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  • Writer's pictureBeth Wankiewicz

The Baby Loss Hub - Late Miscarriage - double the love, double the heartache

The 2nd November 2018, two lines on a pregnancy test and just like that our whole world changed forever.

I remember that feeling like it was yesterday, how I instantly fell in love, how I instantly became so excited but also the most scared I’d ever felt.

Fast forward to our 12 week scan and that love doubled when we found out that we were actually expecting twins. Two babies. Twice the love, double the excitement, but also double the worry. We were informed of the risks that can be involved in a multiple pregnancy, specifically in identical twins. Twin to twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS), is a rare but life-threatening condition that affects 10 to 15 percent of identical twins that share a placenta (monochorionic twins). TTTS can also occur in triplet or higher order pregnancies with monochorionic twins. Sadly the hospital was clearly inexperienced or lacked knowledge in this condition and at the time we weren’t given much information other than we would have fortnightly scans to check up on our babies.

Everything was going perfect until we attended one scan at 19 weeks pregnant, it was a Friday afternoon, the consultant found a slight abnormality in the twins growth and referred us straight away to a specialist hospital for further observation. I’ve never felt a feeling like it waiting over the weekend till that appointment on the following Monday. We travelled down to the hospital and was scanned straight away which confirmed a severe case of TTTS, we would loose our babies if we didn’t act immediately. So the following day I underwent laser fetal surgery to separate the twins placenta so that each twin could get an equal share of everything they needed to grow.

The surgery was a success, we were scanned straight after and there we saw our babies wriggling away with perfect heart beats, my word in that moment no words could tell you how relieved, happy, overwhelmed I felt. We were discharged that night and we travelled back home. I went to bed that night holding my tummy tight thinking I was the luckiest person in the world. Until I woke to what could only be described as a living nightmare. My waters had started to leak, we rushed to our local hospital, to be told we were losing our babies, there was nothing they could do to stop my labour and if the twins were born now they would be too small to survive.

By this point it was early hours of Wednesday morning, our babies fought so hard to survive, we were scanned twice a day to check on the babies heartbeats. Our smallest twin made it to Thursday when sadly that mornings scan revealed no heart beat. Friday morning came and I had developed sepsis, my body was slowly shutting down without me even knowing, the doctors needed to act fast as my body was rejecting our babies. I needed to go into labour fast, despite some hesitation from me, they brought on my labour that evening, at this point our biggest twin was still fighting and we wasn’t sure if she would be born alive or not.

That labour was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, and at 6.34pm and 6.36pm on the 25th January 2019 at just 20 weeks our tiny baby girls arrived, they both never got to take their first breaths, Hallie Rose and Harper Lily Sutcliffe.

In those moment my whole life changed forever, I suddenly felt like someone had pulled the ground from underneath me and I was falling into this black whole, that had no bottom and there was no net to catch me. We got to spend till the following morning with our babies. Time I will never forget and always be grateful for. We spent the next few days in hospital, in a beautiful family room off the side of the labour ward, it was so homely and comforting, almost as if you wasn’t in the hospital at all. And then we left the hospital and back home to start this journey that we never ever wanted to be on.

Things that have helped…

SiMBA Charity - nothing could have ever prepared me for walking out of the labour ward with empty arms, nothing can describe that feeling of emptiness, sadness, guilt, loneliness, but one thing I am grateful for were two beautiful memory boxes we were given at the hospital provided by the charity SiMBA, these meant we got to capture our babies hands and footprints, we have matching blankets that they cuddled and we took home, and that we cuddled and they are buried with, and so many more beautiful keep sakes.

Aching Arms - this is a charity that provides families with bears following a loss, these bears are donated by families who have also experienced a loss in the memory of their baby or child. We received this bear shortly after we lost our girls and it was so strange how much comfort it brought to us, knowing that we wasn’t alone, knowing another family had sent this bear with love and compassion. Each Christmas since we have donated two bears, in the hope that who ever receives these gets some comfort front them.

Instagram pages

Zoe Clark-Coates - Zoe posts quotes and captions from her book. These for made me realise that I wasn’t crazy or what I was feeling was okay and totally normal. As quite a lot of what she posted I think I could have written my self.

Elle at Feathering_the_empty_nest - somehow I felt drawn to Elles page, she somehow made me smile through her posts and stories. She talked about Teddy and I loved that. I found comfort in her page and still do.

Joel - Joel is a charity that supports families through pregnancy and baby loss.

We joined Joel’s support groups a few months after our loss, and immediately I felt so much comfort and warmth from them. We could talk openly about our experience and the other families could empathise with us, they wanted to hear about our babies, we shared stories, shared advice, we could cry if we needed to, we talked about completely unrelated stuff, normal stuff. It was just what we needed and over two years later we still attend these support groups. They also have a closed Facebook page, you can join, I knew that if I needed to there would be someone on there to talk to, no matter what the time of day.

Joel also have a ‘Joel’s Dads’ group which we loved. A space for Dads to get together, be open, talk, socialise and feel like they are treated the same as the mother after a loss.

They have helped us massively over this journey and our journey through pregnancy and parenting after loss.

Behind the Smile - this book is written by the co founder of Joel. And book that made me smile, cry, laugh and have so much hope for the future. I remember reading this with warmth in my tummy. A must read from an inspirational woman and Mother.

Me and Liam got tattoos in memory of our girls, they are always there with us. And it’s actually a nice when people ask what the meaning behind the tattoo is and we can talk about them.

Mainly what helps me and Liam the most is taking about our girls, visiting their grave, speaking to them, including them in our home through pictures and memories.

If there’s one thing I love its when someone asks about them, asks about my pregnancy with them, how did we decide on their names, says their names and remembers them, and special dates, something my family are amazing at.There will always be a part of my heart that is saved for our girls, I will always dream of what they would have looked like as they grew, who they would have been. There are many milestones that will be hard without them, where my heart will break that bit more that they aren’t here. But their name will always live on and we can’t wait to tell their little brother, Parker all about them

Katy xx

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