20 September 2022

My relationship with Twins Trust began in 2019, this was quite some time after the loss of my twins, to be more precise, approximately 16 years after.

It was early 2003 and I had unknowingly fallen pregnant. The year before, Jason, my now husband and I had our first baby and I wasn’t yet having regular periods, I had had just one. I seemed to have been gaining weight but there was something else, there was something familiar about how I was feeling. I had experienced severe sickness (hyperemesis gravidarum) for the duration of my first pregnancy, I was even hospitalised on more than one occasion. I decided I should probably listen to my instincts and take a pregnancy test but I was also trying to remain matter-of-fact and not get too excited, though try as I might, I was both excited, and pregnant.

The rate I seemed to be gaining weight felt to be considerable. I had always been susceptible to weight gain. Although I may not have been eating the healthiest of foods, I knew I wasn’t eating more and had once again ended up with severe sickness, which I was only just managing. Somehow things didn’t quite add up. So, when I then had the thought that I might be having twins, I became so convinced by how I was feeling that I told everyone, though it would be some time before this could be confirmed. Then, there at the 12-week scan, just as I had believed – we were informed we were having twins. Excited wasn’t the word.

The scan had confirmed non-identical twins and the measurements placed them at least two weeks ahead of their estimated due date. On paper, no changes were made and we were informed that typically, with twins, I would be induced before I reached my due date if I hadn’t had them already. We shared our good news and it was when sharing the news with my midwife, that I first learnt of TAMBA, the Twins and Multiple Birth Association, as it was then known, now, Twins Trust. TAMBA was mentioned because I would have been due to have three babies under the age of 18 months and there may have been some support available to me. At the 20-week scan, everything was the same regarding measurements and dates, and all was looking good. We had opted not to know the gender, or genders, to leave as a surprise. When we left the hospital that July day, happy, reassured and full of hope, we imagined it would be at least a few months before we returned, and not the following month.

The day was cold and dark and I wasn’t feeling well. I had been stressed out the night before and woken from sleep with a ‘twang,’ which I had assumed was the twins struggling for space. My friend came that morning and we both shared our observations about how huge I was; my maternity trousers already tighter than they had been at full term in my previous pregnancy. As the day went on, I felt worse, thinking initially it was because I was just so tired, but the pains became more frequent. I had already waited as long as I dared before calling the hospital for advice but then when I did call, I felt my concerns were dismissed and the comments made were unprofessional. I ran myself a bath as advised but the pains got worse. I was frightened by what I thought was happening. I called the hospital again and this time it was the labour ward, and this time I was instructed to go straight to the hospital – just to be sure. The midwife I spoke to could not have helped me more and was with me from the moment I arrived.

On arrival, I was examined and the twins’ hearts were monitored, it was such a relief to hear they both sounded fine and were showing no signs of distress. I, however, was significantly distressed by what had now become very apparent, labour had begun. I was given medication in an attempt to stop any further progression and if that worked, possibly then have a cervical stitch. The heart sounds had remained stable and good but labour sadly continued to progress and the inevitable was going to happen. So as not to delay, I was at this stage given medication to induce labour and with all the facts before me, I was faced with the rawness of my horrific reality. I was going to have to give birth in the knowledge my babies were stable and well but would not likely survive due to my body going into labour. And, with them being born on the cusp of viability, before 24 weeks, even if they survived, they would not receive any help. A cocktail of extreme emotions shaken with sheer helplessness and pure devastation; I was in a state of being that can in no way be accurately described. How could my body do this, grow and nurture two beautiful lives and then fail them?

Drawing of mother with babies

The conflicts I had within myself were overwhelming and complicated. I could not have in any way near come close to comprehending what was happening would feel like in reality. I gave birth to two dear little girls, Violet and Daisy, our beloved and precious little flowers. Violet had passed away during labour but Daisy was still alive. All we could do was watch, helplessly, and our already broken hearts broke again, only this time in slow motion. I held them both, one in each of my aching arms.

Nothing seemed to make sense, and then, in addition to all we were going through, we were presented with the explanation of medical and legal terms relating to our circumstances which would somehow only serve to contradict, belittle and make insignificant a reality which was no less than harrowing – it was a paradoxical nightmare. Born on the cusp, before and close to 24 weeks, termed as a late miscarriage and ‘not viable.’ I had just physically given birth to two babies but medically, by not being classed as viable, legally they could not have a birth certificate. I had only hours before listened to my babies’ hearts beating, observed birth and lifelessness, Daisy’s passing, and physically held them. My babies were real and had died but because they were not recognised as medically viable, they could not legally have a death certificate. These were just two pieces of paper but they represented terms of life and death which would officially deem their existence worthless, meaningless, and insignificant to the point of non-existent.

In 2019 I set up a Facebook page, Violet Daisy Chain – All Pregnancy and Baby Loss Counts. As a mother of four angels, two heavenly and two earthly, and many years of one too many instances of relating to and understanding how difficult it can be as a bereaved parent, I was able to recognise how much of a need there was to validate loss at every stage, and that all pregnancy and baby loss counts. I purposefully yet nervously set out to share my journey of baby loss with the hope of helping others. At this time, I also joined some of the bereavement support groups, which was the beginning of my relationship with Twins Trust. 

Violet and Daisy flowers

Connecting with others through grief I found to be of such invaluable help and was something I had not had the chance or knowledge to do at the time of losing Violet and Daisy. Twins Trust has become very important to me, not only has it been a very significant part of my healing, but also my journey going forward, showing me immense support, especially with my Facebook page, and more recently with my book, Two Worlds One Mother. 2022 marks 19 years since Violet and Daisy’s anniversary and I would like to thank all at Twins Trust for helping me to be where I am today, and for allowing me the opportunity to share my story – thank you.