Thursday, August 13, 2015

Vanishing Twin Syndrome - The Good, Bad, and Ugly

Vanishing Twin don't hear that term quite often. I had never heard about it until the doctor told me what had happened.

I was about 9 weeks pregnant with D3 when we had our first sonogram. I was so excited to see his little heartbeat. I don't know what it was but I felt like I just had to make sure there was a heartbeat going on. Maybe it was because SJ was so young (6 months old) that I thought my body was playing evil tricks on me. 

At the doctors office they had turned the screen of the scan away from us while they made sure everything was okay. She had originally started with an external sonogram. My bladder was so full during this that it hurt every time she moved to find the baby. Shortly after she started the sonogram she told me that she was going to have to switch to the internal wand so I could empty my bladder. 

I was scared there was something wrong. I was worried that they couldn't find the baby and I had made this all up in my head. I knew that wasn't possible because I had taken numerous amounts of home test as well as a blood test that had shown I was pregnant. 

A little while longer she turned the screen so that I could see. There he was, my little boy. Of course I had no idea he was actually a boy. I had hoped at this time since we already had two daughters. I could hear his little heartbeat. I was so happy when I heard his heartbeat that I started crying. 

The sonogram tech had told me that the doctor would review my sonogram and go over it with me at my next appointment. No big deal. 



I had gone to my appointment alone. I don't remember why but my husband couldn't be there for some reason. It was at my appointment that the doctor said those three dreaded words...VANISHING TWIN SYNDROME 

He looked at me and told me I was 11 weeks along and my due date was September 22nd. I was excited! 

He continued on to tell me how the baby was developing while showing me on his tablet the sonogram. Then he nonchalantly said "There was a second sack but the heartbeat wasn't there." He then moves on.... 



He goes on to tell me that it was Vanishing Twin Syndrome. I am sure he gave me a little bit of information about it but I didn't hear anything after there was no heartbeat. I felt like I was in a Charlie Brown movie sitting in that classroom with that teacher talking in a language I didn't understand. It didn't help that he had a thick accent either. 

He asked if I had any questions and all I could do was stare at him. I told him I was sure I did but I couldn't think of any at that time. Shoot I couldn't even think about anything other than the words no heartbeat.

When I got out to my car I text my husband what the doctor had said. He was asking me a thousand questions and all I had to say was I don't know. When I got home he had already research as much as he could in the 20 minutes it took me to get to him from the doctors office. 

I was confused....

I was in pain because of our loss.

I was excited because of our healthy baby.

I felt guilty for feeling the way I did. 

From all of the research we had done we learned that vanishing twin syndrome happens in 20-30% of pregnancies with multiples. What happens is you miscarry one of the multiples. That baby's amniotic fluid and tissue is then reasorbed by either the mother, baby, or the placenta. The twins sack is flattened by the growing baby's weight. It looks like a disc in the placenta after delivery. There is actually two terms for it because it can look different. The first term is fetus compressus where the it is compressed enough to be noticed. The second term is fetus papyraceous where it is flattened remarkably through the loss of fluid and most of the soft tissue. I believe I had the second. This is how it was identified prior to the use of early sonograms. Now a days woman may get a early sonogram like I did which shows that there are two babies but later on go to the doctor and only hear on heartbeat. The doctor would then order another sonogram which would show that there is only one baby. 

Just like with miscarriages with only one baby they do not know what would cause a mother to miscarry one of the babies. If this occurs in the first trimester there is usually no harm or medical concern for either the baby or the mother. They are still to be monitored closely as we were with D3. We learned that if I was in either my 2nd or 3rd trimester there would have been higher risks for D3 to have cerebral palsy. I am thankful that if this was to happen it did in the first trimester and not later on. 

I went through a roller coaster of emotions. I didn't know whether to be happy about D3 or to be sad that his twin was gone. When I was sad which of course pregnancy made worse I felt horrible that I wasn't grateful we still had a healthy baby. 

I didn't tell many people about what happened to us. We only told our close family. I didn't tell any friends. I kept it inside mostly. 

I do remember my sister telling me that our Mom now has a little baby to cuddle in heaven with her. For some reason that made me feel better. To know that he/she was there with her helped me get through my hard days. 

I still think of our baby every so often. Mostly when people ask if SJ and D3 are twins. It stings a little when they ask but I know if D3 was a twin Bug wouldn't be here. So I am thankful for those small things which happen even though we understand why they happen.

Have you heard of Vanishing Twin Syndrome or know someone who has? Leave a comment and let me know!

Linked with:

Reflections From Me
Domestic Momster


  1. I've never heard about this before. Thank you for making me aware and I'm sorry for your loss

  2. Oh honey this is just so sad. My sister had this happen with her first pregnancy, it does leave you feeling confused and unsure whether to be happy for the one you have or sad for the one you lost. I remember after my miscarriages before Aspen I felt so lost and sad, and then when I finally had a healthy pregnancy I felt guilty for being happy as I still grieved the babies we lost. It is such a difficult thing to go through. Big hugs and thank you for sharing this deeply personal piece with me on my linky. I will share this on Facebook and twitter too as I think it can help many people #mummyandus

    1. I have never heard of anyone else who had this happen. Tell your sister that if she needs someone to talk to that understands I am more than willing to talk to her! Thank you so much for sharing my post! It really means a lot to me. I just want to help someone understand they aren't alone.

  3. Thank you for sharing your story. I had heard of vanishing twin syndrome but didn't know much about it. I am so sorry you had to go through this, all the contradicting feelings you were having must have been so hard.
    Becky xx

    1. Thank you for commenting Becky. It was and still as at times very hard. Just last night I looked at SJ and D3 and thought how much they looked like twins then got choked up. I hope my story helps someone.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I have heard of this happening before. Not to anyone that I know personally but have read similar stories. I am so sorry for that sense of loss you have. So much to be thankful for but still something that weighs heavy on the heart. Thank you for sharing with #momsterslink.

    1. You are so right! I have so much to be thankful for even though I at times still hurt for our little one. Thank you for hosting it!