Life After The Loss Of A Twin featuring Kathryn Fenton

**Trigger Warning**

Welcome back to my new series Life After the Loss of a Twin. Last week was Baby Loss Awareness Week and in support of it and the aim to keep talking about baby loss past the week itself I wanted to share more than my story on my blog. The loss of a twin isn’t something is talked about as much in the baby loss world and I wanted to do my bit towards changing that. Losing a twin is such a bittersweet experience and brings on such a range of emotions. As always, with baby loss there is no right or wrong way to navigate the grief but I was interested to hear how other twin loss parents coped with it. Here is Kathryn’s story about her gorgeous twins.

 

Tell me about you and your family.

Our family is myself Kathryn, my husband Paul and our three sons – Theodore & identical twins Arloe and Reuben.

 

How did you feel when you found out you were having twins?

We were gobsmacked, we knew we would love to have another baby but the thought of twins had never entered our mind as we had no idea that identical twins can happen to any pregnancy as it’s not hereditary. Our shock quickly turned to excitement and quickly to fear as we made the huge mistake of googling “identical twins pregnancy”.

 

Sharing as much or as little as you like tell me about your twins story.

I loved being pregnant with Theo and had a quick and positive birth experience so two years later when we spoke about doing it all again I assumed it would be the same, oh how naive and blissfully unaware I was!
I knew I was pregnant in a matter of days – I could sense it, and knew I felt different. I was hungry constantly and whilst eating a meal I would be thinking about what I needed to eat straight after.
My emotions were all over the place so when the pregnancy test lines appeared in seconds I wasn’t shocked. “We were excited and thinking immediately about what our next little baby would be like.
At our 12 week scan the sonographer was straight faced, put the probe on my tummy and said “there’s baby and there’s baby two” – we couldn’t believe it. Twins! Identical twins! As this type of multiple pregnancy can be very high risk we returned to the hospital two weeks later to be scanned again. At this scan we were given the blow that the twins were presenting early stage Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS) a life threatening complication due to the sharing of one placenta between both babies. Our scans changed from two weekly to three times per week to ensure that any sudden changes in TTTS would be caught early. As the weeks continued signs of TTTS remained present but hadn’t progressed further but at 18 weeks we were made aware of a potential Renal complication with Twin Two (Reuben). Our only way to understand the extent of these complications was to go through an MRI scan at 28 weeks. In the meantime over the next 10 weeks we would be scanned Monday, Wednesday and Friday and our whole world would change from scan to scan. Reuben would show signs that everything was absolutely normal and then in just two days we would be told things were potentially fatal. Once again a couple of days later our fluids would be perfect and he would be showing us signs that everything was okay.
Our only hope to find out what was actually going on, was the MRI. At 28 weeks I underwent a 1 hour and 50 minute MRI. The results came a few days later as inconclusive.
Just under 5 weeks later our darling boys were born screaming and fighting, we could not have been more happier and relieved to hear those beautiful cries. As the day went on, both boys fought in NICU, we prayed they would both be okay but our worst fears were confirmed that Reuben’s Renal complications were too severe for him to overcome and we lost him after 24 hours.

 

 

How do you cope with the bittersweet emotions of losing a twin and having a surviving twin?

Some days I struggle with the fact that the boys are identical because I can see with my own eyes exactly what is missing, every inch of Arloe is a carbon copy of Reuben but in the same breath it is a huge comfort that all I need to do is look at Arloe and I can see Reuben in him, every inch the same. 
I wonder if their personalities would be similar or opposite. The happy heartache of only one of your two babies surviving is a strange place to exist – so happy, delighted and grateful for your precious little life who has survived but equally devastated, broken, aching for the little life that hasn’t been able to stay.

 

How do you remember your star in the sky?

We talk about Reuben as a family every day, we look for him in the moon every night and we say good morning and goodnight to him every day with Theo and Arloe. We raise money for Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity in his name so that other families can be supported should they find themselves in a position similar to ours. We promised him that he would never be forgotten and we would forever work to repay him for those precious 24 hours together.

 

Did you get the support you needed from those around you when you were going through this time?

I have been so lucky to have the support of a wonderful psychologist throughout my pregnancy and for 6 months after Arloe and Reuben were born until she left to have her own baby. I had a 6 month break from therapy but have just recently returned as I found the twins first birthday and Reuben’s first anniversary in May a very difficult time. When I couldn’t bring myself out of the darkness, I knew it was right for me to reach out and return to counselling.

 

 

Do you think the loss of a twin is something that is talked about enough?

I think baby loss as whole needs more discussion and exposure; losing a twin is a difficult place to be – so grateful that your baby survived and is thriving, yet so heartbroken and physically yearning for the baby who didn’t then a sense of guilt as I’m blessed with three boys whilst so many are yet to take their baby home

How is your life now after loss?

I’m still very much riding the waves of grief. Some days are gentle and calm and on some days the waves are huge, ferocious and crashing against the rocks. Milestones are difficult as it’s more obvious that someone is missing but we are happy and grateful and living as positively as possible in Reuben’s memory.

 

Do you have any advice for parents that might be going through a similar experience?

My advice is be gentle. Gentle with yourself and each other. Paul and I have always been on different pages and stages with grief. As long as you both respect each other and have no expectations of how you “should” be feeling, I can promise you, even the darkest storm gets a little lighter and brighter in time.

 

A massive thank you to Kathryn for sharing such a personal story and for telling us all about her lovely boys. If you want to follow their journey more than head over to Always Looking Up on Instagram.

 

You can read other life after losing a twin stories below:

Rhiannon’s Story

Courtney’s Story

 

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