TODAY (Saturday) marks the start of Baby Loss Awareness Week (October 9 to 15), an opportunity to bring together those touched by pregnancy and baby loss to feel they are not alone.
To mark the week, Worcestershire teacher Lauren has shared her story of the loss of her twin boys.
GETTING back to exercise and having something positive to focus on has helped secondary school teacher Lauren in grieving for her twin boys who she sadly lost to TTTS (twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome).
“We’d previously suffered a missed miscarriage before our two-year old daughter Edie was born which meant that I was incredibly anxious, so we booked an eight-week reassurance scan,” she said.
“I’ll never forget the moment I saw the flicker on the screen, followed by the sonographer saying “there’s the heartbeat…….and there’s the other one”.
“Once we were over the initial shock, we were absolutely elated. Identical twins. It was then a case of waiting for our 12-week appointment and hoping that everything remained well.
“At our 12-week scan, we were delighted to find out that both babies were still thriving and growing well. It was then that we had it confirmed that they were MCDA meaning they shared a placenta and were at risk of developing TTTS.”
TTTS is a rare condition, about 15 per cent of MCDA pregnancies where the vessel connections within the placenta are not evenly dispensed and there is an imbalance in the blood exchange between the twins.
One twin — the donor twin — gives away more blood than it receives in return and runs the risk of malnourishment and organ failure. The recipient twin receives too much blood and is susceptible to overwork of the heart and other complications.
Lauren said: “We had scans fortnightly from 16 weeks but following our 20-week scan and a subsequent scan in the fetal medicine department of Worcestershire Royal Hospital our boys were diagnosed with severe TTTS.
“We were referred to Birmingham Women’s Hospital and the fantastic team there performed laser ablation surgery and an amnioreduction to try to save our boys.
“The surgery seemed to go well but at the follow up scan, which was approaching 22 weeks, we were told that Noah, our recipient, hadn’t survived.
“Our donor, Bodhi, continued to grow and thrive and our focus was on him and making sure he arrived safely.
“Throughout this whole pregnancy, I’d found reading stories about TTTS on the Twins Trust website really reassuring in preparation, so I was trying to think positively.
“Bodhi did so well for a long time, we genuinely began to allow ourselves to believe he was coming home, but at 32 weeks we received our second devastating blow, his heart had stopped.”
Noah and Bodhi were both born silently at 32 weeks on June 5, 2021.
“TTTS is such a devastating condition that so little is still known about because it is so rare. It is vital that more research can be done so that the outcomes can be more positive for more families.
“Getting back to exercising was really important to me and my recovery following all that we have been through these last several months. We’re still grieving but the support we’ve received has been amazing, from the consultant to the bereavement midwife and the Bereavement Support Group at Twins Trust,” she said.
“It has been, and continues to be a very difficult time, but there is so much incredible support out there.”
Lauren and husband Tim took part in the charities annual 10k walk for TTTS in August and raised an incredible £2,660.
Visit https://twinstrust.org for more about the charity.
• NOW in its 19th year, Baby Lose Awareness Week supports bereaved parents and families to unite with others across the world to commemorate their babies’ lives and lost pregnancies, to raise awareness about pregnancy and baby loss and to drive improvements in care and support for anyone affected and in the prevention of pregnancy and baby loss.
Visit https://babyloss-awareness.org/ for more.