Brave Arlesey mother shares heartbreaking loss of triplet for Baby Loss Awareness Week
- Credit: Sweetpea & George Photography
An Arlesey mother has shared the heartbreaking loss of one of her triplets for Baby Loss Awareness Week.
Tracey Kirby – the loving mother of three-year-olds Henry and James – lost her third child in the womb.
She decided to share her story for baby Loss Awareness Week which starts today and ends on Sunday.
She and her husband Paul hope to raise awareness for the Twins and Multiple Births Association and help promote the charity’s new Bereavement Support Group Booklet which offers information, support and stories – including Tracey’s – about multiple birth.
Tracey said: “It still hits me when people call the boys twins – they’ll always be triplets.
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“People think they’re being kind when they say ‘oh, but you still have two’, but there isn’t a day goes by where we don’t think about Cayden.”
Tracey and Paul, aged 30, were shocked and delighted when they found out they were expecting triplets – identical twins and a singleton.
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However, at 19 weeks, the couple were told that the twins had TTTS (twin to twin transfusion syndrome) – a condition which affects the flow of blood from the placenta to each baby.
TTTS causes the recipient twin to receive too much blood and have a large amount of amniotic fluid surrounding them, while the donor twin receives too little blood and lacks amniotic fluid.
The couple found out they were having three boys and nicknamed them the singleton, twin two and twin three.
Just a few days later, the situation rapidly deteriorated.
“We were told they’d become stage three TTTS and were offered the selective reduction of twin three, because he was the smaller, but we just couldn’t do it,” Tracey added.
At 20 to 22 weeks the TTTS had stabilised and Tracey was offered a laser ablation – a common form of treatment which involves putting a needle and camera into the womb and using a laser to seal off the connecting blood vessels in the shared placenta, helping to balance the blood flow.
During the procedure Tracey was able to see live video footage of her three babies for the first time.
She said: “We saw them properly on the screen, it was amazing. I’ll never forget seeing Cayden when he was alive.”
To find out if the procedure had worked meant an agonising two-week wait.
“Those whole two weeks I just couldn’t relax,” said Tracey, “but I knew I just had to get through them and then it would all be fine.
“The next week I had an appointment with a local midwife and she had a listen to the heartbeats – I couldn’t believe it when she said she’d heard all three.
“I was so happy and excited – all the boys were alive and it was just amazing.
“Later that day we had our appointment in London, but because we knew it was going to be fine, we were happy and we didn’t worry.
“But then our consultant listened to the heartbeats and found James’ and Henry’s. I made a joke about Cayden being cheeky and hiding. The consultant then put his hand on mine and said ‘I’m so sorry, he’s gone’.
“I just couldn’t understand, we’d heard him that morning, but he said Cayden had died the day before. It was just such a complete shock.
“They said he’d probably had a cardiac arrest with all that extra blood pumping into his body.
“The midwife was so apologetic afterwards but she’d actually made things better – for those few hours between appointments, I had a little part of my pregnancy where I was happy.”
Tracey carried her three sons, including Cayden, for seven more weeks.
On August 4 2014, Tracey had a C-section giving birth to James, who weighed 3lb 6oz, and Henry who was 1lb 8oz.
“We named him Cayden because it means ‘little fighter’ in Celtic,” said Tracey.
“He carried on fighting until his little heart gave up.”
For further information visit tamba.org.uk or for confidential support call Twinline on 0800 138 0509.