Pregnancy Loss- Coping With The Loss Of A Twin

I lost a child during pregnancy in 2007. Avery was one of two babies that I was carrying, and is my son Jacob’s twin. According to the doctor what happened was called “vanishing twin syndrome” and was “normal”. To me, the mom of twins that was going through this, it wasn’t normal. It wasn’t just “any baby”, a part of a statistic that my doctor could rattle off… it was my baby.

What follows is a writing that I found online years ago. I don’t know who the author is but when I read it I thought “wow, that is how I feel”. This person put into words what I could not so I wanted to share it with you.

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“One twin”–it seems like a contradiction in terms…It was not something we ever would have imagined at the time of learning that we were expecting twin babies, and everything became “twos”. Yet for so many of us, because of the high risks in pregnancy and birth, it is the way it turned out: we have one to care for and raise while missing and mourning for his or her twin. We experience all the realities of becoming a parent at the very same time as all the realities of becoming a bereaved parent, and all in one package. Not this year and next year, but all at once now, and “my twins”. We grieve for our baby and for our twins being together, and we worry about the impacts on our survivor. It is often a deeply sad, confusing, and physically and emotionally exhausting time. We’re the last ones who need to be told to be grateful when a baby lives–yet finding joy in our survivor can be a huge challenge, for so many reasons, even though we need and want to all the more, and want our child to be happy.

As if this weren’t enough, many of us experience feeling like we don’t fit in anywhere, and that no one understands what we are having to go through and cope with. We also usually receive comments by others who may mean well but aren’t trying to “get it”, urging us to downplay or even deny our loss. (Like we want to hurt so much–but it hurts more to act like this baby was the only one or that our other child didn’t matter.) With all the attention paid to living multiples, and little shown of the risks and realities, it is also easy to feel that we truly are the only one and are much more unique than (sadly) we actually are.

Just when others think we are or should be doing fine, is often when we need the most support. Later also there are pressures from others and from within ourselves to be “fine”, to be coping, to not expect to spend much time thinking about our baby who died or doing what we need to do in relation to him or her. Sometimes we get used to putting our grief to the side and then it can seem scary to get in touch with it when we do have the opportunity or the need.

But–we have the same amount of grief as anyone who loses a baby, plus the grief for “my twins” and the concern for our survivor, and so it gets stretched out over a fairly long period of time–longer, not shorter because of having a survivor, and complicated, not “easier”. Besides our sheer feelings of losing our baby, we have a great deal to re-live and process emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and even physically about what happened, “why” it happened, and how to somehow integrate it all into our ongoing life. While all that is going on, we are dealing with a birthday which is also the birthday, and then the anniversary, of our twin who died…other landmarks and day-to-day reminders…issues about talking to our survivor and about what they may be feeling.

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*I love and miss you, Avery*

If you have gone through a pregnancy loss, or are currently going through one, please know that I am here for you if you need somebody to talk to. I can’t say that I understand exactly what you are going through but I can listen and pray for you.

(If you are the author of this writing please let me know so I can thank you and name you as the creator of this work.)

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13 thoughts on “Pregnancy Loss- Coping With The Loss Of A Twin

  1. 9/5/06 I lost my baby girl Mya. She was not a twin, but she was everything to me. I was 18 weeks 4 days when I found out that her heart stopped beating ~ I felt her moving the night before.

    Fast forward a couple months I got pregnant again. I went to my u/s and there were 2 sacs. I was excited ~ I joined a multiples mommy group online only to learn we had a case of the vanishing twin syndrome. For me, I think because of the loss I had just gone through with Mya and still mourning through this, and only being about 7 weeks when we discovered the 2nd sac was gone I didn’t struggle with this loss. I still wonder sometimes ~ and wish that my sweet Ella had her twin.

    January 18, 2010 I lost another baby at 8 weeks. I don’t get it. I hate that I have had to experience the excruciating pain of losing a baby. I haven’t announced this on my blog, or on twitter ~ kinda keeping this to myself for the time being, but I’m pregnant again. 5 weeks, 3 days… and praying praying praying that I get to kiss this precious baby’s face and say hello.

    Thanks for sharing this post. Pregnancy loss is a subject I always love to chime in on and support anyone if they need it.

    • Thank you so much for sharing with me Amanda. I can’t imagine going through pregnancy loss more than once and I am so sorry that you had to. Congratulations on your pregnancy… I will be praying for you and the baby. Let me know if you ever need someone to talk to, ok?

    • Amanda,
      Thank you for sharing this. I will be praying. Having a child that is lost through a miscarriage is one of the topics that are near and dear to my heart. I have lost 2. Not many people know that. I am here if you need to talk! I am praying too!!!!!!1

    • I agree about the ultrasound being a mixed blessing. Sometimes I think that it would have been easier not knowing I was carrying twins but then on the other hand I would have never been able to experience the joy of learning I was carrying two. I also think that it’s important for me to know that Jacob was a twin because I have heard that sometimes only twins know that they were once a twin and that they feel “different”.

  2. Wow. It’s like you just read my mind. I am carrying twins, although we lost one at 22 weeks to twin to twin transfusion syndrome. We had been told by our OB that we were in the lowest risk category and that ttts wasn’t an issue. We learned she was wrong when we went to the perinatologist and saw that there wasn’t a heart beat. I am now almost 32 weeks and will deliver both babies in June. So much of what you posted is exactly what I have been feeling. Thank you for your words, and the author’s words. Thank you for sharing. Pregnancy is such an intense time. To experience the dichotomy of joy and grief at the same time is impossible to describe.

    • Wow. I am so sorry. I can’t even imagine how hard that must be having to carry them both knowing that you have lost the one child. I think sometimes that I would have liked to see Avery (the twin we lost) so that I could see if the baby was a boy or a girl and did they look alike. I always have to wonder about that.

  3. Hi – thanks for visiting my blog today!! I’m currently carrying twins but lost one at 14/15 weeks. I don’t know if it was a boy or girl but the remaining twin seems to be doing well and is a boy. This was a great article to read and really hits home with how I’ve felt. I’m due August 1, 2010.

  4. I love seeing the stories of women who have been able to save a twin. My husband and I lost our first child at 17 weeks. It was awful, but we were certain it was just a fluke occurrance, so we tried again. Three months later, we were pregnant with twins. It’s fair to say we were more than thrilled. My pregnancy was perfect until 19 weeks. At 19 weeks my water broke on twin A. I was devistated. There were two doctors in the practice I went to. One told me I would lose both babies, and the other who told me I would lose just one, that the twin who’s water didn’t break would just take over the one who’s water did break. Not only was I extremely upset that my water broke, I was mortified at the thought of one twin taking over the other while she was still alive, or even if she had passed, which she hadnt. I was mortified to think they would just go on living until eventually baby A ran out of fluid and could no longer live. I didn’t like any of these answers but our doctor refused to send me to a specialist. A week of fighting and arguing later, I was three days away from seeing a specialist who had experience in this type of situation. The problem was, I didn’t make it that long. I ended up losing both twins days before that. Both beautiful twin girls were born alive. When they doctors handed me one of my twins, the other to my husband, I couldn’t bear to hold her as she struggled… trying to cry, fighting to live. I delivered my girls at exactly 20 weeks. It’s been a long, hard road. I went back to the original doctor for further testing. He told me nothing was wrong and to get pregnant and come back to him. Like hell I was doing that. I went to a specialist who immediatley sawthe problem. I was taking to surgery three weeks later for numerous problems inside of my uterus. It’s been 14 months since my twins passed away and I still can’t say if I’m ready to try again. I know how badly I want children, but the fear inside of me is unimaginable. I don’t think I could lose a fourth child. I’m going to the doctor tomorrow for further check up and to see how everything looks. I can’t seem to get over it. I’m in a medical malpractice/wrongful death suit with the doctor. I feel once justice has been served for his negligence that then, and maybe only then, I could be ready to move on. My heart goes out to each and every woman and man who has lost a child.

    • I am so sorry for your loss. You said “I can’t seem to get over it” and I want to let you know that that’s ok. It is alright to grieve. You are a mom who lost children. I lost Avery in December of 2007 and I’m still not “over it” though many people probably think I should be but until they are in that situation (which I wouldn’t wish on anyone) they can never know the pain of losing an unborn child. I’ll be praying for you. {hugs}

  5. Hi, I am on my sixth pregnancy (still no baby) and had my first seven week scan this week. I have had IVF. I found out that I was pregnant with twins but that one sac had just collapsed. I had a bleed the day before the scan so was expecting the worst.
    People have congratulated me for a positive scan (heartbeat in one sac) but it is, like you say, a confusing and mixed blessing.
    I now think that the same thing happened with my little boy, who was born at 24 weeks and only lived for a few days. I think that he was a twin as I had what seemed to be a miscarriage at 7 weeks. I am now in bed, still spotting and hoping very much that baby 2 survives, and that I don’t have a repeat premature pregnancy.
    I really am sorry for your loss, but pleased also that you have a lovely child to cherish.

    • {hugs} for you! I’m sorry for your children that you have lost and It must be so hard to be on bed rest worrying that you are going to lose the child you are now carrying. I will be praying for you and that your child is born healthy.

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