When the Rainbow Baby Never Comes

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Detroit Moms Blog welcomes our community’s input on this important topic and is pleased to offer this anonymous guest post from a local infertility warrior:

Most women in the world of infertility have heard about Rainbow Babies: babies born after a miscarriage. A Rainbow Baby, as defined by The Bump (2019), is “a baby born shortly after the loss of a previous baby due to miscarriage, stillbirth, or death in infancy. This term is given to these special rainbow babies because a rainbow typically follows a storm, giving us hope of what’s to come.”

All over social media we see photos of beautiful rainbow baby stories and pictures celebrating that good can come out of such a bad and painful experience. An unfortunate and painful part that isn’t always talked about though is what happens when one never gets their rainbow baby.

Personally, I have done IVF nine times! We have done five retrievals and nine transfers. IVF isn’t a sure thing, no matter how much money one spends, nor is adoption (our favorite comment that others make: “Well, you can always adopt!”). I am fortunate to have two amazing boys from my journey. Some women and couples aren’t so lucky. Infertility warriors, as I like to call them, do not always get a “take home baby.” There are the lucky ones who have a child, but some go through donor egg, donor sperm, donor embryo, surrogacy, adoption, or end up childless.  

We were fortunate to have my oldest son from our first IVF; however, we didn’t have any frozen embryos. No big deal, I thought. I was young, and we would just do another full IVF in a couple years; all would be good.  Little did I know, we were in for quite the ride.

In February of 2013, I had my first miscarriage after my third IVF. As we later found out, I was pregnant with a boy. My son would have his dream come true: a little brother! After seeing his heartbeat, I had a name in my head picked out, and my husband and I were so excited. I was devastated when the doctor later couldn’t find a heartbeat. At that point, we had spent so much money on IVF that I couldn’t imagine how we would afford to do it again. Eventually, I was blessed to have my rainbow baby boy after this miscarriage from our fifth IVF. While I was incredibly thankful, I also knew that I still had three frozen embryos, and my husband and I had committed to see them through. I dreamed of having more children.

Later, in July of 2016, I had my second miscarriage after my seventh IVF. This time we had done PGS testing, and we knew we were pregnant with a girl. I was again ecstatic to dream about the family I had envisioned for myself. We saw her heartbeat, and I had a beautiful name picked out. Then, my last beta was off. I dreaded what I knew was coming. This time, my husband and I spent our 15th wedding anniversary at the surgery center having another D&C, another calendar day ruined by IVF. My missed due dates and the dates I found out my babies died are all etched in my mind forever.  

Infertility steals so many aspects of joy from our lives. Some women will never be able to listen or see a pregnancy announcement without that dagger to the heart feeling of that joy that they will never or have never experienced. Ask any woman who has had a miscarriage how old her child would be, and she will tell you exactly.

Rainbow babies are a beautiful thing and should always be celebrated. But. like rainbows after a rainstorm, they are elusive and not always found. If they weren’t so rare, they wouldn’t be such a beautiful thing. For myself, I will never have the family that I had imagined or wanted. Sometimes, that is a hard pill to swallow. Not everyone will get that rainbow/happy ending. For me, finding a therapist who specialized in infertility really helped me come to terms with reality. I was also a member of a support group with other women. For help finding resources, Resolve.org is a great place to start.

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