This Bold Rainbow Photoshoot Celebrates Her Late Daughter And New Son

"I hope people take away a new sense of awareness."

After experiencing a stillbirth, photographer-mom Chelsea Karr found herself pregnant again, and decided to celebrate her rainbow baby with a special photo shoot that has since gone viral.  

According to Kicks Count — a pregnancy charity in the United Kingdom — a "rainbow baby," is born following a miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death, or infant loss. "In the real world, a beautiful and bright rainbow follows a storm and gives hope of things getting better," it says on the charity's website. "... A rainbow baby brings light, but by no means replaces the angel baby." 

In a Love What Matters post, the Ashby, Mass. photographer described the story behind her rainbow baby, writing that she found out she was pregnant with her angel baby in June 2017 after celebrating her son's second birthday. 

During her 13th week, she found out she had low PAPP-A, a hormone produced by the placenta. "It was terrifying, especially since there is so little known about this and could mean so many things — or nothing at all," she wrote. "The main concern was the results meant my baby was high risk for trisomy 18 or Edwards syndrome."

The family continued to go for check-ups and later found out they were having a daughter and she did not have trisomy 18. 

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At 22 weeks, Karr and her husband took to social media to officially announce they were expecting.

On October 25, Karr was 24 weeks pregnant and woke up with a headache and "crampy" symptoms. She also noticed her daughter wasn't active the way she normally was between 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Karr was taken to the labor and delivery ward of a nearby hospital where doctors later determined that the baby had not made it.  

Karr delivered the stillborn baby, Chloe Jade, after being induced. It was then the OB discovered that Karr had a concealed placental abruption, a "serious condition where [the placenta] partially or completely separates from the uterus before the baby's born." 

Karr spent two days with Chloe Jade in the hospital and received 16 transfusions during that time. Upon release, Karr and her family had to cope with the loss. Approximately four weeks after the delivery, Karr was diagnosed with Factor V Leiden thrombophilia, a genetic blood clotting disorder which makes people more prone to blood clots and could account for the low PAPP-A.

Karr was still grappling with the loss of her daughter when she found out she was pregnant again. She and her husband were both "terrified" and took precautionary measures,  including having Karr take baby Aspirin and seeing a maternal fetal medicine (MFM) specialist. 

"The closer I got to 24 weeks, the more anxiety I got," Karr reveals. "I was starting to get PTSD at night and my mind was creating the same symptoms I had with Chloe." 

At 34 weeks, Karr wrote that her anxiety was still lingering, but that she wanted the pregnancy announcement to be a bold tribute to Chloe and to celebrate being pregnant with her son.

The photographer decided on a dramatic rainbow smoke background.

Karr told A Plus that the inspiration for the shoot came from something she saw in her photography group. "I forget who the photographer was, but it was a couple years ago and when I fell pregnant again, I just knew I wanted to do something different, something bold that you don't often see," she explained.

She shot the images herself with the help of her husband and parents. "I also had A LOT of anxiety, especially about the announcement because I had lost Chloe just two weeks after I announced her pregnancy."

"It is important to me [to share my story] because there is such a taboo on death, and an even bigger taboo on pregnancy loss and infant death," Karr told A Plus. "After I lost my daughter, I got some negative feedback about talking about her and including her. I want to spread awareness that [infant loss] happens, it sucks but it DOES happen."

"There is NO right way to grieve your child. Talking about her and sharing her photos is how I grieve and keep her spirit alive."

Karr hopes that her photo shoot and story change the way people view pregnancy and loss.

"I hope people take away a new sense of awareness. And that families know it's OK to share their story," she states. "It's OK to talk about your loss. It's OK to not be OK."

She continues, "I hope other mothers know that they are not alone. That's one thing I have gotten from this is that I feel like I have opened a door to the strongest community. Losing a child is the hardest thing a parent will EVER ago through, so having that support and knowing you're not alone goes so far." 

(H/T: People)

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