23 September 2012, by Tan Yi Lin

Goodbye, Twin B

Dear Twin B,

Two days ago, we found out that we had lost you.

21 September had been a day that we had been looking forward to, so very much. We had been impatiently waiting out the past three weeks, so that we could see our twin babies again. Your daddy had an important conference call scheduled for that morning, but he had made sure that he could accompany me for the appointment at the hospital, so that he could say hello to you both. We had planned to bring your sister along, to show her her lovely siblings, and later pop into mummy’s office for the Mooncake Bazaar and to say hi to mummy’s friends.

It was suppose to be a happy day.

But it was not to be.

For one, your sister (and we) had a restless night. So we left the grumpy little girl at home with your Popo. Which, I guess, turned out to be the right decision, given how the day turned out.

At the clinic, Doctor Sadhana scanned my tummy. We saw your twin. An astounding 3.3 cm at nine weeks (given that both of you measured only 0.4 cm barely three weeks ago.) A beautifully formed little bean, proudly flaunting its tiny arms and legs. In the middle, a tiny shape flashed rapidly with lightning-quick movements – a tiny beating heart. Strong and clear.

The camera panned over to you. At once, I knew that you looked different. Less defined. Curled up. Facing down. Quiet. Motionless. I blamed the grainy quality of the ultrasound image and fervently hoped that it was telling a lie.

The doctor frowned. She flit back to the image of your sibling. Then to you again. She said that your growth – at 3.0 cm – was good, but…

… we couldn’t detect your heartbeat.

She quickly sent us to the Antenatal Monitoring Clinic for a detailed scan.

******************************

Once again, the camera zoomed in on your twin and the sonographer showed us its flashing heartbeat.

Then, we looked at your grainy image on the screen. We watched with bated breath as the sonographer scrolled left, scrolled right, zoomed in, zoomed out, moved up, moved down… and still, we could not locate your heartbeat. She told me to hold my breath (as if I wasn’t already doing that) and pressed down, where you were resting. A still, motionless, straight line flashed across the screen.

My eyes welled with tears.

She tried again. I held as still as I could, not daring to breathe, hoping so hard for the line to come to life.

The cursed line remained stubbornly straight.

The sonographer started typing and like nails in a coffin, the words “NO FH (foetal heartbeat)” appeared letter by letter, sealing your fate.

With that, reality sank in. My eyes could hold back the tears no longer and they spilled over like a flood. Through my blurry vision, I saw your daddy step back into the shadows of the room and cover his face in his hand.

When I used to run the hurdles event for the school Nationals, I would see fellow hurdlers kick at the first hurdle and land awkwardly in a heap, just 10m from the starting blocks. At that moment, you knew that the race was over for them. It was decided. They had lost. Months of training, hard work and anticipation had ended in a broken pile of disillusionment and disappointment. At least, for that race.

That was how I felt.

The kind sonographer handed me a wad of tissue and gently said that the doctor would explain the results of the scan.

******************************

Dr S flipped through the report and looked up at us.

“I’m sorry”, she said.

She explained that early miscarriages within the first twelve weeks of pregnancy were usually due to a chromosomal defect in the foetus. As I had not been experiencing any cramps or bleeding, she said that the water bag would slowly reduce in size and the dead foetus, reabsorbed to form part of the placenta for the surviving twin. In the event of bleeding, I was to head straight for the hospital’s 24-hour clinic for an injection that would prevent my body from expelling the contents of my womb – including the live baby.

Three weeks ago, we left the hospital in a daze. Two days ago, we drove home in a different type of haziness – a dark, heavy, fog of grief.

*****************************

Two days later, the pain is less intense, less raw. The dark cloud of sadness has somewhat lifted, but it has not totally left us. We cannot grieve for long. There are two other little ones to take care of. And a treasured grandmother’s birthday to celebrate this weekend. But every time I think that I’m done crying, fresh tears fall at the memory of seeing your image on the screen: Crumpled. Motionless. Dead.

We have shared the heartbreaking news with our families. The people who would have loved holding you in their arms. We have told our closest friends. But we still have many to tell.

******************************

So this is what it feels like to lose a baby. I finally understand. Experience is a great teacher of empathy. I know that I should think, “At least we still have Coco. At least we still have one more baby on the way.” But it’s painful nonetheless.

Dear Twin B, we miss you very much. We’re sad that we won’t get to meet you, and nor will your sister and sibling. But even more, we’re sad that you won’t get to know your sister.

She is a funny baby, this one. She can walk on her own now, you know, at 13 months. She relentlessly chased a poor toad all around the neighbourhood park, just to see it hop (away in terror). She has one evil snigger, I tell you. We honestly don’t know where she got this sadistic streak from! Just today, she called me Mummy. Or rather, “Mum-Mmm”. But she keeps practising, so I’d give her an ‘A’ for effort. It breaks my heart to think that I’ll have once less little voice calling me Mummy. At least for now.

You’ll always be a part of us, Twin B. This probably won’t be the last tear that I shed for you, but at least we have something to look forward to. In a slightly disconcerting but completely natural way, you will be part of your twin and we will still be holding you in our arms come April next year.

Till then, we love you. And miss you very very much.

The last time that we'll be seeing double

Love,

Your Mummy and Daddy, always and forever

*******************************

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your kind words and prayers. Never did we imagine that we would be sharing such grief so openly on a public blog. But you have walked every step of this journey with us and we feel that you have every right to know what happens on this journey, both the good and the bad.

Thank you for not saying, “at least there’s still the other twin.” I know, it’s only natural to think that. I did too. But thank you for not voicing it out. Coco and Twin A are blessings in their own right, not consolation prizes. Nor was Twin B just a bonus or a good-to-have.

This is the worst blow that we have ever been dealt, but we will get through this. The healing has already started. Despite the setback, we have many blessings to be grateful for and it is these blessings that will keep us focused and going strong.

My next doctor’s appointment is scheduled for 5 October.

Three days before my birthday.

Please, let there only be good news.

23 Comments

Tan Yi Lin

Yi Lin

November 15th, 2012 at 12:14 am    


Hi Mark,

First of all, you and your wife have my utmost respect for having the courage to choose the option of using an egg donor. It must not have been an easy decision to make and is a significant step in any couple’s relationship.

Secondly, congratulations on your wife’s pregnancy. It is heartening to hear that one of the embryos is showing good growth.

I’m very sorry to hear that the second baby isn’t doing well. Every day must seem to drag on like eternity while waiting for your wife’s next scan. In our case, our doctor said that miscarriages within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy are not uncommon. It simply means that the embryo or foetus was not genetically sound to begin with and a miscarriage is the body’s way of terminating an unviable pregnancy naturally. Be comforted that early miscarriages are not due to any fault on your parts and in that sense, there is really nothing that you can do but to let her body run its natural course.

I suppose your doctor is right in advising that the miscarriage will not cause the surviving baby any significant harm. In fact, in my case, Twin B’s body is STILL inside me. Just that it’s no longer growing, so it’s being gradually pushed to the side (by the growing twin) and will eventually be reabsorbed to form part of the placenta for the surviving baby.

Take heart. I know that you and your wife are going through a terrible time filled with sadness and anxiety, and I sincerely hope that you will both be able to come out of this experience stronger and closer than ever. May your little one continue to grow stronger every day. Wishing you and your wife all the best.

Mark

November 13th, 2012 at 2:36 am    


Hello everyone,

My wife is 41 and went through an IVF (donor egg) – they transferred two embryos; 10 days after the transfer, the pregnancy test turns positive (and twins are confirmed). The first and second ultrasound scan went well – embryos were developing normally; in the third u/s, at 7 weeks and 5 days, one of the embryos was developing normally, with a normal heartbeat; but the second, was not: too weak heartbeat, and slower growth – the doctor said one of the twins has probably been miscarried, and advised us to come after one week, to confirm ( the dr. also said the miscarriage will not significantly increase the chance of the miscarriage of the other embryo) – the waiting time is going very slow for us – we have put a lot in the line for this – work-wise, financially, physically (for my wife), and the situation is very disheartening. Anyone has been through a similar situation? Many thanks

Tan Yi Lin

Yi Lin

October 19th, 2012 at 7:00 am    


Hi Debra,

Thank you. The little Jedi is doing really well. Eating loads of good food and growing like a champ. Now we know who was the greedy twin all along! 🙂

Debra

October 18th, 2012 at 5:30 am    


Aww Yilin, my heart broke when I read the title of this post. Your positivity is very inspiring. Wishing you a smooth and safe pregnancy with little Obiwan Kenobi. Big hugs, babe xx

Tan Yi Lin

Yi Lin

October 4th, 2012 at 2:14 pm    


Dear friends,

Thank you for your heartfelt comments, the tears that you shed, and your kind words and encouragement. You have given us comfort in our time of sadness and we are both immensely touched by our readers’ show of support. Reading all these comments, no matter how many times, never fails to move me to tears.

To those who shared your personal experiences of grief and disappointment here with us – thank you. Thank you for sharing your stories of struggle – and strength. There is courage in being open and vulnerable, just as there is in being strong. All the best in your journeys ahead.

We have moved on. That’s not to say that Twin B has been forgotten. But we have accepted what has happened and are ready to embrace the path that lies ahead. And as Moo shared about her own baby, I think we need to rename The Baby Formerly Known As Twin A.

I think I’ll go with Dannie’s dream name, Obi-wan Kenobi for now. May the Force be strong in this little one.

Lee Lee

October 2nd, 2012 at 5:12 pm    


Dear Yi Lin,

I have been following your entry and am sorry to read of the lost of twin B. I believe he/she is in God’s boosom. Be strong for little Coco and Twin A. They still need you.

Hugs

Dodo

October 2nd, 2012 at 2:52 pm    


Dear Yi Lin,
I can feel your loss, as I got the same words from my sonographer when I was 30 weeks pregnant 2 years ago and lost another one this year.

Be strong for your twin A, and stay cheerful.

Peter

October 2nd, 2012 at 6:00 am    


Dan & Yilin – it’s hard to understand His higher purpose in times like this… May the Lord protect your other child. Stay strong for this one.

Dewberry

October 1st, 2012 at 2:16 pm    


Hi Yi Lin,

My 2nd daughter was born around the same time as Coco. She is the surviving twin of my 2nd pregnancy.

It’s been 20 months since I lost one of my twins. Everytime I look at my 2nd daughter, I can’t help but wonder what it would’ve been like if my twin had survived.

Even though this pain and heartache will probably be with us for the rest of our lives, we remain immensely grateful for our 2 healthy and beautiful children who bring us joy and laughter every single day.

Hang in there.. It will get better, I promise.

PK

October 1st, 2012 at 12:37 pm    


I am so sorry to hear about your loss and I believe no words can describe your pain now.
Please take good care of yourself and be strong.

Moo

September 28th, 2012 at 7:24 am    


Dear Yi Lin,

I don’t know you, but I know how you feel. We lost our twin B too and I still wonder what went wrong and why it happened. My baby (formerly known as Twin A) is a very cheerful two-month-old now, and I think about whether he would be even more cheerful or happy if his twin had survived. I still have dreams too, in which I have two babies who survived. I know how much it hurts to have seen two heartbeats in the first scan, and only one in the next. I’m very very sorry that you have to go through this and I hope you’ll stay strong. Hugs.

Nurul

September 28th, 2012 at 4:40 am    


No words can describe the pain you’re going through. Tears rolled down while i read your post.
Be strong and stay positive.

Ada Wong

September 27th, 2012 at 4:33 am    


Hi Danny and Yilin,

I probably could not fully grasp the depth of your pain….. Sending you my prayers (especially for twin B) and good wishes from Hangzhou is the only small way I know to offer a comfort of sort.

Looking forward to seeing a healthy and bouncy twin A.

Sidney

September 26th, 2012 at 9:31 am    


Hi Dannie & Yilin, take care of yourself.. 🙂

Yoke Lee

September 26th, 2012 at 9:15 am    


Dear Yi Lin & Hubby,

I’m not sure if words can ease your pain.
I could only offer you smiles and warm hugs, and a cup of yummy hot chocolate (or anything else you are allowed to take) to help you ease it a bit.

See, Twin B is never lost, Twin B will always be in your heart, forever. I could imagine a cute lil angel by your side, smiling and watching after you and Twin A.
Worry not. =)

May God bless you, protect you and warm your hearts. *hugs*

rebecca

September 26th, 2012 at 6:53 am    


HUGS….

Daffier

September 25th, 2012 at 4:27 pm    


Dear Yilin, very sad to hear this news even more after my failed ivf cycle.

Yes we always hope n pray at each scan to c e foetuses. Your experience makes me realise that we are on constant vigilance throughout e pregnancy.

Please take good care in the 7 mths ahead n may u have a smooth path all the way!!

Celine

September 25th, 2012 at 10:11 am    


My heart goes out to you and Dan. Do take care of yourselves. All the best for the next scan.

Tuan

September 25th, 2012 at 3:40 am    


Just wanted to let you know that you’re in our prayers

R

September 25th, 2012 at 2:47 am    


Dear Yi Lin,

I teared the whole way through reading this entry.. Am so sorry to hear of your loss and I know no words would be adequate enough to console you.

I miscarried at 3 months last year after no fetal heartbeat was detected.. Was v sad for a long while and it took me a few months to muster up the courage to go for 2 more rds of ivf before finally conceiving again this yr.. Am now 3 months along but I still hold my breath everytime I go for a scan..

This journey to parenthood is tough and full of ups and downs and we just have to keep ploughing ahead and hope for the best.

All the best for the upcoming scan and I wish you a smooth journey ahead.

Jessica

September 24th, 2012 at 10:05 am    


Hugs.

I don’t know what else to say, because i know nothing fit this situation.

Just hugs.

Sharon

September 24th, 2012 at 3:54 am    


Hello Yi Lin and Dan,

I’ve been following your blogs since the travelling days, and I’m really saddened to read about Twin B. Please take care of yourself and be strong for Twin A and Coco..

*HUGS*

Robert

September 24th, 2012 at 2:30 am    


Hang in there guys, see you soon

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