Family & Parenting

The Inspiring Story Behind One Mom’s ‘Rainbow Baby’ Photo Shoot

What a beautiful tribute.

There is no pain in this world like the agony of losing a child. Lesleigh Cetinguc and her husband tragically became well-acquainted with this particular form of grief as they lost two babies during their journey to create their family.

It all began when Lesleigh struggled to become pregnant shortly after she married husband, Tolga. The pair tried interventions like intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization treatment (IVF) in order to have a baby. When Lesleigh finally became pregnant and delivered a little boy named Lochlan, she was overjoyed.

Soon, Lesleigh and her husband were ready to grow their little family, and they had two frozen embryos, which they hoped would create a sibling for Lochlan. Lesleigh underwent the embryo transfer procedure, and the implantation was successful: She was pregnant again.

However, during a routine doctor visit, the mom-to-be was devastated when the sonogram revealed that the pregnancy was no longer viable. Lesleigh was beside herself with grief.

“I was in a fog,” she told People. It was as if I was on my back, staring at the sky while the world passed me by.”

So, imagine her joy a few months later when she discovered that she was pregnant again, this time with no medical intervention required. Yet it wasn’t long before Lesleigh had to say goodbye to that baby as well, as she had a miscarriage shortly into the pregnancy.

Both times Lesleigh had to endure the pain of a miscarriage, crying alone in the bathroom at work and then in the bathroom at home as she experienced the pain of losing her babies over and over again.

The painful and heartbreaking experiences left Lesleigh and Tolga emotionally raw, but they kept trying to have their so-called “rainbow baby,” a term used to describe a baby who is born following the loss of a infant, through miscarriage, stillbirth or after delivery. In fact, in this case, the couple was seeking a “double rainbow baby,” an infant born after two pregnancy losses.

Miraculously, their dream came true. Lesleigh became pregnant again, and this time the pregnancy was a success. She gave birth to a beautiful little boy named Lennon just three years and three days after his big brother, Lochlan, was born.

Lesleigh wanted to celebrate the birth of her “double rainbow baby” with a newborn photo shoot, but she didn’t just want an ordinary shoot with lots of cute pics of her little one. She wanted the photos to commemorate the journey she went on in order to become pregnant and bring Lennon into the world.

She decided she would incorporate the hundreds of needles, syringes, medication vials and pill bottles she used for IVF. Many women who become pregnant from IVF use their medical supplies as photo props, but Lesleigh and Tolga took it a step further—they turned the drab syringes and bottles into a colorful rainbow to honor their “rainbow baby.”

With the IVF syringe rainbow as the backdrop, photographer Kelley Chance created a series of photos that will touch any woman who has ever struggled to become pregnant.

In a personal essay on Love What Matters, Lesleigh explained that the picture “…represents hours of injections, sticky residue from medicine patches, and pills carefully tracked.”

However, she admitted that the pictures don’t tell the whole story:

“What it doesn’t show are the countless doctor’s appointments, my bruised abdomen, our hopes lifted, our dreams crushed and many tears shed … It doesn’t show the near crippling anxiety—the way I removed myself from friends and family, questioned my body, and my choices.”

But as Lesleigh goes on to explain, the pictures do show something equally important: The fact that she never gave up. That her love for her unborn child never wavered.

“We never stopped fighting for [Lennon] and battled at every turn, refusing to be knocked down for good,” she wrote in her essay. “While I would probably never choose this path voluntarily, I can say without a doubt that this was the journey we were meant to walk together.”

So touching. What gorgeous photos with such an uplifting and inspiring message behind them.