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Mum lost unborn twin after feeling something ‘wasn’t quite right’

Jun 24, 2019

A mum knows that only one of her unborn twins will come home with her – but she will carry both to term.

Becki Van der Land is looking forward to meeting both babies despite discovering weeks into her weekend that one would not make it.

Becki and her husband Cees were overjoyed to learn that they were expecting both a son and a daughter earlier this year, reports the Chronicle Live .

But at the 12-week scan the couple, from Allendale, Northumberland, were told the girl twin was much smaller than her brother and showing signs of struggling.

Tragically, her heart stopped beating five weeks later due to a genetic translocation.

As well as coping with the death of daughter, the devastating news also meant that Becki, 35, was at risk of losing the boy baby as well.

But after more anxious weeks, he is growing well, and the plan is for dental technician Becki to carry both babies to full term.

"She'll be born at the same time as her brother, hopefully in four months' time," said Becki.

"It shouldn't impact the birth too much, except psychologically.

"I'm feeling really positive – it's what you make of it, so it's still a very positive experience.

"It's going to be the only time we get to spend any time with her."

Becki and Cees, an earth sciences lecturer at Newcastle University, had dreams of starting a family when they married two years ago.

"It was part of our wedding vows to have children, and we were thinking three," said Becki.

Their dream came true for the first time 18 months ago when she gave birth to their daughter Ottilie.

Becki said: "Then we were ecstatic to find out we were expecting boy/girl twins earlier this year.

"I sort of knew straight away it was twins because it felt completely different to my daughter.

"I also had a strange feeling that something wasn't quite right.

"On the first scan they both looked perfect, but at 12 weeks the little girl looked smaller, so we had scans every week.

"They said she was showing signs of struggling and was quite a bit smaller than her brother."

What followed was two months of tests at the Fetal Medicine Unit at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary.

Unfortunately at 17 weeks the family learned that the little girl's heart had stopped beating.

They have since found out that she had chromosomal translocation called 15q26-qter deletion syndrome and had lost her IGF1R gene, which meant she had severe interuterine growth restriction.

Becki said: "Grieving for your lost baby whilst still carrying her and her co-twin is a bittersweet and unexpected situation to find yourself in.

"We were really upset but at the same time we were in quite a privileged position in that we had time to prepare ourselves for the sad news.

"The death of a twin puts you at high risk of also losing the surviving co-twin so we were again warned to prepare for the worst.

"But I am still pregnant and growing rapidly with our surviving boy twin. He is thankfully looking strong and healthy.

"Carrying life and death now continues to make this pregnancy very special but in a completely different way to what we envisaged.

"We still talk about our girl twin as much as we do our boy twin. We have chosen their names which we look forward to announcing after they are born, just as we would have done if we hadn't lost our girl."

Becki and Cees are now raising money in their daughter's memory for the refurbishment of the counselling rooms at the RVI's Fetal Medicine Unit.

She said: "We can't thank all the staff enough. Their care made the world of difference at one of the worst times of our lives."

And on Saturday keen runner Cees, who is a member of Tyne Bridge Harriers, is taking part in The Spine Race – a non-stop, seven day, 268 mile race from Derbyshire to the Scottish Borders.

Becki said: "All sponsorship received will go towards the costs of refurbishing the counselling rooms. Their aim is to to make them softer in decoration with sympathetic lighting, furniture and artwork to create a homely setting.

"Contributing will also leave a little legacy for our girl twin who we won't get to take home with her brother but who we will never forget."

To donate click here.

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