Loss of a Twin

I had always been told that I needed to be careful because I would probably get pregnant quickly. My family has a history of accidental pregnancies. So when after two years of marriage, my spouse and I decided to get off of birth control, I assumed we didn’t really need to try. A year went by, with anxiety progressively building with each month. I was referred to the fertility clinic, which had a six-month wait at the time. About three months into this wait, I managed to conceive naturally. Pregnancy wasn’t kind to me though, as I suffered from severe hyperemesis gravidarum, and needed to be hospitalized a handful of times. HG also left me unable to perform at my job, which sent me into major antenatal depression. I was placed on sick leave, was referred to a specialist for my mental health, and after 38 weeks and an emergency c-section, my first daughter was born.

After my daughter’s first birthday, we started trying again. After 10 months, we had our first miscarriage. We were placed back onto the fertility clinic waitlist and luckily an appointment opened up within six weeks. Shortly after our first appointment, I had my second miscarriage. After routine testing determined no cause for recurrent miscarriage or secondary infertility, we were started on a clomid/IUI regimen. The first two cycles resulted in miscarriages three and four. Cycles three, four and five yielded nothing. Cycle six was the magic one. I got a strong positive right away and luckily it stuck. After our first ultrasound at 6 weeks, we found out we were having twins! I was over the moon. I was also starting to feel the HG returning and, knowing how difficult it was to conceive and how hard being pregnant was, twins seemed like the perfect way to complete our family.

We had another ultrasound scheduled for 8 weeks, and at that point, they determined that twin B was not growing as much as she should be. We scheduled another ultrasound for the 11-week mark. It was at this ultrasound that we heard the dreaded “there’s no heartbeat”. I was completely devastated. After all my early miscarriages, I had let my guard down and allowed myself to get hopeful.
Not one single healthcare professional at this time recommended or thought to tell me (Rh-negative) to get a Rhogam.

Several weeks later, it was determined that I had Rh sensitized from my loss and that my body was attacking the surviving twin. My titer levels were growing at an alarming rate, and I had to get weekly ultrasounds and bloodwork done. Finally, the decision was made to schedule a c-section at the 37-week mark. This went smoothly and our second daughter was born. However, an hour after her birth, she needed to be rushed off to the NICU, where she spent two weeks with a thankfully not severe case of hemolytic disease of the newborn.

I am told that having another child would result in a very high likelihood of stillbirth, due to my Rh sensitivity. Not to mention willingly putting myself through another 8 months of HG, and more infertility treatments. So I am forced to be content with my family being complete. We named our lost twin Lucy. We find symbolism in double rainbows. One rainbow always seems to be more faded than the other, and it perfectly represents my rainbow twins. One here with us, and one watching distantly.

-Alex

every story matters

The Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support Centre is a non-profit registered charity that helps families connect to support on their path to healing after pregnancy or infant loss.  Families like yours can work with us and get support with a variety of services that hold space for your unique story. No matter at what stage of your parenthood journey you find yourself, your story will be heard here.

If you are ready to share your story, or you need help with your journey, get in touch with us.

For more stories like this, visit our Stories of Loss page
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Book with Erin Winters

In order to book with Erin, please connect directly with our Program Assistant, Shelagh via email at shelagh@pilsc.org

NOTE: Refrain from providing detailed personal information when emailing Shelagh. Feel free to describe your challenges in brief, and leave out personal details that you only wish to share with Erin.

Shelagh

Shelagh (she/her) brings with her a solid background as an admin in a variety of areas from business, academia and now with a charitable organization with the Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support Center. She feels passionate about working in a role that benefits others in the community.

Shelagh was exposed to bereavement and deep grief at an early age and it left her with a profound sense of how fragile life is and how we need to find joy and light wherever we can. She feels privileged to be able to take this sense with her into her role with PILSC while putting her strong admin skills to good use.