The Story Behind This IVF Rainbow Baby Photo Will Hit You Straight in the Feels


Why it this rainbow baby photo so moving? Because, odds are, you’ve been through something similar.

Odds are, you know the struggle, the pain, the suffering and the heartbreak that this one photo represents.

Many of us do. But most of us suffer through this heartbreak alone, behind closed doors. Now this beautiful rainbow baby photo is shedding light on a silent suffering.

For, behind the bright colours is a struggle of infertility and infant loss. Beyond the rainbow is a roller coaster of hope, of heartbreak and of even more heartbreak to finally reach that happy ending.

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Image via Lesleigh Cetinguc

Beyond the image is a story that tells of the struggle that many women endure to fulfil their dream of becoming a mum.

This is Lesleigh’s story. Whether you’ve been through something similar or not, it’s one that needs to be read.

The picture worth a thousand tears

Already a mum to Lochlon, born via IVF, Lesleigh longed to give Lochlon a sibling. It took two years, 500+ injections, vials, pill bottles and patches and two heartbreaking miscarriages, but, finally, Lesleigh was blessed with her double rainbow baby, Lennon Kemal.

To celebrate Lennon’s birth, Lesleigh organised a rainbow-inspired photo shoot with photographer Kelley Photo and Design.

I can’t even begin to understand the incredible difficulty that is an infertility struggle, but I’m so honored to get to…

Posted by Kelley Photo & Design on Tuesday, December 26, 2017

She shares the message and meaning behind the photo in a letter, written to her son.

‘To Lennon’,

“This picture of you at the base of a colourful rainbow created from every single needle, vial of medication, patch, and pill bottle that we used in the past two years became that shot. It represents hours of injections, sticky residue from medicine patches, and pills carefully tracked.

What it doesn’t show are the countless doctor’s appointments, my bruised abdomen, our hopes lifted, our dreams crushed and many tears shed.

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Image via Lesleigh Cetinguc

It doesn’t show that we had a cancelled cycle just days before our scheduled transfer, and then a dilation and curettage (D&C) to correct new issues that had surfaced.

It doesn’t show that our subsequent transfer worked. That we had our number two.

It doesn’t show the excitement that surged through our veins or [the fact that] a few short weeks later, we sat in a cold exam room staring at an empty black circle on the screen.

It doesn’t show me alone and scared in the bathroom at work the moment I began to lose that baby. Or my tear stained body curled up on the bathroom floor at home after the miscarriage was complete.

It doesn’t show that we had a spontaneous pregnancy a few months later, and that it ended the same way.

[This one photo] doesn’t show the near crippling anxiety – the way I removed myself from friends and family, questioned my body, and my choices.

This one striking picture of you couldn’t possibly show it all. What is does show is that we never gave up. We never stopped fighting for you and battled at every turn, refusing to be knocked down for good.

Lennon Kemal, you were our last hope that day in the waiting room. You were our last embryo, frozen in time for three years and 6 days before you were transferred back to us, arriving exactly 3 years and 3 days after your big brother.

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Image via Kelley Photo and Design

You, his medical twin, were born on December 14, 2017, as our ‘double rainbow’ (baby born after two losses).

And you are nothing short of a miracle.”

‘We never gave up’

When faced with so much loss, it’s easy to give up hope. But Lesleigh never did.

Instead, she saved every single needle, every vial, every pill package, in hopes that, one day, she would be able “turn something that on the outside looks very harsh and medical into something beautiful”. 

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Image via Lesleigh Cetinguc

The pain behind this rainbow photo is one countless mums have been through. Perhaps not this exact journey, but one similar.

One in four mums will experience a miscarriage. Many will experience more than one. One in six couples will experience infertility. Many will turn to IVF and be told over and over and over again that the embryo didn’t take.

Often both these heartbreaking experiences are hidden from society. The tears shed behind closed doors. The grief locked from the outside world.

But, through Lesleigh’s candid story and the inspiring photo that followed, hopefully more mums will be encouraged to open up about this pain, to find strength in this sadness, and to remain positive that, one day, they too will experience their beautiful rainbow baby at the end of the storm.

Want more pregnancy stories to warm your heart? Take a look at this mum’s twin pregnancy announcement photo that came after enduring 452 IVF needles!

Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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