Having a surviving twin is such a complex mix of emotions

Louise’s twins, Luna and Luca, were born at 25 weeks. After 4 days in NICU, baby Luca sadly died. Louise shares her experience of the complex grief that comes with losing a twin.

Our twin pregnancy

In late 2021, I was pregnant with twins, 2 little siblings for my son Rico. The pregnancy was very exciting, and we couldn’t wait to meet them. We wanted to do a gender reveal, but sadly we didn’t get the opportunity.

At 21 weeks, I had a scan which found that my cervix was open. I had to have an emergency cerclage on New Year's Eve 2021, and was in hospital for 2 weeks.

A week after being sent home, my waters broke. I was 24 weeks pregnant at this point and very scared. I rushed back to hospital where they told me I would remain until the twins were born.  

Giving birth  

10 days later, after multiple scans, I went into labour. My beautiful twins were born at 25 + 6 weeks at 2:03am (Luna) and 2:36am (Luca).

Both babies were transferred to NICU to begin their fight.  

At 4 days old, suddenly and unexpectedly, our baby boy Luca died. We had to wait 6 months for his postmortem results to find out why, which is when we were told he’d died of NEC. Our survivor Luna spent 87 days in NICU before coming home.

How I coped

The early days of grief I just shut myself away from people. I was at the hospital everyday with Luna and I just engrossed myself in caring for her. I had bereavement therapy which didn't really help me, but what did help immensely was PTSD therapy.

I’ve also used the Facebook community to reach out to other people who have been through similar situations. I’ve made friends through those communities and we regularly message and support each other when things get tough.

Honouring Luca

We miss Luca every day. Having a surviving twin is such a complex mix of emotions – we feel happy and sad at the same time. We honour Luca daily and include him in our family.

We have a garden for him at home and in my parent's garden. I also wear jewellery to remind me of him, and have lots of little ornaments around the house in his memory. On the twin's birthday, we had a cake for both of them (pink and blue).

Every year, I try to do something for charity in his name. Last year I raised over a £1000 in a swimming challenge and this year I took part in Tommy's Walk for Hope and managed to raise £400.

Advice for others

My advice to anyone who loses a twin baby would be:

Embrace the feelings of happiness and sadness. Losing a baby is something that no one should have to go through, but you’re a twin parent and your survivor will always be a twin.

Reach out to support through charities, and take counselling if you can. You will probably be suffering from some form of PTSD and working through that really helped me.