An Ohio mother who was shattered by the death of her daughter, born at just 22 weeks, found a bold way to honor the lost baby when she became pregnant yet again.
Samantha Gadd, 27, from North Canton, was only halfway through her pregnancy when she went into labor in 2017, giving birth to a little girl who died in the hospital. When she found out she was pregnant again months later, she felt a swell of mixed emotions.
That’s when her friend, a photographer, stepped in with a sweet idea: Samantha would celebrated her new baby, and honor the one she lost, with a stunning ‘rainbow baby’ photoshoot.
Sparkle: Samantha Gadd from North Canton, Ohio posed for a stunning nude maternity shoot to honor her lost child and celebrate her ‘rainbow baby’
Statement: Her friend, photographer Nicole DeHoff, covered her in rainbow glitter for the shoot
A ‘rainbow baby’ is the recently-coined term for a child born to parents who had previous lost a child, due either to death or miscarriage. In the past couple of years, several have turned to rainbow-themed maternity shoots to help them cope with the loss while honoring the new life they’d created.
Samantha is one of those mothers.
In 2016, she became pregnant with her third child and first daughter. She and her husband named the baby Victoria while she was still in utero and happily anticipated her arrival.
But on January 31, Sam went into labor at just 22 weeks, halfway through her second trimester. So early in the pregnancy, a baby is not considered viable outside the womb.
Sam gave birth to Victoria on February 1. The baby was born sleeping, with a prolapsed cord, and died soon after.
Her friend, photographer Nicole DeHoff, said Sam was ‘flooded with emotion’ when she became pregnant with another daughter months later.
Story: She gave birth to a daughter at just 22 weeks who died soon after. Months later, she became pregnant with another daughter
Theme: The new baby, Abigail, also posed with rainbow knits for her newborn shoot
Buzz words: A ‘rainbow baby’ is the recently-coined term for a child born to parents who had previous lost a child, due either to death or miscarriage
‘The beginning of the pregnancy she was detached, paranoid, scared, and while she wanted to be excited that she was having a girl, she didn’t want it to feel like Victoria was being replaced,’ Nicole told Love What Matters.
‘We began planning her maternity session, because it had to be something special. Victoria may have been born sleeping, but she left a huge impact on all of our lives and we needed to honor her in a special way.’
Nicole was at a craft store when she came across the glitter section, and had the idea to honor her friend’s ‘rainbow baby’ with rainbow glitter.
‘We were going to honor Victoria with the sparkle that she left behind with all of us.’
Samantha posed nude for the striking shoot, first standing in profile and then sitting on the floor, cradling her belly.
Nicole used Vaseline to stick glitter to the expectant mom’s skin, creating a gradient of red to purple from her shoulder to her thigh.
Mixed: Samantha was flooded with emotions when she became pregnant again and wanted to celebrate her new baby without forgetting the one she lost
Tribute: She also posed for this image, in which Nicole Photoshopped a shadow of the child she lost, Victoria
They also set up clothed shots, with Samantha holding the hand of a Photoshopped shadow of her lost child in one and the mom-to-be wearing a gown with a long rainbow train in another.
‘Losing a child is the most awful feeling — you’re filled with so much anger, and you’re so hurt. You have questions that really can’t be answered and an internal struggle that is never really resolved, Nicole reflected.
‘No child can ever be replaced, no matter how many kids you have after that.’
Samantha has continued to honor Victoria, celebrating her first birthday earlier this year. She also welcomed her rainbow baby, Abigail on December 14th, 2017.
Abigail got a newborn shoot of her own, dressed up in a rainbow blanket by Devoted Knits.
‘She’s so beautiful, so perfect and innocent. She is loved so much, and she will always have Victoria watching over her,’ Nicole added.