This week is Baby Loss Awareness Week and in support of it and the aim to keep talking about baby loss I wanted to share more than my story on my blog. As you will probably already know I lost my daughter Heidi in July 2016; Little Lady is her twin sister. 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 something that can be so very hard to deal with. I know I felt a lot of guilt when grieving for Heidi as I felt I wasn’t giving the fact that her twin sister was with us enough but then when I was feeling happy about Little Lady I would feel guilty for not feeling sad about Heidi. 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 Courtney’s story about her beautiful twin boys.
Tell me about you and your family.
Hi everyone, I am Courtney from Life with the Ward family and have agreed to share my story of life after losing a twin. For those of you who don’t follow my blog or my Instagram I had identical twin boys at 26 weeks after my placenta ruptured. I named my boys Isaac Andrew and Noah Dennis.
How did you feel when you found out you were having twins?
At the time when I fell pregnant I was not with the boys dad and made the decision to do the pregnancy alone. I had a massive support system with my parents and with my friends so I wasn’t entirely alone with it all. That was our family situation, different to most but just fine with me. I found out it was identical twins at my 12 week scan which I attended with my mum (although she stayed outside with my littlest sister). I saw 2 little blobs dancing before the ultrasound lady did and I just burst in to tears. It terrified me to see not just one baby on there, one alone was scary enough to me. It honestly took me a couple of weeks to wrap my head round it all but I finally stopped feeling scared and felt so in love with them by the time I saw them again at my 14 week scan.
Sharing as much or as little as you like tell me about your twins story.
My pregnancy as a whole wasn’t the best but it wasn’t the worst twin pregnancy I know about. Things were going fine until I hit 16 weeks. My consultant noticed that Twin 2 (Noah) was measuring 2 weeks behind his brother and had absent flow from the placenta to his umbilical cord. I was sent to Birmingham Womens Hospital for a scan to see if I had something called Twin-Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS). TTTS is rare but can be really dangerous. Thankfully after 2 days of worry and crying I was told the boys were fine and I didn’t have TTTS at all. It was really after that day that I realised how much my babies meant to me and how much of an impact they were already having on my life. From there on I had weekly scans and my diabetes test early because of Noahs placenta problems. All fine and we were looking good for making it to an induce date of 36 weeks pregnant. The day I had the boys, I was staying with my grandma and had planned to go shopping that day to get baby bits. I felt really off when I woke up so I (thankfully) made the choice to stay at home and lay on the sofa. At around 1pm I knew something was up with me. I lost a litre of blood by the time I got to the hospital. I will forever be grateful to the ambulance trio who kept me calm and let my dad stay with me the whole time. The bit between getting to hospital and having them is a blur. I remember being poked, prodded and stabbed multiple times because my veins had collapsed. I was put to sleep and my boys were born by emergency C section. Isaac Andrew was born first and lived for 20 minutes before he took his last breath snuggled up next to his brother Noah Dennis in the NICU.
How did you cope with the bittersweet emotions of losing a twin and having a surviving twin?
Noah was in the NICU for a long time so I sort of numbed myself and switched off from what had happened. I honestly haven’t fully dealt with the bittersweetness of it all and I don’t think I ever will.
How do you remember your star in the sky?
The only thing that helps me is talking about him as much as I can, having pictures of him in my house and making sure Noah knows he has a brother who loved him so much. He’s never far away and that is the biggest comfort.
Did you get the support you needed from those around you when you were going through this time?
The support I received at the time from not only family and my friends but from staff at the various hospitals we visited who knew the situation was beyond amazing. They all did their upmost to make sure I was okay, allowed Noah to have a photo of him and Isaac in his cot and were always around for a chat if I needed one.
Do you think the loss of a twin is something that is talked about enough?
Loss of a twin or any baby in general is not spoken about enough in my opinion. You come to find more people have been through it than you realise. No one knows the right thing to say or the right thing to do when it happens. I remember people avoiding me or being awkward at first, congratulate me on Noah but also talk to me about who I lost that day. I want to and I need to talk about him. People need to hear these stories and know it is happening.
How is your life now after loss?
Life after losing Isaac is honestly strange. Noah is thriving but there are times I wonder what it would be like if Isaac was here. Who would talk first or be taller. Its become my normal to spend time at his headstone, look at photos and miss him.
Do you have any advice for parents that might be going through a similar experience?
My biggest piece of advice for parents and families going through the same experience is to keep talking about the twin they have lost. Talk about them everyday, to everyone you meet. Never stop talking about them. Show them off at every opportunity to anyone who will look. And remember, there will always be someone to talk to on the bad days.
A massive thank you to Courtney for sharing such a personal story and for telling us all about her beautiful boys. If you want to follow their journey more than head over to Life With The Ward Family or follow on Instagram.
You can read other life after losing a twin stories below: