At her 12 week scan, Liz was surprised to find out she was expecting twins. Her 20 week scan showed that one twin, Oscar, had a heart condition. Sadly, at 27 weeks, Oscar passed away. She delivered both her boys at 33 weeks and tragically Oscar’s brother, Felix, also passed away in while in NICU. This is their story:
We found out we were pregnant for the third time in 2015. We have two older children who were eight and five at the time.
My bump was bigger than expected, and at the 12 week scan we were hugely surprised to be having twins. The midwife was very reassuring that they were the ‘safest’ type of twins, fraternal and with non of the risks associated with identical twins.
We had just about recovered from the shock and bought a car to fit four children in, when it was time for the 20 week scan. We had decided to find out the sex of the twins, as more planning was involved with a multiple pregnancy, so we wanted to be more organised than with our previous children.
The 20 week scan was at our local hospital, which didn’t have the clearest scanning equipment. I lay there as the sonographer scanned twin one, scanned twin two, then revisited twin one. He seemed to be stuck on him for what felt like forever.
Finally, he showed my husband the heart of twin one and showed him that the two sides of the heart should be moving equally but in twin one’s case they weren’t. He said we were having two boys but would have to refer us to another local hospital for a more detailed scan.
After a couple of days wait, we went for a second scan where the sonographer confirmed there was definitely a problem and referred us on to a fetal specialist unit. We named the twins that day, Oscar was twin one, at the bottom, and Felix was the healthy twin on top.
The hospital carried out a very detailed scan and identified that Oscar’s heart hadn’t formed properly. The valve on the right side between the atrium and ventricle wasn’t working and the valve on the left side, leaving the ventricle, also wasn’t working. As a result, his heart wasn’t able to pump the blood around his body effectively, even in my tummy.
We were told to go back to our local hospital for another scan in a month and to take it from there, although the implication was that he wouldn’t survive the pregnancy. By the time of the next scan at 24 weeks, he was showing early signs of heart failure, with fluid accumulating around his tummy. This got worse each week. By 27 weeks it had all gotten too much for him and he had died.
His heart condition didn’t have a name, the consultant thought it was maybe a chromosome anomaly although this was later ruled out.
I carried him for a further six weeks, safe with his little brother, until I went into premature labour at 33 weeks. Oscar and Felix were born by C-section. Oscar was perfectly formed, if a little damaged by his time in my tummy getting kicked by Felix. We had a naming ceremony and blessing for him and lots of photos. The hospital were amazing and looked after us and Oscar so well.
Sadly, Felix developed necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) in NICU and died at five days old. We went from twins, to one baby, and finally left hospital with our two older children and no baby.
Six years later we still struggle to process what happened. We’ve since had our rainbow who has now started school. It can feel like Oscar got lost in the nightmare following his death, so writing this is to help redress the balance. One of the hardest things was trying to explain what was happening to our older children and to keep going for them whilst our world fell apart around us.