Alnwick parents help fellow ‘rainbow baby’ families

Inspirational parents have been working hard with a health trust to help other ‘rainbow baby’ families with their pregnancy journeys.

By Amanda Bourn
Monday, 11th October 2021, 2:32 pm
Keith and Dawn Tait with 'rainbow baby' Roman.
Keith and Dawn Tait with 'rainbow baby' Roman.

Dawn and Keith Tait, from Alnwick, have been working closely with bereavement midwives at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust to develop stickers for the maternity folders of affected parents. This will enable medical professionals at this trust to see very quickly that the baby is not a first pregnancy for the couple.

A rainbow baby is a child born after a miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, termination for medical reasons, stillbirth or neonatal death. For many parents, the rainbow symbolises hope and light after a dark time, and the stickers are designed to alert health care professionals to the mum-to-be’s previous experiences, to minimise any difficult questions.

As part of Baby Loss Awareness Week, which runs until Friday, the Taits decided to share their story of loss, and how they were eventually blessed with a rainbow baby.

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They said: “Roseanne Joni Tait was born on June 27, 2016, 7lb 7.5oz of beauty. Our firstborn but sadly, never to take a breath in this world. Since then we’ve been working, quietly, to make changes to improve things for others.

“When we felt ready to become parents again we faced a long wait and a battle with secondary infertility. Eventually, over four years later, we were blessed with our precious ‘rainbow baby’ pregnancy; something at times we thought would never happen.

“The anxiety accompanying a subsequent pregnancy is inexplicable and only understood by those that have journeyed through it. Often exacerbated by having to it point out and explain time and time again, especially when innocent questions like ‘your first baby?’ are asked at scan appointments, etc. We found that generic stickers to draw attention to our previous loss were often overlooked.

“When Nira Flanigan [bereavement midwife at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust] asked if we could help to co-design a sticker specific for the trust, we were keen to get involved. Having an easy-to-recognise, trust-specific image indicating a previous loss clearly displayed on notes will help professionals to approach patients with that added layer of awareness and sensitivity.

“It’s our hope that these stickers will help to ease those anxieties about having to explain when attending appointments. It’s also another part of Roseanne’s continuing legacy.”

Ms Flanighan added: “Working with parents like Dawn and Keith was truly inspirational.

"To see them turn their grief into something so positive was incredible, and I have no doubt that their commitment to helping others will improve the experiences of so many other rainbow families.

"Baby Loss Awareness week is an important time for many – it encourages people to talk and helps families unite together to support one another through the complex emotions. I would like to personally thank Dawn and Keith, and of course little Roman too, for taking us on their journey with them.”

The aim of Baby Loss Awareness Week is To raise awareness about pregnancy and baby loss.

To drive improvements in care and support for anyone affected and in the prevention of pregnancy and baby loss.