By Rachel, who lost her daughter Heidi at 29 weeks
In March 2016 we found out we were expecting identical twins, later on we found out they were girls. We already had a little boy and twin girls really was an amazing surprise. I was warned from the outset that my pregnancy could be complicated I had fortnightly scans from 16 weeks and was monitored very carefully. Apart from hideous morning sickness and the usual pregnancy worries everything was relatively straightforward until the 29 July 2016.
I had been to work and as the evening got further on I began to grow more and more concerned about a lack of movement. I couldn’t remember feeling the girls that day and I ended up at triage to get them checked. I had an anterior placenta so to be honest I wasn’t particularly worried.
Any mummy who has lost their baby will tell you that the look that the midwife or consultant has when they have to tell you there is a problem is one you will never forget. The room goes a little bit quiet, the mood changes and you know before they’ve even said the words. My top twin had died but my bottom twin was still okay and it was time to get them both out. I was 29 weeks pregnant.
Before I knew it my jewellery was being removed, a gown was being put on and I was just lay there sobbing. Sobbing from shock, loss and fear for my other baby girl. It was too soon.
Everything was explained to me, I signed some forms but all I could think about was my little boy who was expecting me to walk through the door with his twin sisters. I was about to deliver my baby girls and it was just too early.
My life changed from that moment on. I changed from that moment on.
Lydia was born and rushed straight to the neonatal ward to be incubated and her breathing sup-ported. I saw her foot and that was it. I had no idea at that point if I would lose her too. Heidi, my angel was put straight into my arms while I lay on the operating table. She was perfect. She had dark hair, long fingers and big feet. She was beautiful.
They took her away to clean her up and the next time I saw her she was dressed in a special moses basket waiting for us. There are no words to describe how utterly lost you feel at that point. I needed to grieve. I needed to go into a quiet room and completely break down. What had I done wrong? Why couldn’t we have both of them? Why us? But I couldn’t. Lydia was fighting for her life in an incubator and only weighing 3lbs she had a lot of fighting to do. Nine weeks later she came home and is doing really well.
People have said to me that at least I have Lydia, at least she came out of all this heartbreak. And yes I will be forever grateful for her. But I am a mother of three and one of my babies isn’t with me. You never think you will bury your own child, especially one you haven’t got to know, one you barely got to hold. Walking through the cemetery holding my little boys hand and following my husband who was holding Heidi’s coffin will be a feeling that will never leave me.
It wasn’t an either or with my girls; there should be two of them.
I didn’t really have time to grieve for Heidi. As soon as I was discharged I was back and forth to the hospital every day to help care for Lydia. I have moments sometimes, moments of pure despair. That night feels so surreal one minute and then the next minute the feelings are as raw as the day it happened.
Losing a twin is such mix of emotions. I had a baby girl fighting hard and she was doing ok; that made me happy beyond words. But then I had a sleeping baby girl and my heart was broken. How do you deal with such bittersweet feelings? I don’t really think you can. I would feel guilty whichever one I thought about as if I was doing the other one some sort of injustice. You can be so hard on yourself when you lose a baby. But the truth is as hard as it is to accept, it isn’t your fault.
I told the story of what happened to some mums on the school run the other day and it was the first time I had said it aloud to people that didn’t know the basics of what had happened to us. I don’t think it will ever get easier to say. The story will never be an easy one to tell but what it does do is keep Heidi’s memory alive. Being part of our conversations shows she is part of our lives, part of our hearts.
She is such a special baby; she alerted me to something being wrong and because of that Lydia is with us today.
I will tell Lydia all about her sister and we as a family will never ever forget her.
Rachel blogs at www.mummyintraining.co.uk