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Woman Who Lost Twins 24 Weeks Into Pregnancy Tells How She Left Hospital Without Them On Mother’s Day

(Hannah and Matt (PA Real Life/Collect)

Heartbroken when her twins died at 24 weeks and she left hospital without them on Mother's Day, a woman is pleading with people to talk about her babies, saying: “I'm still a mum, ask me about my boys."

It was a dream come true for health visitor Hannah Griffin, 29, when those all-important blue lines appeared on a pregnancy test in October 2017 – followed by more good news, when she and her fiancé, landscaper Matt Carver, 37, discovered they were expecting twins.

But one baby, Bowen, was growing slower than his brother, Hartley, and, as they were sharing the same placenta, the blood flow between them became unbalanced.

Hannah whilst pregnant (PA Real Life/Collect)

With Bowen deteriorating, Hannah and Matt, of Calne, Wiltshire, were offered laser surgery, but she said it was not an option they would consider, explaining: “The procedure was called laser ablation.

“It would basically coagulate the vessels in the placenta to divide it into two, but where those vessels were in my case would mean Bowen only got about 30 per cent of it.

“We thought long and hard, but it would mean Bowen had barely any chance of survival. If anything happened to him, it could affect Hartley, too. We just couldn't do that. Both our boys needed each other to survive."

Hannah holding some memorial casts she had made

(PA Real Life/Collect)

Despite an increasingly fraught pregnancy, Hannah and Matt held onto hope as best they could – until 9 March 2018, when she awoke feeling “empty."

At Great Western Hospital in Swindon, Wiltshire, they were given the heartbreaking news that Bowen had died and, after Hartley was delivered minutes later by emergency caesarean, he, too, passed away.

In a cruel twist of fate, Hannah was discharged two days later on Mother's Day – driving home with little memory boxes instead of her babies.

But, rather than staying silent about her grief, she is keen to urge others to challenge people's awkwardness around baby loss and overcome the stigma by talking about it.

Speaking out during Baby Loss Awareness Week 2018, which runs from 9 to 15 October, she said: “Every step out of that hospital was agony, and we're slowly falling across difficult dates, painful reminders and anniversaries. But our boys aren't a bad memory in our lives. They are the light in our lives and I wanted their story to help others."

“It's horrid that people fear saying the wrong thing, but not mentioning my sons at all just furthers the stigma. I'm still a mum, even though they aren't physically here, so please ask me about them."

A memorial print of the boys' scan photo (PA Real Life/Collect)

Hannah and Matt, who had been trying for a baby, were ecstatic to discover she was expecting in October last year.

At five weeks, though, she developed ongoing hyperemesis gravidarum – the same condition causing excessive sickness that has plagued Kate Middleton's pregnancies.

Then, at six weeks, she had an emergency hospital scan after experiencing a worrying stabbing pain – the results of which brought a welcome surprise.

Some memorial flowers for the twins (PA Real Life/Collect)

“It was then that we found out we were having twins. They looked like two perfect little Maltesers, flickering on the screen," smiled Hannah. “Twins run in my family, so I'd had an inkling, but there was still that ,'Oh my god' moment.'"

“Suddenly, we had so much to think about, even silly little things, like how a double pram would fit through the doors at our house."

Three weeks later, another scan revealed that the babies were identical monochorionic diamniotic (MCDA) twins, meaning they shared a placenta.

MCDA twins share a single placenta with a single outer membrane and two inner membranes.
Around two thirds of identical twins are MCDA.
If your babies are MCDA, you can expect more scans and monitoring, as this type of twins has the highest risk of twin-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS), which is an abnormality of the placenta.

A trained nurse with experience working on a neonatal unit, Hannah knew that twins like hers carried the highest risk of twin-twin transfusion syndrome (TTSS), an imbalanced blood flow between babies, meaning her pregnancy would need to be closely monitored.

Still, after passing the 12-week mark, she felt comfortable enough to announce her happy news.

“We made the announcement over Christmas," she said. “In a way, I regret it, as just two weeks later, the problems began. “I wish I'd held fire a bit, but it's hard when you're so excited to share your news. I already had a bump too, so it was hard to hide."

The twins' initials carved into a tree (PA Real Life/Collect)

She added: “On the other hand, though, regardless of how it ended, my pregnancy shouldn't have been different to anyone else's and announcing it to family and friends is the done thing now."

The couple were still enjoying the flurry of congratulatory messages, when their 16-week scan showed a significant difference in size between the unborn boys.

Concern mounted when Hannah was referred to the more specialist fetal medicine unit at Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital, where a team of experts scanned her, measuring the twins to determine what was causing the disparity in growth.

We've created a frame to mark Baby Loss Awareness Week on the 9th-15th October. We invite families to add it to their…
Posted by Twins & Multiple Births Association (Tamba) on Monday, October 8, 2018

That same day, they were diagnosed with Type III selective intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), where the disproportionate distribution of placenta between twins results in poor growth and nourishment, as well as restricted blood flow for one.

“After that, we were scanned every two weeks. Matt, bless his heart, is a very positive person, and was determined that we'd bring both our boys home," said Hannah. “But I was terrified. I didn't want to go shopping for baby things, take many photos or any other normal pregnancy things.

“Both babies did continue to grow, but Bowen did so very slowly, so the difference between them was getting larger and larger. His heart was also three times the size it should have been."

She continued: “He was deteriorating before our eyes, but we clung on to every bit of hope we could. I prayed that the babies would stay strong for us, forever looking out for signs that things would be okay."

Eventually, doctors decided to book Hannah in for a caesarean section at 27 weeks, concluding that the twins had a better chance of survival outside the womb.

But, at 24 weeks, on March 9, she woke up feeling a worrying lack of movement in her bump.

“I can't explain it, but I just felt hollow. Where they'd been kicking before, there was nothing," she recalled.

“I knew right away something was wrong, so we raced to hospital and did a scan. Then they told us Bowen had passed away. There are no words to describe that moment – it's just a blur."

“Hartley's heart rate was really slow, too, so he needed to be delivered as soon as possible. I was still trying to process losing Bowen when, within minutes, I was gowned up in theater. I just couldn't take it in."

Put under general anaesthetic, Hannah was quickly operated on, with doctors delivering Hartley as fast as they could.

Beforehand, she had agreed with them to work on him if he showed any signs of life – but to let him go peacefully if he did not. Tragically, though, he could not be saved.

Some poignant keepsakes made for the boys (PA Real Life/Collect)

She added: “When I came round, I got to see them both. They weighed just over 1lb each, but they were perfect."

For two days, the babies were kept preserved in special cooling cots, so that family could come and create memories and say their goodbyes.

Hannah added: “We wanted people to come and meet them, just like any other babies."

Then, on 11 March – Mother's Day – Hannah was allowed home from hospital.

As she grieved, she searched he internet for support, finding the charity Tamba – the Twin and Multiple Births Association – which has a bereavement group.

Now, she is sharing her story to thank Tamba for helping her in her hour of need, and hopes to encourage other mothers to take her lead and use support networks.

Hannah is now speaking out to encourage others to open up about baby loss

(PA Real Life/Collect)

She said: “I felt like I was the only one going through it, but I'm not. You don't want anyone to feel this pain, but it is comforting to know people out there understand. I do believe more needs to be done in hospitals to let parents know about the support options they have, though, and that something for dads needs to be put in place. Right now, there's nothing – but they've suffered a loss too."

Tamba is the only UK-wide charity working to improve the lives of twins, triplets or more, and their families. Campaigning to improve health and developmental outcomes, it funds clinical research to reduce the risks faced before, during and after birth and by providing practical support for all families, including those in crisis.

Tamba has a Bereavement Support Group for parents who have lost one or more babies from a multiple birth.

A version of this article originally appeared in Press Association.

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When you know your kids backwards and forwards, this is the best tool in your arsenal.

Getting our kids to listen to us is not always the easiest of tasks. They're willful and stubborn, but we've got a mighty weapon they are rarely prepared for: reverse psychology. Getting them to convince themselves to want to do something against their own initial intentions takes some work and a whole lot of creativity, but a little sneaky manipulation goes a long way. Here are some clever parents' tricks that are definitely worth taking notes on.

Redditor u/LeanderD Asks:

Parents of reddit, what's your best example of reversed psychology on your kids that actually worked?

He Floated His Idea Through A Back Channel


Wanted to name my boat. Anything I would think of was dismissed as stupid by my 13 year old son. After deciding on a name, I confided to a male friend my son liked. Made my friend suggest the name as though it was his idea. My son thought the name was perfect. Done.


We Always Want What We Can't Have

One of my best friends through childhood used to be punished with no salad if she misbehaved. She cherishes salad now and would always try to eat as much as possible during school lunch. Coincidentally, her now husband used to be punished with no books, it had the same effect. I think it's hilarious that they'd be hitting the salad bar and library like some black market their narc parents couldn't reach hahaha.


A Deceit That's A Cut Above The Rest


Don't know if this counts, but, at my high school (private, boys only) in the 1960's, they made a big deal about how long your hair was, and would occasionally order a boy to go home and "get a haircut".

I thought it was stupid, until years later, a master confided to me at a reunion that the policy was deliberate. The school figured we'd spend so much energy rebelling about hair length, that we would ignore other aspects of teenage rebellion. (Not?) Surprisingly, they were mostly right.


Damn! That's smart. Wow.


Oh they don't like long hair?

I'll show them. I'll grow my hair out as lon- what?! No I don't want to go "party"? I gotta try out this horse shampoo.


The Forbidden Book

Hi I was a victim,

There was a forbidden book that I was not allow to read on the shelf. My parents said I could only read it if I behave myself.

It was summer holidays and I was playing games all day (after 6 hrs of summer homework). One day I was home alone and had the opportunity to grabbed it. I read like half of it in one go. It was 5000 years of Chinese history.

Safe to say I was bamboozled.


Flowers Of The Queen

My parents always told me my broccoli were the flowers of the queen and that I really shouldn't eat them, or else the queen would get very upset! I, of course, ate the whole broccoli in a few seconds.


I'm telling the queen and she's gonna be pissed


Sleeping Beauty


I taught my kids when they were toddlers that no amount of yelling, shaking or hitting can wake a sleeping adult. The only thing that works is a gentle hug and/or a nice kiss on the cheek.

Edit: Probably needed some more details for the reverse psychology aspect to be clear. It went something like this - Step one, tell the kids I'm going to sleep and nothing they do will wake me (head buried face down is the safest position). Step two, after the initial onslaught dies down pretend to awaken on your own. Tell them you got a bit of nap left in you and nothing can wake you, especially not hugs and kisses.


Holy sh*t...if my daughter woke me up like this I would buy her a pony.


I am saving this comment because this will save lives if I ever have kids, stg.


A Walk In Someone Else's Shoes.

Split custody with my ex. When my son was around 10, he visited two weekends a month. I was waiting tables and didn't have a huge amount to spend, but he was so needy from divorce (and I'm not blaming him, it was ugly), he begged constantly for MORE when he was with me. Whatever more was, it didn't matter... he'd be eating ice cream cone and begging for teriyaki.

I finally realized that he just felt empty, and getting MORE whatever from me wasn't filling him up. His next visit I handed him $100 in cash and told him it was our food/fun budget for 3 days and two nights, and he was in charge of it. I bought him his own wallet to carry. We figured out how many times we were going to eat and what we were going to do, and he paid. He got to keep whatever money he had left...thought he was rich...then realized just how much everything cost. Well. Shoe on other foot then. If we had no money for food, we ate leftovers - and I didn't contribute more to pot. After a few weekends of running short or not getting something he actually wanted because he was foolish with funds, he started to really think about how to spend that money. He budgeted and kept to his budget. And a few times he actually went home with a little cash for his private stash.

Many years later, he thanked me for this. It really changed the way he thought about money and love.


This Is Worth Giving A Shot

Took my 3 year old son to one of those doctor's visits where he was going to get a shot. He was worried about the shot on the whole drive over, almost to the point of tears. We get to the doctor's office and a nurse subtly lets me know that my son is not just scheduled for 1 shot, but 5 of them in the same visit.

I turn to my son with an exaggerated smile and tell him, "Good news! They figured out how to take that one big shot you were going to get and instead break it up into these 5 little tiny shots so it won't hurt nearly as much!"

You could see the relief wash over his face. He stopped squirming and relaxed completely. He took the first shot and even smiled and said "It's true! The small ones don't hurt!"

We actually made it through the third shot before the effect wore off and reality kicked in. Still... I counted it as a victory.


Put This To The Taste


My mom would tell me she only lets me eat soup after candy and she'd only buy me candy that i didn't like. After a few times, i stopped trying and begged her to let me eat soup first. She gave me a smirk and told me go ahead. This doesn't sound as evil as it was. But trust me i suffered.


So what was the candy?


Mint chocolate, raisins, stuff like that. I still hate them to this day. Who the f--- thought while eating chocolate "hmm id like some tooth paste with this."


This is Truckin' Awesome

Mum had sworn a bit around the house.

When 4, while out at the supermarket, I said F word really loudly.

Very quickly and intently, she asked if I had just said "Truck" and said that was a bad word and not to ever say Truck like that again.

I thought that was the bad word so used that when being naughty.


The "Silly Mom" Routine

The "Silly Mom" routine.

My kid, and a few other kids I've known, would balk at getting ready to go. I'd grab their clothes and say, "Well, if you won't put on your clothes, I guess I'll put on your clothes. Cute shirt, by the way! Does it go on my foot?"


"Does it go on my head?"


"Oh, that's right, thanks! So, it must go on your legs, right?"


"I just can't figure this out! Where does this adorable shirt go?"

[kid grabs shirt and puts it on] ON MY TUMMY! SILLY MOM!

"Oh, thank you so much! Now what about these pants? Shirts go on tummies, so...the pants go on the tummy, too, right?"


[continue until kids have dressed themselves]

I would also do things like hand the kid my keys and say, "Alright, you're driving, I'll sit in the booster seat in back," attempt to feed the kid by putting a spoon up to his ear or his belly button, and attempt to put away his toys in the refrigerator.


Some Foot For Thought.


My mum would always yell at us "if you don't do X, you have to go to bed without socks!"

I never wore socks anyway, and I'm ashamed to admit that this worked.


That would work really well on my son, or make him cry for a really long time... He's 3 and over the last few weeks has decided that he is fully unable to sleep without socks on.


Toddlers man. Completely unpredictable.


I'm Greens With Envy

My mum had a friend that would put vegetables on her own plate and not the kids.

When the kids asked she would be reluctant to share, "that's grown up food. But I suppose I can let you have a little."

Her kids grew up loving vegetables.

I sat at the dinner table for 3 hours staring at the yucky cauliflower I refused to eat.


This reminds me of an instance when my child convinced my wife and myself to change our plans for dinner. We were in a grocery store to pick up something quick and easy to eat that we wouldn't have to prepare. Our daughter, wanted none of that, she demanded that she wanted a salad from the salad bar. We started to argue back, but then realized: "Our child demands that we feed her vegetables for dinner instead of a microwaved meal, why are we saying 'No?'"

We had salad for dinner that night.


The Power Of Choice

I don't so much know if you would call it reverse psychology, but I didn't realize it until my dad told me this.

When there were chores that needed doing, he noticed if he asked me to mow the lawn, I would complain and procrastinate. But if he asked would I rather mow the lawn or wash the windows, I'd pick one and just get it done.

Shattered my brain when he told me when I was in my twenties. I use it when I'm coaching or baby sitting all the time and it almost never fails.


The Boy Who Cried 'Ouch'


I've done this one with tens of kids. Any time a kid gets "hurt" (falls down on grass, gets gently hit in the face with a ball, etc.) instead of stopping the activity to pick the kid up and see if they're ok you just scoot them off to the side and resume. Within 10 seconds of not getting all the attention and seeing the fun is resuming they pop right back up and are magically healed.

This of course is only for the "injuries" that aren't actually injuries.


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