'I lost a twin and went on to have our other baby. Here’s what I wasn’t prepared for.'

As an IVF pregnancy, my husband and I knew within a couple of weeks of conceiving that we were having ‘surprise’ twins.

What was unique and difficult about our pregnancy was that two heartbeats were detected (we saw them three times), the babies had their own sacs and placentas (Dichorionic Diamniotic, rare for identical twins) and our embryo had been pre-tested. 

All of these factors which should have made our miscarriage risk significantly lower (five to 10 per cent). But sadly, that wasn't the case.

Watch: A tribute to the babies we have lost.

Video via Mamamia

I experienced a 'vanishing twin miscarriage', meaning I only gave birth to one baby. 

This is what I want you to know about losing a twin while still pregnant with the other.

It's more common that you think.

Vanishing twin miscarriages occur (usually) in the first trimester of an estimated 20-30 per cent of multiple pregnancies, though the real number is possibly higher. Without early scans or HCG monitoring, twins may not be detected in the first trimester or at all, leading to lower recognised occurrences.  

Increasing IVF and advanced maternal age pregnancies are starting to be linked with more vanishing twin miscarriages (more twins, more monitoring).


Your body will resorb the twin.

The human body is amazing, and women are warriors. Our hard-wired biology knows what to do even though we don’t always understand it. You will most likely reabsorb the twin safely (to you) and the earlier it happens, the lower the risk to the remaining baby. You might still experience some ongoing supercharged pregnancy symptoms because certain hormone levels are high, but most of the time you self-correct. 

When your child is born, you may be able to see where the twin was reabsorbed on your placenta (this is sometimes how people find out that they even had a twin). 

We were reluctant to look at first, but I’m incredibly grateful we got to see where they became one. 

You may still bleed.

I spent Mother’s Day 2022 in the ED thinking we were losing our other baby. When they were trying to triage me, I couldn’t speak and when they tried to bring me through to get a scan, my feet wouldn’t move. I was cemented to the floor and paralysed with fear… I was convinced it was all over and I’ll never forget how terrified I was. 

Thankfully, they were able to detect a heartbeat relatively quickly (once they found a machine) but during the outpatient appointments the next day everyone told us either that I might bleed again, or that I should’ve expected to in the first place. I didn’t. 

The last photo of 'twin B'. Image: Supplied.


You will need to grieve.

Your instinct wants to protect the one you have and manage your emotional state, but grief and relief don’t pair well, it’s confusing but try not to bury it. If you don’t find a way to grieve for your baby, it will pop up itself somewhere as grief is love trying to find somewhere to go. 

Mine ended up coming out with shock, to me at least, when I woke up one morning at 2am already bawling. I had no words to accompany the tears - just noises that I didn’t even know I could make. It continued until my eyes swelled shut and no more sound came out. My subconscious knew what had to come out of me and I did start to process it better afterwards.  


We’d only tried for one baby as we had a single embryo which split into a twin pregnancy, but then there were two and we truly, briefly, thought that twins were our reward for years of perseverance. 

But that’s not how life works. We’re so grateful for our son, but our pain wasn’t lessened because there was one left, it’s just that our happiness and relief for him offset it. Losing our other baby hurt.

Listen to a bonus episode of Get Me Pregnant about Pregnancy loss. Post continues below. 

You will always wonder.

You’ll look at twins differently, you’ll wonder what it would have been like. You’ll always wonder what it all meant (good or bad) and what it would have changed. My son was born tall, one third my height to be precise, and there’s absolutely no way we all would have all managed to get to where we did if there were two in there. 

Does that make it meant to be? Perhaps. Mother nature is the ultimate arbitrator, but she owes us no explanation and though I trust her, the whole thing felt like a cruel and unnecessary detour. 

One of my sister in laws colleagues looked at a photo of my son when he was born and said she saw a shadow / duplicate in it. She had absolutely no way of knowing about the twin - a story that still gives us goosebumps today. You will wonder every time your child looks in a certain direction, follows something with their eyes when nothing is there, smiles or laughs at something behind you, what it is they’re seeing. I’m not a superstitious person, but I swear sometimes there’s something going on that I’m not privy to. I catch myself wondering if he has a guardian. 


It's good to talk about it

It’s helpful and healing to share with loved ones, even if it’s difficult at first. Sharing resulted in us being reminded that the twin will always be our baby, a friend confiding in me that she’d lost both her twins earlier in the year, and our friends ten-year-old son asking if we wished we’d had the twin as well. 

It was the kind of brilliant, curious, direct question only a kid would ask, and it was wonderful to be able to consider it and answer him. We explained that although we were sad, we don’t know any differently now and wouldn’t change a thing, because we wouldn’t change our son (and that’s exactly how we feel). 

We’ll also tell our son when the time is right. He will know everything about how he came into being, including that he was conceived in 2014, that we had 17 other embryos that weren’t viable, that his embryo made an identical copy of itself for a while, and that he made it all the way here. 

All babies are miracles, surviving twins are just extra miraculous miracles.

Casey Kaminskyj is a geriatric-mother, water-lover, mistake-maker, IVF-veteran, Laugh-monger, Gin-drinker and occasional-writer.

Casey lives in Geelong with her family (where she’s outnumbered) and you can find one of her tiny blogs hidden in a corner of the internet here.

Feature Image: Supplied.

Do you have kids under 9? Take this short survey now to go in the running to win a $50 gift voucher!