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Jessica Waugh

Antenatal Group Running the Rainbow Race 2023 for Baby Loss Charity, Tommy's

Fundraising for Tommy's, the baby charity
raised of £2,000 target
by 62 supporters
In memory of Louis Gould and all the babies that we, and others, have lost
Manchester Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre team are holding a Rainbow Race to raise funds for Tommy's


Hi, I’m Jess and we’re an antenatal group from Manchester who are running the Tommy’s Rainbow Race with our babies on Sunday 24th September 2023 to raise money for baby loss charity Tommy’s, and their amazing Stillbirth Research Center and Rainbow Clinic.

The Tommy’s Rainbow Clinic (based in Manchester and being rolled out to hospitals all across the UK) provides much-needed support to families who are pregnant after baby loss, including extra scans, tests and treatments, and consultant-led care. It helps to lower stillbirth rates and has assisted many families in safely welcoming their rainbow babies into the world - including two of the babies in this group who were born in March this year!

If you haven’t heard the term “rainbow baby” before, it refers to a baby who’s been born after pregnancy or baby loss. Sadly, in just this one antenatal group of 10 couples, over half of our babies are rainbow babies, with six out of 10 of the couples on our course having experienced baby loss. Between us, we’ve lost 10 babies to stillbirth, late miscarriage and early miscarriage. We’ve experienced multiple miscarriage, infertility and IVF. We’ve had postmortems and funerals for our babies who didn’t make it. And we’ve taken thousands of tests, pills and pessaries in attempt to find answers and bring our babies into the world.

The impact baby loss has had on our lives has been huge: affecting our mental and physical health, work, finances, social lives and more. None of us knew before experiencing baby loss just how much it affects you. Suffice to say, our pregnancies have been anxious ones, with many of us convinced throughout that our babies wouldn’t make it. (Once you’ve lost one baby or heard the words in a scan: “I’m so sorry, there’s no heartbeat,” you can’t help but think the same thing will happen again.)

But amazingly all of our miracle rainbow babies made it! And many with the help of Tommy’s. To help show our gratitude and support of this amazing charity, we want to raise as much money as we can for Tommy’s and their incredible Rainbow Clinic and Research Center so that others can receive the same support, tests, and treatments as we did, and hopefully go onto welcome their rainbow babies too.

Before we say a bit more about the Tommy’s Rainbow Clinic and how the money we’re raising will be used, a few of us thought we’d let you know a bit more about our individual experiences of baby loss and how charities like Tommy’s have helped us.


To begin, here’s mine and Jim’s story:

After welcoming our daughter Mila into the world in 2019 following a smooth pregnancy, we naively didn’t expect anything different when I became pregnant again two years later. It was, on the whole, another smooth pregnancy, with the first two scans showing no issues. But, after experiencing a bit of spotting shortly before six months and going in for a scan just to check the baby over, we were told the utterly heartbreaking and life-changing news that our baby had died and that I’d need to give birth to him shortly. It was at that moment that our whole world came crashing down and we’ve been trying to rebuild it since. (You can read more about our experience of losing Louis here.)

All the staff at St Mary’s Hospital Manchester, where Louis was born, were nothing short of amazing. Their bereavement midwives took Louis’ photos, hand and footprints, helped us to arrange his funeral, and provided us with counseling to help us come to terms with our loss and traumatic birth and feel supported to go through pregnancy again. They also referred us to Tommy’s Stillbirth Research Center, who conducted a postmortem on Louis, as well as in-depth tests on the placenta, and tests on me, to try and find out why he’d died.

After an anxious four-month wait for the test results, we were told that no cause of death had been found. (We later learned that around 50% of stillbirths have no cause found as more research funding is needed, which donations from this fundraiser will go towards.) From the tests we’d had done there were no genetic abnormalities, no infections, no blood clotting disorders, no thyroid disorders, my Vitamin D and blood sugar levels were normal... in a nutshell, me and Louis had both been fine. The only abnormalities noted were some findings with the placenta, but these couldn't definitively be stated as the cause (although Tommy's research has found that 32.5% of stillbirths are linked to complications with the placenta.) As our tests had revealed no cause, we were told there was no reason why we shouldn’t try for another baby.

It was hard not having an answer - and really scary to launch back into trying for another baby worrying the same thing might happen again as there was nothing we could do to try and change the outcome without knowing why it had happened - but we were told that having no answers was a good thing. Some of the conditions they tested for can make it very difficult to have a successful pregnancy. So, when I fell pregnant again, there was hope that maybe this time it might just work out.

Devastatingly though, this wasn’t to be the case, and this pregnancy also ended in loss. We were shattered, and our lives were again upturned. I was now over 35, and referred to the multiple miscarriage clinic for further tests, but again, they came back fine.

By this point, we were beginning to lose hope that we’d ever have another baby. Our lives felt on hold while we focused all of our time, thoughts, and efforts into the pursuit of bringing a baby - and sibling for Mila - home. For months, and what turned into years, this journey became our sole focus. We read every book on baby loss to try and find out all the possible causes – most being out of our control; we spent hundreds of pounds on supplements we'd read could sometimes help prevent it; we took time off work to grieve, recover, attend the many medical appointments that were filling up our diaries, and get my body in the best possible shape for having a successful pregnancy.

The next time we discovered we were pregnant, we were in equal part ecstatic and terrified - convinced it was going to end the same horrendous way as it had before. Why wouldn’t it?

From 6 weeks on, as soon as you’re able to see the heartbeat, we had weekly scans which helped to assure us for a few brief moments each week that the baby was still alive. I can’t count the number of times in those early weeks that I burst into tears each time the scan showed a heartbeat flickering away, as each time we went in and the cold gel was rubbed over my growing bump, we were sure we were going to be told, once again, that our baby had no heartbeat.

I tried to regain some control during this pregnancy by doing anything in my power that might help lower any risk of something going wrong. I switched to completely natural deodorants and hair, wash and cleaning products. I stopped wearing nail varnish and moisturisers. I even stopped sharing food and cutlery with our daughter, avoided kissing her on the lips, and stopped going into her nursery for pick-ups as I’d read about some infections that can cause baby loss that commonly circulate in nurseries and young children. I went to the doctors with every minor illness and ailment – and even once ended up in hospital for 16 hours with a rash, and was tested for chickenpox, parvovirus and CMV – as all of these infections can cause baby loss. I avoided having a cracked amalgam filling removed and replaced for fear of the mercury harming the baby. I didn’t travel or go further than an hour from our hospital, just in case the worst happened and we needed to get there quick. I paused my business plans and activities and took some time off work to focus on reducing stress as I was scared that stress could cause baby loss - and could have been the cause of Louis' death - even though a consultant had told me it couldn't. I’m letting you know all this not to scare you, but to make you aware of the realities of what people who are pregnant after baby loss go through to try and ensure a successful pregnancy, and why the help of the Rainbow Clinic which provides extra scans, treatments, and assurance, is just so important.

I believe the extra support we had right from the beginning of this pregnancy was pivotal in helping us bring Mila's little sister, Lola, into the world. St Mary’s bereavement midwives and their multiple miscarriage clinic supported us right from the start before we were under the care of the amazing Tommy's Rainbow Clinic. I was scanned and tested from the very start of my pregnancy and was prescribed multiple pills and progesterone pessaries based on Tommy’s research that has shown they can help sustain some pregnancies after loss. This research has saved the lives of many babies all across the UK who otherwise wouldn’t have made it, and may have played a part in Lola making it too.

For the duration of our pregnancy at the Tommy’s Rainbow Clinic, we were under the unparalleled care of the amazing Specialist Midwife Emilie Bailey, and the incredible world-renowned placenta expert and obstetrician, Professor Alex Heazell (Clinical Director of the Stillbirth Research Center and Founder of the Rainbow Clinic, who has also personally experienced stillbirth). Under their expert care, we were overjoyed to go on to welcome our healthy, happy daughter, Lola, who we couldn’t be more grateful to have, and feel we owe them everything!

The care, compassion, and expertise of Emilie and Professor Heazell (and all the Rainbow Clinic staff and bereavement midwives) helped us to make it through the most anxious 9 months of our lives - and become a little less anxious with each visit! With every scan at the Rainbow Clinic, we became a little more positive that we might actually be bringing our baby home – and we owe it to Tommy’s that we did! As well as their incredible care throughout our pregnancy, Rainbow midwife Emilie even joined us for Lola’s birth and stayed to support us after (when I was an absolute emotional mess – in utter shock and amazement that our baby had actually made it here safely!)

The Rainbow Clinic gave Lola a little rainbow hat to wear when she was born so the hospital staff would know that she’d been born after baby loss, which proved to be so helpful (and possibly helped them to understand why I kept bursting into tears throughout the majority of our hospital stay!)

We believe the care we received throughout Lola’s pregnancy contributed towards her making it here safely. And we want to raise as much money as possible for Tommy’s and their incredible Research Center and Rainbow Clinic so that others all across the UK can receive the same level of care as we did during the most anxious and uncertain times of their lives.

Please help us in our fundraising efforts by giving whatever you can, no matter how big or small. Any contribution will make a huge difference and will help save babies' lives.

Thank you so much - and wish us luck on our rainbow run as we remember all our babies that didn’t make it, and celebrate the lives of our babies that did.

Love Jess, Jim, Mila and Lola x


Another couple in our antenatal group were also supported by Tommy’s Rainbow Clinic. This is Katy and Greg’s story:

Our story began with heartbreak—a miscarriage that left us shattered.

Months of unexplained bleeding led to the discovery of a rare condition, uterus didelphys, adding more uncertainty to our path to parenthood. But when we found out we were pregnant again, a ray of hope emerged.

Manchester Royal Infirmary and the Tommy's clinic offered unwavering support, providing crucial checks and guidance during our anxious journey. The Tommy's resources and staff were our anchors during this uncertain time. Their expertise and care fuelled our hope.

In Spring 2023, our resilient spirit was rewarded with the arrival of our smiley baby boy, Alexander. He is the embodiment of our journey from despair to joy, made possible with Tommy's by our side.

We invite you to join us in supporting Tommy's, ensuring more families find hope and happiness on their unique journeys.

With gratitude and hope,

Katy, Greg, and Alexander


Jono & Jenny from our antenatal group, who have also received support following baby loss, share their story:

Pregnancy and having your first living child after baby loss is a strange experience, full of conflicting emotions. We can't have two fifteen-month-olds, a one-year-old, and a nine-month-old, as well as the three-month-old we do have and love. Nothing is taken for granted, nothing is guaranteed. We're very grateful for the treatments we received, which allowed our fourth pregnancy to continue, but also for the counselling, reassurance scans, and compassion which helped us so much to get here.

Jono & Jenny


Jenna and Mike share their journey of loss and bringing their baby into the world:

We were heartbroken when our much longed-for first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. We were extremely fortunate to fall pregnant again quite quickly however I was very anxious throughout thinking that the same would happen again and felt like we’d lost a lot of innocence and excitement and replaced it with fear and mistrust of my own body and the whole process of pregnancy- it felt too good to be true that we would be able to have a child.

We feel so lucky to have safely welcomed our beautiful baby boy into the world in April and wish wholeheartedly for other families who have been through miscarriage and baby loss, and anyone wishing to carry on with their journeys towards their rainbow babies, to be supported and comforted during what is such a difficult time.

Jenna and Mike


A & S in our group, who have also been affected by baby loss, share their story:

Miscarriage and baby loss is so rarely talked about that it didn’t enter my head when I fell pregnant at the beginning of lockdown. I remember feeling irritated by older relatives cautiously declaring “It’s very early” as if getting too excited was jinxing it. It wasn’t until I started spotting around 8 weeks that I understood. Sadly we lost our baby and my life was impacted more than I could’ve possibly imagined.

I wish I’d reached out to a charity for support. Instead, I took lots of time off work and focused my efforts on getting pregnant again. This took years of heartache and a round of IVF until we got our incredible rainbow baby.

Raising money to support families in the hidden grief of miscarriage, stillbirth, and baby loss is so so important. The curtain has now been lifted to many other stories, far more harrowing than my own, and I hope these funds can help more grieving families.



Together, we’re running to remember all the babies who couldn’t be taken home and are celebrating their siblings who could.

Please donate as much as you can to help us fundraise for Tommy’s, to help support grieving families who’ve been affected by baby loss, and to help bring more babies safely into the world. Your donations will help save babies' lives.

Thanks all,

Jess, Jim, Mila, and Lola, and our Amazing Antenatal Group! x


Finally (and well done if you’ve read this far!) here’s a message from Tommy’s Rainbow Clinic midwife, Emilie, on where the funds will go:

All of us at Rainbow Clinic feel so lucky to be funded by Tommy’s to provide specialist support to families throughout their Rainbow pregnancy journey, but we know that this is sadly not available to all bereaved families in the UK.

As well as supporting our clinic, Tommy’s fund the research that we carry out into how we can improve care in pregnancy after loss and how we can reduce disparities across the country.

So far we have supported 28 other hospitals to set up a Rainbow Clinic to improve access to support for families around the UK, however we know that there are still massive gaps where this is not available.

By supporting Tommy’s we are helping not only to raise awareness of baby loss, but also the importance of helping every family who has experienced this to access the support they need.

Donations received at the Rainbow Race will help us to continue this research, continue caring for families when they need it most, and continue to ensure that everyone has access to the same care that’s given at the Manchester Rainbow Clinic.

About the campaign

Manchester Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre team are holding a Rainbow Race to raise funds for Tommy's

About the charity

Tommy's, the baby charity

Verified by JustGiving

RCN 1060508
Tommy's funds medical research into the causes of premature birth, stillbirth and miscarriage, and provides an information service about health in pregnancy.

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