ultrasound in May and after hearing the heartbeat, we left there hopeful. This pregnancy was viable. My rainbow baby, Huxley, was born December 30, 2018.
When I was going through this I felt so alone, like I had no one to relate to. I decided to start talking about my experiences and the more people I opened up to, the more common I realized it was. I also noticed that when I talked about my journey openly, I felt it helped me to heal. Be open about what you are going through, it shouldn’t be something that you go through alone and you shouldn’t be ashamed to talk about it. ❤️
David & Lindsey
My husband and I began growing our family soon after we got married. We knew we wanted kids ASAP! We became pregnant quickly. I carried him to term and we became parents! Our sweet boy was the highlight of our life. I had initially thought we’d wait awhile before having another, but when he was 5 months old I felt a strong urge to have another baby. I had a feeling there was a life I was meant to create. So we began trying for our second baby. Two lines showed up soon after and we were overjoyed, but a couple weeks later I started to get a backache that didn’t seem normal. Google warned me it may not be a good sign so I started to worry. A couple days after the backache began, we unfortunately lost our baby. No words can properly describe the heartache we felt. I felt blindsided by the loss, after having a very healthy first pregnancy. The thought of miscarriage never even crossed my mind previously. It was absolutely devastating.
The urge to have another baby did not subside. I just knew in my heart we were meant to have a second child. So we started praying for a healthy baby. A few months later, I had a very vivid dream I would become pregnant and have a positive test in March of 2018. A couple days later my mother in law had a dream that I would have a healthy baby in November. Sure enough, two bright lines showed up on a pregnancy test in March and our rainbow baby boy Nixon was born that November! Nixon has been such a wonderful addition to our family. He’s so loved by his older brother and we couldn’t imagine a life without him. We thank God we were able to have another healthy baby. The baby we lost will never be replaced. We still wonder who he/she would look like or grow up to become, but we take comfort in the fact that he/she went to be with Jesus. We wish we could have had the chance to parent that little one, but we are forever grateful for our rainbow that we get to care for and love on every day.
Throughout the pain, please believe in hope. You will come through this, and there is always a rainbow after a storm, yours is sure to come. Have faith in that. It’s okay to cry and it’s okay to mourn the loss of your little one. Please don’t ever feel like you have to shove those feelings aside. Time will help heal those wounds, but your sweet baby that went to heaven will never be forgotten. You may no longer carry your baby in your tummy, or in your arms, but you will always carry them in your heart.
Madison & Tyson
We decided to start a family in the summer of 2017 and were successful four months into trying. Shortly after learning we were pregnant, we suffered a miscarriage. After waiting the recommended time suggested by a physician, we were able to conceive again quickly. The second pregnancy seemed to be progressing normally until experiencing some strange symptoms. After a couple of visits to the emergency room, in the eleventh week our fear was confirmed that this pregnancy too was lost. This second loss was difficult to get over both physically and mentally. We started to wonder why this was happening and if there was a reason for it.
Despite losing our first two pregnancies we were eager to start a family, however, deciding when to try again was very confusing. We read and received conflicting information about trying again after suffering from multiple miscarriages. After incessant googling and researching about what we should do, our yearning to have a baby overshadowed our fear of suffering another loss and we made the decision to try again right away. We were thrilled to learn that we were pregnant for a third time so soon after our previous losses. We told ourselves to not get too excited, and waited longer than usual to share the news with our friends and family, just in case. Our doctor suggested we use a hormone during the beginning of the pregnancy to help prevent another loss. Because we were a bit on edge, we used an at home fetal doppler to hear the baby's heartbeat and constantly monitored the movements the baby made up until the last day of the pregnancy. On the day of the birth we felt like we finally made it, and were so relieved when we finally got to meet our sweet little Beau.
Some paths to parenthood are much bumpier and more challenging than others. Although it may seem impossible, try to take it easy on yourselves, trust the process of your journey and hold on to hope that you WILL reach your goal.
Hope & Justin
Going through multiple miscarriages was the most devastating experience I’ve had to go through . But the feeling once I had the pregnancy stick was a blessing. I had scares with her but she ended up being a healthy little 4lb 15oz angel . And I couldn’t be more grateful for her.
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