A story of twin loss
G shares her experience of finding out she had lost twins and her feelings about the taboo of miscarriage, including amongst Asian culture.
The brief joy of finding out about the twins was short lived and nothing had prepared me mentally for the loss of two babies.
‘There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you’ – Maya Angelou.
Miscarriage is the most common kind of pregnancy loss, affecting one in four pregnancies. I never thought I would be part of that statistic but here I am, sharing my story.
From the moment we found out I was pregnant, my husband and I began looking forward to and planning for the future. Fast forward a few months of pregnancy related symptoms – nausea, cramps and fatigue – the day of our scan seemed to be fast approaching and we were excited to see the first glimpse of our little one.
Then, a week before my birthday (2021), I started bleeding lightly at work. In a panic, I rang the midwife. They reassured me that this can be common in some pregnancies and not to worry. The next day the spotting became more heavier and again, I sought reassurance from the midwife to be told yet again that there was nothing to worry about. Another day passed and my intuition told me something was not right, I rang the midwife and this time was told to go to A&E and not wait for the scheduled scan the week after.
With Covid restrictions in full swing I entered the chaos of A&E alone. After what seemed like a long wait, then multiple blood tests and physical checks appearing normal, a scan was arranged to check me and the baby. Nothing prepared me for what would be the worst 5 minutes of my life.
As the ultrasound probe ran across my belly I felt anxious and wished my husband was there to see the baby for the first time. A few minutes later, the nurse pointed out two sacs on the screen to me and said, “you are carrying twins, but I am sorry to say it looks like you lost one a few weeks ago’’. Shock hit, tears rolled down my face, I could not comprehend that I was carrying twins, let alone that we had lost one.
Still trying to process this, I was then prepared for an internal scan. To my dismay, this time I was told the second twin had no heartbeat. Just like that, I had lost them both. In that moment I felt like the world had stopped.
A whirlwind of emotions flooded over me, thoughts running through my head. We were having twins, we were going to be a family of four… but the brief joy of finding out about the twins was short lived and nothing had prepared me mentally for the loss of two babies.
Whilst crying my eyes out, I was moved to and left alone in a dreary counselling room, handed a leaflet and asked to ring my husband. On his arrival, I had to tell him the news. He was devastated, he was hit with shock and deep sadness.
I endured the scans again, but this time with my husband. We were given the next steps and consent forms for removal of the twins and funeral arrangements.
The following week I was prepped for surgical management under anaesthetic. That morning I could not stop crying. No words can describe how numb I felt entering the operating theatre. This would be the last time with my babies. A surreal moment, something no mother should go through.
The next thing I remember was waking up scared and alone. As I regained consciousness there was a brief moment I thought ‘could this have been a nightmare?’. I looked down and held my tummy. This was very much real and I was soon brought back to the harsh reality. Waking up knowing those babies that had made their home inside me were no longer there, I felt sheer sadness of which no words can describe.
Covid restrictions made you feel alone, and without the support of my family on FaceTime and my husband beside me the recovery time on the ward would have been even more difficult than it was.
Post discharge, I was on bed rest for several weeks. Whilst I tried to recover physically, I was emotionally broken. This grief and loss felt unlike any other. It was only my husband and I that truly felt this loss, this pain. Everything we had been doing up until now centred around this life inside. Our hopes were completely shattered.
A multitude of emotions came in waves – numbness at what had happened, grief, anger and annoyance as to why my body didn’t show any signs earlier that something was wrong. Could there have been something we could have done to save their lives? So many questions ran through my mind.
I could not stop crying, my heart was broken, and no matter what I did to distract myself the tears kept coming. It seemed like newborns were everywhere I went and all over social media, which often triggered thoughts of what could have been. I struggled to be near children and often broke into tears when I was. Life as we knew it had completely changed. Where do we go from here? What happens now? How do I go back to work? The emotions were raw.
My return to work was difficult to say the least. I used all my energy to appear ‘normal’, to converse with others when all I wanted to do was lay in bed crying. I would burst into tears at random times, everything seemed to be a trigger.
I looked for people in the same situation as me or who had gone through something similar, so that I didn’t feel alone. I sought online baby loss charities for stories and read support material from the Miscarriage Association.
The support from my husband and loved ones was pivotal to help me recover. I gradually took each day as it came, went through the emotions and tried to re-focus on work and life. This had changed our outlook on life, it was about seeking joy in the little things.
Two months later, I received a letter from the hospital which I was awaiting and dreading; the date of the service and funeral for our and other lost babies had been set. The arrival of this letter brought to surface all our emotions. The day of the funeral came around soon and it was a dark, cold, rainy day, somehow the weather seemed to reflect our somber mood. I sobbed throughout the service and when the coffin went for the cremation process, it hit us hard that our babies were no more. In that moment it felt like all hope and joy had gone.
On Friday 15th October 2021 we participated in the Wave of Light, to remember both ours and other lost babies. It made me think how common miscarriages are amongst women and how little awareness there is, the lack of understanding and support in workplaces and support for partners.
Having been married for just over two years we often get asked ‘so, any kids yet?’, ‘are you planning a family?’. Though often asked innocently, having gone through baby loss, these questions can often hit hard. How is it ok for society to ask people these questions, but then not talk about miscarriage and baby loss, or even to be ashamed to discuss it?
As I continue the journey of rebuilding myself mentally and physically, I felt compelled to share our story in the hope to break the taboo of miscarriage amongst Asian culture, raise awareness and hopefully provide support to those going through their own loss. You are not alone, we stand together.
Now, in the month of January 2022, I aim to join others participating in the Step Up for the Miscarriage Association fundraiser, to raise awareness that an estimated 250,000 pregnancies end in miscarriage in the UK each year.
I am learning to be at peace at what has happened, the twins will always be our first children, imprinted in us and a part of our lives forever.