A Conversation on Pregnancy, Loss & Rainbow Babies

Pregnant Lillie VarleyLife with Twins after lossBabies Gigi and JettCutenessSleepy Gigi wears the Embroidered RomperSleepy Jett wears the Explorer RomperLife after lossRainbow BabiesNo mother should ever feel shame or guilt after losing a pregnancyBrothersThe family at homeRainbow Babies in the SunshineLillie and her rainbow babies

Who’s in your tribe?
EJ, my beloved
Dash, our eldest son who is 7
Bear, our angel in heaven
Gigi and Jett, our rainbow babies who are 7 months old

Can you share with the Children of the Tribe community a little about the loss of your beautiful boy, Bear, at 20 weeks?
Our darling boy Bear was stillborn at 20 weeks and 2 days. Bear was our first frozen embryo transfer after our first round of IVF. We had been trying to conceive for almost 3 years naturally and with fertility drugs. He was our little miracle and falling pregnant with him was the happiest moment for our family.
At 18 weeks my placenta tore and I was hospitalised in hope the bleeding would stop and my placenta would heal. Within a week the bleeding caused my amniotic sac to rupture.
5 days later during our checkup scan our worst fears had come true, there was no heartbeat. Our baby boy had passed away. I can't actually put into words how devastating this was for us.
We were completely heartbroken. I was sent home and told I would naturally go into labour, this took a few days, days spent cradling my tummy and crying hoping it was all a bad dream. 2 Days later I was admitted back into hospital and induced. An hour later I gave birth to our little angel Bear. He was so small and beautiful. We spent the day holding him and talking to him. Saying goodbye to him was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. This was the saddest day of our lives, a day that changed our world forever, changed who we are and everything we believed in.

After experiencing such profound loss, what emotions overwhelmed you?
Guilt.
Grief itself overwhelmed me because I had never really experienced it and I struggled with the rollercoaster of emotions everyday.
But the guilt I felt was by far the worst. I blamed myself for failing Bear. My body let him down and I still feel guilty I couldn't get him safely to the end of my pregnancy.

What was it that turned things around for you?
Slowly over time I began to feel stronger and more brave. I yearned for more babies and I accepted it may be a tough journey to get them. I just woke up one morning and knew I was ready to start trying again.

Often women experience the loss of their babies can feel excruciatingly alone. What insight can you share with other women who may be struggling with their own experience?
I felt very alone at first. Sadly, I had 2 friends who had experienced similar devastating losses; they both reached out and helped me so much through this time.
Looking back, it must have been so hard for them to delve so deep into their own pain and grief to help me - I am forever grateful them both. I am so blessed to be surrounded by a beautiful community of mums and every one of them did something to help me through my grief.
The more people that heard of our loss, the more people reached out and shared stories of their own losses and this helped so much.
It was so insightful for me to understanding how common pregnancy loss is. No mother should ever feel alone or ashamed of a loss.

How your rainbow babies, twins Jett & Gigi, were conceived is somewhat of a miracle. Do you remember the exact moment you discovered you were pregnant?
We found out I was pregnant a week after I had an embryo transfer.
I was supposed to wait another week for a blood test but I had a feeling, so I did a home test. It wasn't until I was hospitalised at 8 weeks with a virus that we found out it was twins. We were so excited and couldn't believe how lucky we were.
We assumed the embryo had split and we were expecting identical boys or girls. We decided to have a surprise and not find out their gender. When the twins were born and we had a girl and a boy our doctor explained that one was the embryo and one was conceived naturally. We will never know which one our IVF miracle is or which one is our natural miracle.

How has your eldest son, Dash, responded to the arrival of the twins?
He is so happy and is such a beautiful big brother to both of them. Shortly after we lost Bear we spent a day at the Crystal Castle. He filled out a card and hung it on the wishing tree. He wished for a brother and a sister. To this day he thinks the tree is magic because he got both.

How will your family be spending Mother’s Day?
Together. We always go out for a nice breakfast somewhere local and head to the park or beach. And hopefully end the day with a glass of rosé.