Meet Rachel Bailey, our Director of Fundraising, Marketing and Communications
I’m the Director of Fundraising, Marketing and Communications, so I am responsible for raising money, raising our profile, sharing our education messages with all new parents and health care professionals, and ensuring that any bereaved parent knows they can come to Red Nose for support whenever they need us.
I have been working for Red Nose for 6 months. I was drawn to Red Nose because of my personal experience with miscarriage. Here’s a little about that journey for me.
When my husband and I decided to try for a baby, we were super excited when I became pregnant really quickly, within a few weeks of trying. The first couple of weeks of pregnancy went by in a blur as we started to think about the future and how a baby would change everything forever.
The day before it happened, I remember vividly saying to him that the baby would be about the size of blueberry by now and also that I felt fine and not sick – it didn’t feel like I was even pregnant. Sadly, although I didn’t know it then, I was right.
The next day the spotting started, and by the next morning, I knew what was happening. We were experiencing a miscarriage, something we never expected to happen to us. That day was really tough, I had to go to several medical appointments and scans and then was rushed into surgery late in the afternoon for a dilation and curettage procedure as my obstetrician was worried that I would hemorrhage from the blood loss. When I came around after the operation, there was an overwhelming sense of emptiness. In the space of 24 hours, we’d gone from a future full of babies and a family of our own and this lovely secret excitement that no one knew about to an empty, sad hole where that hope had been. And a secret pain that we didn’t know how to share.
It took a little time, and then after 6 months, we decided to try again. I was still hopeful – we knew that miscarriage was common but that having more than one was less so. So, we started trying and became pregnant pretty quickly again.
This time, my obstetrician wasn’t taking any chances, and I had an early 6½-week scan where we heard a heartbeat! This was so exciting – the baby was alive, although very tiny. When the 8-week scan went well too, we thought we’d be ok this time. But it wasn’t to be. At the 10-week scan, as I looked at my tiny baby on the screen, the sonographer said, “I’m sorry, I can’t find a heartbeat”. And that was that.
We didn’t want to give up, and a few months later, I was pregnant again. We did the early scan – all ok! But on the next scan, there was no heartbeat. I lay there, and all I could think was, ‘I can’t believe this is happening again’, and I felt foolish for hoping that it might be different this time.
We wanted to know why this was happening, and we did all the tests that we could. But there were no answers. Nobody could tell us why I could get pregnant but not stay pregnant.
I wish I had known about Red Nose then. Instead of dealing with my grief and sharing how I was feeling, I squashed it down and carried on. No one knew I’d ever been pregnant, let alone that I’d had 3 miscarriages. I didn’t even take any time off from work. It became this sad little secret that I carried around with me, along with the fear that the future I’d had in my mind would never happen. That we would never be able to have a baby.
After the 3 miscarriages, I didn’t want to try again. I just wasn’t sure I could go through it all. But, we gave it one last shot. And that shot turned out to be a winner! After a stressful pregnancy, we had our little boy. And 18 months after that, we also had our little girl!
Being pregnant after 3 miscarriages was bittersweet – so hopeful, and yet every moment was tinged with fear and anxiety. I’m not sure I ever enjoyed a day while I was pregnant – I wished away the time, desperate for my baby to grow and be born. When I first saw my little boy and then my little girl, I didn’t feel that rush of love that parents describe. Of course, I love them more than anything else in the world – but at that moment, the overriding emotion I felt was relief. Thank goodness - they were born. And they were ok.
And now, I work at Red Nose, so I can help other parents - by raising money to find the next research breakthrough; by marketing our services, so bereaved families know who to turn to; and by sharing safe sleeping information with parents.
I love that the money the team and I are raising every day goes to fund research to find the next breakthrough and save little lives, educate new parents on how to keep their precious bundles safe and support all the bereaved families who need us.
And I love working at Red Nose – we’re such a passionate, supportive and compassionate team. We’re all committed to the mission and dedicated to the families in our care.
In my role, I raise the money that powers all this amazing work, and I’m incredibly committed to raising as much as we possibly can every day – because it’s so desperately needed.